Seventh-day Adventist Jargons and Expressions

Have you ever taken yourself out of the regular Adventist mindset and pretended to be a visitor? If you have, then you would have discovered how often we Adventists take it for granted that visitors and new members understand exactly what we say from Sabbath school to Vespers period. Consider the following terms used by Adventists:
Adventist Terms
These include, but are not limited to, the following terms: The Message, Ellen White, the Spirit of Prophecy, Inspired Writing, Red Books, the Mission, Conference, Union and Division. Then there are the Truth, New Light, the Remnant, Elder, Session, ABC, etc.

Defining From an Adventist Perspective
The Message: This is a term to denote that which Adventists believe. In short, it is a term for the combined teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, even though it may be applied to less than all truths.
• Ellen White: Ellen White was a recipient of the prophetic gift of the Holy Spirit. In addition, she was a founding member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Some times she is also referred to as Mrs. White, Sis White, My Favorite Author, or the prophetess to the remnant church.
• The Spirit of Prophecy refers to the inspired writings of Ellen White. At times the term may refer to the ‘Red Books’. These are writings that Seventh-day Adventists believe were inspired by the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of both the Old and New Testament.
• The Mission is a term that refers to a group of churches in a given geographical area, which has yet to reach conference status. It may also refer to a foreign territory which has missionaries serving it.
• The Conference is a term that refers to a group of churches in a given geographical area, which is financially independent and determines its leaders via elections known as conference session.
• The Union is a term that refers to a group of missions and or conferences in a given geographical area.
• The Division is a wider level of the Seventh-day Adventist church structure. It is comprised of a group of unions in a given region of the world. Also, it is an extension or local representation of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
• The Truth is a term used by Adventists to refer to the doctrines and/or the faith of the denomination.
• New Light is a reference to additional biblical truths, though loosely, by some members.
• The Remnant refers to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in general, by some; and by some others it refers to a special and a dedicated, pious group from within the remnant, and hence the term remnant of a remnant.
• Elder is a designation that is used loosely for local church elders who work closely with a church pastor in a local church. Traditionally, it referred to senior church leaders such as a conference, union, division and general conference president or officer.
• Session is a term for a mission, conference and general conference election process for choosing Administrators and other personnel for a specific number of years.
• ABC is an abbreviation for the name “Adventist Book Center.”

Sensitive to My Audience
So the next time you present the Sabbath School lesson, preach the sermon, or announce an item be mindful that a union may denote a labour union and a division may speak of a schism, and a conference may imply a series of meetings for a period of time. Excessive use of the name “Ellen White” without an explanation may convey that she is a disciple or a Bible writer. Essentially, it is important that we not take it for granted that everyone in our audience understands; and such terms may not only confuse but also mislead persons.