By: Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission
Jeff Scoggins, a U.S.-based pastor and son of former missionaries, received a call in 1999 to work in the Euro-Asia Division, a vast territory that encompasses Russia and many of the other former Soviet republics.
Eight months later, he was flying with his wife, Becky, to Moscow to serve as a field secretary in charge of Global Mission projects and strategic planning at the Euro-Asia Division.
Scoggins took one month of Russian-language lessons in preparation for the trip.
This scenario for becoming a missionary, which has been repeated for decades in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, will expand under a plan approved by the General Conference’s Mission Board on October 5, 2018. Rather than only following the traditional method of identifying a job opening in a foreign country and sending a missionary to fill it, the Adventist Church will also seek opportunities among people groups unreached or under-reached by the gospel and deploy teams of specially trained missionaries to establish new work.
“This is a new era,” G.T. Ng, executive secretary of the General Conference, said in presenting the plan to the Mission Board, which is composed of dozens of church leaders from around the world.
“This is exciting,” Ng added. “This is super exciting because we have come to a new phase of the missionary program.”
As a test case, the first city chosen for this approach will be Tokyo. Japanese church leaders, with assistance from the General Conference and the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, whose territory includes Japan, will carry out a needs assessment in Tokyo. After the needs are identified, work will begin to assemble a missionary team. The team members will receive in-depth Japanese-language training “so they can better relate to the Japanese people in their heart language,” Ng said.