Promising “I Will Go” Strategic Plan update shared at Annual Council meetings

While most Adventists from local churches around the world will be aware of, or involved in, projects and initiatives centered on the General Conference’s (GC) “I Will Go” strategic plan for 2020-2025, the presentation given at Wednesday’s Annual Conference Session revealed that the work done by departments and institutions in this space is far more integrated and strategically focused than originally meets the eye.
When developing their “I Will Go” strategy, the GC developed objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) to help measure the work achieved by the global church. These are informed by past research and can be found by visiting In summary, each KPI is couched within three key objective categories: Mission, Spiritual Growth and Leadership, with an additional overarching focus on the Holy Spirit. Each category is then split into a total of 10 objectives, and 54 KPIs.

The GC departments of Education, Chaplaincy Ministries, Adventist Mission, as well as Archives, Statistics and Resources, each prepared a video report to update the Annual Council about how the “I Will Go” strategic plan has been progressing since it was first implemented just over 12 months ago. 

Departmental objectives and KPIs: Education, Chaplaincy and Communication

Opening with a presentation from GC Education director Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, she highlighted how the International Board of Education (IBE) and International Board of Ministerial and Theological Education (IBMTE) have met over the past 12 months to discuss and vote on the objectives and KPIs that should form the focus of Adventist education globally for this quinquennium.

“We are a global network of nearly 9500 schools, 117 universities and colleges, nearly 112,000 teachers and professors, and more than 2 million students,” she said. “[We] are positioned to respond to ‘I Will Go’ far and wide to minority languages and via digital pathways. The challenge for each institution is to choose which KPI each school is assessing.”

For most KPIs under the I Will Go strategic plan, the GC education department has created or linked resources to help teachers and students. For example, KPI 5.3 is accompanied by resources to help with teaching the 28 Fundamental Beliefs, and for KPI 8.2 about pastoral upgrading, there is the Handbook of Ministerial and Theological Education. 

“Each institution will report to their own board or governing committee about how it will achieve the KPIs and the I Will Go plan,” said Beardsley-Hardy. “Educators and schools are needed more than ever now to carry out mission and Adventist education.”

Following on from this, Mario Ceballos, GC director of Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries, shared how their strategic focus emphasizes the more than 2000 chaplains across the world taking initiative in their own circles of influence. 

“Thousands of Adventist chaplains serve God in uniform, and without—with the police, at correctional institutions, the military, prison workers. We want them to be involved around the world, have them involved in personal evangelism. We want chaplains and members working with the government to use the means that we have—our sphere of influence—to initiate dialogue, introduce themselves to people of other faiths, to share the good news of the gospel,” he explained.

GC communications director Williams Costa then outlined how they are continuing their integrated approach to evangelism, with projects like GAiN Conference, Adventist Communication Training (ACT), Heroes II, the Digital Evangelism Initiative, Total Member Involvement support, involving creatives, technical experts, and communicators from across the globe. 

“As well as this, we have strategic partnerships with ADRA, Hope Channel, Adventist World Radio, as well as direct collaborations with all communication departments,” he continued. “And beyond this there are countless other communication projects across every field!”

With a focus on Leadership KPI 9.5, Mission KPI 1.1, Spiritual Growth KPI 5.5 and Spiritual Growth KPI 7.3, the communication department will continue to develop initiatives that fill these goals respectively, including: working to maximize the potential of technology, increasing church member participation through a focus on TMI, increasing the use of existing resources like Hope Channel, Adventist World Radio and official church publications among members, and educating young people about the responsible use of media platforms to share the gospel. 

Behind the scenes: Developing objectives and KPIs

Taking viewers behind the scenes at how the “I Will Go” objectives and KPIs were created, David Trim, director of the GC office of Archives, Statistics and Resources, gave an enlightening presentation about how this process works, and how success is then measured.

“Thus far you’ve heard about the way that departments are taking ownership of objectives, and KPIs and the resources that are available about ‘I Will Go’, however you may wonder—will we know how successful we have been in achieving the objectives and KPIs, and if so, how will we know?” he said.

Indicating that this is only made possible through resources, Trim shared how qualitative information collected through surveys in 2017 and 2018 helped inform the strengths and weaknesses of the previous strategic plan, and how this informed “I Will Go”. 

“In total, 63,756 church members from all 13 Divisions took the survey, meaning that the margin of error was plus or minus one percent,” he explained. “The strategic focus was founded in research of unparalleled breadth and depth. 

Moving forward, Trim explained that a global survey will be going out to all the members of each Division and attached Union very soon, and that there is also an ongoing survey of institutional employees around the world. 

“Furthermore, a survey of pastors in all Divisions will begin next year, and in 12 months-time, we will use Annual Council and year-end meetings to survey Division and Union officers.

This data will then be assessed in 2023 and form the strategic focus for the next quinquennium. 

“Will we achieve the 10 objectives and 54 KPIs that we have agreed upon as a world church? We will certainly only do so with your help—the help of our Divisions, Unions and many institutions!” he encouraged.

Following the presentation, Mike Ryan, special assistant to the President, urged members to “make ‘I Will Go’ as part of your prayer life, and share it with someone else so they can ask, ‘How can I be involved?’”