MISSION TO THE CITIES
by Mike Cauley, D.Min.
Florida Conference President
Florida Conference has begun an initiative called Mission To the Cities. It is actually one ingredient of a two-part emphasis about returning to our purpose as a movement. At the beginning of the work of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Conferences were organized (beginning with Michigan Conference in 1861) for two reasons—to evangelize their territory and to connect with the world-wide mission of reaching “…every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” (Revelation 14:6 NKJV)
A call to reach the cities was strongly woven through the writings of Ellen White, especially during the last 20 years of her ministry. “The work in the cities is the essential work for this time. When the cities are worked as God would have them, the result will be the setting in operation of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed.” (Medical Ministry 304.1) Florida is the fourth largest state in population, and 89% of our state population is in the context of a metropolitan community.
The second ingredient of the emphasis upon returning to our purpose is overseas missions. Our Executive Committee recently voted to encourage churches, schools, and individuals to consider sponsoring a Chinese church planter in China for one year with the possibility for renewal of the sponsorship for two additional years. The cost is $1,500 per year.
The ratio of Adventist to nonAdventist in North America is 1:330. (The ratio here in Florida is 1:190.) The ratio in China is 1:3,300! China is a country about the size of the continental United States with 1.4 billion people. The 410,000 members in China have a primarily congregational structure due to the political context. Prosperity is coming to China, and religious oppression is easing. The opportunity to enter with the Adventist message is now.
Facilitating the work of evangelism and church planting, as well as connecting with the world-wide mission of the Church, are the reasons that conferences were organized at the beginning of the Adventist movement. By the grace of God, this is what we will re-embrace as our emphasis.
May God bless us as we keep our vision focused upon the heart of our movement and calling.