How your church works: What is the General Conference Administrative Committee and what is Its role in decision making?

What is GC ADCOM and how is it different from the GC Executive Committee?            

It stands for the General Conference (GC) Administrative Committee (ADCOM), a committee of approximately 58 (46 members and 12 invitees) leaders that generally meets weekly at the world headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to oversee a number of items related to the church and its operation. 

The GC Executive Committee is a larger group of leaders, with 345 members from around the world and 129 invitees, for a total of 474. The GC Executive Committee is the church’s highest governing organization outside of the General Conference in Session. 

When and why was GC ADCOM established? 

GC ADCOM, in its current form, was established on October 10, 1991 by the GC Executive Committee at the 1991 Annual Council to carry out the specific responsibilities given to it, as outlined in its terms of reference. Up until 1991, the GC Executive Committee met weekly to oversee world church business. However, given the size of the GC Executive Committee, and the wide geographic territory of its membership, it was decided that it would be more efficient to establish a smaller group in order to carry out specific duties between the regular meetings of Spring Meeting and Annual Council. The GC Executive Committee also meets at other times as needed, usually utilizing in-person and telephonic attendance.

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Who decides the membership of GC ADCOM?

The GC Executive Committee determines who serves on the GC ADCOM by voted position. GC ADCOM is authorized to add invitees.

How many people are members of GC ADCOM, and what positions do they hold? 

Currently, there are 46 members and 12 invitees, which includes general counsel legal advisor serving on GC ADCOM.

Those elected to the following positions serve as members of the GC ADCOM:

  • GC President
  • General Vice Presidents (6)
  • North American Division President (or his designee)
  • GC Secretary
  • GC Undersecretary
  • Associate Secretaries (7) (including the NAD Secretary)
  • GC Treasurer
  • GC Undertreasurer
  • GC Associate Treasurers (5) (including the NAD Treasurer)
  • Field Secretaries (8) (most represent various entities of the world church, such as ADRA, AWR, Hope Channel, BRI, GRI, White Estate, etc.)
  • GC Departmental Directors (14)

Invitees to GC ADCOM include:

  • Assistant to the NAD President
  • Assistant to the GC Treasurer
  • Assistants to the GC President (2)
  • Director, General Conference Auditing Service
  • Editor, Adventist Review/Adventist World
  • GC Assistant Treasurer
  • President, Adventist Risk Management
  • Assistant Secretary
  • Director, GC Human Resource Services
  • GC Meeting Planner
  • GC General Counsel as Legal Advisor

What are the responsibilities of GC ADCOM?

As outlined in their Terms of Reference, the GC ADCOM has responsibilities that cover six general areas:

            1. Standing Committees

            2. Financial Oversight

            3. Planning and Development

            4. Personnel Matters

            5. General Administrative Items

            6. Publisher of Sabbath School Bible Study Guides 

Does GC ADCOM have the authority to set up standing committees and sub-committees?

Yes. It also receives referrals from any standing committees or subcommittees that report to it and has the power to act on those referrals or send them on to the GC Executive Committee.

Does GC ADCOM deal only with local issues within the GC building, or does it make decisions affecting the world church?

As can be seen by the membership of the committee, much of the business of the GC ADCOM has to do with direction setting for the world church. It includes wide involvement from officers, department directors, and others representing a wide variety of services and ministries of the church. Almost all major items coming from other committees (such as Church Manual, Policy Review and Development, Constitution and Bylaws, etc.) pass through GC ADCOM, which sends it on for review to the General Conference and Division Officers (GCDO). It is then sent to the GC Executive Committee for discussion and vote. Most major items are always the final decision of the GC Executive Committee.

What is the relationship of the newly established Compliance Committees to the GC ADCOM?

The compliance committees were established as standing committees of the GC ADCOM. These standing committees are advisory only to the GC ADCOM. They report and may give recommendations to GC ADCOM, but they do not have power to act other than to check on information and interface with organizations to access situations and then report back to GC ADCOM. All final decisions on Compliance Committee recommendations go through GC ADCOM. It then goes to GCDO for review, and finally to the GC Executive Committee. The GC Executive Committee with its full world church representation has the final vote on any disciplinary items.