Saturday, March 16, 2024

Restory Church: Dear Mr President

More Restory Church Posts
Last week, my heart broke for the president of the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists when I watched his video and read his open letter. He had to announce severe cutbacks in spending made necessary primarily by attendance dropping by 75 per cent after COVID. There are, of course, other factors. Watch the video and read the open letter for more details.

I knew the president would have been receiving all kinds of negative feedback. So, I put on my thinking cap and wrote a positive letter of encouragement with some ideas. These ideas have not left me alone since and are the reason for the Restory Church series.

Change is hard. And it's here. 
Be kind in the midst of it. Always!

Here is the letter.


Dear Pastor Dan,

I watched your video when you released it and read your open letter this morning. I can only imagine the stress you are under. My heart and prayers have been with Oregon this past month and you in particular.

On my morning walk today, after reading your open letter, my brain was racing. This is going to snowball. You are the bravest and therefore the first to say things publicly. Clearly, a new strategy must be implemented or the corporate death that looms will arrive. I spent the rest of the morning considering two questions. 1. What must the laity become to change the world for Christ? 2. How can we train the clergy to empower this laity movement?

As we navigate the challenges of declining attendance and increasing costs associated with paid clergy, empowering the laity is the only viable solution.

We can turn things around if pastors become enablers. Attendance will increase and new members will join the church if we resource and empower our pastors to be trainers and facilitators in the following three areas.

1. Personal Skills: Encouraging laity to share personal stories, be intentional in their interactions, develop cultural competency, and employ prayer and discernment in their outreach efforts.

2. Relational Skills: Providing training in effective communication, active listening, an invitational mindset, and conflict resolution to enhance interpersonal relationships.

3. Communal Skills: Guiding laity in conducting community needs assessments, employing inclusive outreach strategies, actively engaging in community activities, utilizing digital platforms for outreach, and receiving hospitality training.

A laity trained in Christlikeness and then loosed on the world will rescue the church and hasten the soon coming of Christ through personal relationships. The principle was Jesus' first: Love God, Love neighbour. It must be ours, now.

Beautiful people attract people. If Christ be lifted up - oh the hope of it!

May the Lord bless you and give you peace as you change the world for Him! Your leadership and open communication inspire me all the way over here in Australia. Continue in strength.

I would love to be involved in future brainstorming sessions and however else you wish. I don't want money, just so you know. My brother lives in your conference. Like so many, he left God long ago. It would be a blessing to see him loved into Jesus!

Know this: What you are doing is a light on a hill for many other conference leaders. Courage to you as you weather the storm and arrows that come when you lead the pack!

Keep changing the world!

Dave Edgren



I received a very grateful and inspiring email in response from Pastor Dan. I cherish it!

What are the key things you see facing the health and growth of the church?

What are your thoughts about my assessment and suggestions?

Please read the other Restory Church Posts and then comment on what you think of the “Restory Church” concept? How does it help?

Please write in the comment section or email me at

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