Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NAD Church Ministries

As shared in my e-newsletter, I'm in California and attending the NAD Church Ministries Convention this week. After arriving in San Francisco, I drove down to Santa Cruz for the night, and in the morning, before arriving at the convention, I took a couple of early morning pictures of the coast and the "LightHouse Memorial." Just behind the Lighthouse is a sign that warns visitors to stay on the safe side of the guardrail as over 90 individuals have drowned in the surf over the years. Time didn't allow me to stay long but a few minutes here convinced me that it would be wonderful to spend some vacation time on the California coast.

Looking East over the bay in Santa Cruz

Just beneath the "Stay Back" Sign. Beautiful and dangerous!
Moments before he was awakened!

Santa Cruz LightHouse Memorial
Santa Cruz Lighthouse Memorial

In the front left corner of the Memorial, between the steps and the building, a homeless man was sleeping. I took the picture of him above as I was walking in front of the building. Just before leaving, a police officer drove up, and as I watched told the man to "leave." He leaped up from where he was lying, screaming that he was not asleep, that this was federal property, he was an Army veteran, and then, using a lot of profanity, begin throwing his belongings - a bike, a sleeping bag, a bicycle. He challenged the police officer, a petite female officer, to fight him. As a former cop, I found this quite engaging to watch, and I thought it possible the man was going to attack the officer who, if need be, I probably foolishly would have jumped in to help. Fortunately, she had called for "back up," stood behind the door of her patrol car calmly telling him he was angry for no reason, and me thinking "you need to arrest this guy." In my old cop days, that kind of language in public and his threatening actions was cause for arrest. As I pulled out of the lot, fortunately,  another officer was coming to her aid. Amazing how within moments such a tranquil scene can turn into a dangerous threatening scenario!

This morning at the NAD meetings we heard a presentation from Adventist Community, a new web-based learning environment that is quite exciting. It has been created for the purpose of finally and long over-due, having an "official" web-based church source for 'official' communication on news events, issues of public debate, and maybe most importantly, allowing for professional development of pastors, teachers, etc., In time, it may also serve as a platform to help schools develop on-line web-based classes thus reducing cost and increasing course offerings.

A both sobering and affirming report was shared on the state of NAD SDA education. Here were a few of the facts: there are fewer students in NAD schools, K thru 12th now, then 20 years ago. Each year, over the past decade, we have been loosing approximately 100 students in NAD enrollment for a loss of well over a 1,000 in the last ten years.

Nearly 10% of our schools have closed in the past decade. However, the case for SDA education remains quite strong: ValueGenesis study, which most of us have heard about, affirms that the more our children stay in our schools, the more likely they are to become lifelong SDA's, the LESS likely they are, in high school, to engage in drugs, tobacco, pornography, and 'at risk' behavior, and finally, academically, across the board, our students perform at significantly higher levels in the basic skills tests then their public school contemporaries. So; why the continued decline in enrollments? I guess I"m not the right person to ask; I have some theories, but of this I am convinced. Continue to strive to offer our members and the community the very best academic and spiritual environment possible for the benefit of our children and youth, and, at the most affordable cost.

I  hopefully will be attending seminars on the GLOW tract/literature program  today as well as Philanthropic services (fund raising) before leaving here later this week. There are too many events to attend everything, so, you must "pick and choose" and even then you run out of time before you can get to everything.