Over the past four years I have had the privilege to serve the Central States Conference as president, and together we have been able to accomplish great work as we focused on the following initiatives.
Initiative #1 – UNITY
As administrators and pastors, we have chosen to be intentional about fostering interpersonal pastoral relationships. We are also passionate about encouraging a family environment. We are working to foster this spirit among our workforce and with our lay family. We believe Jesus’ words in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Initiative #2 – SEASONED SENIORS
We want our seniors to know that we love and care for them, so we are intentional about listening to them, honoring them, and making it possible for them to have fun. We have great seasoned seniors, and we will continue to pour love and respect on them.
Initiative #3 – GROWTH AND RETENTION
Central States was one of the entities that honored the NAD’s request for conferences to clean up their membership books. Once the figures were in, we saw that we had much work to do. In consultation with our pastors, we decided that we not only wanted to gain new family members through baptism, but we also wanted to keep them. So, we challenged our pastors to create strategies for “closing the back door.” We now see steady gains in membership growth, with people we can account for.
Initiative #4 – CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
We have qualified, passionate, committed teachers, a more developed infrastructure, a safe environment, and our students are receiving a quality education. We were able to furnish our schools with smart boards, good working computers, iPads and Chrome Books.
Initiative #5 – DEBT ELIMINATION
We want to be debt free, so together with our Central States Conference family, we have been tackling conference debt and we have been able to make considerable head way.
Initiative #6 – CONFERENCE DEVELOPMENT
We are pleased to be realizing our dream of having affordable senior housing on Central States property. We now have 24 single story units (two bedroom, one bath, full-sized washers and dryers, furnished kitchens, and one car garage).
As we plan for the future, there are six objectives I would like us to focus on:
Objective #1 – Debt Elimination!
We must make sure that there are no impediments to mission and ministry.
Objective #2 – Millennial Engagement
We started a Millennial Advisory Committee, led by Jonathan Green, our Central States Conference senior accountant. We look forward to fully engaged, young adults who are participating in the life of the church during the next four years.
Objective #3 – Generation Z Advisory Caucus
This caucus will give young voices an opportunity to share what they would like to see happening in their conference and how they can be a part of it.
Objective #4 – Conference Membership Growth
Evangelism, evangelism, evangelism! Our theme for evangelism over the next four years will be “Let’s Grow in Four.” We have a goal to begin new work in one of the three areas in our territory that currently does not have a Central States Conference church, to build up our smaller congregations, and to plant five new churches. We would like all our members to be involved in evangelism: “Total Member Involvement.”
Objective #5 Christian Education
While we have made some great strides, we are still not finished revamping our schools, growing their numbers, assisting our staff with their development, upgrading infrastructure, and making sure that our teachers are properly compensated.
Objective #6 – Conference Grounds Development
We would like to continue to develop our conference grounds by adding a sports field for flag football, baseball, and soccer, Go-Cart tracks, zip lines, horse trails, an archery range and pickle ball courts.
Our mission in the Central States Conference is to live and proclaim the Three Angels Messages in the heartland of America, growing healthy, Bible- based, multicultural communities of faith.
Our congregations have been active during this past quadrennial. There have been renovations, community forums held in our buildings, peaceful social justice protests against violence, mission trips, worship services in the park, the development of powerful Children Ministries and children’s Bible studies which resulted in baptisms, partnerships that produced physical health programs for the community, mall evangelism, and pray walks just to name a few of our activities.
We are blessed to have added 10 new congregations to the Central States family. We look forward to the growth of each of these congregations and we are excited to see how each will do their part to hasten the second coming of Jesus.
Roger Bernard is president of the Central States Conference.