IAD President Pastor Elie Henry speaks alongside union presidents before the committee pauses to pray for the 10 million missionary books entitled “Hope Beyond Tomorrow” by Mark Finley, which will be distributed across the territory in 2020. Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD

October 31, 2019 | Montemoreslos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico | Libna Stevens/IAD

Inter-America’s Year-End Executive Committee concluded its annual church business meetings this week with members pledging to continue fine-tuning the new strategic plans that will be part of defining the future of the Seventh-day Adventist church across the vast territory for the next five years.  The more than 150 church leaders representing the Inter-America’s 24 unions, or major church regions, met in Montemorelos, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Oct. 29-30, to reaffirm their commitment in to carrying out plans, initiatives and activities to reach more people with the gospel in their respective territories.

“Our goal has been to define the path for the church in Inter-America aligning with the objectives set out by the Adventist world church’s “I Will Go” strategic focus for 2020-2025,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president for the church in Inter-America.   Inter-American Division leaders have been working on adopting the I Will Go strategic focus with these three core issues: evangelism, education and community.

Strategic focus for 2020-2025

“What we are putting together is a framework for the final strategic plan that will be voted next spring, but in the meantime, we expect that you as union leaders start the process of making sure action plans are quickly put in place from what we have gone over so far,” said Pastor Henry.

Pastor Jose A. Rodríguez, president of the church in Puerto Rico, shares in comments on the new strategies for the church in Inter-America for the next five years. Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD

Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the president for evangelism, presented an overview of the five principal objectives and key performance indicators in evangelism which will involve collaborative efforts from all departments and ministries, training courses for pastors and laity, new evangelism resources, and discipleship and involvement of members in soul-winning initiatives. In education, focus will be given to strengthening Adventist educational institutions including increased enrollment of Adventist members, better salaries for teachers, as well as non-formal education with a focus on comprehensive discipleship and a spiritual nurturing program established in every church, in addition to personal and corporate witnessing activities.

Time was also spent in on reviewing plans for the objectives and key performance indicators for a community service strategic focus that will involve connecting with people, addressing their spiritual, social, emotional and spiritual needs for further mission impact, community development, socio-economical impact, as well as physical growth and development.

“It is envisaged that this process of research and evaluation across the division through its unions, local fields and local church will be the key foundation for strategic planning as we have adapted from the GC strategic plan document,” said Braham.

Executive committee members will vote on the final strategic plans for the 2020-2025 next May.

Filiberto Verduzco, treasurer for the church in Inter-America, presents his report during the annual business meeting. Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD

Financial report

In his report, IAD Treasurer Filiberto Verduzco stated that his team all across the territory continues to strive to strengthen the financial system of the church. But, he stated, “the church member in Inter-America continues to be at the center for the success of the mission because of his or her faithful commitment in tithes and offerings.”

Verduzco outlined six main strategic actions designed to strengthen the church financially: a renewed emphasis on individual stewardship, increased member involvement in the church’s finances, ensuring local congregations understand the global mission, local distribution of tithe and offering, continued roll-out of Ecclesia 7 software, and ensuring transparency through auditing.

“Because the focal point is the church members, we are making available 50,000 copies a new book to be distributed throughout Inter-America in the three languagues: ‘The church, Its Finances and the Mission’” said Verduzco. The book is meant to show how the financial system works throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America, the role of the member in the mission and more, explained Verduzco. “It’s important that we create an environment of trust among church members and continue the emphasis on stewardship principles that we need to follow in the fulfillment of the mission.”

List of Stewardship emphasis books which will be distributed across Inter-America from 2020-2025. Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD

Verduzco also presented a list of books on stewardship, which will be available and distributed 2020-2025:

  • 2020 – The Church: It’s Finances and the Mission
  • 2021 – People First: The importance of the church member
  • 2022 – The Yoke of Christ: Nothing easier nothing lighter
  • 2023 – The Gospel and Prosperity
  • 2024 – These Triumphed. Biblical characters as a model for life and fidelity
  • 2025 – Equipped for Battle. The enemy’s strategies and God’s provision to defeat them.

In addition, Verduzco presented the financial challenges forseen in the next coming years in the context of the behavior of the global economy, the fluctuating currencies, decrease in appropriations, management of retirement benefits, other challenges and ways to plan and combat those challenges.

As of September 2019, the Inter-America’s working capital was 220 percent and its liquidity 242 percent, financial leaders reported. The auditing committee also reported on updates on the audited statements for 2018 and 2017.

Items voted

Committee members also prayed for the missionary book of 2020 entitled “Hope Beyond Tomorrow” by Mark Finley. Plans are for 10 million books to be distributed across the IAD, 5 million alone to be distributed in Mexico, on April 18, 2020.

Cecilia Iglesias, associate director of family ministries, presents information on the first Pastors’ children retreat to be held February 6-9, 2020. Photo: Libna Stevens/IAD

Votes also included to adopt a comprehensive statement on the Biblical view of the unborn life and its implication for abortion, to reaffirm confidence in the Holy Scriptures and the writings of Ellen G. White, as well as commitment to demonstrate concern for the abuse of children in joining others in signing the Adventist Development and Relief Agency’s petition Every Child. Everywhere. In School.

A report was also presented on the 355 Inter-American edited articles and documents scheduled to be submitted to the Encyclopedia Seventh-day Adventists by December.

Church leaders went over General Conference session information, guidelines for union sessions, as well as changing the name of Special Needs Ministries to Adventist Possibilities Ministries.

Upcoming IAD territory-wide events include:

  • Online school of Cross-Cultural Mission training on January 11, 2020.
  • Inter-America’s Health Summit in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, January 22-27, 2020.
  • Inter-America’s Retreat for Pastors’ Children, Miami, Florida, February 6-9, 2020.
  • Sabbath School and Personal Ministries International Congress, Cancun, Mexico, February 23-27, 2020.
  • Lord Transform Me Territory-wide baptismal ceremony, Costa Rica, April 4, 2020.

To learn more about Inter-America’s initiatives, activities and upcoming events, visit us at interamerica.org

To view a photo gallery of Inter-America’s Year-End Meetings, Click HERE

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