As we have crossed over the threshold of time into 2018, we must give God thanks for taking us through 2017. For some of us, it was a challenging year, but we must thank God for taking us through. Our officers and departmental directors moved the work along and we were able to accomplish much for the work of God through His mercies and grace, even while I was challenged with an illness that slowed me down. Thank you to all those who prayed for my healing, and now I am on my way to full recovery.
In 2017, we started out focusing on the development of a strategic plan. Members of our various boards spent time in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, under the leadership of Paul Brantley, a vice president at the North American Division, in prayer and seeking God’s will for the Atlantic Union.
We emerged with a mission statement that will help to guide us through this quinquennium—“The Mission of the Atlantic Union Conference is to support and facilitate the six conferences and institutions in reaching all people with the Adventist, Christ-centered message of hope and wholeness.” The top five priorities on which we will focus during the next four years were identified: Education, Youth and Young Adults, Church Growth/Evangelism and Consolidation, Leadership Development, and Media (including Social Media).
Looking ahead, we are cognizant of the fact that only as we submit our plans to God will we be successful. We asked all of the departmental directors to create a five-year plan that aligns with our mission statement.
For 2018, while we will address the needs of each department, we will place special emphasis on the youth and young adults by declaring 2018 the Year of the Youth. We are blessed with an army of youth, who, if rightly trained and empowered, will go far in helping to finish the work of God. We continue to pray for Andrés Peralta, Atlantic Union Conference Youth Ministries director, and his team in the six conferences, that God will guide them as they labor for Him.
Moving forward, we will continue to give attention to the priorities that emerged from the strategic planning retreat. If we are going to succeed in fulfilling God’s will, then whatever we seek to accomplish must be enveloped in prayer.
As we focus on the mission of the Atlantic Union, we will continue to give attention to Atlantic Union College. Much effort is still being made in pursuit of its re-accreditation, and we are praying and hoping that this will be accomplished very soon. The Atlantic Union Conference Executive Committee established an independent taskforce to conduct a feasibility study of the college and submit a report of their findings by January 2018. We will be guided by the results as we determine the future of the college.
Let us purpose to rely on God’s direction as we seek to implement the plans that have been established. This calls for the alignment and collaboration of each department and entity to achieve success. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, we will fulfill the mission envisioned by God in the Atlantic Union.
G. Earl Knight is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees.