On March 14, 2017, the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church hosted a Facebook Live event entitled “Is This Thing On?” at 8 p.m CDT, featuring a Q&A session with NAD President Daniel Jackson and Executive Secretary Alexander Bryant hosted at Union College to answer questions from members in the live audience and as asked on various social media platforms.
This event, aimed towards college-age young adults, is the start of a new video series from the NAD. The NAD encouraged both its live and online audience to send in questions relating to the Bible, church policy, Adventist lifestyle, theology, relationships and more using the hashtag #NADnow.
With the decline of young adults in congregations of Adventist Churches in North America, Adventist Church leaders in North America have looked for ways to get young Adventists involved more in the church, both at the local church and institutional level. The Barna Group, a visionary research and resource company did a research on why young Christians have been leaving the Church.
David Kinnaman, a member of the Barna Group who headed the research, listed that “nearly three out of every five young Christians (59 percent) disconnect permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age 15.”
Former General Conference President Jan Paulsen spearheaded an agenda to increase open dialogue with young adults by participating in over thirty “Let’s Talk” conversations with young adults from around the world. Dan Jackson and Alex Bryant continue this agenda by making the tagline of this event: “Making sure we can hear each other. Let’s talk.”
Steven Sigamani (Master of Divinity, first year) posed the following question on the NAD Facebook page: “Andrews University has taken a great stance at opening dialogue about racism in the church, when will we have a NAD-wide movement or even worldwide movement on this matter?”
In his response to Sigamani’s question, Jackson echoed Dr. Luxton’s call for more open dialogue in her informal response to the #ItIsTimeAU video shared at the chapel service on Feb. 23.
Jackson said, “I have nothing but applause for what AU did. We need to have more of these kinds of conversations throughout the NAD.”
Bryant also commented and said, “We don’t have enough conversations. The church is better served when we talk openly about controversial issues.”
According to the Spectrum magazine website, “The NAD institution in Canada, Burman University, led in submitting questions.” The university’s most popular question by student vote began: “Are there any actions being taken by the North American Division regarding Women’s Ordination?”
In response to Burman University’s question, Jackson said, “I personally believe in the ordination of women...I have for a long time.”
Jackson’s statement of personal belief was met with applause by those in the live student audience.
Jackson referenced that the NAD is not separated from the world church, that “it is not an island,” and thus must thoughtfully consider its approach to resolving disagreements with the greater world church.
Jackson concluded the event with an appeal to Seventh-day Adventist young adults and youth, and said“We aren’t making much progress but you’re the future of the church, so don’t give up...we need you, we want you!”
The “Let’s Talk” Q&A session was advertised as the first of a series of events allowing open dialogue between NAD leaders and Seventh-day Adventist young adults. No official dates or further information has been provided at this time.