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Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Nicole Dominguez

When furthering the Gospel, it can be easy to envy the early church and their practical mobility. Today, with a world church of millions of Adventists, such missions require strategic plans. In July 2020, the quinquennal church plan, called I Will Go, was introduced by the Seventh-day Adventist World Church through Adventist Church’s Office of Global Mission. Through this plan, it is hoped that specific Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) are met to mark and study the growth of the church. To discuss this, and previous church plans, are the researchers behind them David Trim, the Director of Archives, Statistics, and Research for the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Jeff Scoggins, the Planning Director for Adventist Mission. 

The Adventist Church boasts some of the highest numbers of believers within protestant evangelism, however because of that scale, we are responsible to understand the church on an individual and global level. David Trim states:

“The reason is that strategic plans enable one to look beyond the day-to-day, and the tyranny of tactical or operational decision-making and implementation, and to think strategically, to think big picture, and to say how can this program or this project or initiative, how can we string them together to achieve larger goals?” 

Jeff Scoggins steps in as the first wave to lay groundwork, taking in the research and learning how to best apply the results. He elaborates, 


“We will go in and start it, do the hard work establishing the church in a small way perhaps until the church as a structure is able to come in and establish itself there so once that happens then global mission is able to step out of the picture and go to the next place.”

These strategic plans are more than action, they settle groundwork that show where ministry is needed by taking a temperature of people’s understanding or needs. Trim confirms that over a third of Adventists didn't understand the state of the dead, many doubted the eminence of the second coming, and many more were unsure or confused about sanctuary doctrine. “It wasn't an improvement, it wasn't a decline” says Trim, “but we confirmed that there were issues and got a better grip on what those issues are, and that enables us to try to solve them.” With this information, the mission could adapt their focus, to fill that gap in understanding.

Where money is spent is studied, observed, and applied with care. Such intentionality is crucial when planning for the growth of the church and where our tithes and offerings are being applied. Mechanisms to track progress while managing expectations is a balance that has had to be learned through trial and error of past initiatives. In the previous mission, Reach The World, Trim acknowledges the pitfalls of high aspirations and low follow through when it came to tracking progress. However, rather than be discouraged, Global Missions learned and adapted their techniques to ensure proper research, higher accountability, and attainable aspirations that could be applied by church pastors around the world. In doing so, the outcomes were more promising.

I Will Go is a mission with a personal initiative. Rather than waiting on divisions, church leaders, conferences, or broad organizations to reach their KPI’s the ownership is placed on the individual level, leaving into autonomous mission application. Such personal accountability has a major spiritual impact. By removing the ownership of a mission's success off of the institution and onto personal accountability, it creates intimacy and investment. Individual involvement means that there is more satisfaction in seeing a mission thrive and for KPI’s to be met. In making the information available through their website,, it demystifies the data, thus showing participants the KPI options and encouraging them by showing the results of their progress. In comparing the difference in their missions, Scroggins is encouraged by the impact of I Will Go, stating “people give reports on it, they've done a lot of things in the process of the strategic plan that has really turned it around in my book; and it's actually affecting what we do

day to day now and that's what really makes it a strategic plan.” Scoggins attributes the success of I Will Go to its simple approach making it a “gripping” plan that is accessible and impactful. 

The research informs strategic planning, allowing for intentionality on what requires attention, and what is better established, which therefore, can be left alone. As a result, the 10 objectives and 59 KPI’s offered are more tailored to not only the plan, but to the diverse skills of each congregant. The callings and skill set of Christ followers are wide ranging and unique, therefore having options outside the traditional expectations of what missions are meant to be allows for greater investment and thus, better results. Trim elaborates on the KPIs and Objectives saying “We divided them into three spheres: mission, spiritual growth, and leadership, but we had a fourth which we left blank to say ‘as the Holy Spirit leads’”. Here lies the crucial element in any church plan: without allowing room for the Holy Spirit to morph the direction or application of our mission, we go against the very intent we seek to fulfill.