The first business meeting of the 2023 General Conference (GC) Annual Council was called to order on October 6, 2023. Delegates heard presentations on the 2025-2030 “I Will Go” Strategic Plan, and the Adventist Review’s rebrand and commitment to innovation.
2025-2030 “I Will Go” Strategic Plan Unveiled, will be voted by Executive Committee in 2024
Delegates were given the first look at the 2025-2030 draft strategic plan of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The plan, set to be voted on during the 2024 GC Annual Council, is based upon a recent survey of global church members.
Why it matters: Each of the Adventist church’s worldwide initiatives is developed to help fulfill the strategic plan’s goals.
Driving the news: The latest strategic plan—titled “I Will Go”—is based upon surveys conducted by the GC Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR) in 2022 and 2023.
Zoom in: Church members, institutional employees, church leaders, and pastors were all surveyed separately during the plan's development.
- In the surveys, it was discovered that several doctrines, such as the Gift of Prophecy and the State of the Dead, were not as firmly accepted compared to previous surveys because of new growth.
- Additionally, Bible reading, Spirit of Prophecy reading, and family worship statistics have continued to fall on a downward trend.
Details: While the plan retains the “I Will Go” name of the previous plan, most of it is being restructured.
- The previous strategic plan focused on: mission, spiritual growth, leadership, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- This plan will focus on: communion with God, identity in Christ, unity through the Holy Spirit, and mission for all. 21 measurable goals throughout the plan set goalposts to measure the plan's success.
- Compared to previous strategic plans, the 2025-2030 plan is simpler and easier to implement locally.
What people are saying: “What we have seen is that acceptance of some core Adventist doctrines is not as high as we would ideally like,” said David Trim, GC ASTR director, during the presentation. “We can all agree that this is unfortunate and that there is work to be done when it comes to the doctrines of creation, the sanctuary, the gift of prophecy, and the state of the dead.”
- “We are planning for the future, but mission refocus can start now,” said Erton Köhler, GC executive secretary. “I think we have everything in place to move forward with urgency.”
- Ted Wilson, GC president, said that he hoped all the leaders in attendance had a unified approach for mission. “We don’t have much time left. Truly, Jesus is coming soon.”
Go deeper: Read our full report on the strategic plan here.
Adventist Review talks Rebrand, New Projects
Justin Kim, the editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World, updated Executive Committee delegates on the status of the magazines and spoke about plans to rebrand the Adventist Review and transition to a “digital first” strategy.
Driving the news: The presentation revealed some of the first significant changes at Adventist Review since Kim took over the masthead of the Adventist church’s flagship publication.
Details: In addition to a redesigned website and brand identity, several new forms of digital programming are in the works.
- The new digital programming will include: “InReview,” Published Weekly; “counterScript,” published monthly; and “Front Pew,” published quarterly.
- Regarding “counterScript,” Kim said: “Seventh-day Adventists are called to be counter-cultural. There are scripts of consumerism, secularism, and all these ideologies. But Seventh-day Adventists are called to uphold the ultimate ‘counter script,’ which is Scripture itself.”
Of note: Adventist Review is one of the oldest religious publications in North America, having been published since 1849.
- It has also undergone several name changes throughout the years. Its original name was “Present Truth,” and the current name came in 1979.
What people are saying: Kim laid out three principles that the Review has followed while developing the new brand focus. “History informs context, mission strengthens identity, and innovation solves challenges,” he said. “We cannot do this with our staff of 20 by ourselves, but we want to link with division and union leadership to unite the church together on the message of Scripture.”
Go deeper: Read our full report on the Adventist Review’s rebrand here.
Additionally: Two other presentations were given during the business session. The presentations reported on the 150th anniversary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s mission and new ways church members have utilized to spread the Three Angels’ Messages.