August 23, 2018 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD
Inter-American Division [IAD] President Pastor Elie Henry shared plans for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the territory for the next two years during a special meeting with church leaders and staff in Miami, Florida, yesterday.
Pastor Henry, who recently returned from visiting four major church regions in Inter-America, officially began as the new IAD president earlier this month. Pastor Henry promised a renewed commitment on his part and that of fellow administrators to the mission of the church in Inter-America, and urged vice presidents, department heads and office staff for greater teamwork in their service to God’s church. He called on leaders to focus on moving forward and doing better.
“By faith we are moving ahead with confidence knowing that the same God who has led us in the past will give us victory in the future,” said Pastor Henry. “We praise God for Pastor Leito’s legacy and his outstanding leadership for the past 25 years. But we believe that the best is yet to come and in the powerful name of Jesus great things will be accomplished for the glory of God.”
Pastor Henry reaffirmed the need for all church members to be committed to a daily relationship with God and seeking His transformation in the context of Total Member Involvement, a world church initiative to get every member in the church actively working to fulfill the mission of the church.
“We intend to support all the aspects of the church working in harmony with the various fields and institutions and we will continue to work following our strategic plan [previously] voted and successfully implemented across Inter-America,” said Pastor Henry.
The IAD president said that the church would continue to focus on stewardship in the life of the individual member, understanding that stewardship is a basic expression of faith and discipline.
The church will place special emphasis on three priorities in Inter-America: evangelism, education and community impact.
Pastors and laypersons are already doing an outstanding job, said Pastor Henry. More training for promoting personal evangelism will be provided as well as enlisting every church member to be witnesses and share what God is doing for them, he said.
“We will continue to use all the means possible to reach all people groups, use technology to spread the gospel and sponsor evangelistic events preceded and followed by small groups ministry,” said Pastor Henry. “We want to help every member become a disciple of Jesus.”
Pastor Henry said more attention will be given to education across the IAD’s 1,250 schools and universities. The IAD operates 466 primary schools, 303 secondary schools, one junior college and 14 universities.
“We understand that a large portion of our members are young so we need to invest in education and care for our Adventist young people who attend public schools and universities,” said Pastor Henry.
The focus will continue to be on providing formal education to church members as well as informal education such as non-academic classes and certifications that can be useful for sharing the gospel, explained Pastor Henry.
Pastor Henry said focus will also be on helping young people use their gifts and talents to alleviate pain and suffering to help in community centers, assist the elderly and all community outreach activities to benefit society will be implemented.
“We understand that Christ came to serve others and we will follow His footsteps,” said Pastor Henry.
In addition, the church will facilitate more exchange of church workers between fields, as well as in other fields, and other divisions.
Pastor Henry thanked his wife Ketlie and the IAD staff for their support and prayers in undertaking the task of moving forward in the mission to grow the church in Inter-America.
Pastor Leonard Johnson, executive secretary for the church in Inter-America, reported on the growth of membership up to the second quarter this year.
The report indicated that nearly 112,000 new members were added to the church from January to June, bringing the total membership throughout the more than 22,000 churches to 3,834,765.
“We thank God for what He as done for His church,” said Pastor Johnson. “The faithfulness of our people, the coordinated efforts of department leaders who continue to plan, promote and strategize, continue to advance the gospel in Inter-America.”
Pastor Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer for the church in Inter-America, reported on the 36-year history of tithing in the territory. His report showed that since 1981, tithing funds have increased seven times, while the membership has grown 4.28 times since then.
“When we measure the relationship in these two indicators, it shows us that tithes have grown 63 percent faster than the membership,” said Verduzco. The percentage shows the pattern and potential of the funding environment, he added.
“Tithe in the IAD behaves extraordinarily well and it gives us assurance that the church member is a faithful member,” said Verduzco.
Notwithstanding the fluctuating soft currencies across the territory, the IAD has been able to face those challenges and adjust operational costs in the headquarter office as recently as last year, explained Verduzco.
“Until July 2018, the operation of the Division is keeping strong,” said Verduzco. “We praise God because the funding environment is running well and we have taken decisions to help strengthen finances in the church.”
To learn more about the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America, visit us at interamerica.org