• Connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His return


Lauren Heinrich Joins Education Department

Lauren Heinrich Joins Education Department 2146 2658 Ken Miller

Lauren Heinrich recently joined the NCC as the School Mental Health Clinician. She will spearhead this new counseling program to enhance mental health among NCC students.

A graduate of Loma Linda University earning a Master of Arts, Associate Marriage and Family Therapy degree, Heinrich is enthusiastic about her role, stating, “As a therapist, my goal is to be a person who can genuinely invest in others. Therapy provides a safe space to share your story, create goals, and receive direction for a positive outcome. I am very excited to participate in this student service.”

Growing up at Leoni Meadows and working with children helped guide her career path. Substitute teaching at Chico and Paradise schools after the Camp Fire and being around the Abba’s Children grief camp at Leoni further honed her desire for a career with youth.

Albert Miller, Education Superintendent, stated, “Lauren’s passion for young people and her services will be integral to providing positive mental health counseling for our students. We are excited about the program and her contribution to it.”

Heinrich’s duties will extend beyond the academic year. She will also serve as the Assistant Summer Camp Director at Leoni Meadows during school breaks, her childhood home.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 4, 2024
#nccsda #adventisteducation

Student Mental Health a Priority

Student Mental Health a Priority 4973 3385 Ken Miller

The NCC Education Department has recently launched a student mental health initiative that aims to provide access to professional counseling services within the NCC school community. Albert Miller, Education Superintendent, expressed, “We are very excited that we will be able to offer a mental health component to the students in our school system.

The focus of this initiative is to provide students with access to a certified counselor at no cost who can offer proactive support. This will positively impact the well-being of at-risk students, creating a healthier learning environment.

The initiative has several key features, including the identification of students who may benefit from counseling. Teachers and principals will play a vital role in this process, ensuring that students in need are recognized and supported. Parental involvement is also integral to the program. Once a student is identified, parents will be engaged to discuss and approve the commencement of counseling.

The counseling program involves a structured 10-week course of treatment, with each student participating in weekly counseling sessions lasting 30 to 45 minutes. These sessions will be a combination of in-person meetings and video conferencing, providing flexibility and accessibility. The program is designed to cater to 25-30 weekly clients, ensuring quality support for many students.

Miller concluded, “I believe that the Northern California Conference is the second conference in the NAD to offer this service. I am excited because this program will greatly benefit our students and parents and contribute to the overall mission of our schools.”

Featured in Northern Lights, April 18, 2024
#nccsda #adventisteducation

A Service Journey

A Service Journey 3834 2197 Ken Miller

Sixty-nine NCC educators and pastors, each boasting 25 years or more in service, were honored during the recent Mark Blue Lecture Series.

Each recipient was presented with a distinguished service pin commemorating their unwavering commitment to ministry.

Reflecting on this remarkable milestone, Jose Marin, NCC Executive Secretary, remarked, “We are privileged to celebrate the remarkable dedication of our pastors, teachers, and principals who have devoted their careers to serving Jesus within the Northern California Conference.”

25 Years of Service

Melbert Baga, Owen Bandy, Shawn Brummund, Jaime Calvo, David Carreon, Heather Denton, Jason Eyer, John Gilley, Robert Kurtz, Linda Lamb, Janice Leigh, Donald Mackintosh, JoAnn Moon, Lisa Nuss, Ira Parrish, Ricardo Rincon, Michael Rosich, Michael Thompson, Aubrey Scarbrough, Darren Smith, Susan Walters. James Wood Jr., Glen Wahlman

30 Years of Service

Tania Duncan, Tonya Greenwood, David Goymer, Vernon Jeske, Timothy Judson, Robert Kearbey, Hyun Kim, Esther Melgar, Guadalupe Negrete, Jerry Nelson, Lyly Nguyen, J Williams, Gerald Speyer, Tamara Turk, Cheryl Wood,

35 years of Service

Thomas Adams, Edwin Brown, Frederick Dana, Bradley Davis, Kris Dunlap, Walter Groff, George Hilton, Carole LeBarre, John Linhares, Richard Maloon, Robert Mason, Albert Miller, Richard Nelson, Robert Robinson

40 years of Service

Douglas Brown, Daniel Freedman, George Jackson, Nancy Matthews, Lisa Paulson, David Peckham, James Pedersen, Dorothy Phelps, Mason Philpot, Ronald Pickell, Larry Unterseher, David Vixie, Marvin Wray, Bruce Yingling

Data from the NCC Secretariat

Featured in Northern Lights, April 11, 2024

Uniting Teachers, Pastors, and Principals for Mission-driven Collaboration

Uniting Teachers, Pastors, and Principals for Mission-driven Collaboration 2000 1125 Ken Miller

NCC is committed to supporting our entities in becoming relevant to their communities, mission-driven, and organizationally healthy. One of the key foundations to achieving this is cultivating trust, which is essential to our collaborative efforts. It empowers us to fulfill our mission with integrity and effectiveness.

The NCC wishes to foster a culture of collaboration, innovation, and excellence through initiatives such as the Mark Blue Series. This annual event brings together teachers, pastors, and principals in a unique effort to coordinate ministry and promote collaboration. It serves as a rallying point for our team, uniting us with a singular purpose of connecting people to an abundant life with Jesus Christ and preparing them for His Second Coming.

This year’s Mark Blue Series was particularly impactful. It introduced a practical productivity tool, the Working Genius. Rooted in harnessing personal work styles to build trust and enhance teamwork, the Working Genius framework gave our attendees invaluable insights into effective planning processes and collaborative leadership development.

With over 200 individuals in attendance, the event served as a dynamic platform for learning and growth. Participants delved into strategies for creating and managing leadership teams, emphasizing the importance of clear communication, effective change management, and organizational alignment at the local level.

At its core, the NCC believes in the power of unity—a shared commitment to rowing in the same direction toward our collective mission. By equipping our members and employees with the tools and resources needed to be engaged and enthusiastic ambassadors for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ, we are cultivating a culture of purpose-driven excellence within our organization.

Featured in Northern Lights, April 11, 2024

33 Schools and a Million Success Stories

33 Schools and a Million Success Stories 1921 1007 Ken Miller

Northern California Conference (NCC) schools, totaling 33 institutions and catering each year to an average of 2,300 students over the past three years, exhibit diverse approaches to meet their communities’ multifaceted needs.

In cultural enrichment, schools like Paradise Academy, Pine Hills, and Orangevale shine in their pursuit of theater and visual arts, garnering recognition in local media outlets. Meanwhile, institutions such as Rio Lindo, Sacramento, and PUC Preparatory excel in athletics, showcasing the distinctiveness of Adventist athletes.

Paradise Elementary, Redwood Academy, and Napa champion innovative educational experiences, pioneering outdoor education initiatives that illustrate the value of holistic learning. The spirit of evangelism thrives across campuses like El Dorado, Pleasant Hill, and Lodi Academy and at elementary schools, where a collective effort has led to many student baptisms.

In schools like Ukiah, Yreka, Crescent City, Middletown, Red Bluff (ACES), Yuba City, Bayside, and Hilltop, there is a high percentage of non-SDA or unchurched children, which highlights a commitment to embracing diversity in the entire community.

The commitment to providing dynamic and creative learning environments remains unwavering in schools like Echo Ridge, Chico Oaks, Redding Academy, Tracy, Galt, Westlake, Clearlake, Vacaville, and PUC Elementary. This dedication is mirrored across small rural schools like Feather River, Foothills, and Fortuna, demonstrating a shared commitment to educational excellence.

Featured in Northern Lights, March 14, 2024


Teamwork 1474 1967 Ken Miller

By Marc Woodson, NCC President

And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons. (Mark 3:13-15, NKJV)

Last year, I started a series of articles delving into the significance of organizational health within the Northern California Conference. Over the past three years, our journey has been transformative. Rooted in the belief that as a mission-oriented, faith-based organization, our conference’s health is pivotal for achieving significant milestones in service to God and His kingdom.

The exhilaration lies in witnessing the positive impact our commitment to organizational health has had on our office headquarters, churches, schools, and various ministries. Like any pursuit of health, the results are not instantaneous, but we are gradually reshaping the way we carry out God’s work, steadfastly advancing our mission of reaching the people of Northern California.

As I shared in last year’s article, there are four key disciplines to practice on a journey toward organizational health. They are:

  • build a cohesive leadership team
  • create clarity for the organization
  • overcommunicate that clarity
  • reinforce clarity

In this article, I want to focus on teamwork. Let’s look at the example of Jesus, who, as a leader, selected a team of twelve ordinary men to advance His mission of ministering to a sin-sick and broken world. Jesus demonstrated that teamwork is a highly effective approach to achieving goals and getting things done. On this principle, He carried out His mission and established His church.[1]

Patrick Lencioni, in his book, The Advantage, comments on the value of having a leadership team, “few organizations invest nearly enough time and energy in making their leadership teams cohesive, and certainly not with the level of rigor that it requires and deserves.”[2] Moreover, Lencioni acknowledges the widespread misuse and misunderstanding of the term “team” and endeavors to provide a precise definition of what he intends by a “cohesive” team. In his clarification, he emphasizes that such a team functions in close collaboration, fosters interactive dynamics, and thrives on mutual interdependence.

Illustrating this concept, consider a basketball team as an apt example. Such a team typically shares a common objective: winning the game. Like a successful basketball team, healthy and cohesive teams engage in robust interaction and maintain alignment around pursuing a shared goal.[3]

Imagine what we could achieve if we all worked together towards the same goal. By building cohesive leadership teams in our churches, schools, and ministerial departments throughout our conference, we can more effectively fulfill our purpose – connecting people to an abundant life in Christ and preparing them for His soon return. Our united and aligned efforts would enable us to advance God’s kingdom together and make a lasting impact on those around us.

Ellen White shares this same principle of teamwork when she writes, “In counseling for the advancement of the work, no one man is to be a controlling power, a voice for the whole. Proposed methods and plans are to be carefully considered, so that all the brethren may weigh their relative merits and decide which should be followed.”[4]

Our aspiration for organizational health transcends mere programmatic efforts; it represents a profound cultural transformation. Witnessing the tangible impact of this journey is truly exhilarating. We are united in this endeavor, and the positive changes are palpable within our entities that earnestly embrace and embody organizational health principles. As we navigate this transformative journey together, let’s pray for pastors, principals, department directors, conference office personnel, and ministry directors.

Stay tuned for my next article, where I will share what it takes to build a cohesive leadership team.

[1] See Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:8.

[2] Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), p. 20.

[3] Ibid., p. 21.

[4] Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 7 (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press), p. 259.

Featured in Northern Lights, January 25, 2024

Good Things Come in Sevens

Good Things Come in Sevens 5184 3456 Ken Miller

Recently, Pleasant Hill Academy had an impactful fall week of prayer.

Placerville Church Associate Pastor Leif Cano spent the week with students, sharing a themed message of God’s acceptance. The daily messages resonated with seven students who committed to be baptized.

Jea, one of the seven, retold her experience, “During the week, I hadn’t considered being baptized, but as the sermons continued, I began praying, asking the Lord to talk to me. And he did. I was on the edge of my seat, not knowing what to do when pastor Cano called for baptism.”

The Holy Spirit was urging Jea to join the six others already standing. Yet she could not bring herself to do so. Cano looked out at the six standing students and exclaimed, “There is a seventh person who wishes to be baptized today.” Hearing this, Jea’s tears began to flow because, as she exclaimed, “I knew I was the seventh person.”

Before Christmas break, two students were baptized at the Vallejo Central Church and two at Pleasant Hill Church. The other three have scheduled their dates for the New Year.

A proud and grateful parent commented, “We praise God for the decisions these seven made and the role that our schools play in the salvation of young people.”

Featured in Northern Lights, January 4, 2023

Welding A Solid Community Outreach

Welding A Solid Community Outreach 2000 1125 Ken Miller

Orangevale member Rob Purvis is an expert in welding. Collectively, with several other volunteer welding instructors, he teaches students this high-demand vocation. Not just the physical expertise of laying a bead of molten metal connecting two objects but the math, physics, and accuracy employers will demand.

Reignite Hope is a welding training school that Purvis was inspired to start in a pristine fifty-three foot semi-trailer temporarily parked in the Rancho Cordova church’s parking lot.

Its purpose is two-fold: To provide a vocation to those seeking to better their lives and to share Jesus’s love. Blake Jones, Orangevale pastor, exclaimed, “I love this ministry! It gives people a practical skill whereby they can make a living. And we also bring the gospel and our hope in Christ to them. We’re seeing God use this to touch hearts and lives.”

Students are a mix of individuals wanting to retrain from other careers, laborers, unhoused, or re-entering society from incarceration. Placement services, word of mouth, and even probation officers forward candidates to the program, and the training is free of charge to the student. After training and graduation, a newly certified welder can walk into a business and professionally weld.

This outreach takes a missional approach, and the participation of the Orangevale and Rancho Cordova churches is integral to the program. Besides providing a location to park the rig, they provide a meeting room, and church members help with meals, which the students greatly appreciate. They also give bible studies, write resumes, and other helpful services.

Debbie Purvis, Orangevale member and co-director, stated, “We currently have sixteen students in the program, and the Holy Spirit has been moving, convicting hearts, with several students deciding to follow Christ!”

Kietrich Germany, district pastor of Rancho Cordova and Stockton Mayfair churches, commented, “I am so overjoyed to have this outreach in our parking lot to serve our community in such a practical way. This type of help can be truly life-transforming. There is nothing quite like the self-dignity supplied by being gainfully employed. I truly believe this kind of ministry causes Jesus to smile.”

Featured in Northern Lights, November 30, 2023

The Blessing of Giving by Marc K. Woodson, NCC President

The Blessing of Giving by Marc K. Woodson, NCC President 910 452 Ken Miller

Have you ever experienced the uplifting embrace of spirituality during church services or while immersed in a livestream? Have you ever found yourself contemplating a search for a new spiritual home because your current one didn’t quite fulfill your needs?

In my journey, evolving from a member to a pastor and now an administrator, I’ve encountered a spectrum of perspectives on a church’s impact on its members – from deep gratitude to a yearning for a more profound spiritual connection. Both attitudes focused on what the church does for me.

Perhaps what’s needed is a fresh perspective. In Acts 20:34-36, Paul’s farewell to the Ephesians underscores the importance of hard work, not just for self-sustainability but also to support those toiling alongside us, particularly the weak and vulnerable. He echoes the timeless words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Jesus extends an invitation to embrace a generous attitude, assuring us of greater blessings through giving. Instead of solely evaluating a church based on what we receive from its messages or services, let’s redirect our focus. Let’s explore how we can utilize the unique gifts and resources bestowed upon us by God to serve and benefit others.

Rather than asking, “What am I receiving from the church?” let’s propel ourselves forward with questions like: “What am I doing to assist the weak and vulnerable in my church and community?” What contributions am I making to advance God’s Kingdom within my church community? How am I actively connecting people to a more abundant life with Jesus and preparing them for His Second Coming?

Picture the beauty of witnessing God’s promise to bless unfolding in our lives. By shifting our focus from receiving to giving, we embark on a transformative journey brimming with joy, fulfillment, and abundance.

Featured in Northern Lights, November 23, 2023

Mulching Mission Movement

Mulching Mission Movement 2000 1125 Ken Miller

October 10- It was all hands on deck as the NCC administration offices locked the doors and workers descended on Maidu Park in Roseville for the annual community service day.

In 2022, workers spread sixty yards of forest mulch at another Roseville park. This year, 300 yards were piled around the new location. The contrast in job size raised a few eyebrows. Albert Miller, NCC superintendent of schools and project coordinator, looked across the park at the piles and drily stated, “Well, it ain’t gonna get done by itself.”

While the mulch group shoveled and raked the piles methodically, smaller teams painted perimeter gates bright yellow and refreshed red curb paint along driveways. Four baseball equipment shacks were painted grey and blue. By the end of the workday, finished painters joined in the mulch movement, and the team completed all the jobs.

Brian Casteluccio, Roseville Parks, Recreation and Libraries Superintendent, wrote, “I want to send a huge kudos to your team. They did a great job! It was a very successful volunteer event. Your work is greatly appreciated by the City of Roseville and the community.”

Featured in Northern Lights, October 26, 2023