Inter-America’s Mid-Year Executive Committee members listen in on the Seventh-day Adventist’s growth reports throughout the territory during day two of the church’s business meetings, in Miami, Florida, Mar. 27, 2018. Image by Keila Trejo/IAD

March 29, 2018 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD

Top Seventh-day Adventist administrators and board members of the Inter-American Division (IAD) Executive Committee concluded its church business meetings this week with a commitment to expand the church further and with a vote of gratitude for the visionary leadership of Pastor Israel Leito. Pastor Leito served as president in the IAD for over 24 years. The two-day meetings ended on mar. 27, 2018, at the IAD Headquarters in Miami, Florida.

“We are thankful for the ministry of Pastor Leito, a ministry that has been very important part of all of us,” said Pastor Elie Henry, executive secretary of the church in Inter-America and newly recommended to take the presidency position. “The entire board has been marked by his leadership and we thank God for that and we will continue to help the church grow.”

Top church administrators from Inter-America’s unions thank Pastor Israel Leito for his visionary leadership and pray for him, Mar. 27. Image by Keila Trejo/IAD

Growth for Inter-America stands at 3,787,546 church members in 22, 421 churches and congregations, organized in 150 conferences and missions in 24 unions, or major church regions as of Dec. 2017, reported Henry.

“Our Division continues to thrive as it keeps growing,” said Henry as he reported that more than 168,000 were baptized last year throughout the territory. Henry reported the ongoing progress of the membership audits across the IAD and updated data of the 22,588 workers in the church’s employee records system.

Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer of the church in Inter-America, showcased the generosity of members through tithes and offerings during the last decades and their direct effect in expanding the church.

“The church member is the focal point of the financial system, because it is where funds generate from,” said Verduzco. “We must care for them so they can continue committed to the mission of the church.”

Ensuring that there is an ongoing spiritual growth for the member to express his or her gratitude for God’s blessings is vital in expanding the church, explained Verduzco. Leadership transparency in the management of financial goes hand in hand also, he added.

Dr. Elie Henry, executive secretary for the church in Inter-America, informs committee members of the membership growth until Dec. 2017. Image by Keila Trejo/IAD

“We can see how important offerings expand the church because it measures the generosity of the member in response to a grateful heart for God’s blessings,” said Verduzco.

The more than 150 committee members also heard reports of the accomplished initiatives and events led by IAD department and ministries leaders, voted on policy amendments and status changes and reorganization of local fields.

Voted initiatives and activities in equipping leaders and members with discipleship opportunities for greater member involvement in the mission of the church, included:

Discipleship and Church Growth

Committee voted to adopt a pastoral program for discipleship and church growth designed for pastoral development in discipleship, establish a model of practical discipleship in each congregation, increase number of members actively involved in mission, while encouraging each church to develop the natural continuous growth of its members as a result of discipleship.

Each local field and union will establish a program of support, affirmation and recognition for churches in discipleship formation, said Pastor Josney Rodriguez, ministerial secretary for the church in Inter-America.

Chaplaincy Ministries Training

Leaders voted to establish a professional training center in institutional pastoral chaplaincy recognized by the Adventist Chaplaincy Institute and the College of Pastoral and Therapeutic Clinical Education at Montemorelos University in Mexico. The professional training at Montemorelos University will consist of two 10-week training units, which will provide 100 hours of theory and 300 hours of hands-on practice.

Hospital Pastoral Clinical education course is available to train hospital chaplains in the IAD with three to four units for a professional certification held in the Bella Vista Hospital and Medical Center in Puerto Rico.

Hiram Ruiz, chaplaincy ministries director for the church in Inter-America presents the upcoming initiative for training of pastors in their chaplaincy ministry. Image by Keila Trejo/IAD

In addition, it was voted for at least one chaplain per union to obtain a Doctorate degree in chaplaincy from the Inter-American Theological Seminary starting in 2019, to assist as an endorsed supervisor recognized by the General Conference Adventist Chaplaincy Institute for the pastors involved in the ministry of chaplaincy across the IAD.

New Appointments

Committee members also voted the appointment of Moise Javier, former treasurer of the Dominican Union to become the vice president of finances of the Inter-American Division Publishing Association. Earlier this week, the IADPA Board voted Saul Ortíz as the new IADPA president, after Pastor Pablo Perla, who led IADPA president for more than a decade, announced his retirement.

Voted in to serve as president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union was Peter Kerr, who had been serving as executive secretary of the union. Dr. Cheryl Rolle was voted in as the new executive secretary. Rolle becomes the first woman to be appointed in that position across the Inter-American Division. Dr. Leonard Johnson, who has been leading as president of the Atlantic Caribbean Union was voted earlier this week to become IAD’s executive secretary.

In Inter-America, Church Leaders Reflect on Growth and Vote Evangelism Initiatives

Upcoming events and meetings voted for 2018, include:

Belkis Archbold (right), health ministries director for the church in Inter-America reports on health initiatives and activities for the year, while Dinorah Rivera, women’s ministries director for the church Inter-America, looks on. Image by Keila Trejo/IAD

I Want to Live Healthy Training program geared for union health ministries director will be held in Montemorelos University, Mexico, July 22-28, 2018. The program will be presented for the Spanish-speaking territory.

Tri-Division Council of the Americas Publishing Summit will be hosted by the General Conference in Cancun, Mexico, Aug. 26-30, 2018. The summit is geared for union administrators and publishing ministries directors from the Inter-American, North American and South American Divisions.

Hope Radio Advisory for a select group of radio station leaders across the IAD territory will be held with information sessions, planning of integration projects and more on Sep. 5-6, in Miami, Florida, for the English and French territory, and Sep. 18-19, in Guatemala for the Spanish territory.

The Society of Adventist Communicators of the North American Division is extending invitation to their annual convention for Adventist Communicators around the world which will be held Oct 18-20, 2018, in Columbia, Maryland.

Online Congress for University Students will be hosted by Public Campus Ministries for online university students on Nov. 6, 2018, as a means to stimulate leadership and preparation for PCM directors. The program is scheduled to be held from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Miami Time.

Pastor’s Day Online Program will celebrate pastors all across the territory for their hard work, will offer hours of continuing education, and recognize their work and implementation of discipleship program on October 24, 2018.

IAD Executive Committee members also voted several events for 2019. To learn more about Inter-America’s initiatives and events, visit us at interamerica.org

Inter-America’s Year-End Committee meetings are scheduled to be held Nov. 9-11, 2018, in Haiti.

To view photos of Inter-America’s Mid-Year Meetings, click HERE

Top news

In El Salvador, Adventist Church’s Partnership with Swiss Foundation Benefit Dozens of Families
Administrative Committee Takes Step Forward in Unity Process
In Inter-America, Adventist Church Empowers Leaders to be More Effective