December 5, 2011 – Miami, Florida, United States….Libna Stevens/IAD

“Leadership is not a right, leadership is a privilege that God has given us,” said Seventh-day Adventist President for Inter-America Pastor Israel Leito today as he addressed more than 50 newly elected administrators during a leadership conference at the church’s headquarter office in Miami, Florida.

Pastor Leito’s message resonated as he reflected on Joshua 7:1 and challenged new leaders to serve humbly in their new positions.

“You are here my brethren because we want to deflate you. We want your feet to touch the ground, and help you realize that God grants us an opportunity to use us for the direction of this church,” he added.

It’s the mission of leading a church with the right combination of the spiritual, technical, intellectual and inter-personal knowledge and skills to execute duties in their administrative positions that this type of leadership orientation was organized, said Pastor Balvin Braham, Human Resources director and leadership development coordinator for the church in Inter-America.

“This is a faith-based organization, so while we focus on corporate perspectives in organizational leadership we are integrally concerned with the element of faith, and the dynamics involved in leadership, that allows for effective functioning in secular societies, as well as in preparation for what Ellen White calls ‘the higher joys of wider service in the life to come,'” said Braham.

New administrators participated in a number of seminars and case study exercises as they networked and learned of their accountability and responsibility to different organizational levels, legal issues involving employee relations as well as strategic issues and a call to strengthen mission involvement in churches and congregations.

Pastor Mike Ryan, vice president for the Adventist world church, appealed to leaders to make the mission of preaching the gospel to un-entered areas a priority.

“Mission has to be something that we as leaders want to do, not something that we feel we have to do,” said Pastor Ryan. He further challenged administrators to be proactive in providing opportunities that lead members to use their gifts and talents.

“Our church began in the spirit of sacrifice and in the spirit of involvement and that is how the work will finish,” Ryan added.

Fifty-six presidents, secretaries and treasurers from various regions, including the largest group with 15 from the Caribbean Union, eight from Venezuela, and four from Cuba, will continue the leadership training for the next two days. Additional seminars will focus on ethical values, prayer and leadership, strategic thinking, and effective presidential, secretary and treasury functions, among others.

For more than five years, the Inter-American Division has organized dozens of leadership development training seminars to newly appointed administrators throughout the vast territory.

To view photos of the leadership development seminar, click here

Image by Image by ANN. Libna Stevens/IAD
Image by Image by ANN Libna Stevens/IAD

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