Fuller Theological Seminary consistently ranks in the top five liberal seminaries in the United States, along with Princeton and George Fox. Thus it comes as a bit of a surprise that the NAD would send impressionable young Adventists there to be taught by them in the Growing Young Cohort program. But that's what they did this Spring.
The Growing Young Cohort costs $4,000 paid over the course of the Cohort year. The tuition covers the attendance of 4 team members to their 2-day summits, materials, coaching, assessments, and additional resources offered to Cohort members only. Your tithe dollars at work.
Around thirty Adventist church members, leaders, and innovators, from across the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists convened at Fuller Youth Institute in Pasadena, California, to complete the Growing Young Certified Speaker training as well as participate in the Growing Young Cohort Summit. The NAD sent leaders from each of its nine unions to participate in this training. Over the next several years, these individuals will seek to spread what they have learned in Adventist communities. The goal appears to be twofold: Transforming the Church through community service (Social Justice), and adopting millennial values into the Church to make it more 'friendly' to young people (who are already over-entertained and under-challenged). In short, your church must become more liberal and more hipster, dudes.
A brief synopsis of the theology/strategy from the Growing Young Leaders:
• TYLER REAGIN---Founder of Catalyst, leadership program, emphasis about fostering unity and racial issues.
• ALBERT TATE --Fellowship Monrovia, celebration style church
• KENDA CREASY DEAN---Ordained Pastor, youth leader, spiritual formation with an emphasis on unity over doctrine.
• ANDY CROUCH--Promotes theistic evolution.
• BENJAMIN STEPHENS III--in top 21 emergent church leaders.
• JASON SANTOS---Spiritual formation, Contemplative prayer.
• VARGINIA WARD---Ordained Pastor, Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence--Judgment means delivery, once saved eternally saved.
• DAVID HERTWECK---No behavior modification, acceptance gospel.
• MARILYN P. TURNER---Ordained reverend Bethlehem Baptist Church, Springhouse, Pa. Member and leader of ABHMS, publications support unity in diversity.
Among the SDA attendees are:
- Timothy Floyd, Young Adult Ministry Director for the Kansas-Nebraska Conference
- Steve Case, Andrews University Doctor of Ministry [DMin] Coordinator
- Allan Walshe, Discipleship and Religious Education Department Chair, Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.
- Jose Cortes, Jr, Associate Director of the North American Division Ministerial Association
- Marquis Johns, Lead Pastor for the North Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Benji Ferguson, Youth Pastor for the Carmichael Seventh-day Adventist Church
- David Yeagley, Young Adult Ministry Director for the Washington Conference
- Ken Rogers, Youth and Young Adult Ministries Director for the Southern Union
- Pastor Jason Bulgin of the Emerald City Community Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Hubert Cisneros, Youth and Church Ministries Director of the Mid America Union
With certified speakers now strategically poised in each union across the NAD, the division is ready to advance their agenda through dozens of workshop and seminar presentations. These will be shared across the division, introducing GYA to ministry professionals, church leaders, and local members over the next several years.
These GYA certified individuals will become agents of change in the Adventist Church to---in their own words---encourage inclusive cultural change in local churches and Adventist entities.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2).