II n a special live-streamed event July 3-4, the Seventh-day Adventist Church will unveil its strategic focus for 2020-2025. Building on the Reach the World theme begun in 2015, the next five years will see a focus on mission through the Reach the World: I Will Go initiative.
Originally set to launch at the 2020 General Conference Session in Indianapolis, plans for presenting the initiative to the World Church had to be adjusted due to the coronavirus pandemic. This will now take place in a weekend celebration, broadcast on Hope Channel and the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s official Facebook page, as well as other social media platforms.
I Will Go: An Important Tool
I Will Go is “a tool to help the Church be more focused and effective in performing critical tasks. This strategic plan is rooted in the Great Commission found in Matthew 28, which calls Jesus’ followers to go and make disciples of all nations.”
Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the World Church says that through this focus, “We hope to see a worldwide, massive involvement of all our church members in their evangelistic and witnessing commitment during these last days of earth’s history as they all become active in Total Member Involvement—everyone staying close to Christ and doing something for Him through His power.”
“The I Will Go plan covers a broad spectrum of church life,” Michael Ryan, former general vice-president of the World Church, says. “We have a biblical and Spirit of Prophecy mandate to move forward with: to read the scripture, to pray…to be aware of mission, to go to the uttermost parts of the Earth, to have a message—a proclamation, to take responsibility for our children, to provide them with education and instruction. Every aspect of what we do is in that plan.”
The plan was developed by the Future Plans Working Group strategic planning and research oversight committee, chaired by Ryan, after consulting with divisions and receiving approval from the Annual Council of the GC Executive Committee in 2019.
Gary Krause, director of the Office of Adventist Mission, offers a concise overview of the Reach the World: I Will Go focus:
“The plan is summarized in ten key objectives—four mission objectives, three spiritual growth objectives, and three leadership objectives. But another key objective has been added: ‘Holy Spirit Objectives: To be defined as the Holy Spirit leads.’ This is an acknowledgment that although as good stewards we have made plans, we need to be open to the Holy Spirit fine-tuning, or adding to the mission priorities on our horizon.”
Krause emphasizes that this is not another program or event, but a map to help navigate some of the most important issues facing the Church, and to remain faithful in our mission.
Issues facing the Church are identified through research. According to David Trim, director of Archives, Statistics and Research for the World Church, almost unprecedented research informed the direction for this new initiative.
Of the surveys given to church members in all 13 divisions in 2018, there were 63,756 responses to questions dealing with personal spiritual practices, the local church environment, and a range of biblical beliefs—from a literal six-day Creation to the understanding of the soul and death. This data enables Church leaders to get a finger on the pulse of the Church and know how to best encourage spiritual growth and commitment; research helped identify needs met through initiatives such as 10 Days of Prayer, the Believe His Prophets Bible reading plan, and Total Member Involvement.
Research efforts will continue through the next five years to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and inform the focus for the next quinquennium.
For more information on I Will Go, visit iwillgo2020.org. More details regarding the live launch on Hope Channel will be forthcoming.