We asked, you answered

We asked, you answered

May 24, 2013

We asked, you answered


A big THANK YOU to all who participated in the recent General Council survey. (See the survey questions in the February and March Sabbath Recorders.)

The Council received a lot of constructive feedback, and wanted to address some of the pertinent areas with you.


Gen Cl feat Checking ballot CLR 


Q:  How many people responded to the survey and how will you be using the information received?

A:  We had responses from 80 people and a report of the results was sent to each of the members of General Council to review. We discussed the report during our March 15-16th meeting in Seattle.



Q:  What did the survey response reveal about what people think the General Council should focus on?

A:  A significant number of responses mentioned they thought the General Council’s primary responsibility is NOT to perform the activities listed in the survey, but to facilitate the existing boards and agencies to perform these activities. (We agree!) That being said, the responses showed someone thought every area was important. The averages showed the top areas were Long Term Strategy, Promote Outreach, Support to Pastors, and Facilitate Communication. The areas ranked least important were Fund Raising, Start New Projects, and Develop Written Materials.



Q:  Were there any key messages you saw repeatedly through the survey results?

A:  Yes. We saw a desire for “new church planting” and concern for “revitalization of declining churches” by several people. (This confirms what we knew.) The passion in the feedback was that we stop talking and start doing something concrete! Both of these areas were discussed at the March General Council meeting. We are taking steps to respond to this action item from last year’s General Conference and will include a summary of completed actions and future plans in our report at General Conference in Colorado Springs.



Q:  How can we start new churches when the costs are so high and most of the pastors are bi-vocational or have spouses who have to work a full-time job?

A:  The General Council has begun discussing options for subsidizing the pastor’s salary for new church plants. We are also concerned that not every pastor would be suitable for a new church plant situation. We need to engage people who are called, prepared, trained, committed and have a vision for church planting. We believe God will be faithful to provide the funding as well as the many other areas of support required for a new church plant.



Q:  Other than church planting and revitalization, were there any other messages from the survey?

A:  Here are some of the other areas mentioned we will look for ways to address:

–      Mentoring for pastors and pastors-to-be, including those not called to attend seminary

–      Opportunities for 1-4 week mission trips

–      A mechanism for sharing resources between churches

–      Church assistance for websites, streaming, and other new media uses

–      Keep communicating and praying to encourage and keep SDB churches connected



Q:  Why are some churches visited and not others? How can a church request a visit?

A:  The goal is to visit each of the 10 Associations at least every 2-3 years. The Executive Director strives to connect with the churches as his travel allows, and other executives and General Council members attend churches when invited or passing through the area. The Conference President has been attending the Association meetings and churches when invited. An invitation from a church starts the process for a visit. If your church has a special occasion or would just like someone to visit, they can contact Rob Appel at the SDB Center in Janesville (608-752-5055 or at robappel@seventhdaybaptist.org).



Q: Did the survey response support additional communication via internet options?

A:  Yes. 89% of the people responded that they would like to receive more communication via the internet. The primary reasons mentioned for not wanting more internet communication are slow network access or they already receive enough communication today. Several people also mentioned a preference for links from webpages and Facebook instead of receiving more e-mails.



Q:  What was the response about General Conference attendance?

A:  About 2/3 of those responding attend General Conference regularly, while the other third say they rarely or never have attended Conference. Reasons for not attending were the time and cost of travel, getting time off work, preferring a shorter duration, and the desire to separate business from worship and other programs. This feedback will be helpful in planning for future Conferences. Although costs were mentioned in 43% of the overall responses, most people understood how they are established.



Q:  Someone asked whether there are guidelines for paying our pastors and whether there is any summary information on how many SDB pastors are within the compensation guidelines?

A:  The Committee On Support and Retirement (COSAR) creates and posts Salary Guidelines for pastors on the COM webpage (www.sdbministry.org). This can be accessed by selecting the “Salary Guidelines” box on the front page. These guidelines encourage the churches—if they cannot meet the suggested minimum for a full-time pastor—to understand that their pastor is part-time. At this time salary information for pastors is not collected or monitored to determine whether churches are compensating within the guidelines.



Q:  How can individuals and churches contact the General Council with ideas or concerns?

A:  You may contact the chairman, any individual member, or the entire General Council. We would love to hear from you! Here are the e-mail addresses:

     Chairman, John Pethtel  (john.j.pethtel@gmail.com)

Susie Fox  (sjphox@gmail.com)

Dannette Montague  (dannette709@prodigy.net)

Rod Noel  (rnoel@stny.rr.com)

Dale Thorngate  (djthorn17@aol.com)

Full General Council  (sdbgeneralcouncil@seventhdaybaptist.org)


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