A General Conference Session is a unique occasion. There is no moment in the life of the Church which demonstrates so vividly--so tangibly--the extraordinary way God's Spirit is moving among us. And so I'm delighted to invite your presence and participation at the 59th Session of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, in Atlanta, Georgia, June 23 --July 3, 2010.
Why do we do this? Why do we invest the time and the resources every five years to bring together representatives from every part of our worldwide Church? The answer, I believe, goes to the heart of our identity and mission. Through these gatherings we powerfully affirm that we are one people, united in faith, and bound by our shared desire to be instruments of God's purpose in the world.
And so we will come together to:
- Give thanks--This will be a time to worship our Lord, to celebrate the "international flavors"of our family, and to taste just a little of the eternal fellowship to come. I'm especially pleased that we've chosen this occasion to explore the role of the local church pastor in the life and witness of the Adventist Church. This is fitting. The sacred, often difficult task of guiding the local congregation is one that undergirds all that we are and do as a spiritual community.
- Plan--We will use our time together to review and evaluate, to exchange ideas and make plans, and to ask: "How has the world around us changed in the past five years? How have we, as a church, changed? What challenges lie before us? What opportunities must we grasp?" For when all is said and done, we have just one overarching purpose: to strengthen God's church for mission.
- Recommit--As we pray together, plan together, share with each other, the Holy Spirit will surely be with us, too. Individually, and as a community, this will be a moment to rededicate ourselves to the Lord and to the task of proclaiming His grace to the world.
Please join me in praying that the Spirit will move powerfully and that we will look back at our time together as a pivotal moment of renewed purpose and vision within our Church.
May this be our experience.
Yours in His Service,