June 5, 2019 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD
The Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership in the Inter-American Division (IAD) wants all of its administrators, pastors, lay preachers, Bible instructors, small group leaders and church members to focus on a comprehensive plan to baptize more than 200,000 new believers by the end of this quinquennium, which ends in June 2020. For that to take place, the church at all levels needs to stay focused on evangelism initiatives and activities in the weeks and months to come, top church leaders said during an online Evangelism Summit, held June 4, 2019, from Miami, Florida.
“As members, we have to preach, to win souls for Christ, that’s what God put in our hearts to do,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president for the church in Inter-America. “We have to continue preaching, it is not optional.” Pastor Henry reflected on lessons drawn from the Apostle Paul.
“We see what is happening around us, we know that Jesus is coming soon, so we must be committed to telling everyone that there is a solution, that there is hope,” said Pastor Henry. That commitment comes as a result of a responsibility in each member to live a life reflecting Jesus, connecting or mingling with those around them focused on the mission, with a sense of gratitude for God’s love and sacrifice, he added.
It’s all about a united collaborative work among pastors and laypersons, or active church members, in presenting the everlasting gospel, church leaders said.
“We stand together in soul-winning in the Inter-American Division,” said Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president for evangelism and main organizer of the online event. “We have to conquer in the name of Jesus, for there are too many people out there who have not accepted Christ as their personal Savior in our local church community,” said Braham.
Sharing the gospel with others means discipling them and baptizing them as part of the church flock, said Braham. Bringing in more members to reach the one million new members by mid 2020, a goal set out mid 2015, means looking at numbers reached so far.
Since the current quinquennium began in July 2015, 732,256 new members have been baptized, reported Pastor Leonard Johnson, executive secretary for the church in Inter-America. To reach the goal of one million, 267,744 new members would have to be reached, which is at least 53,548 new members added for the next five quarters, said Johnson.
Pastor Johnson gave an overview of the growth of the church since 2011, including the drops in membership, the missing, those transfers out and unaccounted for, and challenged leaders to continue to be faithful in accomplishing the mission of what was pledged years ago.
Stretching efforts will need to see the 3,200 pastors in the 24 major church regions in Inter-America on board with a comprehensive evangelism plan that will seek to train 100,000 lay preachers, and 300,000 bible instructors. The goal is to hold 104,000 evangelistic campaigns throughout the territory from January to April in 2020. The vision corresponds to what top church leaders voted recently during IAD’s Mid-Year Executive Committee meetings where 2020 was voted in as the Year of Discipleship and Evangelistic Mega Reaping.
Unions, or church regions, will set their own evangelistic goals before the end of the year and unite efforts to not only reach new believers but work hard with discipleship or retention initiatives to get more members involved and committed to the mission, Braham said.
The one-day summit touched on the spiritual dynamics in church growth, the relational dynamics between evangelism and financing the mission, the role of the pastor, laity, women, youth, and children in the mission of reaching others, attaining discipleship goals, achieving baptismal goals, and more. Church leaders also answered dozens of questions during the online event.
“Our intention with this summit was to create an understanding among pastors in terms of where we are headed in church growth and retention of members,” said Braham. It’s about mobilizing and inspiring all pastors to maximize their potential in equipping members to continue equipping members in soul-winning. “With the help of the Holy Spirit, and much prayer, we will experience a rich harvest of souls,” Braham said.
To view Inter-America’s Online Evangelism Summit for Pastors, for
To learn more about Inter-America’s initiatives, activities and events, visit us at interamerica.org