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Living Generously, Sharing Faithfully

Sweeter Than Ice Cream

by Doug Bing, Washington Conference president

Do you like an occasional taste of Tillamook Ice Cream?


There’s something about your favorite flavor of ice cream on your tongue for a lingering moment before it slips down your throat is a wonderfully refreshing treat.

Maybe instead you are a fan of some Tillamook cheddar cheese grilled up on a sandwich and dipped in a bowl of tomato soup.

Here in the Pacific Northwest most if not all of us know about Tillamook dairy products. But do you know the story behind the brand?

In Fortune magazine Patrick Criteser, who serves as president and CEO of Tillamook County Creamery association, tells a brief history of this 113-year-old dairy co-op that has been a part of many people’s lives for many years.

Many of the dairy farmers in the Tillamook area found the dairy business to be incredibly hard and a rough way to make a living. You could produce milk and butter ok. But then what to do with it. You had to be able to sell the product.

Some quit the business while others persisted. Finally, someone came up with the idea to build a boat that would be able to take their products to Portland to sell. And that boat became the turning point for them. The boat was called The Morning Star. It marked the beginning of a successful dairy business that later became the Tillamook Co-op.

Do you think they still use a boat to get their products to market? Hardly.

Times have changed.

While the dairy business still needs farmers, dairy cattle, milking barns and transportation to market, much of the needed components for a successful dairy operation have changed with the times. It has had to do that in order to stay current.

There is a story of another boat called The Morning Star. It was also built to meet the needs of the changing times. It was the dream of Edson White who was the son of Ellen White.

The boat was built to address the desire to share the gospel of Jesus with newly freed slaves after the Civil War. It went up and down rivers in the south sharing the gospel in some very difficult times facing hardship and challenges in order to spread the good news of Jesus.

Does that boat still ply the waters of the south? Hardly.

Times have changed and while the gospel of Jesus is still very much the same, the methods of sharing the gospel have changed over the years.

It has had to change in order to be relevant in the changing world that is all around us.

In that same article in Fortune magazine, Criteser share a number of ideas of how businesses must remember and celebrate their history and core values while at the same time be willing to move forward with their values and goals into the world around them.

The Seventh-day Adventist church has an even richer history than Tillamook.

We have something that lasts far longer than a bowl of ice cream. We have the gospel of Jesus. That will never change. It is our culture.

We teach the beauty of a Sabbath rest. We have a view of prophetic events that seem to be coming closer and closer to fulfillment. We have an amazing educational system. All of those and more are a rich part of our history.

However, the church must be able to celebrate that history, stay true to the Biblical beliefs that are clearly spelled out, as well as be open minded to be able to ask God what new fields of labor or methods of labor are you showing us to best serve Him. What new Morning Star needs to be built to do ministry in new neighborhoods with new and relevant ways of sharing Jesus?

Would you be willing to pray with me for the Holy Spirit to guide us forward with innovation while keeping us rooted and grounded in the faith?