January 2023 Carolina's 10,000 P5
DEFENDING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ACROSS THE CAROLINAS
RELIGIOUS LIBERTY SABBATH
America’s emerging journey toward religious freedom sprang from both religion and politics. It began with English Pilgrims that were referred to as Separatists. These men and women with their families broke away from the monarchical Church of England primarily because they felt that the church had not completed the work of the Protestant Reformation. They believed this because of the church-state unity that corrupted both the state and the church’s “separate but holy” duties. These settled in a place that was known as Plymouth Colony (Located in Massachusetts) upon their arrival on the Mayflower in 1620. They became known as Congregationalist Puritans and were issued a royal charter to settle in what was known as the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which was first centered in Plymouth, and later in Boston.
These Puritans accepted some of the customs and rights of the Church of England and defined church-state relationships for their own holy and ultimately common purposes. Sadly, the seeds of their own unraveling came through their lack of tolerance for dissension. This then led to the tragic martyrdom of other church leaders in our New World and the exile of Roger Williams.
It was Roger Williams who was the colonial founder of Rhode Island. He became the inspiration to inform and nurture his “heretical” doctrine of church-state separation 153 years later in the hearts of America’s Revolutionary Founders – particularly Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
It was in the sweltering summer heat of 1789 that James Madison penned sixteen words that would become and remain to this day as America’s First Freedom of the religious clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
In harmony with America’s role in biblical prophecy, Constitutional religious freedom, the separation of church and state, and liberty of conscience are under threat by all three branches of our government. There are many voices today that are seeking to redefine America’s constitutional history, specifically regarding these vital topics.
I find this statement by Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States and one of our nation’s founding fathers of particular interest:
This must be especially relevant to us in the light of what we as Seventh-day Adventists forecast from our biblical, prophetic perspective in the future of unfolding end-time events.
Founded in 1906, Liberty magazine is America’s preeminent resource for religious freedom and human rights matters. It exists for the primary purpose of keeping the windows of opportunity wide open to proclaim the everlasting gospel as we seek to fulfill the mission of the church and reach every heart for Christ till we are safely home with our Savior.
Published by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Liberty magazine advocates these basic principles for protecting our religious freedoms:
Our God-given right of religious liberty is best exercised when church and state are separate.
Our government exists as God’s agency to protect individual rights and to conduct civil affairs.
Religious liberty entails the freedom of conscience to worship or not to worship; to profess, practice and promulgate religious beliefs or to change them. In exercising these rights; however, one must respect the equivalent rights of all others.
Attempts to unite church and state are opposed to the interests of each. It is not only the citizen’s duty but the essence of the Golden Rule – to treat others as one wishes to be treated.
This Sabbath, January 14, 2023, is designated across all our Seventh-day Adventist Churches in North America as a day in which our free will offerings will support the ministry of public affairs and religious liberty. This year’s campaign for Carolina’s Religious Liberty offerings will be finalized on the last Sabbath of March.
While time and privilege permit us, let’s join together as a church family in praising God for the freedoms we enjoy today in our nation to worship and serve the God we love and honor. Let’s also prayerfully render our financial support for religious
REMEMBERING AND PRAYING FOR OUR THREE QUINQUENNIAL GOALS (2022-2026)
Our first goal is to develop measurable goals for discipleship. Discipleship is the process of becoming like Jesus by spending time with Him. This ongoing and sustained personal relationship between a follower of Christ and Jesus as our master Teacher is the heart of discipleship.
Our second quinquennial goal is that of intentionally engaging, empowering, and enabling our young adults in the mission of the church. The administration of the Carolina Conference in partnership with the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Department is making a determined effort to establish a better connection with and ensure the retention and engaged involvement of our young adults in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Our third is a consecrated effort to focus on measurable initiatives to enhance the ministry of Mount Pisgah Academy to enable our campus to reach and maintain a consistent, sustainable enrollment of 125-150 students.
With each issue of our President’s Prayer Partners, I would like to focus on one of our goals and share some of the developments that are helping us focus our attention on accomplishing that goal. In our last issue, we focused on our second goal – That of engaging, empowering, and enabling our young adults in the mission of the church.
This issue will focus on our third goal:
Mount Pisgah Academy (MPA) is our secondary boarding high school owned and operated by the Carolina Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. It exists to love, educate, and disciple students for God’s service. It is located just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by the grandeur of our Blue Ridge Mountains.
In 2021, the leadership team of the Carolina Conference asked 5 by 5 – a research team based in Nashville, TN – to conduct an extensive market research study to guide us with key, ongoing decisions for MPA. Specifically, the Carolina Conference desires to expand the impact of MPA to its constituent members of North and South Carolina evidenced by an increase in student enrollment at the school. The current enrollment is well below the optimal enrollment of approximately 150 students.
Based on the in-depth study of 5 by 5 and their strategic recommendations, the Carolina Conference has partnered with the services of The School Growth Network to provide an ongoing review and follow-up with the recommendations of 5 by 5. An annual report by The School Growth Network will provide the administration of MPA and the Carolina Conference an oversight of the progress being made in the development of nine specific areas of recommended initiatives as expressed in our goals.
Sharpening the spiritual focus at MPA. Parents clearly value the teaching of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine and practices that are components of our campus. At the same time, there is a desire by parents to appreciate a broader perception of practical and missional spiritual engagement that impacts their service in our local churches.
Looking carefully at programs that might attract more families. Some families at MPA really desire to see the school improve offerings in fine arts and music – perhaps also in sports.
Telling the boarding school story in a compelling way for today’s parents and students. Other than cost/ability, parents want to monitor habits and be involved in shaping the values of their adolescent children. Greater effectiveness is paramount in enhancing the beautiful, serene mountain environment of MPA as it relates to the spiritual nurture and the development of responsibility and independence.
Continue to build messaging which highlights the caring relationships students will experience at MPA.
Continue making ongoing improvements, upgrades, and repairs to the campus where needed – current families and prospects notice, and it shapes their perceptions of the campus and its facilities.
Be more proactive and relational in marketing to build the enrollment pipeline and grow the number of students. The research study indicated that building relationships with prospective students and their families is an area that MPA needs to improve. This is especially true since there are other options in Adventist schools that compete for the same students both locally and in the territory of the Southern Union Conference.
Review survey ratings and feedback for academic-related attributes that impacts its reputation and quality/subject area expertise of the faculty. It is important that MPA offer a solid college-preparatory education to ensure that our academy is delivering the best possible academic experience.
Engage the alumni to help grow the school through better communication and listening to their feedback. Continue letting alumni know how much we care and how we desire their involvement as partners moving forward.
Emphasize and highlight the ongoing quest for the MPA family to maintain a harmonious relationship.
Therefore, it is vital that we earnestly seek the Lord in prayer as we…
a. Assess and address specific issues that are causing challenges.
b. Develop talking points on how to respond to questions and issues in the right way rather than being reactionary.
c. Strive to focus on the positive and not be drawn into rivalry or any destructive banter, treating others as we would like to be treated.
The primary purpose of focusing on these strategic goals during this quinquennial period of 2022-2026 is to help MPA identify and address the components of an admissions and growth strategy. Let us continue to pray for God’s direction and blessing as we move forward in faith to keep honoring the foundational theme of our campus – Jesus Lives at MPA; He lives within our Hearts.
PRAYING FOR OUR PASTORS & THEIR CHURCH DISTRICTS
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these words of encouragement were penned for our churches: “Ask of me, and I will answer your requests. The promise is made on condition that the united prayers of the church are offered, and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another.” [9MR, 303]
Praying for our pastors is very important. They are serving God and the attacks of the enemy are relentless. They must be covered in our prayers on a daily basis.
Our prayers should be personalized by saying the title of pastor along with their name since they hold a position of sacred trust for God’s remnant church.
Why not pray specifically for our pastors by name using these seven needs and scriptural promises:
Protection from Satan Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Protection from Our Own Sinful Hearts But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:14-15
Deep Spiritual Encouragement For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Romans 1:11-12
Wisdom If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5
Doctrinal Faithfulness By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. 2 Timothy 1:14
A Healthy Body But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:27
A Strong Marriage & Family Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church. 1 Timothy 3:2-6
CHURCH(ES); COMPANIES & GROUPS
High Point SDA Church
Eden SDA Company
Forest City Three Angels SDA Church
Marion SDA Church
New Bern SDA Karen Mission Group
Chapel Hill SDA Karen SDA Church
Columbia Karen SDA Group
Greensboro Karen SDA Mission Group
Union SDA Church
Woodruff SDA Church
Wilson SDA Church
Raleigh SDA Church
Apex The Vine SDA Church
Raleigh-Bethel Haitian SDA Company
Carolina Conference Evangelist
PRAYING FOR OUR DEPARTMENTAL MINISTRIES
Beginning with our April 2019 issue of P5, we began highlighting a department of the conference each month – not so much as to give a full-length report of all that they have been or are accomplishing, but rather to simply uplift all our leaders and their faithful service in their respective ministries in our prayers.
During the month of September 2021, we began the second full cycle of remembering all the ministry departments of the Carolina Conference.
The Ministries of the Carolina Conference are basically structured under six organizational department functions. They include:
Beginning with the November issue of our P5, we transitioned to the Outreach Branch of our ministries which is divided into the following departmental subdivisions of service:
In our last month’s Issue, we invited you to lift up our Carolina Evangelism Department.
This month, as we begin our New Year of 2023, we ask you to uplift our Carolina Church Planting Department under the gifted and dedicated leadership of our director, Elder Ricardo Palacios and the secretary of our ministerial department, Lorraine Gonzalez.
In consultation with the office of the Executive Secretary, the Church Planting Department:
Plans and directs the birth of new church plants (congregation starts)
Facilitates groups and companies in making the move to company and church status, respectively.
Evaluates church health using a diagnostic tool called Natural Church Development thereby helping to bring about vibrant, growing churches.
Assists in putting systems in place to help new church plants to succeed.
The motto of the Church Planting Department is to enable churches to birth healthy new congregations for greater effectiveness in reaching the gospel harvest.
Saturated with the Word
Fundamental Belief #13
The Remnant and Its Mission
As the President’s Prayer Partner, we again invite you to truly be a people of the Word. As Seventh-day Adventists, we embrace 28 Fundamental truths that are based on the Bible alone. In December of 2021 we began our third cycle in our emphasis of these vital beliefs that are centered in Christ as our Savior and as our Lord.
Let’s continue to place His Word prayerfully in our hearts each day of this month. I carry a set of these passages with me in my car and repeat them aloud as I drive from place to place. My goal is to prayerfully say one verse at least five times a day for a week, thus embracing the promise of God’s Word – “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11
Repeat these passages over and over till they become a part of your very being. Of course, you can always choose to do more. Prayerfully consider how you can saturate your soul and make His Word a part of your heart every day.
FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF # 13: The Remnant and Its Mission The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.
A. Jeremiah 23:3 (NKJV) “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.”
B. Micah 2:12 (NKJV) “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people.”
C. I Peter 3:13-14 (NKJV) “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”
D. Revelation 12:17 (NKJV) “And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
PRAY FOR THE MINISTRY OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST EDUCATION
In our last issue of P5, we began uplifting our church schools and the principals/head teachers and teachers and staff who are making a profound impact on the hearts and minds of our children and youth across the Carolinas. This month we will be uplifting the next three church schools in our prayers for this month.
Let us pray specifically for:
Our New Superintendent of Education-elect, Rick Anderson and his newly elected Associate Superintendent, Cara Simonds, as they lead the ministry of Seventh-day Adventist education for our conference family.
God’s protective care over our teachers, parents, and students during this school year. We live in a world saturated with the sadness of sin and all the dangers of a devil who seeks harm to God’s children. Pray for the powerful presence of Heavenly angels to surround our schools from the horrors of what we have witnessed in the news such as the tragedy of the school shooting in Uvalde, TX last year.
Wisdom and happiness in the lives of each of our principals, head teachers and teachers as they mentor and prepare our students for a life of service on this earth, but most importantly for their citizenship in Heaven.
School boards and church boards as they manage the operation of each of our church schools as centers that are consecrated for the salvation and education of our children and youth.
Remembering and Uplifting God’s Anointed Leaders for Seventh-day Adventist Church in Continuous Prayer
Be part of God’s praying church across North America by uplifting these leaders of our church who guide God’s work in these territories of God’s vineyard:
Weekly Focus on Seventh-day Adventist Conference Presidents