FROM THE GENERAL CONFERENCE OF SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST TO OUR PRESENT DAY LOCAL CONFERENCE│ observation and statistics have uncovered that men and women who are in Administration and the Departmental work of the Church are sometimes removed from what goes on in a local congregation. Many Seventh-day Adventist ecclesiastical authorities admit that a chasm exist between the upper complicated structure and the local church.
If a church official asked, “What does the local Conference, Union, North American Division and the General Conference do for you? The upper hierarchy would not be startled that few members would be unable to respond with a suitable answer.
THE PRESENT STRUCTURE OF THE WORLD CHURCH│ arose from a 19th century organizational paradigm, Seventh-day Adventist pioneers borrowed from capitalistic models they understood in America during the early beginnings of the) Church
(CAPITALISM is an economic system and a mode of production in which trade, industries, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit.)
Research revealed that the crafted structure developed world missions but neglected the local church and pastor. Historical findings indicate that the five tier structured model came from a capitalist approach which brought about a wealthy World Church.
As political scientists teach, there exists no pure system. They all have residual negative effects. And in capitalism the negative results are often exploitation of natural resources.
THIS SHORT ESSAY MEANS│ that over the years the local church and the pastor came to be structured at the bottom of the organizational system. The pay scale and output of the World Church can be understood from this model. Today, those in Administration and Departments are paid slightly higher and receive budgets while the local pastor gets the least pay and no budget. People seem to perceive that more work output comes from the ecclesiastic upper structure than from the local church.
This capitalist approach teaches the exploitation of ministers as leaders at the top see the clergy as their servants. Leaders at the top sometimes have the attitude like, “accept and do as I say or you are not going anywhere;” even if what they want you to do have no biblical foundation. I submit to you that if local pastors were paid at the rate of the highest official in the General Conference, ministers would fight to serve at the local church level.
How bad is the present paradigm? Bad! It reaches a boiling point when cries from abuse of authority surface and shout, “Reorganize the structure of the World Church” as in 1901. For your information, the structure we presently have as a World Church (1901 to 1915) comes from that time period with little renovations.
WHY IS THE ABOVE BRIEF INTRODUCTION IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND?│ Because what cries from under this President’s desk, reveals a tearful story of why people today cry out for reorganization of our World Church—even congregationalism. Everything of real importance comes from the pew and pastoral ministry not from Administration like money, baptisms, community services, personal evangelism etc. The entire structure of the World church is financed by your tithes and offering. Without your personal giving on the local level, our World Church might not exist. The quest to become an institutionalized wealthy World Church speaks well of the negative aspects this system brings such as exploitation of local human resources.
Denominational history does chronicle the bad decisions that drove some of our great leaders to leave the Seventh-day Adventist Church because of capitalistic exploitation. Strip mining the local church and pastoral ministry of its resources for individualistic advancement and self aggrandizement skews God’s purpose.
An unaccountable capitalist mind will fire you for a drop in the local church tithe or a year that there were no baptisms regardless of a lifetime of ministerial productivity. This capitalistic, uncontrolled attitude will force you into retirement or terminate a worker for a large medical pay out of benefits. A capitalist mindset with free reign will make workers pay more for benefits for a balanced bottom line. As stated in the last Presidential debate, “Let them die” which also refers to sick pastors. How do you know that you won’t contract a long term disease? It happens to the healthiest people. Even Raw Foodist!
SAM GREEN’S LEADERSHIP│ precisely emanates from within a closed box mindset of a Wall Street model not from Main Street America. With a wave of his arm or a turned back to an ad hoc committee, the embattled President COULD “pink slip” men without thinking about the consequence of human tragedy within our church. The best decision is often the one that says, “I can’t do this. It will be too devastating.” A capitalistic mindset says, “But I have to do it in order for more production which means a greater gain.”
So Green’s capitalistic mindset went for a Voluntary Incentive Workers Reduction program to “get rid of the waste.” But the real truth that he will not admit to is that he had come up with this strategy endorsed and implemented by the Secretary, Treasurer, Under Treasurer and Ministerial Director. In better words, they blamed workers and the members for their mismanagement not themselves.
Now that they have executed their plan through “hellos” of exploitation and “goodbyes,” many good men and their spouses were traumatized by last year’s actions from the SWRGC headquarters. Don’t get lost in the mudslinging of their exploitations. It is easy to do if you give blind support to a quaking regime. Don’t fall into their sink hole.
SO HERE’S WHAT I WANT YOU TO LEAVE WITH FROM THIS BLOG.│ Five cries from those who were exploited by the President’s capitalistic mindset, men who were devalued and sacrificed for a campground that was built on their backs. I will only use the initials of five men to protect them from the general public. Consider the first casualty of the President’s capitalist mindset, JRE….
CRY #1: FROM JRE: A good man I have known since I was a child. He has a great wife that I love dearly. The capitalistic mindset of the President and the ad hoc committee terminated JRE’s part time stipend. They revoked his stipend as he was working part time in Wills and Trust. As related to me about my friend, JRE received a call while he was taking an exam for certification to continue serving in Wills and Trust. At that exam JRE received a phone call from the Secretary informing him that his services were no longer needed and at a specified date he would be terminated from part time employment with the Southwest Region Conference.
As it was reliably related to me, JRE went into depression, wouldn’t anyone after you have given your life to a cause? To only be tossed out like the souls you have brought to this conference meant nothing? If it was not for his good companion, who knows what might have happened to him, JRE could have died. The loss of that income was devastating to him and his wife even though it did not damage him with his relationship to Jesus Christ. The fact that termination was so cold blooded and thoughtless would seem unimaginable to any pastor or member. JRE’s pastoral ministry to find the lost may not be matched by many. Yet they terminated him and painted him in negative terms eyewitnesses say. Why?
More tears flow from the President’s desk….
CRY #2: FROM REB: I have known REB since I was a small child. I loved him then and much more now. Arguably, REB is one of the best if not the greatest preacher I have ever known. RB’s sermons come packed with substance. Personally I don’t believe a pastor today can match him sermon for sermon. Pound for pound REB is the greatest heavyweight preacher in the world of Adventism. Yet REB became a casualty of the President’s capitalistic mindset. As related to me through interviews, the President called him into the office and gave him a scenario and offer. It went something like this: “If you retire now I will allow you to continue to work part time with benefits. It will free up a salary to bring on someone else.” Now, when the financial floor caved in through mismanagement, last year REB was approached by the President at the campground during a retreat and given a verbal pink slip that May 15th 2014 would be his last day losing all of his benefits. Without further explanation. The President withdrew from his previously agreed commitment made to REB. What can I say? This did not just happen. It came from Green’s capitalist mental retreat on a promised agreement. Consider a third cry from under the President’s desk….
CRY #3: FROM MRM: Considered by many a person of courage, though not as flamboyant as some of his colleagues the leadership and unity he demonstrated in Dallas area amongst ministers was astonishing, amongst many source reports in this area. At least, unquestionably, he stood for his colleagues to get a fair hearing and needed knowledge before they signed something that they might regret. This is more than Cox, Ford, or Jones did who champion themselves as the leaders in our capital of SWRC, as they were exempt from this offer due to their positions in the conference. The capitalist mind of President Green took from MRM one of the two churches in his district, Casalita Drive and gave it to Elder Ken Dixon so that he could be eligible for ordination. The President told MRM that he would have one church, Dallas Fellowship Church and “should spend the rest of his time building it up.” Within less than a year the President “turned coat” on MRM and allowed the ad hoc committee to relocate him to Alexandria, Louisiana, a state that he spent most of his career in twice. Many who know him, especially Elder Green, know that this move would have caused MRM to relocate as a senior citizen which would have made it a hardship for MRM to receive adequate medical treatment. Anyway, MRM appealed to the Executive Committee and they over turned the relocation. But, not after he had to appeal to the SW Union President. President Green knew of his hardship before the ad hoc committee decision.
Circulating around the SWRC, some ministers believed that the President may have removed MRM from the Dallas Fellowship Church where Dixon thought he would be going (unbelievable) as a possible church for the President should things go sour in September. The current arrangement now, may be indicative of some kind of arrangement for the President to remain in the Dallas area should things go down bad. When I asked sources who know MRM how things went at his review they indicated that the Ministerial Director and President said his service was commendable. He was disappointed that the President would not give him an excellent rating, the highest level, because as stated by the capitalist mind of Green, “everyone needs improvement” even after he was publically admonished by Elder Green at a meeting at camp meeting, where many ministers felt that Elder Green was dishonest about having little knowledge of senior ministerial concerns over the incentive program. Several ministerial sources report that Elder Green became so angry rumors of payback for MRM were imminent and more than confirmed for him. MRM still refuses to comment on this after my email requests, as he characterizes Elder Green as his friend first and his concerns were his responsibility and role as the leader of the association, how so MRM? Et..Tu Brute? Most ministers have commented and believe that this drastic move for MRM was out of retaliation of his outspoken leadership in representing the senior ministerial demographic in the conference, no one has told me differently. One of my sources close to the executive committee expressed that MRM was gratefully thankful to the Executive Committee even though the ad hoc committee added a third church to the district in retaliation to the executive committee’s decision to vote in favor of MRM’s appeal. Why won’t MRM speak out again? Would you?
CRY #4: FROM JM: JM ministered down in the Monroe area and maintained several churches successfully. The Monroe district notoriously prevails as a difficult area to minister. JM prevented one church near Shreveport from drying up while maintaining others. JM is a good minister and person. The sad fact continues from a capitalist mind when he wanted a hearing at the Executive Committee way back in September or October 2014, sometime when it was rumored that a Rally Day of protest against the moves would take place. JM stood up and asked to address the Committee. Sam Green turned him away but eventually was allowed to address the Executive Committee with no avail. The fact remains, the Executive committee allowed JM to walk in to the sunset apparently without a concrete reason. To me he should have been given an opportunity for ordination—the situation being no different than Ken Dixon. Now think of how long JM worked for the SWRC part time and gave full time service? Sources tell me who have interviewed JM that he felt betrayed by the people he has known for years yet gave him no reconsideration. This synopsis of FW is tearful….
CRY #5: FROM FW: Finally, we come to a very colorful minister who lives and pastors in the Houston area. Sam Green has sat on at least three of his relocations. No one familiar with his ministry can deny that FW over the years has been successful in ministry. As a matter of fact Dr. Gordon Jones could not touch him because FW went to some of the hard places that the Ministerial Director would not like to be relocated should he not be returned in September. Over the years, no President questioned the productivity of pastor FM because the statistic would reveal excellent. FW now pastors four churches a real hardship that may be detrimental to his health. Younger ministers don’t understand that one day they will get sick too.
Now the top four men and one woman would give this man an unfavorable report basically because in the last two years he has been sick and injured. I should pause to mention that the SW Union did not give our President an unfavorable report when he missed work because of his recent major surgery and long term recovery. Nor did they seek to terminate him because of Sam Green’s failing health. But the capitalist mind of the President would make it hard for someone who deserved a break.
The problem about the ministerial reviews was how it was developed. What instrument did they use if any? Experts reveal that such an instrument is often developed by employees as a standard for review. Sad to say, from the capitalist mind of the President, he left that in the hands of Dr. Jones as well—the so named, so proclaimed by the President as the hardest working pastor in the SWRGC. What an insult to the rest of ministry. If you don’t like someone and are biased about their work you will look for anything to give that person an unfavorable rating. Once again we see a capitalist mindset. If things were as bad as they say, why didn’t Jones and Green go to FW’s district and work personally with him as needed so that he could be pulled up to review standard if they felt that FW was deficient?
Well, these are five cries from under the President’s desk that one day he will have to answer to God for. As stated in the movie American Sniper, I’m sure the President will say, “I am ready to meet my maker for every one of them I shot and killed.” And Green will be judged according to how he fairly administered social justice as compared to Christ’s standard in the New Testament. Apparently that will determine entrance into heaven—if not reconciled.
CONCLUSION: Why did the President bring more workers into the office at a time that he was aware of the Conference experiencing a financial meltdown because of poor planning and mismanagement? He brought in a Communication Director, two Under Treasurers, a Bible worker that could have been terminated as recent hires, before reassigning mostly senior men to 3 and 4 churches. He could have cut from the office but instead exempted Administration and office personnel, the departments which could have been merged to save money and prevent the pastors from losing their employment. At the time of his tearful resignation as treasurer of the SWRGC in the middle 80’s he was Secretary/Treasurer. But Sam Green’s old style, managerial capitalistic mind prevented him from using less evasive means to save ALL the deserving men from termination. Consider the cries of pastors above and pray for them for their journey of hardship is not over!