So I am currently in New York City for NY13 the worldwide thrust of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to reach New York City. I have to admit I came here with some skepticism, not sure what I would be doing or why I am here. But I came, because I was asked and I felt it an honor to be requested to represent the North American Division in this initiative, so here I am.
And I have been taking mental notes some good some not so good…
A good I have observed is our evangelistic speaker for these meetings, Elder Ted Wilson.
What I am so impressed with, as are so many others, he is fully engaged in this initiative!
Something I keep hearing over and over again from people that have been serving the Adventist Church a lot longer than I have is, “Isn’t it great to see a General Conference President preaching and leading a full campaign!” People that have served in the General Conference offices for a number of years are expressing their appreciation of Elder Wilson not just casting the vision, but actually helping to carry out the vision of reaching New York. As one GC official said, “He could do what has been done, set the vision and say ‘now go do it.’ But he is actually out there with us.”
What I am seeing is that Elder Wilson isn’t content to sit on the sidelines, he is passionate about reaching New York City. He is not going to tell others to follow the counsel of Ellen White to minister to this the most diverse city in the world, without also doing it himself. He isn’t just someone that goes around and talks about what should be done and the ministries that should be done he is actually doing those ministries and doing very tangible things to make those ministries a success!
Unwilling to sit on the sidelines.
He, and his wife Nancy, are even attending the classes for the Field School daily. He said, “I have a lot to learn.” So he is at each class learning.
As I watch Elder Wilson, I think back to the last time we were at some meetings together. A very different environment. The Pacific Union Special Constituency Session on the bylaw changes regarding the ordination of women within that Union.
That day as I once again was observing our General Conference leader, I was disappointed that he was there. It wasn’t because I have a different point of view on the topic and disliked that he disagrees with me, (I’m actually one of those folk that thinks its okay to disagree and state it with conviction trusting that we can both still love Jesus) I was disappointed because I felt that it wasn’t a very presidential move of him to be there when the whole world knew that he would get voted down. It felt to me like a very unsound move politically.
But as I think about Elder Wilson’s presence here at this event I think I understand more and actually now respect his presence at the former event.
Here is what I am concluding: If Elder Ted Wilson is passionate about something, if he is convicted about something, he is not the type to just sit on the sidelines and let everyone else do the work.
He was/is convicted on his position regarding women’s ordination. He is convicted on his position regarding reaching New York City…
…In both instances he acted on his conviction.
Unwilling to sit on the sidelines.
I don’t believe it is fair of me to affirm one and renounce the other.
I admire, I appreciate, I trust a leader…
…who stands for his convictions no matter how politically painful it may be to take on Union that has clearly stated their views.
….who preaches a full evangelistic campaign just like the rest of us pastors do, no matter how exhausting it may be.
I admire, I appreciate, I trust Elder Ted Wilson…
…not because we share all points of view in common.
…because I know his convictions by his actions.
He is a man unwiling to sit on the sidelines.
And that is a leader I can follow!