Over 600 church leaders from throughout Inter-America gather for the opening day of this year’s Segment Leadership Development Conference in Miami, Florida, United States, July 9, 2018. Image by Libna Stevens/IAd

July 10, 2018 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD

Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders across the Inter-American Division (IAD) were challenged to continue carrying the vision of finishing God’s work during the start of the Segment Leadership Development (SeLD) Conference held last night. Over 600 church administrators, pastors, educators, department directors, church elders and laypersons gathered for the three-day training event July 9-11, 2018, in Miami, Florida, United States.

“We dream about the Second Coming, we talk about it all the time for we have a clear vision to ensure that every member of the body of Christ be ready for His Coming,” said Pastor Leito, president of the church in Inter-America, as he quoted IAD’s vision statement.

Pastor Leito, who has been serving as top executive leader of the 3.7 million membership in the IAD, encouraged leaders to continue communicating that main vision, making sure they did not make the same mistakes King Nebuchadnezzar made as recorded in the Book of Daniel chapter 2.

IAD President Pastor Israel Leito (left) speaks to the leadership while Dr. Gamaliel Flórez, IAD education director translates. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

“King Nebuchadnezzar was very self-centered, always wanting to be seen and heard,” said Pastor Leito. He reminded leaders to refrain from being egocentric and from being suspicious of everything and everyone. “You must learn to trust people because the Lord can speak through them also.”

Leaders should not use threats to achieve results as well as promise things that cannot be fulfilled, he added. “We must work together in casting the vision to finish God’s work.”

Finishing God’s work means continuing to develop top-notch Christian leadership that will inspire church workers and members to fulfill the mission of sharing the gospel to more populations across the IAD territory, said Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president in charge of leadership training.

“We have decided to utilize SeLD as one of the programs through which we develop our leaders here in the IAD territory, and that’s why you’re here,” said Braham. “The conference is designed to share leadership skills and competencies to influence new, existing and future leaders to hone their leadership skills and build capacity.”

Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president in charge of leadership development. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

Dr. Lowell Cooper, former vice president of the Adventist world church, spoke during the opening conference on understanding political realities in organizational life, the leadership challenge of working within political realities to effect long-range mission-focused progress and preservation of leadership integrity by rejecting political tactics based on self-interest.

“The church lives in an environment of change and it employs political process to be relevant,” said Cooper. “Politics is necessary even in the church, but we must focus on how to use politics wisely, and not misuse it.

Cooper explored biblical examples of the good and bad use of power and encouraged leaders not to be afraid of politics but learn how to practice moral and ethical political leadership.

He responded during a Q&A session and reminded the gathering that politics is a fact of every group in society. “There’s politics in the family, in the church, everywhere, and we need to look at politics as a neutral zone, neither positive or negative.”

Dr. Lowell Cooper, former vice president of the Adventist world church. Roberto Brown, executive secretary of the Honduras Union translates next to him. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

Themed “A Leaders: Transformed, Innovative and Effective”, the event will feature more than 30 speakers from the Adventist world Church, Loma Linda University, North American Division and Inter-American Division, during general sessions and dozens of seminars on effective church management, conflict resolution, ethical leadership, motivational techniques, statistical reporting and more.

Inter-America’s SeLD Conference will conclude on July 11, 2018. For more updates on this conference, visit us at interamerica.org


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