Executive Secretary’s Report to the 28th Constituency Session

Arizona Conference

 Arizona for Jesus!

 

Jesus traveled through all the cities, unincorporated communities, and suburbs of the area. He taught in the meeting places and preached the good news of the Kingdom. Everywhere He went the Master healed people of every sort of illness and disease. But when he saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know where to go for help. Jesus said to His disciples:
“The harvest is so great, but the laborers are so few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest and ask Him to send out more laborers to bring it in.” Then Jesus explained: “Look around you! Vast fields of human souls are ripening all around us and are ready now for the harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages and will be gathering souls into the eternal granaries of heaven! The fruits they harvest are people brought to eternal life. What joys await the planter and the harvester, both together!”

 
Matthew 9:35-38 and John 4:35-36

King James, New International, Promise Bible, Clear Word, and Living Bible Translations

The vast fields of human souls that Christ’s eye looked upon with compassion surround us still today, here within the borders of the Arizona Conference.

 
 

THE MULTITUDES

Our Conference territory includes the Apache, Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Maricopa, Mojave, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz, Yavapai, and Yuma counties.  They represent a combined population that exceeds 6.1 million residents.

The Arizona Conference currently provides a total of 77 churches, 7 companies and 10 groups. As a result of God’s leading we are welcoming 5 new congregations into the sisterhood of churches: Gilbert Adventist Christian Fellowship, Litchfield Park/Arizona Evangelism Center, Phoenix Central Korean, Phoenix Central Valley Spanish, and Tucson South Spanish Churches.

Living within the borders of the Arizona Conference are 221,987 African American residents, 3,736,790 Anglo Americans, 135,659 of Asian-Pacific descent, 1,757,400 Hispanic Americans, and 314,482 Native Americans. We have both pastoral and lay “harvesters” working extensively throughout our state to present the message of the Bible through worship services, Sabbath Schools, home meetings, one-on-one contacts, and other creative means. Individuals in Arizona are learning of Jesus in English, Korean, Laotian, Navajo and other native languages, Portuguese, Spanish and through Sign Language.

 

THE POTENTIAL

According to a 2000 report[1], Arizona constituents have chosen to live in communities where over 1.6 million of our state’s residents are known for their faith-based living. These residents, then, become co-laborers in providing religious service and support to our Arizona communities. 

There are 974,883 Catholics in the state of Arizona. The more than 600,000 mainline Protestants join uncounted others of Protestant backgrounds whose influence is significant.  The 251,974 Mormon adherents constitute the second largest Christian denomination in Arizona. There are 81,675 Jewish adherents and 11,857 Muslims. There are 16,077 Seventh-day Adventists in Arizona.

 

 THE PLANTERS

During this quadrennium, October 2003−2007, we rejoice that there were 3,586 additions through baptisms and professions of faith. These represent an accession rate of over 22.3% when compared to the total Conference membership of 16,077 constituents. An additional 1,617 joined our family through membership transfers.

Who are these 3,586 new believers? We find that 116 of them are African American, with a total African American membership of 1,039. Another 1,381 are Anglo, with a total Anglo membership of 9,387. Additionally 2,014 are Hispanic, with a total Hispanic membership of 5,299. Finally, 75 are Native American, with a total Native membership of 352.

We are immensely saddened to acknowledge that during this same period 980 former members chose to leave the Seventh-day Adventist faith. These 980 beloved former constituents represent a loss rate of just under 6.1% when compared to total Conference membership.

While we share the sorrow of the 378 families who laid loved ones to rest during this four-year period, our hearts hope in the blessed promise of Christs return and His assurance of our eternal reunion with Him and with those we have lost.

 

  THE HARVESTERS

 “What joys await the planter and the harvester, both together!”

The prospects for successful reaping are overwhelming. The rich cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of Arizona offers tremendous potential for partnering with the Holy Spirit for a finished work. It is encouraging to realize that as increasing numbers of our 16,077 conference constituents respond to the urgent call to public ministry, more and more “harvesters” will become available to engage in reaping. Our earnest prayer is that we each will continue to seek opportunities to deliver the message of eternal life to the multitudes of human souls who are “ripening” all around us. They are waiting for the indescribable and life-changing blessing that committed “harvesters” will bring. 

 
THE TOOLS

Updating and maintaining the membership records for our Conference, and the service records for our employees, are only two of the major responsibilities of the Executive Secretary’s Office.  Fortunately, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America is coming into the 21st century by technological leaps and bounds as it relates to our church membership and records processes. Since our last session in 2003 we have moved onto the information “super highway” with an exciting program called e-Adventist.

At the touch of a button, e-Adventist provides us with (1) immediate, accurate membership data and (2) ease of paperless communication and relay of information with other conferences—all done safely, securely and confidentially. Our ministers and teachers can quickly contact Sandi Pate in the Executive Secretary’s Office to request and review copies of their service records. Local church clerks will be able to send information directly to our Conference Membership Clerk, Betty Alvarez, via the computer. Transfers within the Conference and throughout the North American Division could soon be documented within seconds after being voted, thanks to this new technology.

What an amazing time it is to be serving the Lord! It is indeed a privilege to work as Executive Secretary for the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists—one of the most progressive and rapidly developing conferences in the North American Division.

 

     Tony Anobile, Executive Secretary


 

QUADRENNIAL MEMBERSHIP COMPARISONS

 

                        Begin           Baptism/      Transfers      Apost        Transfers         Ending                            % Net

Year               Memb          Prof Faith           In              Missing         Out**           Memb            (Adj)        Growth        

 

2003*         13,663           235             384            -33          -402            13,847                            

 

2004           13,847         1,110             448          -478          -346            14,501         -80         4.72           

 

2005           14,501           848             332          -146          -311            15,129         -95         4.33

 

2006           15,129           876             304          -255          -294            15,697         -63         3.75

 

2007n         15,697           517             149            -68          -195            16,077         -23         2.42

 

 

TOTALS                    3,586           1,617          -980        -1,548                            -261              

 

 

 

NOTES:

 

*    Figures given for 2003 reflect membership activity only for the fourth quarter of 2003.

 **   Transfers Out includes the total number of deaths and letters requesting a transfer of membership

      out of the Conference.

     Membership figures given for 2007 only reflect activity through 8/14/2007.

 

 

 


[1] The year 2000 was the most recent year in which these statistics could be found.