Rob Appel, Executive Director


“I looked up on “GiverAdvisor” to see who are the most caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, kind people in their communities, and generous in the causes they choose to support. I was not surprised to see it was Seventh Day Baptists.”

Although the above scenario is not true — there really is no “GiverAdvisor,” (at least not today) — the rest of the content is true, in my opinion. You see, Seventh Day Baptists are truly caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly, and kind people. They tend to act out these attributes, rather than doing the opposite, when they encounter someone. I know this for a fact!

I have also witnessed Seventh Day Baptists taking on projects that other religious groups would not do, or could not do, especially if their groups had the number of people we have in our denomination. Don Sanford was known for saying, “We might be small in numbers, but we make up for it in talent.”


At our General Conference sessions in the summer of 2014, we voted to create a new area of ministry which is the most basic of our needs to ensure future healthy churches. This is in the area of Church Development. Church Development means working with existing churches to ensure they are healthy and with future churches (church planting) to further God’s Kingdom. We have been vigorously talking about church planting since 2008. We had a Conference in 2012 which was centered on this theme. And in 2014 we took action to put the tools in place to get this done.

Rev. John J. Pethtel was hired by the General Council to head up this very important area. In addition, John is to help our pastors to make sure they stay healthy

in their ministry. One of the most common things in ministry today is burn out—or some sin taking pastors out of their current work.

The decision at the 2014 sessions was not overlooked by the General Council, and it is not unnoticed by me. I see clearly you — the caring, compassionate, helpful, friendly and kind people that you are — working in our churches, your willingness and ability to push Kingdom work forward! This can be witnessed in your own family and your church family. And it is also true of your Conference family. Just as in a family nucleus, members of the family have a penchant to find their own style of doing things and their own way of operating in their life towards the people they encounter. Just as individuals within the family develop their own unique identity, they understand that things should not be done only their own way, and only with what they are comfortable! They cannot afford to have such a sense of pride that it overtakes the rest of the family.

That’s also a key to peace and unity in our denomination family. We need to recognize that our individuality is part of our healthy diversity. That attribute can serve the family well. We need to learn to balance our understanding of uniqueness as it pertains to each generation. If we have a generation that only reveres its own ways, and this causes conflict within another generation, this is not healthy! This causes fissures. A generation can actually be lost in the battle over control and conflict.

We all need to accept the people who came before us, and who are coming behind us. In unity and understanding, encourage those who do things differently in a positive way (even though things are not being done my way).

One of the problems we face today is that those who promote unity and stability are often seen, or labeled, as “traitors” to their generation. They are seen as being out of touch with reality, especially towards those they are supposed to be serving. Just because they try to encourage stability, it doesn’t mean they are out of touch. They probably just view things differently and are trying to maintain the harmony within the body of believers.

In the May SR, I will cover how we all can work together in maintaining our UNITY.

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