NPUC Targets Small Conferences for Growth
The North Pacific Union Conference executive committee recently voted to focus more resources on evangelistic outreach in strategic areas. The Gleaner sat down with John Freedman, NPUC president and David Prest, Idaho Conference president to talk about the Grow Small Conference Initiative.
Q: John Freedman, what is the role of the NPUC?
A: The union is a unique part of the Adventist Church’s structure that serves more than 500 Adventist churches and more than 100 Adventist elementary and secondary schools. We perform two vital functions for our members.
First, we serve your local conferences with valuable support services. For example, our education team at the union handles all teacher certifications across the Northwest, making sure all our educators have the necessary education and ongoing training to stay current with national and state requirements. This important and time-consuming task is critical to maintaining Adventist education’s high standards.
We also serve the local conference with leadership development, mentoring and support for directors and administration. This important role helps your conference leadership provide the best possible resources and guidance to local churches, schools and ministries working to be centers of influence in their communities.
The NPUC also serves as a leadership hub facilitating communication and collaboration between NPUC conferences. We all have the same Gospel Commission and it’s vital to bring everyone together intentionally to dialogue and plan. Helping our conferences work together exponentially expands kingdom growth.
The second important role of the union is to serve as your voice in Seventh-day Adventist church governance. We are part of a worldwide church of believers looking for Jesus' soon return. The union is the body that represents conferences and local churches at the national and global levels. We are actively involved with the North American Division and the General Conference to ensure our Northwest policies, plans and initiatives align with what our Adventist brothers and sisters are doing around the world.
Q: Freedman, what is the Grow Small Conference Initiative?
A: The NPUC is made up of six conferences. Three of them (Alaska, Idaho and Montana) are much smaller than the others (Oregon, Upper Columbia and Washington). Through the years our union has helped support ministry efforts in the small conferences by sharing a small percentage of tithe income from the larger conferences. While this support structure will continue, the union decided, in discussions with our conference presidents, to look at additional ways to provide more tangible ministry support.
The Grow Small Conference Initiative is a plan to help our small conferences share the gospel with more people than they are currently able to reach on their own. This initiative provides support for small conferences through additional evangelism funding. It also shares key support staff from the union and our larger conferences to help with the outreach.
Q: David Prest, how will this make a difference in the Idaho Conference.
A: The Idaho Conference is poised for growth. Our conference is home some of the fastest growing cities in the nation. We know there are people living all around us who are searching. I believe God is giving us the opportunity to bring them the assurance of eternal life.
We've used the union's support to create an evangelistic initiative called Operation Exponential Growth. I encourage our pastors and members in the Idaho Conference to wholeheartedly embrace this initiative and move forward with faith. Each of us can play a part. God will bring the results.