Minnesota Conference Constituency Re-elects Officers

On May 15, the Minnesota Conference Association held their Second Quadrennial (108th Regular) Constituency Session. During regular Conference constituency sessions, electing officers for the next four years is a high priority. The names for each position are recommended by the Nominating Committee prior to the constituency session.

Twenty members of the Nominating Committee are selected by the delegates of ten territorial regions, meeting separately to select representatives from the region they represent. Three additional members are selected by the Board of Trustees. The committee is chaired by the Mid-America Union Conference President or his designee. This year, Gil Webb, Vice President for Administration of the MAUC, chaired the Nominating Committee a few weeks prior to the Constituency Session.

Justin Lyons (MN Conference)Brian Mungundi (MN Conference)We are pleased to announce that the constituency voted to re-elect Justin C. Lyons as our Conference President, and Brian K. Mungandi as our Vice President for Administration. Each candidate was recommended for re-election by the Nominating Committee, and was voted into their position by a sweeping majority. Reggie Leach has accepted the Vice President for Finance position in the Arizona Conference, and due to time constraints, a candidate to fill that role in Minnesota was not brought forth during the Constituency session. The position will be filled through the regular hiring process by the Board of Trustees.

Brian Mungandi

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Carol Lyons, Editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

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EYES on Eternity

Justin Lyons (MN Conference)It is an honor to be re-elected as the Minnesota Conference President. I am excited to see continued growth throughout our conference, and look forward to the many opportunities for future growth.

Looking to the future, we must ask ourselves where we want to focus our resources. This moves us into strategic planning, and at the conference level, we are using the EYES on Eternity acronym to focus our ministries on Evangelism, Youth Ministry, Education, Spirituality, Stewardship and Service. Using this acronym, each church and school at the local level will have the opportunity to set their own goals focused on these key areas of ministry.

Over the next four years, you can expect to see more churches being planted, stronger intentional focus on outreach of various forms, continued growth in our Adventurer, Pathfinder and Master Guide clubs. Attendance at North Star Camp is expected to reach capacity and remain steady over the next few years. John Bedell - 2016We welcomed new Education Superintendent John Bedell this summer, after the retirement of Connie McCormick. He brings 33 years of diverse experience, and we expect to see continued development of our schools. We also plan to renovate Maplewood Academy over the next few years, starting with remodeling the dormitory bathrooms with the help of Maranatha. Keep your eyes peeled for future updates to MWA coming down the pipeline. We’re focused on encouraging our members to walk daily with Jesus, and to mingle with people as one who desires their good. It’s important to take the time to be genuinely involved in a person’s life in a meaningful way – in other words, Christ’s method – so that we may win that person for the kingdom of God.

It has been a blessing to work for the Minnesota Conference, and I look forward to seeing His continued blessings rain upon His church.

Justin Lyons

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Carol Lyons, Editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Minnesota Conference Boards & Committees

Brian Mungundi (MN Conference)In May, our church in Minnesota came together for its every-four-year Constituency session whose “purpose is to elect the officers of the Conference; the members of the Board of Trustees, Board of Education, Maplewood Academy Board, the Articles and Bylaws Committee, Finance Committee, and the Plans Committee, who are not ex-officio members; and to hear reports; to plan for the future of the Conference; and to conduct any other business that may come before the constituency.”[i]

During the session, the delegates elected the Board of Trustees and the standing Committees as stipulated by our Articles and Bylaws.

Board of Trustees
Twenty members were elected to serve on the Board of Trustees: Three officers and seventeen members were elected from the churches of the Conference. (Ten non-Conference-credentialed members, three delegates-at-large, three pastors, and one teacher.) The members of the Board of Trustees are elected to manage the affairs of the Conference. They may exercise all powers assigned them by the Articles and Bylaws for the good of the church and the organization between sessions. These powers include, among others, the power to remove and/or elect officers, fill vacancies, employ workers, review status of a trustee, approve budgets, etc.

Board of Education
The Board of Education was elected and empowered with the responsibility to develop policies for the Conference education system and operations in accordance with the MAUC educational code. The Session elected twelve non-Conference-credentialed board members, two of which are chairpersons of elementary operating committees and one a member of the Conference Board of Trustees; four members who either are teachers or principals in Conference schools and two pastors, plus those who sit on the board by virtue of position.

Maplewood Academy Board
Ten members were elected from the ten areas of the Conference, one member from the Conference Board of Trustees and one from the Conference Board of Education; three pastors, plus those that sit on the board by virtue of position. This Board is responsible for developing and implementing rules and regulations in keeping with the guidelines and policies adopted by the Conference Board of Education.

Three Other Committees
The Articles and Bylaws Committee, empowered to consider all proposed amendments to the Conference Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.  The Finance Committee, to regularly review Conference financial statement; budgets, Maplewood Academy budgets, church school budgets, and report to the appropriate boards. The Plans Committee was elected to plan for the development and growth of the ministries and or create new ministries in the Conference when necessary.

When you are a delegate to the Constituency Session, you realize that the Seventh-day Adventist form of governance is representative.[ii] We as a church recognize that the local church is the foundational structure in this worldwide church. The authority in the global church rests in the membership of the local church. We also recognize that authority is expressed through the elected members at each level of the church organization. This means that elected members or officers function under delegated authority.

The Conference Articles and Bylaws state that each organized church is entitled to elect one delegate just for the fact that they are an organized church and one additional delegate for each thirty-five (35) members or major fraction thereof based on the official membership record, as maintained by the Conference, six months prior to the date of the session.[iii] These elected delegates to the session are the collective voice of the 73 churches in the Conference, what they vote in session is binding for the whole church in Minnesota Conference territory. By this representative arrangement “every church, and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election . . .”— Ellen G White, 8T 237.

[i] Minnesota Conference Articles and Bylaws Article V, section 1, b.
[ii] Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual 18th Edition, page 28
[iii] Bylaws Article V.

Brian Mungandi

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Carol Lyons, Editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Maplewood Academy Shares Reports/Goals

Stacy Stocks (MWA teacher)It was a privilege to present reports of growth and future planning to our Minnesota Conference constituents regarding Maplewood Academy (MWA). The administrative team shared many exciting plans for the academy over the next quinquennium as displayed in their five-year strategic plan. A copy of this plan can be found on the academy website: www.maplewoodacademy.org

Development of the academy’s farm program was presented including the startup of a U-pick strawberry farm on the campus for the summer of 2016. Over 5000 other plants have also been planted in order to kick off the academy’s new horticulture program. Profits from this program support student assistance at MWA. This program also provides student labor, produce to supply the campus cafeteria, as well as a way to connect with the surrounding communities.

The team also shared the growth and development of the academic program including the addition of eight new course offerings and the redevelopment of the connected learning program.  This program continues to help offer education on the secondary level for students in the metro area while still keeping them connected with the students and staff at the Hutchinson campus. It is exciting to see how God is working on the campus of Maplewood Academy and to share the ways He continues to bless our school.

Stacy Stocks, Maplewood Academy Principal

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Carol Lyons, Editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

How Big is the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

Brian Mungundi (MN Conference)I got a call a few days ago from a reporter asking about “the rapid proliferation of small immigrant start-up congregations and the larger established churches”.  In principle she was asking how the church is structured in relation to worship space. It got me thinking, how big is the Seventh-day Adventist Church? How is the Adventist church governed? How does a church member (you) fit in the Seventh-day Adventist Church structure?

Let me begin with the big picture, you as a member belong to a larger church family, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has 19,126,447 members worldwide, worshipping in about 81,551 churches and 69,909 smaller congregations called companies.[i]

This is a global organization. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is made up of five organizational levels. The local church where you belong forms the foundation and is the most important part of this worldwide church. It is estimated that a new church is planted somewhere in the world every 3.5 hours.[i] The collection of local churches form a Conference. Minnesota Conference has 73 churches, 14 companies, 12 groups and 11 schools with about 9,700 members.[ii] A collection of conferences form the next level called a Union, our Conference belongs to Mid-America Union Conference, and there are six conferences in our Union: Central States, Kansas-Nebraska, Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa-Missouri, and the Rocky Mountain Conference. The Mid-America Union Conference belongs to the next level called a Division – the North American Division which comprises nine Unions. There are 13 Divisions that form the World Church called the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

The Seventh­-day Adventist Church operates under a representative form of church government.[iii] The power is vested in representative bodies that govern the church with delegated authority.  The leaders at all levels are elected through a democratic process. At the local church level, a nominating committee nominates leaders, who are then elected by the church in business session every year.[iv] The Conference officers are elected using the same process. A nominating committee nominates the officers and makes recommendation to the constituency session, which is the Conference in business session. The session delegates elect the officers every four years. The Minnesota Conference session was held on Sunday, May 15th, 2016.[v] (This was the 2nd Quadrennial and 108th Regular Constituency Session.) There were 413 regular delegates of which 367 voting delegates were present at the May 15th session. The delegates voted to elect officers: Justin Lyons as President, and Brian Mungandi as Vice President for Administration to a four-year term. The next level of the church, called the Union, will have its session in September. The Union session will use the same process, the delegates selected from the six conferences will gather in one place to elect the officers to a five-year term. The General Conference/Division officers were elected by the delegates selected from all the 13 Divisions at the last 60th General Conference Session in San Antonio, TX, in 2015. The world church used the same democratic process in selecting the world leaders.

Now that we have seen the bigger picture let’s get back to the reporter’s question about “the rapid proliferation of small immigrant start-up congregations and the larger established churches” in relation to church growth. In USA Today, March 2011, it stated that the Adventist church was the fastest growing denomination in North America.[vi] We see this growth here in our Conference, for example in the last four years, our membership grew by 14.9%. The growth was very significant among immigrate populations, 37% among the African led churches, 26% among the Hispanic church and 114% among the groups that don’t use Spanish or English. The Huffington Post, 2015, reported that Seventh-day Adventists are among the most racially and ethnically diverse American religious groups: 37% are white, while 32% are black, 15% are Hispanic, 8% are Asian and another 8% are another race or mixed race.[vii]

You can be proud to be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is a global church with people from “every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people”. As we move forward in the next four years the challenge for us here in Minnesota Conference is to recognize that we are racially and ethnically diverse, and we must find ways we can all work together “Keeping our EYES on eternity,” preaching the everlasting gospel “unto them that dwell on the earth.” Rev 14:6. Are you all in for Jesus?

[i]  Adventist Review July 2016
[i] http://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story2361-new-adventist-church-opens-every-3.5-hours,-the-fastest-rate-in-history
[ii] https://www.eadventist.net/dashboard?locale=en
[iii] Ellen G White, 8T 236,237, “Every member of the church has a voice in choosing officers of the church. The church chooses the officers of the state conferences. Delegates chosen by the state conferences choose the officers of the union conferences, and delegates chosen by the union conferences choose the officers of the General Conference. By this arrangement every conference, every institution, every church, and every individual, either directly or through representatives, has a voice in the election of the men who bear the chief responsibilities in the General Conference.”
[iv] Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 18th Edition, page 71, “The term of office for officers of both the church and its auxiliary organizations shall be one year, except where the church in a business meeting votes to have elections every two years in order to facilitate continuity and development of spiritual gifts and eliminate the work involved in having yearly elections.”
[v] Minnesota Conference Bylaws Article V, section 1, b. “The purpose of a regular session is to elect the officers of the Conference; the members of the Board of Trustees, Board of Education, Maplewood Academy Board, the Articles and Bylaws Committee, Finance Committee, and the Plans Committee, who are not ex-officio members; and to hear reports; to plan for the future of the Conference; and to conduct any other business that may come before the constituency.”
[vi] http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/religion/2011-03-18-Adventists_17_ST_N.htm
[vii] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/diversity-religions-pew_us_55b6acc2e4b0a13f9d19d856

Brian Mungandi

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Carol Lyons, Editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Camp Meeting Vote at Constituency

Savannah Carlson (Admin Assist)Arguably the most controversial topic during the Constituency Session this year, Camp Meeting was voted to be shortened from nine to five days starting the summer of 2017.

Purpose of Camp Meeting
Camp Meeting is a time of fellowship and spiritual growth, of new and recommitments to Christ. It provides a safe place for our children to grow closer to Jesus while enjoying making new friends from throughout the Conference. It’s an opportunity for adults to reconnect with old friends and meet new people, as well. We enjoy eating and meeting together, and nothing can quite compare to the atmosphere that settles over our Camp Meeting each summer.

If we examine the original purpose for Camp Meeting, it was meant to be evangelistic in nature while still providing an opportunity for like-minded believers to gather and study together. Ellen G. White states, in her book Gospel Workers page 400, “The Camp Meeting is one of the most important agencies in our work. It is one of the most effective methods of arresting the attention of the people, and reaching all classes with the gospel invitation.” If you continue on, she says that, conducted appropriately, Camp Meeting will be a light to the world. The guidelines she presents are as follows: hold the meeting in large cities or towns, continue for two-three weeks, and it’s better to have lesser attended meetings held in multiple places.

The growing trend throughout the North American Division has been to shorten, change or cancel Camp Meeting altogether. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the increased financial impact on the conferences and local churches, to a pronounced lack of interest from younger generations regarding continuing the tradition. The impact of a traditional Camp Meeting is not as noticeable as it once was; while it is a wonderful experience in so many ways, there is a national concern that we are not meeting the evangelistic goal originally set for Camp Meeting. Once upon a time, Camp Meeting had the same, if not a greater, impact of the evangelistic series hosted last fall in Minneapolis, during which 156 people indicated a desire for baptism.

As the world grows more tumultuous, and the sins of the world become more and more brazen, our commission of reaching the lost becomes ever more important. And this brings us back to the vote taken at the Constituency Session this year regarding Camp Meeting.

Impact of Camp Meeting
Prior to the session, 1,184 surveys about Camp Meeting were mailed to the constituency delegates and randomly selected church members. The results show a spike in weekend attendance, with mid-week attendance dropping by almost 75% in comparison to weekend attendance. Over the years, attendance on the weekends has varied based upon popularity of the speakers and musicians. In general, people enjoy and attend Camp Meeting for the guest speakers and fellowship opportunities.

The financial impact of Camp Meeting is approximately $250,600. Of that impact, $100,100 is attributable to direct costs associated with running Camp Meeting, and this cost is covered by tithe and accommodation fees. There are hidden costs of $94,000 primarily related to payroll. All pastors and conference office staff are required to attend and work at Camp Meeting. And while they would be getting paid for this time regardless of whether or not Camp Meeting was held, believing in being good stewards encourages us to ask if this is the best way to allocate our pastors and staff.  There are also some opportunity costs related to Camp Meeting. While the Conference does receive approximately $20,900 in offerings during camp meeting, there is also a noticeable decrease in giving during Camp Meeting at the local church level. Approximately $56,500 are lost during this Camp Meeting period, and unfortunately, the offerings received at Camp Meeting do not make up for this loss of giving at the local church level.

There is also an issue of capacity. The Minnesota Conference currently has more than 9,700 members, with an additional 3,000 nonmembers in attendance. We have been so blessed to grow exponentially over the years, and it is easy to see God’s hand guiding our church. One side effect of our continued growth, however, is the increased number of possible attendees for Camp Meeting. We were at dorm capacity for Camp Meeting this year: people were on the waiting list to stay in the dorms, and the campsites are filling up as well, although there was some space available there. The auditorium, where the main meetings are held, was close to overflowing on Sabbath morning. A wonderful thing to behold, but a problem nonetheless. As our Conference membership continues to grow, these capacity issues of hosting Camp Meeting at Maplewood Academy will need to be addressed.

Five options were presented for the way forward concerning camp meeting, and those surveyed were asked to select their favorite and least favorite options. The options were as follows: cancel camp meeting altogether, hold two or three weekend rallies at various locations throughout the Conference, shorten camp meeting from nine days to five, keep camp meeting the same, or increase the high profile speakers and concerts during the week.

Shortening camp meeting was the most popular option, with weekend rallies a close second. Cancelling Camp Meeting altogether was the least popular option, with increasing high profile speakers and concerts a close second. This data made two things immediately clear: our members want Camp Meeting to continue, and there seems to be a recognition of the need for change.

The Vote
Justin Lyons, our newly re-elected Conference President, suggested moving forward with weekend rallies at various locations throughout the state. What was not clear during this suggestion was the intention to hold an evangelistic series following each Camp Meeting weekend rally. Lyons felt that while this option was a bigger leap to make, it had a better missional focus than some of the other options.

Delegates lined up to comment as soon as the motion was shared. It was immediately clear that Camp Meeting is near and dear to our hearts, and there was a general feeling of discord in the room. Stories of conversions, baptisms, commitments and recommitments to Jesus flooded the room, and it was evident that God has moved in wonderful ways in the past. Finally, the vote was called and the initial motion did not pass, so the floor was open for another motion.

One of the delegates moved to hold Camp Meeting Tuesday through Saturday, shortening it from nine days to five. Again, discussion ensued, the vote was called and the motion passed.  Starting next summer, 2017, Camp Meeting will take place Tuesday through Saturday. We anticipate this change will save the Conference approximately $33,000 in direct, hidden and opportunity costs. That money will be used to further other ministries throughout the Conference, and will make a large missional impact as we continue to win souls for Christ. This option does not address the issues with capacity, nor does it address the ever greater need for expanded evangelistic efforts in our state. In fact, with the data from the survey, it’s possible the auditorium at Maplewood Academy will not be sufficient for the main Sabbath morning session.

What Happens Next?
Camp Meeting will take place June 6-10, Tuesday through Saturday. Set up will take place during the days prior to June 6, and wonderful guest speakers and musicians will be there, as usual – specifically, Carlton Byrd from Breath of Life will be speaking for the Friday evening and Sabbath services. In most aspects, Camp Meeting will remain the same, and we hope that interest in Camp Meeting and thus attendance increases this coming year.

Savannah Carlson, Administrative Assistant to the President

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Carol Lyons, Editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Thank You Interim Superintendent for Education

The Minnesota Conference Administration honored Interim Superintendent for Education, Mindy Salyers, during Pastors’ and Teachers’ Meetings on August 2, 2016.

Mindy Salyers - NSC (002)

In late January of 2016, Mindy Salyers agreed to work 10 hours per week to fill in after long-time superintendent, Connie McCormick, retired in December of last year. Mindy was unafraid to tackle tough issues and keep teachers accountable, while always keeping a positive outlook and attitude. She was adamant about excellent communication, implementing a weekly education newsletter for teachers that featured one of the conference schools each week. She was readily available via text, email or phone for any teacher who needed advice or an empathetic ear. She attended the Mid-America Union Conference meetings in Nebraska, representing our conference with grace and poise. She organized the February and August Teachers’ meetings, ensuring relevant topics and speakers for the teachers’ continued professional development. She attended school board meetings as necessary. Mindy also performed annual evaluations of each teacher, trying something new by asking each teacher to submit a video self-evaluation, and then had a phone or in-person meeting with each teacher after reviewing their videos. Mindy went above and beyond her agreed 10 hours per week, and succeeded in bilding a stronger team of teachers during her short tenure as interim superintendent.

The Minnesota Conference was blessed by Mindy Salyers in her time as the Interim Superintendent. To express our gratitude, the Conference Administration honored Mindy with a gift and thank you card. Justin Lyons, the Conference President, asked all the teachers to join him and Mindy up-front. Lyons gave a short speech, as did Tralese Syvertson, principal of Anoka Adventist Christian School, to thank Mindy for her work and, more specifically, her kindness and love for each teacher and their schools. The short speeches were followed by a blessing upon Salyers and her family.

Mindy is married to Pastor Jason Salyers of the Minnetonka Adventist Church. They have two little girls, Brinley and Elliot, who are four and two respectively. Mindy is known throughout the North American Division for her work as an OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Specialist, and has travelled all over the United States training teachers and school administrators in bullying and how to prevent it. While working as Interim Superintendent, Mindy continued her work as a Bullying Prevention Specialist. Mindy has an MA in School Counseling, and prior to focusing on raising her two beautiful little girls, taught in various school settings.

Savannah Carlson, Administrative Assistant to the President

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor
E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.