The Seventh-day Adventist world church’s newly formed Mission Board recently reviewed plans to streamline the church’s global mission activities, including the processing of church missionaries and volunteers.
A previous analysis of the church’s mission operations revealed a “fragmented” approach to oversight, often resulting in administrative redundancies. Top church executives approved the board’s formation last year in an effort to coordinate the church’s global outreach and better manage mission resources.
Church leaders said they’re confident that actions taken by the Mission Board will result in smoother, more efficient operations.
Among ideas reviewed during the board’s first meeting is a plan to centralize the church’s mission operations at world church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, United States. Initial restructuring has already begun. Where previously the world church’s Secretariat and Treasury departments worked separately to process inter-division employees (IDEs) and Adventist Volunteers—often resulting in duplication—the process now enlists their joint efforts in cooperation with Adventist Mission.
Plans are in place for both departments to share closer work spaces at headquarters, said world church treasurer Robert E. Lemon. As restructuring progresses, the church’s Institute of World Mission is expected to follow suit, moving from the campus of church-run Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, to world church headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. While church officials said they have invited the institute’s three faculty members to move, no information was available on whether they plan to accept.
Since 1966 the Institute of World Mission has helped smooth the transition between cultures for thousands of missionaries and volunteers. The institute trains up to 120 missionaries and their families per year during intensives held worldwide.
Mission Board members also heard a report on urban ministry, a current major mission emphasis from church administration. Ministry to large cities has historically proved challenging, but community-based outreach is generating results, said world church associate secretary Gary Krause, who serves as Adventist Mission director.