Pastors from throughout the Inter-American Division joined local pastors and church elders in Costa Rica, at the Central American Adventist University in Alajuela, Costa Rica, for an intense spiritual revival training during the week of Jan. 26 to Feb. 2, 2019. The training included having pastors visit the homes of church members throughout 131 congregations and encourage them to engaged in sharing the gospel. Photo courtesy of the South Central American Union

February 10, 2019 | Alajuela, Costa Rica | Libna Stevens/IAD

Dozens of Seventh-day Adventist ministers from throughout the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory recently joined local ministers across Costa Rica to preach the Word of God and visit the homes of thousands of members. The activity was part of an intense spiritual revival training initiative that seeks to motivate church members to get involved in the mission of sharing the gospel.

Holy Convocation

Coined as the Holy Convocation in Communion and Mission this year, the initiative follows the mandate found in Joel 2:15-16 to call a sacred assembly, consecrate and receive the Holy Spirit to fulfill the mission and prepare a people for the Second Coming, organizers said.

Pastor Roberto Herrera, stewardship ministries director for the church in Inter-America speaks to church leaders on the importance of always fostering a spiritual revival environment in the church. Photo courtesy of South Central American Union

The training is the fourth annual event organized by the IAD’s stewardship ministries department to equip pastors to better understand stewardship principles and their role in strengthening revival and reformation for every member and family.

More than 120 pastors traveled from 18 of Inter-America’s major church regions, and North America to preach in 131 churches as well as visited more than 4,770 Adventist families during the week of Jan. 26 to Feb. 2.

“We know that the church member is the most important element of the church organization and thus we must meet their spiritual needs,” said Pastor Roberto Herrera, stewardship ministries director for the church in Inter-American and main organizer of the Holy Convocation events. “Our working model shows that strengthening Christian stewardship in the church will drive members to fully engage in carrying out missionary projects and activities to spread the gospel.”

Faithful and practical Christians

IAD President Pastor Elie Henry encouraged the pastors and church elders gathered to be faithful and practical Christians believing in every word found in the Bible as they shepherd congregations. “The Word of God is not like a buffet at a restaurant where I take what I hunger for or I only read what I need,” said Pastor Henry. “When I say I believe in the Word of God, I am assaying that I believe in the entire Bible and not only one part.”

Adventist Evangelist Alejandro Bullón speaks to dozens of pastors and church elders on the spiritual revival that must be part of the life of each church. Photo courtesy of South Central American Union

Adventist Evangelist Alejandro Bullón reminded church pastors that before they disciple others, they must become active followers of Jesus. “Christianity is not philosophical, it is as practical for a Christian to eat, breathe and walk. Eating is like studying the Bible, breathing is praying and walking is leading one person to Christ.”

Communion and mission work together

“Pastors must visit members and ensure their communion with God is growing,” said Pastor Melchor Ferreyra, personal ministries director for the church in Inter-America. “It’s about keeping a balance between spiritual revival or constant communion with God and the mission to get involved in reaching unbelievers.  “In reality, mission is the result of the communion with God.”

That mission commitment in members propels them to support the evangelism work of sharing the gift of the gospel.

Herrera said that previous annual convocations held in Bogota, Colombia, Mexico City, and Puerto Rico, as well as regional training since 2016, has shown a remarkable change in offering donations that have allowed for greater evangelism impact in furthering God’s work. “The more faithful the church member is, the more generous and involved he or she becomes in the mission of the church,” he said.

Pastor Wilfredo Ruiz, president of the church in the South Central American Union, says the Holy Convocation initiative has sparked renewed commitment among local church leaders to better shepherd the membership across Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Photo courtesy of South Central American Union

Impact in Costa Rica

Pastor Wilfredo Ruiz, president of the church in the South Central American Union, said that initiative ignited church leaders and pastors to double their efforts in the churches.

“We had an opportunity to revive the church in times of so much secularism and spiritual apathy,” said Ruiz. Church members were invited to attend each evening to pray, worship, and learn about biblical stewardship principles.

Ruiz said that in the past, there has been little commitment from seasoned and young people when it comes to evangelism, but seeing the commitment from pastors and church elders, a better understanding of stewardship principles as well member home visitations, has sparked a renewed dedication to the visitation ministry and a new motivation for church member involvement to fulfill the mission of the church.

“This has forever changed the church in Costa Rica,” said Jesús Miranda, head elder of the La Esperanza Adventist Church in Alajuela. Miranda was amazed at how stewardship was taught every night by visiting Pastor Victor Valles, executive secretary of the church in Puerto Rico, during the week and the impact home visitations had on the 90-member congregation.

Jesus Miranda (left), head elder of the Esperanza Adventist Church in Alajuela, Costa Rica, said that the church in Costa Rica will forever be changed after the visitation activities held recently. Standing next is Victor Valles, executive secretary of the church in Puerto Rico, who preached and visited members of the Esperanza Adventist Church during the week of Feb. 26 to Feb. 2, 2019. Photo courtesy of South Central American Union

For Pastor David Maldonado, personal ministries director for the church in the North Mexican Union, it was a successful week of ministering to and visiting the members of the Fátima Adventist Church in San Jose. “It was an extraordinary week and it was plain to see that the brethren must be visited and the church must be shepherded,” said Maldonado. “The best that we can do is to pass on that passion for Christ, that communion with Him so that from there on, great things can take place in the church and the community.”

Pastor Ruiz said plans are moving forward for a regional Holy Convocation in Nicaragua next month where pastors and church elders in the more than 400 congregations will minister and visit members. The event will take place March 16-23, 2019.

Church member at the center

“We don’t have an ongoing fund-raising program in our church but our mission is to let members understand how stewardship works based on bible principles so we must put the member in the center of spiritual initiatives to motivate him or her to remain in spiritual revival and active in constant mission outreach,” Herrera said.

District Pastor Saúl Cortés Zepeda from the Central Mexican Union in Mexico City, visits a church member in Alajuela, Costa Rica, during the week of the Holy Convocation training. Photo courtesy of the South Central American Union.

The Holy Convocation event in the Central American country challenged also featured speakers like Pastors Ramón Canals, personal ministries of the Adventist world church, Vladimir Polanco, editor at IADPA, Pastor Hermes Tavera of the Greater New York Conference. The conference also focused on stewardship biblical principles geared toward Young people and children.

The Adventist Church in Costa Rica also held dozens of health expos across the country as well as community outreach activities for children with days before and after the Holy Convocation training initiative.

Tomas Saez contributed to this report

To view photo album of the event in Costa Rica, go Click HERE

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