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27 November 2019 | Bečići, Montenegro [Victor Hulbert]  

Departmental directors traditionally share their vision and reports during plenary sessions of Year-End meetings. This year an innovative project led to more discussion and opportunity for future planning.

TED Year-End Meetings Departmental reportsTED Year-End Meetings Departmental reports. [Photo credit: Victor Hulbert]The first stage was a colourful and thoughtfully prepared Departmental report book. This took the thirteen strategic plans as prepared following the 2015 General Conference (GC) Session and then allowed directors to assess their progress on each part of the plan, providing comment on the strengths and weaknesses of what their department has achieved. A personal evaluation and a final section of ‘sparkling moments’ completed each chapter of the book. [To read or download the book, click here.]

Round-table discussionRound-table discussion.Directors were then invited for ten minute ‘speed-dates’ at round tables set up across the conference room. Each table was hosted by a lay-member of the Executive Committee, had a recording secretary, and a cross-section of representatives from across the Trans-European Division (TED). Fast paced, each table had three minutes to clarify any questions they might have on the reports, and then 7 minutes to look to the future, developing objectives that strike them as important for the next quinquennium.

The animated conversations ranged over director priorities, workloads, budgets, the needs of unions with varied cultures, and development of resources. Both directors and committee members found it intense but rewarding. Many conversations continued long after the round-table exercise was completed. The results will last longer as they will help form the structure of the 2020-25 strategic framework.

Other parts of the programme were more traditional. Raafat Kamal’s Presidents report gave an impressive opening grand-perspective of the big picture across the Division. This year it took the form of an 18-minute video documentary highlighting the Division’s 90-year history and the priorities of mission, then and now. [See: A 90-Year ‘Passion for Mission’ highlighted at TED Year-End Meetings]

Audrey Andersson delivering Secretariat reportAudrey Andersson delivering Secretariat report.Executive Secretary Audrey Andersson summed up her report as “a passion for the lost souls of men and women – a passion for mission”. That passion includes understanding the dynamics of membership with a survey demonstrating that the ‘average’ member across the Division is 49.4 years old, baptised for 26.5 years, and attends a church with 50 or less members. One third have been a part of the Church since birth, while two in five joined the Church as adults.

The Division has seen net growth of 5,456 members or 6.6% over 7 years. That is an average of 0.94% per year. However, and consistent with similar reports world-wide, Andersson noted that “for every 10 baptised 4.4 leave the church.” This is the reason behind the TED Nurture and Retention summit held two years ago and an increased emphasis on discipleship. This was evidenced not just by reports from Simon Martin and Nikolaus Satelmajer, discipleship coaches in Scandinavia and the Balkans, but by discipleship tracks being developed by Ministerial Association secretary Patrick Johnson. Family and children and the range of youth ministries also have a strong impact in both retaining our own youth and attracting their friends and neighbours.

Nenad Jepuranovic updating on the finances of mission projects across the Division.Nenad Jepuranovic updating on the finances of mission projects across the Division.Alongside discipleship, mission is a key focus for the TED. In presenting his financial report, Treasurer Nenad Jepuranović astonished committee members by sharing that since 2015 the TED has given £2.4 million to mission projects across the Division. These include church planting, centres of influences, youth initiatives, and creative evangelism. Most of these are channelled through the mission board that meets monthly. Funding options can be accessed via the Adventist Mission page of the TED website.

With Brexit and other financial uncertainties, the TED voted a cautious budget with no increase on the 2019 figures. However, within that caution, the biggest commitment will always be to support mission, discipleship and training.

TED Year-End Meetings Q&A timeHighlighted at regular intervals during the five days of meetings, reports from the unions and attached fields emphasised how God is leading in the 22 countries that make up the TED. Video reports showed baptisms in Cyprus, very active youth initiatives in the Adriatic and South-East European Unions, a mass prayer effort in Iceland that covered almost half the population, and a variety of initiatives that have impacted the church in the British Isles, Denmark and the Netherlands. These reports can now be accessed online.

Thomas Müller, president of the Danish Union, commented on how useful these reports are for the churches in his territory. Others enjoy watching the playlist online as Friday night inspiration.

Ted Wilson at TED Year-End Meetings 2019Ted Wilson sharing his Sabbath morning message based on 1 Peter 4.While Year-End Meetings are about business, planning and reporting, they are also about worship. General Conference President Ted Wilson shared devotional messages at the open and close of business in addition to being the guest speaker on Sabbath morning.

Following the TED theme to ‘connect, inspire, change’, he demonstrated how connection with God inspired change in the arrogant, self-sufficient Moses who had to “unlearn everything he learnt in Egypt in terms of strategic planning and doing it on his own.” At the burning bush, he learnt dependence, and claimed the promise of God, “I will certainly be with you.” [Exodus 3:12]

TED YEM participantsThe Sabbath morning focus was on 1 Peter 4 and noting that even within the enormous challenge of secular Europe, we can help others to be changed into His likeness. He concluded that grace demonstrates a changed life, and that grace may be part of our greatest witness in our varied communities.

Other heart-warming devotionals came from Elbert Kuhn, GC associate secretary, Tim Aka, GC associate treasurer; Rainford McIntosh, a pastoral representative from the North England Conference; and Frieda Souhuwat Tomasoa, lay-representative from the Netherlands.

Returning home participants are left with the words of the apostle Peter as emphasised in the Sabbath morning worship: “As good servant managers of God’s grace in its various forms, serve one another with the gift each of you has received.” [1 Peter 4:10 ISV]
Dubrovnik from air 1600Take off above Dubrovnik airport: As directors and committee members head home they are left with plenty of thoughts for plans and mission. 'Connect. inspire. change.'

Reports, presentations, and animated discussion at the dinner table and during early morning walks along the Montenegrin beach demonstrate that this passion for mission in servant leadership is still alive in the TED and that the ability to connect, inspire and change is central, not just to leadership, but to our members.


tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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tedNEWS is an information bulletin issued by the communication department of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Trans-European Division. Readers are free to republish or share this article with appropriate credit including an active hyperlink to the original article.




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