Ministerial Department: Ministry in the Storms of Life

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Each minister of the gospel can recount that moment where the clarity of the divine invitation came to her or him with unequivocal clarity. The Pacific Union Conference is blessed to have over 700 clergy serving in districts, solo pastorates, or as part of a multi-staff congregation. In addition, we are blessed by the ministry of chaplains across our territory who serve the Lord in hospitals, prisons, and other locations.

At no time in memory has ministry posed more of a challenge than during this time of COVID-19. But the creativity and commitment of our amazing pastoral leaders around the Pacific Union has persevered and risen to the occasion of this challenge with courage and wisdom. We thank the Lord for our dedicated ministers who continue to serve the kingdom with the heart of Jesus.

The Ministerial Department exists as a support for the pastoral team of the union and the ministerial secretaries of the conferences. In cooperation with local conference leadership, it is our aim to serve in an educational, inspirational, and consultative capacity for pastors, churches, chaplains, and pastoral families. Several union-wide events, coordinated with the local conference ministerial departments, are designed to contribute to this work:

Adventist WestPoint
Adventist WestPoint meets annually for three days of inspiration and training, designed to strengthen the pastor’s calling and connection with Christ as well as to grow the local church. Over the past five years, hundreds of clergy leaders and local church leaders have gathered for this event to listen to seminars and inspiring sermons from the best in Adventist ministry. Spiritual batteries are recharged through uplifting worship, challenging messages from Scripture, practical teaching, and networking with others who believe that God is ready to do a “new thing” in our world. Each year, participants leave with a ministry toolkit for God to move their congregation from the sideline to the frontline of kingdom growth. Along with my wife, Jennifer Christian Newton, who serves as a volunteer Associate Secretary for the ministerial department, I share a wonderful joy and deepest appreciation when we gather with the fantastic leaders of the Pacific Union.

Annual senior theology interviews
Annual senior theology interviews connect our conference leaders with the outstanding graduating theology majors from the H. M. S. Divinity School of La Sierra University and the Department of Theology of Pacific Union College. The goal is to match these young ministerial graduates with local church job opportunities. We are always thankful for the support of local conferences in affirming the call of these men and women. It is with great appreciation that we recognize the excellent work of both our schools of higher education as they help organize these annual events and create such a warm and welcoming atmosphere when we come to their campuses.

Union Ministerial Council
The quinquennial Union Ministerial Council gathers our clergy to focus upon the key ministry opportunities and challenges that come to the life and work of the pastor. Our 2021 theme of “So Send I You” takes the servant leadership of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and applies it to today’s ministry context. Again, we are blessed by the speakers who will be sharing their gifts of the Spirit with all who gather on August 16-18 following the Union Constituency Session. The results of the interaction of pastors at this Council will inform the strategic direction for the union ministerial program in the coming five years.

Ellen G. White declared, “The greatest work, the noblest effort, in which men can engage, is to point sinners to the Lamb of God. True ministers are co-laborers with the Lord in the accomplishment of His purposes” (Gospel Workers, p. 18). It is our prayer that by God’s grace, the life and ministry of our outstanding Pacific Union Conference ministerial team may fulfill this vision.
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Bradford C. Newton is the executive secretary and the ministerial director of the Pacific Union Conference.