THE “CONNECTING WITH JESUS” PROJECT
The largest global book distribution project in the history of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was launched on Sabbath evening, July 2, 2005, at the General Conference session in St. Louis, Missouri. Sponsored by the General Conference and the world divisions in cooperation with the Ellen G. White Estate, the project entitled "Connecting With Jesus" will provide ten Ellen White books with study guides to two million Adventist families around the world during a five year period. (See: CWJ Project Document) The books and study guides will be published in many languages at subsidized prices that all can afford. In some places they will also be made available in electronic format. The ten Ellen White books in the set are:
|Patriarchs and Prophets
Prophets and Kings
The Desire of Ages
The Acts of the Apostles
The Great Controversy
|Steps to Christ
Counsels for the Church
Counsels on Stewardship
The Ministry of Healing
A Spirit of Prophecy Global Book Distribution Project
(The official project action statement voted by the 2005 GC Session delegates.)
Plans and Objectives
The Need: Projections suggest that by 2020 the Seventh-day Adventist community will number 50 million adherents.
Only 12.5 percent of those individuals will have been Seventh-day Adventists in 2000.
Recent surveys show a decline in readership of the Spirit of Prophecy.
However, the same surveys indicate that most members still believe that the Spirit of Prophecy is an authority for the Seventh-day Adventist Church today.
Other surveys demonstrate that participation by church members in several areas of the spiritual life and mission of the Church can be measured in direct relation to whether they regularly read the Spirit of Prophecy.
It is also widely acknowledged, both within and outside of Adventism, that the Spirit of Prophecy has been—and continues to be—primarily responsible for the Church’s remarkable theological and administrative unity worldwide. The Church needs to nurture this historical and ongoing spiritual influence.
The Goal: To develop a plan that will encourage the reading of Ellen G White’s writings among church members worldwide, with the following results anticipated:
Nurture spirituality among members, including strengthening the member’s relationship with Jesus and trust in the written Word, becoming like Him in character and purpose, transforming lifestyle, and increasing involvement with the life and mission of the Church, all through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit.
Enhance Adventist identity; a return to the Church’s prophetic roots as a movement (reinforcing the belief that the Seventh-day Adventist movement is the remnant described in Revelation 12).
Challenge every member to recapture his or her own personal vision for helping Adventism fulfill its prophetic mission.
The Plan: Due to differing needs, each division will prepare its own division project plan based on the information that follows in this document. The division project plan is to be returned as soon as possible to the General Conference Spirit of Prophecy Global Distribution Project Committee.
The goal of the project is to distribute the following ten Spirit of Prophecy books that have generally been translated into major languages of literate church members worldwide: Acts of the Apostles; Christian Service; Counsels for the Church (this special comprehensive compilation is a collection of Spirit of Prophecy writings grouped in 66 chapters covering various topics, including spiritual subjects on Christ and Christian beliefs, Christian missionary activities, publications of the church, the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, marriage and family, child rearing, choices of music and reading and dress, Christian education, temperate living, health reform and activities, church organization, the Sabbath, Christian stewardship, Christian obligation to the suffering and the needy, the medical work, Satan’s deceptive work, false science, the crisis of the final days of earth’s history, Christ as our High Priest, and the Second coming of Christ); Counsels on Stewardship; Desire of Ages; Great Controversy; Ministry of Healing; Patriarchs and Prophets; Prophets and Kings; and Steps to Christ. These books could be bound in compact volumes, with several of the books being combined, or some other economical arrangement. Each division will develop the most appropriate printed or electronic format for its context.
The overall goal of the project involving each division will be to distribute a total of approximately two million sets of the ten books, sufficient to supply a large number of active Adventist families worldwide. A modest charge for the set of books is suggested, but it should be affordable and appropriate for members in each country of the world. In other words, the cost of the sets of books must not be so high as to be an impediment to their being purchased by the majority of church members.
The General Conference will provide a maximum subsidy of US$ 2.00 for each set, for up to a total of two million sets worldwide. (In cases where the “Conflict of the Ages” series is not going to be included due to previous strong distribution of the set in a division, a lesser prorated per volume formula will be used.) A more limited subsidy could be provided for CD or audio versions instead of printed materials if requested in the division project plan and approved by the General Conference Spirit of Prophecy Global Distribution Project Committee. Based on a “church member to number of books printed” ratio formula for each division, a ceiling will be established for the number of sets per division that will be subsidized by the General Conference.
The division project plan should include the funding plan for the division’s and unions’ portions of the project costs.
The Ellen G White Estate will develop and provide in electronic format the study guides and other resources for the ten books for use by individual lay members in personal, family, and group settings; for use by pastors in prayer meetings and other church meetings; for use by student and youth groups; for use by women’s ministries, etc. These materials will include the study guide for each book; a brief biography of Ellen G White in the first book of the series with a smaller summary in each of the following books; principles for studying the Spirit of Prophecy in each book; a list of the Seventh-day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs in each book; and a yearly Bible reading plan in each book.
Having the books and study guides in printed format for reader use is of prime importance since it offers actual materials in hand which can be studied in a group setting. If only electronic formats, such as CD or Internet, are used, every effort should be made to make sure that the electronic format of the books and the study guides is available for study in a group setting or that printed study guides are available.
Printing will be the responsibility of each division unless some divisions wish to combine printing of languages used in common. If requested, the General Conference could assist in coordinating combined printing. Each division is to indicate in its division project plan whether it wishes to be involved in combined printing and in which languages. Divisions are encouraged to involve Seventh-day Adventist publishing houses in this special project. It is important to understand that this spiritual and educational project is not designed to be a profit maker for any church entity, nor a money loser. The precise standard of book quality, utilizing paper covers and easily readable print size, will be the responsibility of each division with the goal of massive, economical distribution of the maximum number of sets possible.
The Ellen G White Estate, in conjunction with other assisting entities, will provide for the electronic format in English for the ten books and study guides as well as the availability of the material on internet websites for downloading. As additional languages become available in electronic form, they could be added to the websites.
Working in cooperation with the General Conference, each division will decide on the translation needs for its territory, keeping in mind the need to limit the number of languages in order to maximize the print run efficiencies. All requests for translation subsidies for this project will go to the regular General Conference Spirit of Prophecy Committee. Translation coordination will be the responsibility of each division.
Divisions will be responsible for the distribution plans and distribution costs of the sets to churches and church members and should include the distribution plan in the division project plan sent to the General Conference. Divisions are encouraged to consider the most economical and efficient process of direct distribution from the printing site to churches or members. Division and union church-based service/business organizations (health systems, health food organizations, etc.) are to be encouraged to assist in the distribution costs.
Divisions will provide overall supervision and coordination to the unions and local conferences/missions/local fields for the study plans of each church or small group using the study guides in each book. Pastors and lay leaders will be trained and encouraged by conferences/missions/local fields to lead in the study of each volume. Instruction and training information will be provided through communication avenues including the Adventist Review, Ministry magazine, the Hope Channel, and other communication entities.
Since this is a special faith project, all expenditures for the project by the various organizations will be dependent on income arranged for and received.
The Connecting With Jesus Project Timetable:
|Oct-04||Conceptual plan voted at Annual Council|
|Nov-04||Division year-end meetings reviewed plan and provided feedback|
|Jan-05||Updated plan discussed at GC PREXAD (included division presidents)|
|April 2005||Full plan presented at Spring Meeting for final vote|
|2005-2010||Plans to be implemented:|
|2005||Divisions develop/submit division project plans to GC and arrange for various translations of books and study guides|
|2006||Divisions arrange for printing|
|2006 (August)||Beginning of project financial assistance from GC|
|2007-2010||Continuation of printing/funding arrangements and intensive study guide usage throughout each division|