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The Joys and Concerns of a Delegate

I was astonished and delighted when my Central California Conference Executive Committee invited me to be a delegate to the 2010 General Conference Session. As it grew closer I began to do some research; I wanted to understand the issues and know who the players would be. It was a frustrating endeavor. It seemed that the GC was an insiders club and everyone assumed everyone else knew how things worked. I didn’t!
By the time I arrived I was still excited, but also filled with fear that I would see the very worst in Adventist politics. I was concerned that as an outsider delegate I would be expected to rubber stamp a long series of names and items and that nothing would change because no one really wanted change.
As I go into the fifth day of the business session I still have some questions, concerns and frustrations.
The biggest frustration is that as a delegate, I have no idea how I can put forth a new item I think should be discussed. I know it needs to go to the steering committee first, but no one can tell me how to get something in front of that committee – not even any of the conference presidents to whom I have spoken.
I am concerned about Ted Wilson as the new president. I have questions about the nominating process, because we are asked to rubber stamp decisions made by the nominating committee that operates behind closed doors. However, I am not sure how I would change it. It is a monumental task that needs to take place in a very short period of time.
Much to my surprise, though, I am feeling more love and hope for this church than I have in a long time.
Everything Important is Local: The president and his agenda has very little to do with what happens in the local church. While we have a church manual and many policies, local churches follow it only to the extent it serves their local needs. Ultimately they do what they feel serves their church and their community best. An attempt to force conformity would be like herding cats. Church pastors and local leaders are the lifeblood of the church.
God is in Control: This is God’s church! He does allow us to make choices that are not his A plan, but he is still in control. He is the great moderator, the great leveler. He loves all of us and he wants to save every one of us. We need to continue to do church in faith that God is in control.
The People: I came to the Session alone, meaning my wife didn’t come and I have no close friends here. I have discovered one can feel very lonely in a huge family gathering. However, this has turned into a magnificent blessing. Each time I sit down in a business session, at a meal or in my hotel lobby I meet a new family member. I have met half a dozen conference presidents; I had lunch with a division president; I have visited with a number of other GC officers of various ranks and influence; I have made friends with lay people and pastors from the US, Africa, Asia, Europe and Eastern Europe and from several islands. They have been almost without exception, wonderful God-filled encounters.
We have talked about church politics, mission, victories and challenges. We have talked about things we agree on and things we see differently. We are at the end of the day all family. It is clear that each one of us, from the most conservative to the most liberal put our trust in Jesus Christ. We all look forward to the second coming of our Savior and we all have a heart for those who are not followers of Jesus Christ.
Steve Moran works in Silicon Valley. He is the head elder of his church and a member of the Central California Conference Executive Committee.
Photo: Gerry Chudleigh/ANN

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