August 1, 2019 | Louisville, Kentucky, United States |
The 2019 International Convention of the Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi) opened in Louisville, Kentucky, United States on the evening of July 31, 2019, with an unambiguous call to get involved and enthusiastic about the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“Let’s get enthusiastic about our church’s mission,” said Adventist Church president Ted Wilson in his keynote address at the Kentucky International Convention Center. “The Lord is calling you to actively participate.”
For the second year in a row, the ASi convention is being informed by the theme “Business Unusual.” Wilson found it a timely slogan.
“We must get involved in business unusual for an unusual God. It’s a privilege to participate in this great last proclamation [of God’s message], just before the Lord’s appearing,” he said as he referenced the Christian hope in Jesus’ second coming.
ASi president Steve Dickman, who was just elected for another two-year term, seconded Wilson’s thought.
“[This] is a time to consider how we are doing business,” he wrote in his introductory remarks to ASi members. “It seems to me that God is in the business of taking us from our normal line of working and thinking and inviting us to a life of business unusual.”
For Wilson, ASi’s mission is closely related to Total Member Involvement (TMI), a world church initiative that seeks to get every church member involved in sharing Jesus. Noting that the current ASi was created in 1947 as an association of self-supporting institutions, Wilson said that the organization encapsulates what TMI is all about.
“This is a unique and diverse group of church members, who in their fields of expertise are enthusiastically spreading God’s Word and His mission,” he said.
According to Wilson, the motivation to get involved should be based on the grace God has shown to His people. It is the reason, he said, why Seventh-day Adventists should be the greatest proponents of God’s grace in the whole world.
“It is that grace that should propel us to business unusual,” he said.
Networking and Training Opportunities
According to the event organizers, about 2,100 people have registered this year. Even though the ASi annual event is based in North America, some attendees come from as far as South America, Europe, and elsewhere. Almost all of them are Adventist church members working in a variety of professions, including academia, banking, entrepreneurship, and charities, ASi leaders said.
The international convention of Adventist laypeople has been traditionally an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, as networking opportunities abound, organizers said. This year’s program again emphasizes the participation of ASi’s new members and first-time attendees and a Young Professional event, which seeks to underpin a new generation of Adventist entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Children also get to attend special daily activities catering to all school ages.
Participants choose among dozens of seminars on various topics such as theology; the intersection between education, ministry, and business; using food as medicine; digital evangelism; the way to financial wholeness; and many others.
“Have you ever wondered how to connect with other people to share Christ?” Kris Lenart asked as he invited people to attend his seminar on how to give Bible studies to secular people. Lenart, a church planter in Europe, comes from Austria, where he leads a ministry with a strong emphasis on sharing Christ on that continent. Lenart promised to share some principles to find people who are interested in spiritual topics.
For retired corporate leader and author Doris Gothard, finances are closely related to spirituality. “In my seminar, I will share a seven-step spiritual approach to personal finance, which will act as a link between the spiritual and the material,” she promised.
Giving It All to God
ASi leaders believe this emphasis on bridging the gap between the church and secular culture has a lot of potential. According to Wilson, it’s also about members reaching out, something that he believes can prevent discouragement and apathy and strengthen our local church communities.
Wilson also believes developments such as this one will only be possible if church members give themselves completely to God.
“One of the greatest challenges the Seventh-day Adventist Church faces is not a nuclear holocaust, persecution, or attacks from the outside,” he said. “The greatest challenge is for every one of us to renounce self and give glory only to God.”
Quoting 1 Peter 4:11 (NKJV), “If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,” Wilson added, “May everything we do bring glory to God. And may ASi always be ready to lift up Jesus.”
The 2019 ASi International Convention continues through Saturday, August 3.