Adventist President urges greater involvement, reveals four concerns

News November 14, 2013

Seventh-day Adventist Church President Ted N. C. Wilson today released a State of the Church address in which he updated the denomination on its mission and membership growth and highlighted concerns, including lack of involvement and disunity.

The most prominent annual speech of the Adventist Church president has traditionally been delivered as the Sabbath sermon during Annual Council, a nearly week-long meeting of the denomination’s Executive Committee. But Wilson took his message directly to video viewers in what is believed to be the first such address for an Adventist Church president.

Wilson said “revival” should be the church’s top priority, quoting Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White, who once wrote, “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs.”

He also reviewed several initiatives that have been launched since he became president in 2010, including the 777 prayer initiative, which reminds members to pray for revival at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.; The Great Controversy Project, which has distributed more than 140 million copies of White’s book “The Great Controversy”; and the recent launch of a worldwide comprehensive health ministry.

“Generally we share certain visionary thoughts a various times during the year, especially at the Annual Council,” Wilson told ANN. “However, it is a real privilege as we come to the end of the year, and facing a new one, to analyze and review the challenges and opportunities the church faces wherever we are. An end-of-the-year, State of the Church address affords us the opportunity to prayerfully review our complete need of Christ and to share challenges for the future as we plead with the Lord for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit.”

In his address, Wilson went on to explain what he said were four “spiritual maladies” affecting some people in the Adventist Church:

•    A loss of Seventh-day Adventist identity among some pastors and members.
•    A “growing tide of worldliness” in many Adventist Churches.
•    The “danger of disunity.”
•    Spiritual apathy and lack of involvement.

“Too many of our pastors and members either have failed to recognize, or have forgotten, the divine prophetic calling God has given us as a church,” Wilson said.

Regarding “worldliness” entering the church, Wilson said, “Standards that were once cherished by Seventh-day Adventists in the areas of diet and dress, recreation and amusement, and Sabbath-keeping, are fast becoming things of the past.”

Wilson lamented that the church’s historic commitment to healthful living wasn’t adhered to by many members. “When the Adventist health message, which so many honest-hearted people in the world are embracing, is made of none effect, or considered to be legalism or fanaticism, rather than a glorious gift from a loving Creator, something is tragically wrong.”

Regarding church unity, he again quoted White, who said “Unity is the strength of the church.”

Wilson said God has given the Adventist Church a “divinely inspired organization and “mutual agreements called church policies” that help hold the church together “as a worldwide family.”

He later added, “I pray that every one of us will lay aside our personal opinions for the good of the body of Christ, and that we will, together, march forward to the kingdom of God.

Regarding spiritual apathy, Wilson said church members would not grow spiritually without active involvement in church life and service activities. “We have to examine our lives to make sure that God is working in us in a vital way—and I speak to myself, as well.

“Brothers and sisters, I appeal to you, as I appeal to my own heart, to make a full, complete, total consecration to Christ,” Wilson said, before ending his address with a prayer asking God to bless Adventist Church members and others seeking the “truths of the Bible.”

Click HERE to watch Wilson’s 41-minute video address.

Click HERE to read a transcript of Wilson’s address.