On the Road: The Challenges & Goals of 2014
By Al Reimche

As I write, I am down in Canyonville, in between our first two town hall meetings. Last night we met with Members in Ministry from the central part of our conference. We were inspired by the Milo Academy musical group One Voice and then spent time discussing the direction the conference will be heading during the next four years.

One of the reports presented shows how God has blessed this past year with an increase in giving throughout our conference that has not been seen in some years. We ended the year showing a 2.17 percent increase over 2012 and expenses that have stayed within budget. Though one-time exceptional gifts are definite blessings, it is the faithful giving of each of our members that allows us to keep God's mission alive in our conference. Thank you for your faithfulness in sharing God's blessings.

There are some large visionary plans that we have undertaken for these next four years. One is that we are asking our churches to grow new members in ministry by 5000. We believe it is an attainable but challenging goal. It will take all of us--pastors, leaders and all members--working together to meet this vision and grow God's kingdom.

Another goal comes out of a very concerning statistic. Over the past ten years our schools have gone from just over 3000 students to where today we have around 2000 attending. This has challenged our conference to set a goal of "1,000 in 5." One thousand students added to our schools in the next five years will bring us back to the enrollment we had ten years ago. Again, this is a large goal, but I believe, attainable as we work together with our schools and educators.

As I visit throughout the conference at each of these town hall events, I am blessed because I see God's people discussing, visioning together and sharing stories of the experiences they are having as Members in Ministry. Stories that include new discoveries through study of the great plan of salvation. Stories of friendships developed that result in someone discovering God's love. Stories of reaching out to a discouraged or former member with a God-inspired love. And stories of just being God's smile, which often unknowingly, opens doors for the gospel to be shared.

To each Member in Ministry, thank you for being willing to be used by God as His ambassador!