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Goal #6: United Mission
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March, 2014

In order to reach out to Northern California, NCC Adventists need the kind of unity that Jesus prayed for His followers to have (John 17:21). “Prayer is the first step to achieving any of our strategic goals,” said NCC President Jim Pedersen. “Prayer is absolutely vital to create a true spirit of unity among our churches, schools and ministries.”

After prayer, the next step to achieve Goal #6 is to open the lines of communication among various NCC entities—administrators, church members, educators, ministry leaders and pastors. “We want to break down silos in our conference,” said Pedersen, referencing a business term taken from the world of farming. An organization is said to have a “silo mentality” when groups within the organization keep information to themselves, rather than sharing it with other groups. Leaders look for ways to tear down the silos within an organization so that everyone can work together toward a common mission.

In recent years, the conference has focused especially on enhancing the partnership between pastors and educators. NCC Superintendent of Schools Bill Keresoma often stresses his T.E.A.M. philosophy: “Together Educators And Ministers, collaborating to build children into spiritual champions!”

Galt church Pastor Jim Witcombe points out the common mission between his church and its school. “We really have one goal and one purpose,” he said. “The school is our greatest outreach to our community in the sense that we spend a good share of our budget operating our school.” Galt Adventist Christian School Teaching Principal Janice Deibel emphasizes the necessity of communication to keep everyone on track. “It is important for the church to talk to the school and the school to talk to the church, rather than just assuming that what you hear is the truth and getting everybody in a riled-up condition,” she said. 

To further foster communication between churches and schools, the conference now brings all pastors and educators together for the Mark Blue Lecture Series—an annual event encouraging collaboration and fellowship. The lecture was named to honor the memory of Dr. Mark Blue, who served as associate superintendent of education and executive secretary in the NCC before his death in 2007. As part of last year’s event, pastors and educators broke into discussion groups to talk about ways they can work together. This year’s Mark Blue Lecture will be held April 7 with featured speaker Ruben Escalante, former Arizona Conference superintendent of education, principal, chaplain and current senior pastor of the Los Alamitos church.

Another important ongoing collaboration is “Bridges: Bay Area for Jesus,” a joint project between the NCC and the Central California Conference, to reach out to Oakland, San Francisco and other Bay Area cities. Pastors of Oakland churches meet together regularly to develop joint outreach and evangelism plans for their city. (Watch for more news about this project in the near future.) “Too often local churches and conferences work independently of each other, when they could reach many more people if they would work together,” said Pedersen.

The conference is also working to enhance the flow of communication to church members and employees. The NCC website was recently redesigned to help users more easily access a wide variety of information. “I hope people will visit our new website and discover how streamlined it is,” said NCC Communication Department Director Stephanie Leal. “We continue to look for new ways to help people find the information they need as efficiently as possible.” 

One new feature is the website section devoted to the upcoming NCC Constituency Session to be held on May 18. Nearly all the materials for delegates will be available online in the coming months.

Other communication tools include the NCC Facebook page “Northern California Adventists in Action”—created to help churches, schools and ministries share announcements of upcoming events and news of past events—and the newly redesigned Planned Giving website, www.SDAlegacy.org.

With its emphasis on mission and unity, it is difficult to separate Goal #6 from the other goals in the NCC Strategic Plan. “All eight goals are aimed at achieving a united mission throughout the conference,” said Pedersen. “Christ’s gift of salvation unites us all, so we need to work together to be doing what matters for the kingdom.”
Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists | 401 Taylor Blvd. | P.O. Box 23165 | Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 | (925) 685-4300 | info@nccsda.com