In the past few months, I have received in my mailbox at church a flier for an upcoming Conference. It has graced my mailbox a couple of times, and I have inspected it with moderate interest each time. It is being sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist church, and the flier claims that the annual event "has become the premier gathering within Adventism" for anyone who is serious about mission in the 21st century.
The back of the flier shows the four main guest speakers who will be presenting, and from my limited perspective, it would appear that 3 out of the 4 speakers are not Seventh-day Adventists. Now, don't get me wrong. I believe we can, and have, learned a great deal from our non-Adventist brothers and sisters. I regularly read non-Adventist authors on varying subjects. But for the life of me, I cannot figure out how non-Adventist presenters can teach us how to better proclaim the Three Angel's Messages - which we have been called to do at this time in earth's history.
It is one thing to read an author in the quietness of my own personal time - where I can freely "interact" intellectually with a person's ideas on paper - or even to attend a Conference at Willow Creek or Saddleback (though I would prefer to shy away from that as well), but to stick these individuals up on our platforms and proclaim that this is the "premier gathering within Adventism," where attendees may or may not realize the presenters are not Seventh-day Adventist, seems to be a little more dangerous.
And if such an event has become the "premier gathering" within Adventism, I fear we will forget what our true mission is.
I do not write this to be critical. I have colleagues who will be attending the Conference. And, as I said, I am sure there will be things that can be learned and implemented. But shouldn't Adventists be the ones leading the pack in teaching others how to be missional, rather than us, sitting at their feet, neglecting the Gospel that we have been called to proclaim?