The February 23 Wisconsin Conference Executive Committee opened with a welcome by our Conference President Titus Naftanaila and opening prayer by Ministerial Director Adam Case. We were blessed with the presence of our Lake Union President, Ken Denslow, and Executive Secretary Elden Ramirez.
The morning devotional by Elden Ramirez reminded us that as we offer our best efforts to God, He supplies our lack so we are able to declare “What great things God has wrought.” He shared several miracle stories from his personal experiences of God supplying their lack when he was working in the small conference of Montana.
Following his devotional, Elden Ramirez shared a Church Vitality report showing statistics of both NAD and local Adventist churches that are multiplying, growning, plateauing or declining. This information helps guide our church in making informed decisions affecting our church’s mission efforts and spending decisions. The information is base totally from reported local churches statistics. The more churches we have sending in their quarterly reports of attendance and number of baptisms, the more informed the church can be in making accurate and productive decisions. Here is a chart he shared based on reporting churches in Wisconsin Conference:
Elden Ramirez shared two short video promos regarding the upcoming Lake Union Our United Cry Prayer Conference to be held in Plainfield, Indiana, March 11 & 12, 2022. Watch the Lake Union promo HERE.
President Titus Naftanaila shared key highlights of 2021:
Our Connecting to Serve 2018-2022 mission focus
The surprising church growth during COVID-19
The unexpected financial growth during COVID-19
Church buildings sold and purchased
We have 369 students enrolled in Adventist Education
We rejoice to have experienced safe camp meeting and summer camps with good attendance
President Naftanaila also pointed out key reported news events in our conference including baptisms, Pathfinder and education events, Milwaukee School’s 50 anniversary planned for April 8 & 9, the Mad About Marriage seminar coming April 2, and the soon to happen conference wide evangelistic effort to be held March 31-April 30, 2022, in Waukesha by our Wisconsin Conference Evangelist Tom Michalski. More information is coming soon regarding this key event. Wisconsin camp meeting will be held June 10-18, 2022 with the theme, “Do You Love Me?” Also, this year on October 16, we will be holding our 39th Constituency Session at Wisconsin Academy.
Here are some opportunities for the year 2022 that President Naftanaila highlighted, as well as the schedule of remaining town hall meetings scheduled for this spring:
President Naftanaila ended his report with sharing the following quotes:
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 NIV
“All who engage in the work aright, cheerfully and hopefully will find it a very great blessing. The Lord does not force any to engage in his work, but to those who place themselves decidedly on his side he will give a willing mind. He will bless all who will work out the spirit which he works in. To such workers he will give favor and success. As field after field is entered new methods and new plans will spring from new circumstances. New thoughts will come with the new workers who give themselves to the work. As they seek the Lord for help, he will communicate with them. They will receive plans devised by the Lord himself. Souls will be converted, and money will come in. The workers will find waste places of the Lord’s vineyard lying close beside fields that have been worked. Every field shows new places to win. All that is done brings to light how much more still remains to be done.” GCB April 14, 1902, par. 40
Executive Secretary/Treasurer Brian Stephan brought conference company membership transfers to vote. He also shared membership information using the following statistics illustrated below.
Discussed and voted development of a local chapter Risk Management Committee to help keep Wisconsin entities abreast of Risk Management issues.
Voted to renew our yearly financial agreement with Advocates for Southeast Asians and the Persecuted (ASAP) in co-support of Pastor Chanchai Kiatyanyong in our Hmong ministry.
Voted to purchase new cameras for camp meeting use.
Voted renovation of Camp Ranger’s house at Camp Wakonda.
Treasurer Brian Stephen then shared December 2021 highlights rejoicing in a 2021 title gain of 6%, and a 2022 title gain of 9.3%. “This is incredible,” stated Stephan. “Why an uptick during COVID years? I can only attribute it to the faithfulness of God’s people, their love for Him, and a realization of the times we are living in.” Wisconsin Budget was also blessed with an actual 3% gain.
With the financial increase, Stephan reported we are able to work on rebuilding our much needed working capital, and are hoping to once again have 100% of the NAD recommended reserves within the next couple of years. Below are what Stephan labeled a “Miracle in Graph” following the faithfulness of God’s people.
Ministerial Director Adam Case reported that on average, Wisconsin churches started a new evangelistic series every 7 days in 2021. He also reported we are expanding our Hispanic Ministries especially in the northwest corner of our state. While we are not yet able to add to the Hispanic pastoral staff, we are adding a Bible Worker and re-arranging the hispanic pastoral districts to help accommodate this expansion.
Planned Giving and Trust Services Director Bill Ochs shared an update on how he is blessed to be able to help individuals across our state be good stewards for their families and their churches. Our Adventist Trust Services is guided by 47 denominational standards, we are audited every three years, and we have been able to maintain an A rating with these high standards.
In 2021 Wisconsin Trust Services wrote:
9 Revocable Trusts
27 Self-Administered Trusts
3 Charitable Remainder Trusts
“I feel blessed to be involved in this ministry,” said Ochs. “It is not a business, it is a ministry.”
Wisconsin Conference President Titus Naftanaila invited our Lake Union President Ken Denslow to close the meeting with prayer. He asked God to use us in accomplishing His will in this territory.
Juanita Edge, Communication Director
Photograph by Adam Case, Ministerial Director