What is the Minnesota Conference Constituency Session?
Every four years, the Minnesota Conference holds a constituency session, which functions similarly to a church business meeting. It is an opportunity for delegates of the Minnesota Conference to vote on how we should be ministering to each other and to those in our communities.
Delegates are chosen by the organized churches they attend. Each church is entitled to one delegate just for being an organized church. In addition, each church currently receives one additional delegate for every 25 members based on the official membership record maintained by the Conference office.
During the session, which is taking place on Sunday, May 15, our departmental directors will report on all the Lord has done during the past quadrennial. This includes the sale and purchase of land, the amount of tithes and offerings, the number of baptisms and commitments, the increase in church membership, and what the departments are currently hoping to achieve.
How does the constituency session fit into church government on a broad scale?
The Adventist Church is organized, beginning with the local church, into regions of ever larger circles, until we reach the General Conference level. Churches send delegates to the Conference constituency session to vote on matters that affect the governance of the Church in Minnesota. When the Union Conference has a constituency session, delegates are chosen by each conference, and when the General Conference holds its constituency session, delegates are chosen by the divisions and union conferences. Delegates to those sessions vote on matters that affect their Union or the General Conference on a broader scale, such as where the church stands on doctrinal issues. So, the decisions and topics discussed during the Conference constituency session are incredibly important. This session helps the Conference officers and Board of Trustees feel the pulse of our members, allowing them to more amply determine the things that are most important to our Conference membership.
Why does it matter?
Within the church, there are many points of conflict regarding theology, practice, doctrine and more. These conflicts can often seem more important than, and distract us from, the true reason our church organized in the first place. Jesus is returning soon, and we need to be focused on helping people realize they are accepted in Jesus Christ, and come to know, love, serve, and share Him. If you’re reading this, your feet are on the ground making an impact on your neighbors, spouses, children and friends every single day. The constituency session is an opportunity for us to check ourselves and to remember to keep our focus on Him. As with any business session, there are the “must do” things that need to be discussed, like voting on who should be a member of the Board of Trustees, electing officers or reviewing the finances. We also need to discuss matters of mission. We will be discussing the future of camp meeting. We will also look at Maplewood Academy’s strategic plan for a healthy future. These votes and discussions help ensure we keep a clean house, so that when tough stuff comes along, we have people and procedures in place that can deal with those difficult situations. If we can reduce the impact of conflict on the conference, the churches, and ultimately on you—our church members—our eyes can remain focused on Jesus and on spreading His love and saving grace.
Justin Lyons, Minnesota Conference SDA President
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