In Inter-America, Business Meetings Focus on Discipleship, Evangelism and Mission Initiatives

Image by Abel Marquez/IAD

October 30, 2017 | Merida, Mexico | Libna Stevens/IAD

The Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America concluded its year-end annual business meetings on Oct. 22 with a renewed commitment to motivating church leaders and members to continue pursuing a spiritual transformation in Jesus for total involvement in the church’s mission activities.

The more than 100 committee members met in Mérida, Mexico, to review core strategies of the “Lord Transform Me” initiative, established in 2015: (1) transform and live through spiritual growth; (2) explore and learn through training; (3) connect and share through social ministries; (4) proclaim and reap through soul winning; and (5) conserve and disciple others in their communities.

Pastor Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America, said there must be greater involvement in missions is needed to enter harder-to-reach territories. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD file photo

“It’s important we examine how the church is moving during this initiative that is driving the church throughout Inter-America toward greater involvement in the mission to pursue harder-to-reach territories,” said Pastor Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America.

“We still have many more souls to impact with the gospel, especially in our largest countries like Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and a string of pocket areas in the dozens of countries and islands in the IAD,” explained Pastor Leito.

Executive Committee members reviewed evangelism activities, spoke on their successful regional activities during a special discussion panel and reported on spiritual growth and discipleship of church members.

It’s about deepening the progress of the territory-wide initiative to achieve more, said Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president for evangelism. Leaders voted to engage more of its local fields for greater total member involvement when it comes to soul winning and retention.

“As part of the total membership involvement within the Lord Transform Me initiative, we are emphasizing that each ministry of the church such as children, youth, women, family, and personal ministries develops specific initiatives in order to ensure the retention of all the members and newly baptized members of the church who fall within the scope of the ministries they lead, like the church manual says on page 103,” said Braham.

Membership numbers

IAD Executive Secretary Pastor Elie Henry reported to the committee that as of June 30, 2017, some 113,222 new members were added in Inter-America’s 24 unions, or church regions, with a total membership of 3,782,922.

Pastor Henry reported that 20 of the unions are managing their membership audits using the Adventist Church Management System. According to the statistics up to the second quarter this year, 58,509 have been dropped from the church books. The remaining four unions are expected to be running its membership audits by 2018.

Pastor Josney Rodríguez was appointed as the Ministerial Association Secretary of the church in Inter-America. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD file photo

Financial figures

IAD Treasurer Pastor Filiberto Verduzco reported on the financial growth of the church even with the dozen soft currencies across the territory. As of Sep. 30, the IAD’s liquidity stands at 197 percent and operating capital at 214 percent.

With 11 of the 24 unions affected by the recent natural disasters, Verduzco said he was concerned that it could have a negative impact in next year’s operating income behavior.

Newly appointed leaders

Committee members appointed Pastor Josney Rodríguez as the new IAD Ministerial Secretary. Rodríguez, who was appointed as associate ministerial secretary, is replacing Pastor Héctor Sánchez, who recently retired from that position. Pastor Rodríguez will continue working for the IAD territory from Bogotá, Colombia, where he and his wife live.

Pastor Leonard Johnson, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union, was appointed as the associate ministerial secretary. Pastor Johnson will serve in his new position while he continues to serve as union president from his home in Nassau.

Pastor Leonard Johnson, president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union was appointed to lead as associate to the ministerial secretary for the church in Inter-America. Image by Keila Trejo/IAD file photo

Pastors Rodríguez and Johnson will assume their new positions effective immediately.

Daniel Zuñiga of West Venezuela was appointed as the new treasurer to serve in the Dutch Caribbean Union based in Curacao. Zuñiga replaces Kenneth Luis who is retiring from service effective May 2018.

Missionary Book for 2018

Members of the Executive Committee prayed over the book designated as the missionary book to be distributed across Inter-America in 2018. “The Power of Hope” book by Julian Melgosa and Michelson Borges will be available for church members to purchase for as low as .50 cents (US$) locally from the church’s two publishing houses: IADPA and GEMA Editores.

Pastor Ervin González, publishing ministries director for the church in Inter-America, said the short ceremony of dedication represented the success of 21 million missionary books distributed across Inter-America during the past 10 years.

The initiative was first launched 10 years ago at the Adventist World Church’s Headquarters and the IAD has seen the number of books purchased by church members increased substantially during the last four years.

“This year alone, members distributed more than 6 million missionary books and we expect even more will be distributed in 2018,” said González. The IAD ranks second in the world church after South American Division which has distributed 25 million books during the past decade.

IAD union presidents stand by the missionary book of the year for 2018 before a special prayer is offered. Image by Abel Márquez/IAD

Ministerial plan for Venezuela

The Adventist Church in Venezuela has continued to grow in membership despite dozens of administrators, pastors, teachers, medical staff and others who have left the country during the last decade. From 2007 to 2017, the church has seen a loss of 135 workers, of which 64 were ministers, so committee members voted on three initiatives that will assist the East Venezuela and West Venezuela Unions with the evangelism efforts:

  • Project for theology graduates without employment after graduation. Theology graduates without employment after graduating across the IAD can be employed as local employees in Venezuela with their union of origin covering international transfer to Venezuela. Their costs and expenses will be covered locally by Venezuela according to outlined requirements and qualifications voted.
  • Missionary service in Venezuela. Each union was invited to assist Venezuela with one-three ministerial couples from active service to serve as local hire/national worker in Venezuela with employer organization covering expenses as a local working in Venezuela. The difference between the salary of the country of origin and local salary in Venezuela will be deposited towards such worker’s bank account in his country of origin. Years of service will be counted according to requirements and qualifications voted.
  • Evangelistic cooperation for ministers from Venezuela. Pastors from Venezuela will be able to conduct short-term evangelism in any union in the Inter-American Division as requested by the inviting union. Consultations between the IAD unions and the East or West Venezuela unions will be coordinated jointly to assist pastors in earning local salary during a maximum of two-months, according to outlined requirements and qualifications.

The business meetings also saw policy amendments, survey reports upgrading mission into conferences, a new training program for members of local church boards, as well as authorized meetings and activities for 2018.

Among the events for 2018 voted are:

Jan. 27 – Feb. 3 – Week of Pastoral Prayer – online magazine

Feb. 24 – Online Sabbath School Congress – Miami, Florida

Mar. 28-31 – Best Practices Conference on Conservation and Discipleship, Haiti

April 7 – “Lord Transform Me” Convention and Baptismal Ceremony, Haiti

July 9 -11 – Leadership Development Program: SeLD Conference, Miami, Florida

August 8 -11 – Cross-Cultural Mission Festival – Trinidad & Tobago

August 26 -28 – Publishing Council – 3 Divisions of the Americas, Cancun, Mexico

October 29 – Nov 6 – Year-End Meetings activities, Miami/Haiti.

To learn more about initiatives and activities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America, visit us at

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Categories From the Headquarter, RSS English | Tags: | Posted on October 31, 2017