Dwayne Mauk to Serve as Vice President for Finance in Minnesota Conference

15-mauk-dwayneThe Minnesota Conference extended an invitation to Dwayne Mauk to serve as the Vice President for Finance in their September 20, 2016 Board of Trustees. Currently, Dwayne has been serving as the Associate Treasurer in the Minnesota Conference under Reggie Leach. By this vote the Conference Board voted unanimously to continue with a fiscally conservative nature in the Treasury department.

Dwayne was born and raised in Oregon. He worked as a volunteer at the Pine Ridge SDA Mission in Pine Ridge, SD from 1984 – 1995.  He then worked for the Dakota Conference from 1995 – 1998, first as a Junior Accountant and then, the last year as the Accountant.  In 1998 he accepted a call to serve as Vice President for Finance for Dakota Adventist Academy. He served from 1998 – 2005.  In 2005 he moved to work with Christian Record Services, in Lincoln, NE, as Assistant Treasurer from 2005 – 2007.  While at Christian Record Services, he met Melisa Welch whom he married on June 1, 2007, after having accepted a call to the Minnesota Conference, where he has worked first as Assistant Treasurer and then as Associate Treasurer.

dwayne-and-melisa-maukIn talking with both Dwayne and Melisa one feels their passion for the people in the State of Minnesota. Dwayne says “I strongly believe that if we do our job right, then it makes it easier for the people in the field to do their job right.” He is right, we have seen God’s moving in the Minnesota Conference.  “It is both humbling and awe-inspiring to see such a diverse conference moving forward toward Heaven as one.”

Dwayne’s wife Melisa, works in the Conference office as an Administrative Assistant to the Education Director and Ministerial Department. She also helps with the Communication Department. We wish Dwayne all the best in this new role!

Brian Mungandi, VP for Administration

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.

Rebekah Berlin to Serve as Assistant Treasurer

rebekah-berlin-outdoor-picThe Minnesota Conference Board voted on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 to invite Rebekah Berlin, their recently hired accountant, to take the role of Assistant Treasurer. We are very pleased to have her join our staff and to take on this new responsibility.

Rebekah graduated from Ouachita Hills College in Amity, Arkansas with a Bachelor in Christian Business Management in 2012. While a student she served in both customer service and sales as well as assisting in the business office with accounting. After she graduated, she was hired by Ouachita Ministries Inc. to be their accountant for both their academy and college. She handled all aspects of accounting in addition to being their Business Manager of Industries. While there she coordinated and led sales teams at several ASI (Adventist-Laymen’s Services & Industries) Conventions and AMEN (Adventist Medical Evangelism Network) Conferences.  She also supervised numerous student activities including a traveling choir and overseas mission trip.

Rebekah was born and raised in Minnesota and has a passion to see the church grow in Minnesota. It is her desire to show Jesus to the world through the business and finance aspects of the church. She values integrity and organization and strives for excellence in every responsibility. Please join us to welcome Rebekah Berlin to her new role as Assistant Treasurer. Let’s keep our EYES on eternity.

Brian Mungandi, VP for Administration

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Savannah Carlson, 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.

Savannah B. Carlson to Serve as Human Resource and Communication Director

Savannah Carlson (Admin Assist)The Minnesota Conference Board voted on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, to ask Savannah B. Carlson to serve as the Human Resources Director and Communication Director. We are very pleased to have her take on this new role.

Savannah graduated from Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, with degrees in Business Administration and Communication. She was the editor-in-chief for the Union College newspaper during her time in college 2010-11. Prior to accepting her current position in the Minnesota Conference, she served as Office Manager and Registrar for Atlanta North School in Dunwoody, Georgia, and as a Talent Consultant in Human Resources at Park Ridge Health in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Savannah brings valued experience and a track record of success to Minnesota Conference. She was awarded a Service Excellence Award in December, 2012 and she was a member of the National Who’s Who Honor Society in 2011.

We are confident that Savannah will bring the same energy and devotion to her responsibilities as Human Resource Director as she has in her previous role within the Conference office. Savannah is an excellent writer, and we are glad she has accepted to serve as Communication Director, relieving Brian Mungandi, who remains in his present role as Vice President for Administration and Sabbath School director. Savannah also takes over the Human Resources role held by the former Vice President for Finance, Reggie Leach. Please join us to welcome Savannah Carlson to her new role as Human Resources Director and Communication Director. Let’s keep our EYES on eternity.

Brian Mungandi, VP for Administration

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.

New Community Church Plant in Minnesota Conference

Church planting imageThe North American Division issued a vision casting challenge to plant 1000 community churches by 2020. The Minnesota Conference accepted the challenge to plant three community churches, each year leading up to 2020. As we look at the State of Minnesota, we have noticed there are many counties, neighborhoods and even people groups that still don’t have the presence of the Seventh-day Adventist church in them. As a Conference, we want to challenge our members and support a church planting and revitalization program by strategically planting new community churches in these counties and neighborhoods.

Simple Church a house church plantingThe Conference is putting together a strategy, using the Simple Church ministry model as a way to minister to those in our community – called the unchurched or the Church-dones. This Simple Church Ministry is an attempt to do church in communities that seem to be closed to “the church.” The model closely follows the Biblical principle, “Priesthood of all believers,” thus allowing lay leadership to do ministry in homes.

Pastor AlbertThe Conference recently planted a mission group in Bloomington, Minn., a city of about 86,000 people. This is one of several geographic plants that we hope will set in motion a more dynamic church mission. The conference asked Pastor Albert Isaboke to work the Bloomington area conducting Bible studies, teaching and building a new community of believers. Pastor Isaboke is an ordained minister, native of Kenya and a graduate of Andrews University. He comes to the Minnesota Conference with experience pastoring several districts in Kenya, Africa. Following the counsel of Ellen G. White, “If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one [ 9T p 189],” we expect that God will bless the churches being planted and transform lives in a tangible, meaningful way. The Conference supports the evangelism plans and Discipleship Ministry that have been put in place.

We believe that church planting is one important step in the process of sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in the community. The Minnesota Conference is taking seriously the challenge given by Elder Dan Jackson to plant churches in communities where there are no Seventh-day Adventist churches today. Please take the time to pray for the church planting initiative and the church revitalization challenge in the conference and in the Mid-America Union. As the Minnesota Conference accepts the challenge to plant 15 new church communities preparing men and women, boys and girls for the kingdom by 2020, let’s all keep our EYES on eternity.

Brian Mungandi, VP for Administration

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Savannah Carlson, 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.

Visioning Exploits for God in the Next Four Years

IMG_9501The Minnesota Conference held the annual workers’ meeting at North Star Camp July 31-August 4, 2016. The workers’ meeting brought together the pastors and teachers in the conference under the theme “Created.” The pastors were challenged to create a vision for their ministry. The strategic planning lead question, “What would we do if money was not an issue?” helped challenge the pastors to live stewardship in the church’s response to the challenges regarding the proclamation of the gospel. The agreement against the gospel proclamation is not a financial crisis, and focuses on streamlining resources to stay in step with local ministry.

The pastors were challenged to contemplate and be creative in developing stewardship initiatives in their local churches and communities. Time was spent looking at the Conference strategic acronym “EYES on Eternity,” where each letter spells: Evangelism, Youth, Education, Stewardship, Spirituality and Service. The pastors were challenged to work with churches in their district to make realistic projections and set achievable goals within the framework of this acronym. The challenge was to envision their work over the next four years.

IMG_9510In the joint sessions, the pastors and teachers come together to participate in several presentations on the issues of creation. Carol Raney was the primary speaker, and came to us from the Origins Curriculum Resources Project at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee. The goal was to help our pastors and teachers present Genesis 1-11, in an environment saturated with the teachings of evolution, with such clarity as to appeal and strengthen our young people and our church members in the faith. Raney covered topics like evolution defined, misconceptions about evolution, and the question of natural selection.

The Minnesota Conference has a powerful team of workers: men and women who are dedicated to the work and their calling. We pray for a total worker participation in the Conference work. The vision of the Conference is evangelism, youth participation, growth in Adventist education, and a strong spiritual church that engages the community and remains faithful as God’s stewards. Our vision is to do exploits of greater things in these four areas over the next four years, if the Lord has not come by then. Let’s keep our EYES focused on eternity.

Brian Mungandi, VP for Administration

e-TNL Staff: Brian Mungandi, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor; Savannah Carlson, 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.

Jesus Is The Only Answer To Our Problems

15 Hall, Dustin 2I will be the first to admit that when news reports flash daily across my TV screen or mobile device I often look at nothing more than a headline, and jump to any number of conclusions.

If I do take time to read the article that is pretty much all the engaging I do with whatever bit of news I have just ingested. Like most of us, I never actually meet with the real people in these real life situations and it is so tempting to make snap judgments about them. Then last month one of these events that flood news reports happened in my back yard.

Another young man named Philando Castile had been shot and killed. This time in his car with his fiancé and little daughter sitting next to him. It is really easy to forget about something that happens half way across the country, reading a passing headline and perhaps feeling a tinge of dread and sorrow as I read the account and I move on. After what I was about to experience in my own community, God taught me that I needed to repent of the sin of just swiping past news reports of bloodshed and the loss of life without much of a second thought.

When I saw the news report and the hurting people in the Twin Cities gathering to protest I knew that I needed to do something. I knew that our church needed to respond but honestly fear held me back. I was afraid because I had never waded into a situation like this. I was afraid because even though equality and justice are common themes in my sermons, I had never really done anything in my community to address it other than talking. This time I knew in my heart that it was time for more than just words.

When I went to church on Sabbath morning I was still afraid. In fact, I woke up early that morning restless. I was tossing and turning not knowing what we should do, or what I could do. I tried to reason myself into complacency — that simply talking to my church would be enough. As the church service started I was trying to put that nagging fear out of my mind, then suddenly something happened that overcame it all. During children’s story, a 5 year old blonde haired Caucasian little boy sat down right next to a dark skinned adorable chubby cheeked boy whose parents came here directly from Africa.

No sooner had they sat down together than both of them picked up their adjoined arms and placed them around the shoulders of the other in an embrace. That was it. I lost it. I stood up to address the issues with my congregation and I could not hold back the emotion. The sorrow and grief I was trying to bury deep inside me because admitting it would evoke action came to the surface and I cried right there in front of 400 people. As I spoke I was convinced that I could not just talk about it anymore; our human family is hurting, its bleeding and that’s what matters. Mothers are losing their sons. Children are losing their fathers. Their grief is far more important than my fear.

In the childlike love of those two boys God rebuked my anxiety. In that act of love, God spoke right to the source of my fear and it had become clear that it wasn’t my safety that I was worried about. I was afraid because right now in this nation if you support one thing it seems like you are against something else. I was afraid what someone might think. God, please forgive me. I was more concerned for my image than for hurting people. That moment of innocent love from little children convinced me of something. Who cares what anyone thinks? This is about doing what I am called by God to do as a Christian, as a leader, as a pastor. When people are hurting it is not my job to decide whether their feelings are right or wrong. I have been called to respond.

I could hide behind statistics and make personal judgments about whether or not I believe racism is a problem in America. If I had done that I can tell you that because of my fear and inaction I would have kept searching until I found the right statistics to make me feel justified about my doing nothing, or stalled long enough to quiet God’s conviction. This isn’t a time for statistics. This is a time for action. I could have come up with any number of excuses why it would be a good idea not to go try to help, but now all that really mattered in my mind was that people are dying and I have done nothing.

Growing up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church I learned that often people believe that we are the church that is against things, but they seldom know what we really stand for. I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to go into a protest like this in my city and finally show people what we believe. I believe in life, and lives are being lost. I believe in love, and hatred is everywhere. I believe in listening when people are hurting and afraid, and people were ready to talk. I believe in prayer, and I was able to pray with hundreds. I believe that Jesus is the only answer to our problems, and I was able to tell people that. I believe in supporting people in their time of grief and fear, and I did this for strangers.

After church we mobilized a group of young adults and went down to the Governor’s Home where the protest was taking place. I had no idea what to expect. Amazingly, God had every appointment already scheduled for us. As we walked to the protest we could hear the noise from the crowd but the first people we encountered were law enforcement. Waves of them. We stopped with every one, prayed with them and gave them words of encouragement and support. We ended up praying with at least 15 law enforcement officers, including the assistant chief of police, and Head Negotiator for St. Paul.

As our group got closer to the protest the group of nine or ten of us walked as a group down the middle of the street. Several African Americans, three Kenyan young men, a South Korean, a Mexican and me. As I look at the pictures now I see that the diverse group God put together was a witness all by itself. When we arrived at the protest proper the first thing that hit me was that I had never been around this many people with such raw emotion before. I could hear anger and fear being shouted through the megaphone as people screamed, sang, and yelled their support for what was being said. I am so thankful for the crisis response training I received from ACS (Adventist Community Services) a few years back because it was obvious that there were people there for all kinds of different reasons (all you had to do was read their signs). It became clear that the prevailing feeling was fear and it was almost palpable; and fear sometimes looks like anger. It took a few minutes to adjust. Because of that ACS training I knew that this was a time for listening, and support for people in crisis. People here wanted to be heard. That’s why they were there protesting. Our group visited with a few people which we found to be really open to talking with strangers.

No sooner had we started engaging people than a young man walked up to us. He was familiar because we recognized him as the man organizing the line of speakers who took the megaphone. He introduced himself and asked who I was and who our group was. I told him that we were from the Southview Seventh-day Adventist church and that we were there to pray with them and support them. Then he said something that I was not prepared for, he said, “Right after this guy speaks I’m going to gather everyone together for prayer.”

After direction from the leader nearly 300 people joined hands in a huge circle; people that had been holding signs in support of gay rights, friends and family of Castile, three Buddhist monks, bystanders and onlookers, Black Lives Matter leaders, other protestors, and us. Then to my surprise the leader said through the megaphone, “This is Pastor Hall from the Southview church, and this brother is here to lead us in prayer.”

I have never been so nervous in prayer in my life. I prayed for healing, a childlike love and unity, better understanding of one another, justice and truth, and most of all the love of God that we know in Jesus. I handed the megaphone back and began to shake hands with people around the circle. Never in my life have I been around so many people in one place who were ready to talk about spiritual things and pray with a stranger. The very fact that I was a pastor there to support and pray with them gave me instant credibility. I didn’t have to shout and scream, and I didn’t really pray in support of everything that I had been hearing so far, but for those minutes after that prayer I had a captive audience. People were shaking my hand, looking me in the eye, and we were connecting. For a few moments, people saw hope through fear.

Soon the shouting started up again, and we stayed to listen a bit and visit with others. We learned that many protestors are not local, when something like this happens they travel to the city. One local, very vocal protestor made it clear that he appreciated the attention these people bring, but that it leaves people like him with the huge challenge of trying to bring real change here when they leave. I couldn’t help but think that somehow the church could help address this. One of the biggest eye openers for me was that what we see on the news about protests like this is only about one percent of what actually takes place. The media drives the perception. The media played a part in the fear that was trying to keep me away. In fact, the police told us that the previous day’s news headlines will determine what kind of attitude the crowd will have the next day.

After debriefing with our group a few blocks away, we left for home. I felt utterly emotionally spent. I had been through the Refiner’s Fire a bit that day. I got home to my wife and I cried in her arms. I was ashamed of how I had tried to excuse myself from what I woke up knowing I had to do. God had so many appointments set up for me, and I almost missed them. I was also overwhelmed by the grief, the emotion and the widespread fear I sensed at my church and in my community. Suddenly the last days came to my doorstep, and I wasn’t ready for them. How can I as a pastor speak hope into the lives of so many people who are afraid? If this was the case with 300 think of how much fear exists in my city?

I felt the overwhelming weight of ministry. And most of all, I felt sorry for my quick judgments, and all the fast swipes of my news feed. Every headline is about a person, with a story, who needs hope. And when these events happen in my backyard there are no excuses that are more important than that calling. Lord, help me. When violence, and injustice happen in or community we cannot, we must not stay behind the walls of our safe little churches. Fear is everywhere, and we have the one message that the world needs. “Fear not, for I am with thee” (Isaiah 41:10).

Dustin Hall, Southview SDA Church Pastor

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.