Organizational Restructuring

October 31, 2006

At the moment there is quite a lot of discussion about restructuring the SDA church. Sherman Cox II has two posts on his Adventist Pulpit blog. The first points readers to two articles by Harold Lee on the Adventist Review website: Church Structure in 2025 and Proposals for Structural Change. (Lee’s first article is reprinted in edited–shortened–form on the Re-Inventing the Adventist Wheel blog here.) Cox’s second post points to the website of the GC Commission on Ministries, Services, and Structures. The commission was set up following an action of the GC Annual Council on October 11, 2005 and held its first meeting on April 11, 2006. The commission’s website has a number of interesting documents available, including one by George Knight entitled Organized for Mission: The Development of Seventh-day Adventist Organizational Structures. Other good sources on the historical development of the SDA Church’s organizational structure include:

For a succinct overview of how the GC administration sees the SDA Church’s structure and governance, see this press-release created for the 2005 session.

For a radical reinvention of the Adventist Church (essentially a congregationalist approach) see Mission Catalyst’s website and blog. Blog the Future has a number of posts commenting on Mission Catalyst, church growth, and church organization and administration issues. Unfortunately it’s not currently being updated.

It will be interesting to see the outcomes of these meetings–will the SDA Church actually manage to make the necessary structural and organizational changes necessary if we are to efficiently work and survive in the 21st Century?

Change is never easy and likely to be quite painful. Even the SDA Church;’s early formation as a denomination faced serious opposition:

In 1844, the Millerite George Storrs expressed the position of many when he stated that “no church can be organized by man’s invention but that it becomes Babylon the moment it is organized.” (The Midnight Cry, February 15, 1844, 238.)

One comment

  1. There is in my opinion not a single question as to the NEED(as opposed to “preference”) to restructure the church more in line with congregational structure. As things stand too much power is in too little hands, and the offices simply do not care about serious matters affecting the local churches and themselves. They could not be bothered in what they regard as trivia and also in the U.S. they have invested in the mental illness system directly in the East, the West, the South, and the Midwest and Mountain West, which poses a directly oppositional challenge to what the church has always stated it stands for. At the individual member level or the local church level, members are NOT informed of such monumental decisions, but instead are supposed to simply accept the leadership and whatever it decides and does or does not decide to tell or promote about its decisions or communicate about them. This is ludicrous and it was only a matter of time before such skullduggery would occur under such a system!! And I might say we are losing membership because of this as well, and quite significantly as well. Yet the leaders simply don’t want to believe any of it, they will cast it onto “the devil’ and hardly look at themselves or so much as listen to constructive criticism from their own members. As the so called people of the Book, do we not have any awareness of the fact that power corrupts according to its level? We’d better wake up soon……

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