For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them
The Lord’s presence was felt as leaders from across the Pacific Union gathered for the Pacific Union's quarterly Executive Committee Meeting on Thursday, November 17.
Energized by a powerful devotion from Pastor Rochelle Webster, which declared that God's steadfast love endures forever, and then uplifted by a season of prayer led by Pacific Union Conference President Bradford Newton, the committee embarked on the agenda of the day.
To ensure that the Lord's guidance was continually with them, Elder Newton invited Edwin Mendoza to volunteer as prayer leader. As prayer leader, he was asked to call for a break in proceedings when he felt the attendees should pause, reflect, and pray together to refocus hearts and stay in connection with the Savior through the entirety of the meeting.
The next generation leading the church
The resounding theme for the meeting was the revitalization of our youth and young leaders to take up the mantle and continue the great work and mission of our church.
To begin, in his report, Elder Newton spoke on how he is witnessing a stirring of the Holy Spirit among young people. "Dr. Newton’s president's report set the tone for today's meeting,” said Pacific Union Executive Vice President Leon Brown. “His focus on youth and young adults centered our hearts and thoughts on the fact that the present and the future leadership needs of our churches and our schools required our focus on our young people.”
Two of the practical ways our union hopes to harness this focus is to appoint a union youth director and to create a new position whose main objective is to foster the growth of young leaders in our church. The feeling in the air was energetic and electric as Elder Newton asked the committee to break into groups for a brainstorming session to formulate what the union youth director and the new position (whose title is to be determined) would involve. Jenni Glass, communication director for Sacramento Adventist Academy, stated, "I appreciate the group taking time to focus on the future and looking at ways to minister to our future leaders."
The overwhelming consensus is that we need leaders to foster, develop, and grow the connection of youth and young adults to God and our church—helping them find a calling to work for the church in their area of talent, skill, and profession.
The energy and hope that filled the room was revitalizing as the union looks to the future and envisions a young, innovative, and groundbreaking church led by the next generation.
Special guest from NAD
The committee welcomed special guest North American Division President Alex Bryant. Dr. Bryant gave an update on NAD's vision of how to maximize the assets the church currently has at its disposal. The answer to this goal was explained by three M's: Multiply, Media, and Mentorship.
- Multiply the ministries of Christ.
- Use Media to further the mission and cause.
- Through Mentorship, build up the next wave of young leaders.
It was reaffirming to see that the last M—Mentorship—demonstrates that not only the union but the division as a whole are both focused on the development of youth and young leadership.
New leaders Daniel Bodega and Edwin Mendoza from Central California Conference, Kyler Martin from Hawaii Conference, and Jose Diaz from Northern California Conference were welcomed into the committee.
As always, there were reports from each of the union executive officers. Executive Vice President Leon Brown presented on the activities of our volunteer-led ministries, Treasurer Stephen Mayer gave the financial report, and there were reports from both Hispanic and Black Ministries from Vice Presidents Alberto Ingleton and Virgil Childs, respectively.
Reinforcing the idea of the Holy Spirit leading our young people, Virgil Childs announced the upcoming 2023 West Coast Influencers Youth Conference to be held in Phoenix, Arizona. Their goal is to gather over 1,000 youth, empowering them to be leaders and disciples of Jesus Christ who influence their
communities through service.
The committee was excited to hear about the possibilities of the e-Adventist app. Executive Secretary Sandra Roberts reported on this tech tool for churches. The committee learned how it supports the mission of integrating media to foster the connection among the global Adventist community. It also can be used as an organizational tool to move forward with the church’s mission.
Looking to the future
It was evident that God had led this meeting and that the committee was focused on their strategic mission initiatives. "The energy and passion expressed in the conversations on how we best collectively encourage, involve, and mentor youth and young adults in our union was palpable throughout the meeting. The ideas for next actionable steps flowed freely and with enthusiasm," said Executive Secretary Sandra Roberts, "I love meetings where you see God tangibly at work through a prayerful conversation that led to bold decisions."
By Yara Enamorado