Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Reviewing the Pacific Union Recorder

May, 2008

On April 22, 2008, readers of the Spectrum blog were informed that the Southern California Conference had made a decision to spend $1,000,000 to Televangelize Los Angeles.

According to Sung H. Oh, Southern California Conference Treasurer:
“To aid in the financial support of the It Is Written evangelistic campaign, the Southern California Conference has set aside $1,000,000 for expenses such as renting auditoriums, hiring Bible workers, organizing evangelistic teams among our churches, academies and colleges, and providing promotional materials to our churches and communities. It is with this It Is Written campaign in 2009 and 2010, headed by Shawn Boonstra, that we hope to claim the entire city of Los Angeles.”

After hearing this news, I expected to read about this evangelistic campaign in this edition of the Recorder. To my dismay the LA crusade was not mentioned.

In my review of the January 17, 2008 Adventist Review, I made the following suggestions regarding the Portland, Oregon, all-out media blitz which preceded that city wide evangelistic campaign.

"The effectiveness of this all-out media blitz should be evaluated by non-Adventist, media consultants. Research findings should include the ethnicity and socioeconomic status of newly evangelized members, and provide a detailed accounting of how much money was spent and for what. This study should also include a five-year follow-up survey of those baptized. The data obtained would assist the Church in evaluating the effectiveness of this type of evangelism. At present this information is virtually nonexistent."

To my knowledge, none of this information has been forthcoming. I¹m not in favor of this kind of evangelistic effort, but the LA blitz should at least be postponed until information regarding the Portland crusade can be analyzed.

In addition, I am saddened to learn that the decision to commit funds to this campaign was made without first consulting and then receiving approval from the membership. The following questions need to be answered. “Who authorized this campaign?" "Where is the money coming from?" "What evidence suggests that such a campaign is the wise use of monies entrusted to the Conference, Union, and General Conference?" "Is tithe money being used?" "If so, how?" I look forward to receiving the answers to these questions in the next Pacific Union Recorder.

I keep hoping that Ricardo Graham and Jim Pedersen will say something substantive. So far their editorials only admonish their readers to be better church members. Their language is riddled with clich├ęs and padded with meaningless verbiage. Men, don't be afraid to talk to ordinary church members about the issues of the day. Our responses may very well delight, encourage, and inform you.

I continue to be amazed at the variety of outreach programs sponsored by the Union’s Local Conferences. I’ll mention a few that seem to me to be original and creative.

In Southeastern California, La Sierra Academy is sending over 9000 packets of seeds to children in Zimbabwe.

In Northern California, Adventist students attending Tokay High School have created “an atmosphere where kids could meet other Christians on campus and develop positive friendships". Their efforts are aided by monthly "pizza and prayer in evangelism".

The Berkeley Church’s Valentine Social raised money for wells in Mozambique.

In Hawaii, Health Works Under the Banyan sponsors workshops in “sea energy agriculture, large-scale earthworm farming, and intensive commercial raised-bed agriculture". A future focus will be a Plant-based Culinary Institute for Youth at Risk.

Randall Wisbey was inaugurated as La Sierra University President.

Richard Hart is now the President of Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

The Fifth International Vegetarian Congress met in Loma Linda.

Pacific Union College now has two successful church services: the "Majestic" for members who like a traditional service, and the "Gathering" geared for college students and young adults.

Adventist health continues to provide wellness and prevention programs across the Union.

Doctors Dynnette and Kenneth Hart remind us that sleep works the brain in astonishing and healthful ways.

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