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Passing on the Mantle

A diverse group of thought leaders from the NAD were assembled for three days to address the need for a comprehensive plan for the development of pastors. They were reminded of the imperative of this task when they looked at the demographic data revealing that 450 Adventist clergy in the NAD are already eligible for retirement and for the next several years over a hundred more will be added to their ranks every year.

“If the projections are correct we will soon need to double the number of new hires every year to keep up with attrition,” said Dave Gemmell, Associate Director of the NAD. “This presents us with a unique opportunity to study our current development system and see if there are ways that we can increase the quantity and quality of pastors.”
The summit focused mostly on the development of pastors leading up to ordination including recruiting, undergraduate and graduate education, and internships. Thought leaders consisted of eight administrators, fourteen educators, five pastors and seven ministerial leaders. The large group was divided up into six small groups populated with diversity. Each group worked through their individual journey in ministry, reflected on an immense amount of data, and then made recommendations to the larger group for prioritization. Next the large group was broken down into three affinity groups consisting of educators, administrators, and pastors and ministerial leaders.  Their assignment was to take the ideas and turn them into actionable recommendations.
Attendee Craig Carr commented “It was my privilege to be involved in this ground-shaking endeavor and it will continue to be my prayer that tangible, relevant initiatives become ground-breaking in scope and effectiveness across our division.”
Some of the ideas included:
  • The formation of a pastoral council to address pastoral development
  • Ministerial to develop guidelines for young people to gain experience in ministry through taskforce positions
  • A taskforce to develop a strategy for pastoral recruitment
  • A blue ribbon committee to study ways to improve the effectiveness of the praxis experiences in M. Div. program and NADEI
  • BMTE to look at the efficacy and practicality of giving pastors a year or two of field experience before they go to the seminary.
  •  To establish a council of educators and ministerial leaders to coordinate learning outcomes of ministerial students.
  • To develop on-line courses for those pre-M.Div. students who have not taken theology degrees at one of our colleges or universities to fulfill their prerequisites for the M. Div. program
  “Although this summit had no formal authority to act we believe these recommendations will be seriously considered by the various bodies, wrote Dan Jackson, President of the NAD.