September 10, 2018 | Mandeville, Manchester, Jamaica | Nigel Coke/IAD
Adventist Church President in Jamaica Pastor Everett Brown challenged newly installed leaders in the North East Jamaica region to make the community and people their main object of the church’s mission.
The challenge was made by the Adventist leader against the background of the recent spate of murders committed against women and children in the country.
“To remain relevant and true to mission, the church must identify with the needs of people,” said Brown, as he addressed the new leaders at the Port Maria Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Mary on Saturday, Sep. 8, 2018. “To identify with the pain and sorrows that the community in which you serve experience is an integral part of your mission.”
Pastor Brown said that in the pursuit of mission, leaders accept the responsibility to care for the sick, poor, the socially disadvantaged and the vulnerable in society.
“You are installed to empower and lead a church to achieve mission when the abuse of women and children in the society is rising, called to make a difference when human trafficking, murder and all forms corruption practices continues regard our Spiritual and national development as a nation. Meeting people’s Spiritual, social and physical needs is the business of the church.”
The goal of the church is to change and transform lives, said Brown. “In that context the church is like a hospital with sin-sick people from every strata of society. Our goal is to lead everyone barring none to Jesus.”
Although not making direct reference, Brown’s comments were coming on the heels of the suspected suicide of 59-year-old Adventist deacon Linton Stephenson of Mandeville, Manchester, who was being sought in connection with the recent murder of 25-year-old Khyhymn Campbell.
“We must not give up on people who are in need of healing and salvation, we must not shrink back from engaging in mission activities because some of our leaders and members have failed God and the church,” said Brown.
Pastor Brown went on to say that the church today is not perfect and will not perfectly reflect in her totality the power of the gospel. “But one day, the church militant will become the triumphant church the spotless bride of Christ.”
Stephenson, a church deacon at the Mandeville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Manchester was on parole following his release from prison for a previous murder conviction, according to police reports. He was also wanted for illegal possession of a firearm.
A day before Stephenson was found dead last week, Pastor Brown condemned the alleged murder and appealed for individual to turn himself into the police.
“The church today must not be judged or defined by her failure to change and transform all,” said Brown. “God’s physical church is a work in progress one day His work of transforming lives will be completed mission here on earth will end and the church the bride of Christ will rise to meet Jesus.”
Pastor Brown said that the church’s finest moment is to go forward with courage in the might and strength of Almighty God. “Let us not allow our failures in the past or the unwarranted criticisms being levied at the church sidetrack us and cause us to lose our focus and dilute our message and thwart mission.” Brown added.