Ted N. C. Wilson was elected as president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church in July 2010 during the General Conference Session in Atlanta. He is married to Nancy, a physical therapist, and they have three daughters and four grandchildren. Pastor Wilson began his church career as a pastor in 1974 in the Greater New York Conference. He later went on to serve in the church’s then Africa-Indian Ocean Division and then the church’s world headquarters as an associate secretary. He later served as president of Euro-Asia Division and then president of the Review and Herald Publishing Association until his election as a General Conference vice president in 2000. Pastor Wilson holds a master of divinity degree from Andrews University, a master of science degree in public health from Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health, and a doctoral degree in religious education from New York University.
AS THE SON OF A FORMER SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH WORLD PRESIDENT, WHAT INCLINED YOU TO FILL THE SAME POSITION?
It is a humbling experience to be asked to fill this position. It is not humanly possible, but only through the grace and leading of the Lord. I am very grateful for the many church members who are praying that the Lord will sustain me and my work. It is important that we pray for each other. I know God will guide us in our work as we humble ourselves before Him and seek Him daily in our work.
HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN THE WORLD TODAY?
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is growing rapidly around the world. In many places it is recognized as a strong blessing to society. In other places, we face persecution and difficulty. We are earnestly praying for revival and reformation so that the Holy Spirit can be poured out in the latter rain and the three angels’ messages will spread like wildfire.
WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES THE CHURCH FACES TODAY?
One of the greatest challenges is to help church members realize that we are the remnant church called by God to carry out a great message of sharing the three angels’ messages. We are a unique group called by God to point people back to the true worship of the Lord. Another great challenge is that of secularism out side the church as well as the influences within the church. We must ask the Lord to help us “not to be squeezed into the mold of the world” as Romans 12:2 tells us. We must resist materialism by leaning totally on the Lord and asking that He help us maintain our simplicity in a world of complications. We must keep our eyes on Christ at all times. We must plead for revival and reformation leading to the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. We must maintain a strong belief in the authority of the Word of God and the guidance of the Spirit of Prophecy writings. We must maintain our strong beliefs in health reform and service to others. When we humbly submit to the Lord, we will be empowered by the Holy Spirit to go beyond the Laodicean state in which we find ourselves much of the time. It is time to allow God to take control of our plans and actions so Christ can return soon.
WHAT ARE THE MISSIONARY CHALLENGES WE ARE CURRENTLY FACING AND WHAT PLANS ARE BEING PUT INTO PRACTICE?
We have enormous missionary challenges in countries where it is difficult to carry on normal church activities. We are now in the process of reorganizing our mission outreach process by utilizing a “mission board” approach which will allow for us to more closely organize our strategic planning and budgeting aspects for reaching the world through the leading of the Holy Spirit. We want to see a “renaissance in mission” both in fulltime missionaries and volunteers/students. God will open the way for greater service opportunities for many who wish to share this precious Advent message.
HOW DO YOU EVALUATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE CHURCH?
The basic structure of the Seventhday Adventist Church is sound and efficient. It has stood the test of time. The Lord helped to reorganize our work at the 1902 General Conference session. However, He has been waiting for one hundred years and more to pour out the Latter Rain on His people. We must use the current structure of the church to dramatically increase the evangelistic outreach.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION REGARDING THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH?
To have a dynamic and united church working diligently in service to the Lord and those around us. We are part of the great evangelistic outreach voted by the General Conference called “Tell the World.” We need to be sharing our faith not only through words, but in strong Christian service for those in need demonstrating Christ’s ministry of Luke 4:18, 19. We need churches that are on fire for the Lord . . . that have submitted to the leading of the Holy Spirit and have made the Bible the focus of their lives, and are using and sharing the truths they find in the Spirit of Prophecy. God has entrusted the three angels’ messages into the hands of God’s people and we are to proclaim this message with Heavenly Power and without reserve.
WHAT ARE YOUR IMMEDIATE CHURCH PRIORITIES?
To have the church revitalized through revival and reformation. We need to learn to depend more completely on the Lord so that our experience will match the Biblical model of Acts 2, Joel 2, and Hosea 6. We need to recognize the great need as outlined in Selected Messages, Book 1, page 121: “A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work . . . . A revival need be expected only in answer to prayer.” When we fulfill II Chronicles 7:14 we will see a much closer walk with the Lord as a church and fulfill the true mission of the church in careful Christian service for others.
WHAT SHOULD THE FIRST MISSION OF A CHURCH ELDER BE?
Lifting the spiritual level of the church by always pointing people to Christ, His Holy Word, and the Spirit of Prophecy
HOW CAN A CHURCH ELDER DEVELOP A PERSONAL WALK WITH GOD?
An elder should be interested in a daily spiritual walk with the Lord, not allowing things to crowd out private devotional time with God. Prayer at anytime and anywhere should be a constant attitude, asking for wisdom from heaven every morning, claiming James 1:5.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO A CHURCH ELDER WHO IS DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT?
It is important to realize that the devil wants to discourage God’s servants and leaders. To combat that temptation, it is important to spend time with the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and intense prayer. The church elder should then be strongly involved in working with the local church members to do outreach. There is nothing like being involved with evangelistic outreach to revitalize a discouraged heart. The Holy Spirit will bring about a new vision and understanding of why the church elder has been asked to be a spiritual leader.
WHAT COUNSEL WOULD YOU GIVE A CHURCH ELDER’S SPOUSE WHO FEELS LEFT OUT AS A RESULT OF THE ELDERS WORK WITHIN THE CHURCH?
The spouse should recognize that their role is very important as well. They can give a wonderful model of how God would have the family function. They can counsel people regarding various needs. They can support their spouse by praying and encouraging spiritual leadership. They can be a very positive influence in the church through a personal relationship with Christ.
WHAT OPINION SHOULD THE LOCAL ELDER HAVE REGARDING THE WORSHIP STYLE/MUSIC IN THE LOCAL CHURCH?
It is important that whatever music or worship style is used that it conform with Biblical principles and that the music lift up Jesus and put down self. Nothing should be done to bring glory to the musician but glory must be given to God, the One who provides the talent.
WHAT TOPICS WOULD YOU PERSONALLY LIKE FEATURED IN UPCOMING ELDER’S DIGEST ISSUES?
There are many subjects that should be emphasized. However, some of the most important are revival and reformation, the latter rain and the Holy Spirit, the unique mission and message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church found in Rev. 12:17 and Rev. 14:6-12, the second coming of Christ, personal and public evangelism as the lifeblood of the church, the importance of the church as an evangelistic center, an emphasis on health reform and medical missionary work, the importance of encouraging and nurturing young people in their walk with the Lord and being involved in the evangelistic outreach of the church, the need for church members to become true disciples of Christ by living their lives in accordance with His will, etc.
WHAT ASPIRATIONS DO YOU DESIRE EACH SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST MEMBER ATTAIN?
A closer walk with the Lord realizing the justifying power of Christ and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit in making us more and more like Christ. Justification and sanctification are united by God in the salvation process. We owe everything to Christ, but God asks us to daily recommit our lives in love and service to the Master. He will then use us to truly fulfill the wonderful counsel in Micah 6:8 which tells us that “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” God wishes to prepare a people who will stand in the last days, through His power, as His great representatives on earth demonstrating what total dependence on God can do to propel this Advent message to every kindred, tongue, and people. As “Christ’s Object Lessons” says on page 69, “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” All this can happen as we humble ourselves, seek God’s face, pray and ask Him to use us in His service to proclaim the three angels’ messages with Holy Spirit power. What a privilege to be part of the great Advent movement and look forward to Christ’s soon return. Let us tell everyone about it . . .“Tell the World!”