Women's, Children's, and Family Ministries coordinate their first-ever leadership conference
More than 600 ministry leaders from around the world attend the conference in Budapest.
[Hungary] The first-ever International Leadership Conference hosted by three departments of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist world church--Children's, Women's, and Family Ministries--attracted more than 600 ministry leaders from around the world. The conference theme, Reach the World, emphasized the General Conference (GC) strategic plan motto. Many issues face children, women, and families with overlapping impact, although each of these three departments of the world church function separately. Many leaders in the regional levels of the world church have responsibility for two or more ministries and at times already integrate training within their local fields. Their greatest problem at the conference was in choosing which training session of the three departmental breakout groups to attend.
WM Breakout Group Seminar
Women attending the breakout group seminar held by General Conference Women's Ministries (GC WM) were trained by professional missiologists to begin by making friends with women from other religions and cultures before proselytizing Christian religious beliefs. The presenters taught participants how to discern which elements of another religion are compatible with Adventist doctrinal beliefs and how to discern crucial differences. The 200 attendees of the WM breakout group seminar were encouraged and enriched by the informative and engaging presentations.
GC WM unveiled their most recent publication at the end of the seminar, an evangelism manual, Building Bridges: Woman to Woman. At the time of this posting, this resource is available to purchase only from GC WM. To order a copy of Building Bridges: Woman to Woman for USD $10.00, contact General Conference Women's Ministries. Email: [email protected]; Telephone: 1 (301) 680-6608.
Highlights of Plenary Sessions as reported by Adventist Review
Ella S. Simmons
Dr. Ella S. Simmons, general vice president of the world church, presented the keynote address opening night, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Costin Jordache, Director of Communication & News Editor of Adventist Review, reported "[Simmons] concluded that most of the alienation within families occurs due to the lack of forgiveness present in broken relationships and she challenged Church leaders and members to take seriously the 'ministry of reconciliation' entrusted to believers by Christ. 'Sometimes you can't just build the bridge,' explained Simmons, 'you have to be the bridge to reconciliation.'" Adventist Review.
Dr. George Barna, well-known author who has sold more books based on survey research related to matters of faith than any other author in American history, shared recent research gathered from American Christian families. Jordache discusses statistics from Barna's two plenary sessions: "He pointed out that while children form their world view by the age of 13, only 5% of parents with 5-13 year-old children in the US have a biblical world view. Our children usually make their spiritual choices by default, acquiescing to cultural norms,' [Barna] concluded."
Additional statistics recorded by Jordache show that only 4% of American young adults (ages 18-30) have a biblical worldview. However, only 7% middle-aged adults (ages 30-49) in the US claim a biblical worldview, not many more than their younger counterparts. Developing a biblical worldview includes some of the guided activities outlined in Barna's survey. Barna said, "While 58-70% of parents see value in their children being exposed to extended family gatherings, church services, art exhibits and the Bible, children on average spend only two hours per week on these activities. In contrast, 33-43% of parents do not see value in their children being exposed to professional sports, television news, online content and current movies, yet children on average spend seven hours per day on these and related activities." Adventist Review.
Kiti Freier Randall
Dr. Kiti Freier Randall, a pediatric neurodevelopmental psychologist from Loma Linda University Health who works extensively with at-risk children, presented two plenary sessions at the conference. Randall noted that "Trauma, abuse and neglect actually change the architecture of the brain." Jordache quotes Randall: "'Too much, or misused technology can impact a child's physical and mental health,' she explained....To spontaneous applause from attendees, the pediatric psychologist challenged parents not to expose children under two years of age to technology."
Randall's clinical experience confirms modern science in the understanding of resilience. Jordache reports from Randall's presentation: "'[Resilience is] the capacity to maintain or develop competent functioning in the face of major life stressors.' Factors such as social support, connectedness, meaningful activity and exercise all lead to increased resiliency" in children who are victims of trauma, abuse, and neglect. "'Our church has all the elements that we need ... to provide nurturance and relationship with healthy adults....to give of ourselves in a positive healthy relationship to spend time with young people and make a difference in their life.'" Adventist Review
Reported by Rebecca Timon, editorial assistant, GC Women's Ministries
Published in Mosaic, 2017 Q2