President's Post

June 2021

Transitions

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Springtime has been busy at the office. You may have heard of the several transitions taking place. I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated the ministry of both Cary and Tracy Fry. They are heading to the northwest to be closer to their family, which I surely understand. Cary has done such a great job both in working with our pastors and churches. He has helped develop a clear vision of the type of pastors we are looking to join our team here at Gulf States. Under his leadership, we have developed a strong pastoral team.


If you have had any dealing with Tracy, you know the professional and focused way she works. Everything she does brings with it the care and concern of Jesus. Having her as a part of our ADCOM team has been a blessing. Both Fry’s will be missed here in Gulf States, and we pray for God’s Blessings as they begin a new ministry.


We have also been blessed to work with Wanda Beck. She was so kind and gracious to bring her years of experience into the office and work with our schools and teachers. She did all that while working from home. With the COVID situation, she was able to join many school boards through Zoom and visit and support our teachers and schools. Her travel was extensive as she continued to live near Floral Crest and visit both churches and schools, in addition to coming down to the office to work. Her experience in the classroom was a great blessing to our teachers. We are thankful for her covering the Educational Superintendent position when Stan Hobbs left.


That being said, we have been looking for great people to join our team at the office for the last couple of months. I want to begin by letting you know that we have asked Scott Bowes, currently our principal at Bass, to join us as the Educational Superintendent. Scott brings a wealth of experience and is also familiar with our conference. His wife Katherine will also join us and fill the role that Tracy left in our administrative team. They will join the team beginning July 1, 2021.


The latest person to join our team is Josh (Josue) Murillo. He will be filling the role of ministerial director. I am so excited to have him join our organization. There are several expectations that we had when we began looking for a new ministerial director. First, we want to be able to continue to support our pastors and the development of strategic plans. In addition, one of the best things we can do for our churches is hiring pastors with a passion for people, mission, and excellence. Hiring good pastors and teachers is probably our most important responsibility and one we take very seriously. If we just met that expectation, we would have completed a massive portion of our responsibility. We also wanted to bind our Hispanic pastors and churches closer together. We are all a part of the Gulf States Conference. I feel the call for us to press together in a closer way. Josh brings experience in pastoring both Hispanic and English churches along with the experience of having a school in his district. We wanted to find someone who had been successful and could help all of our pastors reach the calling in their district. He has twenty-nine years of experience, including working as a youth director in Texas. He will be joining us in August.

New Administrative Team

I am so thankful that you have allowed me the privilege to serve you as President here in Gulf States. To be able to spend my time, energy, and talents to serve Gulf States is so fulfilling to me personally. A big part of my leadership style is working with our administrative team. I don’t make very many decisions without their consultation. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fail; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”


Our ADCOM team meets each week on Wednesday to share and update the rest of the team on how things are going in their areas. When needed, we discuss issues and come to a consensus on the best course of action to move Gulf States forward. We sit around the table, and each ADCOM member has a chance to share their thoughts and ideas. These meetings are essential in both getting various perspectives and helping us communicate and understand how we can support each other. The members of that team and their areas are as follows:


  1. As Executive Secretary, Martin Fancher watches over our legal, property, constituency, and has worked a lot with our Hispanic churches during transitions and policy issues.

  2. As Treasurer, Gwen Speak brings to us an understanding of our financial position, how we are doing compared to budget, financial concerns, and how various events and circumstances may impact our finances.

  3. As Educational Superintendent, Scott Bowes will be keeping our schools and teachers represented as we make decisions. Christian Education is an integral part of our ministry here in Gulf States.

  4. As HR Director, Katherine Bowes will be keeping Human Resources and administrative items before the team, helping us stay on the same page.

  5. As Ministerial Director, Josh Murillo will be bringing our pastors, churches, and for the first time to ADCOM, the Hispanic ministry perspective to the table.


I want you to know how much I look forward to working with each team member. Having a large ADCOM that meets regularly and works well together makes Gulf States a stronger conference.

Constituency

I would also like to share with you a reminder of the importance of our constituency meeting this upcoming September. If your church has asked you to serve as a delegate, please plan on joining us. This year we are trying to make the time productive, efficient, and a spiritual blessing. We aim to accomplish those things in the following way. First, we will be putting out the reports by the various departmental and administrative leaders by video before the constituency meeting. That way, all our membership has access to the reports. In addition, it will save time on the actual day of the constituency event as we will not have to repeat them. Second, we want to focus on the core business that needs to be accomplished on that day, primarily the election of administration, directors, and committees that will lead for the next five years. This year, there will be an additional item of importance recommended, which is a change in the number of delegates. The delegate change primarily impacts the larger churches, which often have the most challenging time filling their delegates. To understand this in greater detail, check our web page for additional information.


To summarize the problem, while our membership has continued to grow near the 13,000 mark. Our attendance on any given Sabbath is about 4,800. This number includes our guests, youth, and children. Currently, our total delegates are 506, which means that 10.5% of our attendance is needed to serve. The new number would be 340, which is about 6% of attendance. In addition, that will make the ratio about three lay members to every employee.

Christian Education

One of the things that made the spring so busy for me was spending some time visiting each of our eleven elementary schools in our conference. I have to share that I was so impressed with what is happening in those schools. If ever there was a time to realize the importance of Christian Education, this may be it. I met the teachers, walked around the facilities, and visited with the students. It was such a blessing and positive experience. I am looking forward to being in our schools each year moving forward. Because of COVID, I waited to visit as late as possible, which meant that it involved a dash across our conference. But boy, was it worth it. Please know teachers how impressed I was by your ministry. I would also like to remind us who no longer have children in a school of the importance of helping our young families. Not long ago, my wife sent funds back to the church school that gave her worthy student funds when she was in school. The young people in our schools are all our responsibility, so please support your schools with your time and resources. We must give more thought as to how we can continue to support our local schools.

BMA Endowment

I want to continue to thank you for your support of the Bass Memorial Academy Endowment Fund. It continues to grow, and you continue to support it. We have reached the $3.7M mark. Thank you for helping secure the ministry of Bass in our conference. Let’s not grow weary in supporting Christian Education in our Conference.


Thank you for your continued support! Feel free to give using the tithe envelopes with your local church or online at www.gscsda.org/give If you would like to learn more about the endowment, please visit www.gscsda.org/gsc-today/bassendowment

Camp Meeting

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There was an incredible spirit at Bass Camp Meeting this year, we're happy that so many of you were able to attend and contribute to the blessing that we all experienced. Many of the sessions were live-streamed and some were recorded and are now being added to our YouTube channel.
Additionally, we announced the theme and main presenter for camp meeting 2022, Lest We Forget with John Bradshaw! Watch the promotional video below.
Bass Camp Meeting 2022 - Promotional Video

ACS Database

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In light of the ongoing and increasing number of natural disasters and exceptional needs in local communities, Adventist Community Services (ACS) of the Gulf States Conference has initiated an online registry for volunteers. This registry or database is for those who would like to be contacted and given the opportunity to serve should a need arise. Having a resource like this on-hand and ready will allow us to get work done more quickly, right when the disaster takes place. Learn more at www.gscsda.org/acsvolunteer

Mobile App

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Hundreds of people have downloaded and are enjoying the new mobile app for Gulf States on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. Find the latest news, discover the closest church, and much more! www.gscsda.org/app

The Adventist Promise

Adventist Church Adopts New Brand Promise

The Adventist Promise aims to deliver a clear message about what the movement stands for, and seeks to leave a lasting impression on people in the 21st century.


It is framed as a brand promise which is used by organizations worldwide to clearly explain what they offer to customers, constituents and members of the general public. This helps position an organization and explain the tangible benefit that it offers to people. Learn more at www.gscsda.org/adventistpromise

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Office of the President

The President guides the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church here at the Gulf States Conference Office in Montgomery, Alabama. He serves on various organization boards operated by the church, and lends leadership to mission, evangelism, educational, and humanitarian strategies.