It’s Wednesday here in San Antonio, and final preparations for this year’s General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists are underway. Registration has opened for more than 2,500 delegates and special guests from all over the world who will be serving as representatives of the church.
Every day there will be exciting things happening that will affect the world church.
Many people have been either excitedly or nervously looking forward to next Wednesday’s vote on women’s ordination. Our church has been studying and discussing this topic since we left Atlanta’s GC session in 2010. Unfortunately, we haven’t always done this with kindness and respect for opposing viewpoints. This, along with unilateral action, has created some strain on the denomination as a whole. I’m looking forward to seeing how God will direct His people through this decision. As Ellen White so poignantly put it, “God is at the head of the work, and He will set everything in order” (Selected Messages 2:390, 1892).
Tomorrow’s discussion will be equally important, as the focus will be on choosing the leadership of the church for the next five-year term. The future leaders will have the God-appointed challenge of shepherding the church through difficult pastures because, no matter how the women’s ordination vote ends, many will be disappointed. We don’t know what the backlash of the decision will be, but it is certain that our leaders will need the help of the Holy Spirit to guide us forward. I hope you have been praying, as I have, that God will give His church the leadership we need for this time.
We will also see some discussion on the church’s 28 fundamental beliefs and any editorial changes made to the wording of those beliefs. Monday’s discussion will specifically focus on the proposed change to our creation doctrine by adding the phrase, “a recent six-day creation.”
Let us remember to pray for our delegates. They have a solemn responsibility to represent the areas of the world church they serve. They speak for all of us on these important issues and need our prayers for God’s guidance.
“God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority” (Testimonies for the Church 9:260, 261).
I’m excited to see how God will direct His church over the next 10 days and to see how each decision will affect us in the years ahead. Keep checking back for daily updates of this year’s General Conference session. I’ll do my best to keep you up to speed on the daily happenings and important developments as I see them.
(Photo from South American Division)