October 2, 2020

Mission Unstoppable: Secretariat

Unstoppable is the word that comes to mind when you look at the early days of the church. Conflict and controversy threatened to take down the young group...

Unstoppable is the word that comes to mind when you look at the early days of the church. Conflict and controversy threatened to take down the young group but, instead of destroying it, the challenges fueled the fire that spread across the first-century landscape. 

And now, in these challenging times, we are reminded of our mission through the following stories from Lake Union department leaders what being the Church is really about — God’s people doing God’s work together by the power of the Holy Spirit. 


As Executive Secretary and Ministerial director, I am asked to serve two specific ministry assignments in the Lake Union. These assignments basically spread my time into 80 percent activity with the Secretary’s role and 20 percent service for the Ministerial director’s function.  

The Executive Secretary’s role includes: 1) Reporting Union membership quarterly growth statistics for our five conference memberships; 2) Approving of evangelists and pastors overseas short-term mission assignments; 3) Arranging for approval of pastor ordinations; 4) Facilitating Union calendar events; 5) Scheduling/assisting for the quinquennial Lake Union Session; 6) Attending our Lake Union administrative team meeting (ADCOM); 7) Recording minutes for ADCOM and other committees; 8) Communicating with our Human Resources director; 9) Assisting the president with preparation for our executive committee, officer’s council, and president’s conference meetings; 10) Assisting with conference president/officer union retreats; 11) Scheduling and planning for the annual Lake Union advisory/departmental meetings; 12) Attending the North American Division (NAD) Year-end Meeting; 13) Attending NAD Union secretaries meetings; 14), Assisting with Global Mission and Center of Influence project requests; 15) Chairing the Constitution and Bylaws Committee in preparation for the Lake Union session; 16) Facilitating an annual conference secretaries workshop; 17) Attending a yearly NAD HR conference; 18) Attending AdventHealth and AMITA Health board meetings; 19) Attending the five conference executive committees on a rotating basis; and 20) Working on other committee assignments/projects as assigned by our president.  

Additionally, the Ministerial director’s role includes: 1) Connecting with the local conference Ministerial directors;, 2) Facilitating the annual Ministerial directors’ advisory; 3) Consulting with conference presidents and Ministerial directors for the ordination of pastors; and 4) Attending the conferences’ camp meetings around our Lake Union footprint.  

Hearing the reports of God’s expansion of the Three Angels’ Messages is such a blessing in our Lake Union footprint. It is an honor and pleasure to experience ministry connection with administrators, pastors, teachers and lay people and celebrate their testimonials. Some of those stories you have read here in the pages of the Herald, but I want to highlight a few of those instances of how God is continuing to move ministry forward during the pandemic. A door was opened in Chicago for a second Center of Urban Influence to reach hearts through a unique art ministry; youth distributed 80,000 Arab-focused pieces of literature in Middle Eastern neighborhoods; educators across our region immediately switched to remote teaching and utilized innovative ways to re-create learning online; pastors, although unfamiliar with the latest communication technologies, found inventive ways to preach the good news, resulting in baptisms which may not have come about any other way. 

In addition to these exciting evangelism reports, I’ve enjoyed meeting colleagues and friends at camp meetings, board meetings, committees, and participating in other conference functions which bring confidence to my heart that God is definitely leading this church. My short tenure in the Lake Union Conference leadership confirms the inspired wisdom of our church in creating the union structure to bind us together as conferences in the Body of Christ.   

Steven Poenitz, executive secretary and Ministerial director for the Lake Union Conference