Administration is just another name for leadership. In a day like this, leadership in the church takes on a pronounced meaning and great significance. At a time when no past achievement can be the goal for the present hour, much depends on the recognition of the problems that confront the church in reaching the true objectives of our Lord.
In connection with the statements issued by the Committee of the International Missionary Council recently held in Whitby, Ontario, Canada, we find some highly apt suggestions regarding these problems of administration in the church in facing the present moment. It is pointed out that "the main lines of missionary policy are laid down by the Lord Himself in His command to make disciples of all nations." It is stated that the policy of administration in the church now "must be set forth on the basis of carefully considered programs of advance, and on a radical rethinking of priorities. It is likely that plans for a forward movement will require the abandonment of some cherished activities and the elimination of duplication and overlapping more radical than have as yet been considered feasible." This is sound reasoning, for advancement must be made, and such steps will have to be taken as are necessary to that advancement, even though those steps be steps toward eliminating as well as adding.
Chief among the problems which this committee sees before the church, if it fulfills the call of God for this hour, is the problem of institutions. The report says, "The institutions must at all costs be kept avowedly and vigorously Christian. They must be guarded against the tendency towards secularization which is the besetting danger of well-established institutions." This is a point which must be continually guarded in the great cause which we love so well. To allow our institutions to become secular in any sense—in objectives, in attitudes or in influence—when so much energy, means, and effort of the church is consumed in keeping them alive, is to allow Satan's submarine method of attack upon the work of God to be just that far successful in its destructiveness. There must be kept continually developing a closer connection between the institutions and the life of the church which it serves. A partnership attitude should ever be building up in both the institution and the church.
This is all important because these institutions of the church are the master builders of Seventh-day Adventism. Out of them must come ministerial workmen with genius, statesmanlike foresight, and power. Administration which will be acceptable to God in such an hour as this will make the products of these institutions more serviceable to the church. Products with more and more of that knowledge, understanding, wisdom, conviction, and spiritual power, which the genuine Seventh-day Adventist worker must have, are needed now.
To do this, there must be an ever-growing spirit of co-operation and unity among the administration of the organizations possessed by the church, as the previously mentioned committee pointed out. One purpose and objective must actuate every program of every organization of the church. This committee aptly states:
"The present world situation, in which racialism and a narrow nationalism threaten to destroy the life of mankind, demands in us a vivid awareness of the fact that missionaries are ambassadors of Christ and messengers of a gospel which bears witness to a fellowship that transcends all national and racial boundaries and in which there is neither Jew nor Greek, German nor English, European nor Asiatic. The task before us is to show how, as missionaries, by birth belonging to various nations and cultural traditions, we can give a more unequivocal expression to the fact that our primary loyalty is to Christ and that our responsibility as servants of the ecumenical church must dominate our whole thinking and behavior, and not merely influence a part of it."
Such a spirit cannot be kept alive in any organization without careful thought and planning on the part of administrators. Priorities in loyalties must ever be kept clear and distinct in the minds of all our leaders the world around.
Today Seventh-day Adventists find themselves at the open door of great, inviting, challenging, appealing service of all kinds and to all races and nationalities and classes of people. With their spiritual forces and ever-mounting resources, they are morally and spiritually compelled to think and plan in terms of an encompassing, constructive, and vigorous movement in both the home field and the foreign field. Comprehensive and co-ordinated planning is essential on every field. This extension for the immediate future, if in keeping with God's great leadership, must be beyond any or all of our present program.
Adventism must seek power, and enter upon new processes for taking the gospel to the people of all sections, not only of our own country but of all the world in the shortest possible time. The wide world is now facing an alarming moral and spiritual destitution, and there is great need of special inspiration and encouragement to all, and through all, our missionary movement.
The loyalty and unity now pervading our work throughout the world field, and resulting in the great growth which we now see, are causes for great thanksgiving and rejoicing. We have therein a convincing evidence of the soundness and divine origin of our world-wide enterprise, and a tremendous challenge to enlarge our co-operation to the uttermost that the work may now be finished quickly.
Seventh-day Adventists have come to the kingdom for such a time as this. The historic foundation established for us by the founders will not be changed in any of its particulars. Today our church is the remnant church of historic faith and structure, with a religious zeal, thought, and movement that are distinctive and dynamic. Herein lies its significance, its obligation, and its road to power. Such a church, with spirit-filled administration in the field and in the institutions, with such position and such possibilities in fulfillment of its divine mission, can build that spiritual house to which the apostles looked, and impress it fully upon the life of this suffering world. Millions in the world await its coming as those that watch for the morning. Shall we not seek God for such acceptable service?