New Mission Board Will Streamline Missionary
Move to help funding, planning, keep pace with need for outreach
BY ELIZABETH LECHLEITNER, Adventist News Network
An oversight realignment of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church’s mission programs approved October 12 aims to coordinate the church’s global out-
reach work and better utilize mission resources, church leaders say.
Under the current system it can take months to process Inter-Divisional Employees (IDEs)—missionaries who move from one church region to an-
other—a practice church leaders described as “fragmented.” Often, IDE processing takes place independent of other types of missionary processing and broad mission plans.
More Efficient: Homer Trecartin, undersecretary of the General Conference, presents the mission proposal at October's Annual Council.
With more centralized oversight, church mission leaders said they can streamline the process of recruiting and dispatching missionaries, paying special attention to “priority” regions such as the world’s big cities and the 10/40 window, a region stretching from northern Africa to East Asia.
Church officials said the approved General Conference Mission Board will centralize three areas of outreach: mission personnel processing, mission strategy and funding, and mission communication. Previously numerous mission entities handled those emphases, each soliciting donations and overseeing mission work, often unknowingly in competition with one another.
The board’s formation was approved by the world church’s Executive Committee, meeting at church headquarters for Annual Council.
The restructuring does not eliminate Adventist Mission, which currently oversees Global Mission pioneers and study centers. Instead the office now falls under the umbrella of the world church’s Secretariat, which already handles missionary processing. Adventist Mission will primarily coordinate promotional, fund-raising, and communication needs, church officials said in a proposal.
With the move, Gary Krause’s election as an associate secretary October 11 is formalized. Krause will continue to serve in his capacity as Adventist Mission director from the Secretariat.
The Mission Board is meant to increase awareness of mission planning, not “take power away from the various entities that [currently oversee mission programs],” church officials said. They added that the board will work closely with the church’s world regions, lending both a grassroots and a world church perspective on needs.
While missionaries may move easily between the church’s 13 world regions, “our funding and plans often do not,” said world church undersecretary Homer Trecartin, who presented the proposal.
Adventist world church president Ted N. C. Wilson, who will chair the Mission Board, said the restructure marked a “renaissance in church mission” and would remind leaders and members of the church’s highest priority: to spread the gospel. Some of the Mission Board’s goals:
• Increase the number of missionaries working to establish the Adventist Church in the most unentered parts of the world
• Significantly shorten the processing time for missionaries, including IDEs
• Coordinate the promotion of mission and evaluate members’ awareness of the church’s mission program
• Coordinate fund-raising communication and effort to avoid competition and improve the effectiveness of such communication
The Mission Board is expected to meet three times per year.