Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders answers questions during an online certification training for pastors held at the Inter-American Division headquarter office in Miami, Florida, United States, Oct. 23, 2018. Photo by Libna Stevens/IAD

October 28, 2018 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America is on a mission to reach every single one of its more than 3.8 million members actively involved in spreading the gospel in their communities, readying for the Second Coming. In order to do that, pastors and laypersons must be trained, organized and committed to working together, top leaders said recently.

“It is time we look for the Holy Spirit and ask Him to abide in us and think on greater things for God,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America during an online training event, Oct. 23, 2018. “Let us not be comfortable doing what we have always been doing,” he added.

“This is the time for youth, young adults, women, and children to work together with the same passion with what the church is calling total member involvement to do great things,” said Pastor Henry. “We are not talking about multiplicity of activities but let us work together in order to have a stronger ministry where we can be true servants of the Lord and our members get galvanized for service to God.”

IAD President Pastor Elie Henry challenges leaders and laypersons to become more involved in the mission of the church. Photo by Libna Stevens/IAD

Pastor Henry outlined the three main priorities the church will focus on during the next two years: evangelism, education, and community outreach.

It’s about going being transformed by God to do great things and reaching for more souls across the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory, challenged Pastor Henry.

“Let’s go for More” is the core theme the IAD Ministerial Association, in charge of overseeing the pastoral workforce and local churches, is pushing for.

Pastor Josney Rodríguez, ministerial association secretary, speaks to the more than 3,700 pastors across Inter-America to double efforts and reach more souls for the Kingdom of Heaven. Photo by Libna Stevens/IAD

“We want to reaffirm the great ministerial commitment to reaching more souls amid the big challenges that the church is facing in the modern world,” said Pastor Josney Rodríguez, ministerial association secretary for the church in Inter-America, and organizer of the online training session.

The five-hour training session completes the first year of a three-year comprehensive training for pastors to be equipped to tend to, disciple, and multiply congregations bursting with nearly 4 million members, said Rodríguez.

“Having an empowered team of leaders will help us move forward together in a pastoral leadership that will be more spiritual and a bible-based ministry that is closer to the church,” added Rodríguez.

Belkis Archbold (center), health ministries director and Dinorah Rivera, women’s and children & adolescent ministries director for the church in Inter-America announce the number of certified pastors in the territory so far this year, while IAD administrators look on. Photo by Libna Stevens/IAD

The comprehensive certification program will see to it that pastors are equipped in four different areas: Administration, preaching, pastoral care and teaching.

Already, nearly 30,00 church elders have been undergoing a certification program since last year to ensure that proper attention is given to churches that pastors are not able to visit every single Sabbath. “Some of our pastors have 15, 20, 30, 40, 43 congregations to lead and it is impossible shepherd without the joint forces of pastors and church elders,” said Rodríguez.

“Our main focus through this certification program is to help the church membership grow and become active participants in the mission of the church,” said Rodríguez.  “That’s why we need to ensure that we get really organized with the same vision to really motivate the millions of members.”

Cecilia and Pedro Iglesias of Family Ministries for the church in Inter-America hold up the numbers referring to the 1,419 non-ordained ministers and 2,325 ordained ministers across the territory who shepherd a membership of more than 3.8 million. Photo by Libna Stevens/IAD

The online program touched on evangelism challenges to face together in 2019 with the integration of church departments and ministries, how to manage financial resources, the importance of small groups ministry, available software resources,  and more.

Top administrators answered questions during the online segment on how mission offerings are distributed, the availability of software resources, what are the expected results in 2019, important evangelism dates for next year, and more.

IAD unions reported that nearly 2,000 pastors have completed the first phase of the certification program, while leaders praised pastors who have served the church fore decades across the territory. Among the top three recognized ministers honored were:  Juan Aguilar of El Salvador Union with 50 years of serving as a pastor, Roberto Brown of the Honduras Union for his 49 years of serving as a pastor and Joel Almaguel of the Puerto Rican Union for his 48 of serving as a pastor.

A group of district pastors of the Metropolitan Conference in Central Mexico, hold their certificates after completing the first phase of training certification during the online program led by Inter-America’s Ministerial Association, on Oct. 23, 2018. Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Conference of Central Mexico.

To watch the live program held October 24, 2018, in English, Click HERE in Spanish, Click HERE in French, Click HERE

To view a photo gallery of the online event, Click HERE

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