During the March 6 Lake Union Conference executive committee meeting, administrators gave reports and here are some of the highlights:
President Maurice Valentine opened with a powerful message about mission saying, "That's what we are here for, to bring those outside into the church."
In the Secretariat report, presented by Executive Secretary, Stephen Poenitz, he said the net growth of membership was only 125 in 2018. He explained one of the reason for the “dismal” growth was a result of migration from the Midwest to south and western states. Census bureau figures showed 1.3 million people left the Midwest between 2010 and 2017.
Glynn Scott, Lake Union Conference treasurer introduced an incentive for evangelism. The Lake Union Conference will provide $15,000 more per conference for proclamation evangelism, and an additional $10,000 for discipleship training.
Carmelo Mercado, vice president and Multicultural ministry director, said that evangelism remains a focal point driving the mission of the Union. Two thousand packets of books written by Alexandro Bullon were ordered and distributed to aid small groups. In April, Bullon will conduct a unique evangelistic series, where people in these small groups will watch Bullon preaching from a small group setting.
Pastor Ted Wilson, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is expected to hold an evangelistic meeting in Indianapolis in June 2020, ahead of the GC2020 Session.
Also in advance of the GC Session, the Union is coordinating a Prayer and Holy Spirit Conference early next year.
Education director Linda Swanson Fuchs, reported on the recent trip to the Micronesian island of Kosrae, which our union has adopted as part of a North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists initiative. There are 50 students at the Kosrae Seventh-day Adventist School and only eight are Adventists. She remarked, "The opportunity to witness is huge!"
Michigan Conference’s report included the following highlights:
James Micheff, Michigan’s president, said there were two praises he wanted to share: One, the new 32,000 sq. ft. building
they now occupy; second, an agreement has been signed for the sale of the old building.
Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director, Kameron DeVasher spoke on a new initiative to help local church members carry out their functions and win souls for Christ.
Wes Peppers, associate ministerial director and evangelism coordinator said the conference is set to launch in September a new evangelism series, “Jesus on Prophecy,” emphasizing Christ-centered, righteous by faith messages.
Micheff closed by saying, “We are reminding ourselves and our constituents that message drives mission. The more clearly you understand your message, the more clearly you will understand the mission...We have decided that decisions will be made through the lens of that message, which is the Three Angels Message.”
Andrews University President, Andrea Luxton, in her report highlighted several facts she thought would be of interest to the executive committee, including:
The percentage of growth last year was 3% first semester and 5% second semester;
5,500 students were served last year;
New programs were offered such as Data Science, masters in Public Health, doctorate in Missiology, among others;
"First Tuesday" is an initiative encouraging prayer and fasting each first Tuesday of the month;
Andrews University is a General Conference (GC), North American Division (NAD) and Union school, with the GC helping to fund graduate programs, the NAD responsible for the Seminary, while the Lake Union supports the undergraduate programs.