Devotions and Mission
With the dramatic build up to the General Conference Annual Council 2016 (GCAC16) and the vote on Unity, today’s half day session was sublime, and in so many ways anticlimactic. There were no discussions, no racing to the microphones to get points across, nothing but peace. Sweet, sweet peace.
Elder Mark Finley spoke for morning worship about sin, and the solutions that God has for us and the Sanctuary. It was truly a powerful message following yesterday’s happenings. Finley reminded us all that God has given each of us a specific task, a mission, and in doing so He will equip us to do the best work for His glory.
Finley asked everyone to search his or her hearts and ask the question, “Are we willing to give God our whole heart, withholding nothing?” Personally, I know God calls us to do just that, and I know first hand that it is not easy. After all, we are human and we desire to have our own way.
“The Son of God became the Son of man that the sons of man can become the sons of God.” Finley stated.
The rest of the morning was filled with reports, that though they had to be accepted, they were more informational than anything else.
ADRA and Hope Channel gave their reports, and all praised God for the work both entities are doing. It is amazing to hear how God is using ADRA over and over again as the first group on the ground when disaster strikes. Hope Channel has touched uncounted lives through their programing around the world, and they have now added channels to reach out to the Inter-Americas.
Woman’s Ministries gave out their newest devotional journal, with a focus on prayer. The White Estate’s presentation detailed the marriage life of the James and Ellen White, which was informative and inspiring. Unfortunately for the White Estate, by the time they started giving their presentation, many of the delegates had either left or were busy chatting.
So, what now?
Well…Now that GCAC16 has finished, and delegates are making their way home, it is time to focus on the future.
As a world church, there are many decisions that must be made in preparation for next year including the second part of the unity document which will stipulate the consequences for non-compliance with the GC Working Policy. What will the disciplinary action look like? Can the church work together for the glory of God and not self?
In addition, the push, the need to work on a truly global scale for missions needs to be figured out. How will this get funded? Who will go?
Interestingly enough, some issues that had been discussed during the LEAD conference meetings, issues that can and will impact colleges and universities, issues that caused one university leader to go way off topic in his presentation and a church leader to make some not so subtle comments, was never brought up. The issue, specifically, is accreditation and church oversight on a university level. Should the church simply allow the school boards to do what they want, or is the church and its education department liable to step in. There are suggestions that there are Adventist universities that are allowing professors to teach macroevolution as a fact instead of a theory, as well as issues in how to handle LGBT mandates from the federal government. These are issues that will need to be addressed, and probably sooner rather than later.
This will especially become in important in regards to student funding for education. Something to ponder for those who currently have student loans or plan to pay for their college education through loans, is the loss of federal funding. Since losing federal funding for student loans is a real possibility in the future we will need to figure out whether this is a bad thing or potentially a good thing. If our universities were not allowed to accepted federal loans money, it would force them to reevaluate costs, and in turn could well force a drop in the cost of Adventist education. However, if adjustments aren’t made it could make the cost of an Adventist college education prohibitive.
When everything is said and done, I love my church. This is my family. While there may be issues that find members taking sides, after the vote, we are still a family and we still must work together. It is not about personal goals and agendas, it is about doing God’s work and following His will. If we do that then we can’t, and we won’t go wrong.