The Regional Conference Summit-which was scheduled originally for March 5-7, 2021 in Dallas, Texas, has been re-scheduled for the spring of 2022.
The Summit was to have been the culmination of the issues that were raised as part of the virtual Regional Conference Convocation held back in July of 2020. Each evening, preceding the nightly services, a virtual roundtable was held on an issue that Regional Conferences are collectively addressing.
The first night the roundtable was on the area of Evangelism. How can we address the issue that deals with the primary mission of the church: Going into all of the world and making disciples? How can that be done in a country that is rapidly becoming post-Christian and currently is in throes of the Covid 19 pandemic-which makes face to face ministry impossible?
The second night dealt with what was termed “Efficiency”. Are we making the best use of the financial and human resources that the people of God are making available to His church through their returning of tithe and giving of offering? One of the favorite sayings of one of the leaders of the Efficiency Subcommittee is: “Any business that does not constantly examine how it is doing business is asking to go out of business”. The Efficiency Subcommittee is designed to delve into how we do business.
On the third night, there ensued a lively roundtable discussion on Seventh-day Adventist Education. It was clear that there was not going to be nearly enough time to delve into all of the aspects of this important topic so immediately there began to be a discussion about a “Part II”.
The Regional Conference Convocation concluded with an even livelier roundtable with the Regional Conference Presidents on the final Sabbath. Three commitments were made by the Office of Regional Conference Ministries (ORCM):
- That there would be a follow up on the issues raised at the various roundtables. That occurred in the fall of 2020 during the “5 At 5 Roundtable Series”. Each Sabbath afternoon at 5:00 p.m., for 5 weeks, there were follow up discussions to the issues that had been raised at the summer roundtables.
The first set of roundtables brought back the educators to address some of the aspects of Seventh-day Adventist Education that had not been as specifically address in Adventist Education Roundtable-I, i.e., K-12 Education.
That was followed by a second roundtable with the Regional Presidents. ORCM went back through the chat room for the first Presidents Roundtable and pulled out the questions that had not been answered and led the roundtable discussion by asking those questions first.
That was followed in Week 3 of the “5 At 5 Series” by the “Next Gen” Caucus. Next Gen is a group of young adult leaders who meet with the ORCM Board to advise the Regional Conference leadership. Their roundtable addressed the church from a young adult perspective.
Week 4 brought on the Regional Conference Treasurers. They explained how the funds of the church were used and addressed the costs of some of the things that had been raised at the original set of roundtables in the summer-in particular, the subsidizing of Pine Forge by all of the Regional Conferences.
The “5 At 5 Series” concluded with the Regional Conference Secretaries.They shared what their job entailed and gave the constituents the opportunity to meet the second-in-command for each Regional Conference.
- The second commitment that was made was that each subcommittee (Evangelism, Efficiency and Education) would begin work. That has already begun to take place. For example, the Efficiency Subcommittee has met twice, with a 3rd meeting set for next Thursday, and a final report due in the spring. This report will be shared with the Regional Conference Presidents so that Regional Conferences can-if they so choose – to begin implementing some of the recommendations even prior to the (now) 2022
Another area that received some discussion during the Regional Convocation was the issue of leadership development. Is there a way to become more intentional relative to developing the next generation of leaders? The Regional Presidents commissioned a subcommittee to be chaired by Elder Byron Dulan, Vice President for Regional Affairs, North Pacific Union.
His committee’s report was adopted by the Regional Conference leadership and can be seen in another story on this website.
- The third commitment was to definitively address all of the issues raised and all of the recommendations made by the various subcommittees at the Regional Conference Summit. It was ultimately decided to postpone that until a face to face meeting could be had in 2022 when (prayerfully!) those kinds of meetings could be had once more.