For the last full three weeks, all of our public events have been canceled, postponed or diverted to virtual platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, following the directives provided by the governmental health entities, from national to city orders.
However, as a Seventh-day Adventist Church, we have continued doing ministry remotely and virtually, using new ways to keep alive and relevant our service to our church members and community.
For the last four Sabbaths, Esther and I have been visiting your churches virtually. We have enjoyed the variety of styles each church has chosen to worship in with their church members. Each one is inspirational, and this variety of cultures and languages is what makes our conference unique. I invite you, that after participating in your local church worship service on Sabbath, to go and visit other church sites. (Click here to find the list of SCC churches livestreams.)
Believe it or not, for our pastors, teachers and office personnel, this unusual virtual way of doing ministry is more demanding than the traditional approach of serving our churches, schools and constituency.
Through Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting or any other conferencing platform:
Our schools are having classes, staff meetings, teacher-parent conferences, school boards and more.
Our churches are worshiping and holding prayer meetings, church boards, food bank assistance (in person) and much more.
Our regions are still holding meetings with region committees, pastors, church boards, installing pastors and more.
Our departments are serving our church members and local leaders:
- Accounting is still receiving donations, entering data, disbursing funds, paying bills and remunerating employees.
- Adventist Book Center is open and serving customers in new business hours. (Current hours: M-Th.: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., F: 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Subject to change. Call to confirm hours: 818-546-8552.)
- Asset/Risk Management continues guiding churches and schools in contracts and agreements related to church and school properties.
- Auditing keeps reviewing churches and schools for their finances to align donors' wishes within church policy.
- Communication maintains informing our constituency how schools, churches and conference leaders are safely doing ministry during these unprecedented times.
- Human Resources is still helping our employees who face health and job challenges within the labor parameters.
- Literature Ministries seeks new ways to provide hope and peace to our desperate neighbors, coworkers, friends and family members through dropping small tracts at their doors or making phone calls
- Planned Giving & Trust Services is still help church members with charitable gifting through estate planning
- Senior Youth & Young Adults keeps the connection with this sector of our membership during these times of confusion and spiritual inquiries.
- Youth guides to Pathfinders and Adventures directors and counselors to keep ministering these club members to achieve their honors and requirements for investiture in the near future.
Our officers still work through standing committee meetings such as executive, administrative, personnel, etc. But overall, encouraging our conference members through live messages at vespers as done in the last two Sabbath afternoons (click here to watch in English and here to watch in Spanish), calls to prayer by phone, and leading the office staff in worship every Monday morning.
All these activities are being done by phone or video conferencing, with higher participation, better engagement, shorter time, and fewer expenses.
After all, this new way to do ministry and business is not too bad. Actually, it is helping us to identify what the essential functions are to do a much more effective ministry and what areas we can prescind from.
Please pray for your conference leaders, pastors and educators, that all of us can have the discernment of “understanding the times” we are living in, and knowing what “God’s people ought to do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
- II Adventist Education Summit: SCC Pastors and Teachers, please save the date for Tuesday, August 11, 2020, from 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. at Glendale Adventist Academy. Let’s all plan accordingly.
Your virtual fellow traveler,
Velino A. Salazar
Southern California Conference