May 3, 2021 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News
Evangelism will continue to be a top priority for the Seventh-day Adventist Church across the Inter-American Division (IAD), just like it has been for the nearly 100 years since the church was established. The renewed commitment of spreading the gospel to all people groups in urban and rural communities came as church leaders vowed to intensify evangelism efforts in the life of the church during the next five years as Inter-America’s Mid-Year Executive Committee concluded its business meetings last week.
“God has sustained this church in Inter-America through the years and we must continue to emphasize the love and the hope provided through Christ, as we advance in fulfilling His mission here in our territory,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America.
Committing to “I Will Go”
Pastor Henry encouraged church leaders to fully commit to ensuring that every leader and member in each region engages in the I Will Go mission initiatives and activities. I Will Go, which has been in motion since November, focuses on strengthening evangelism, education and service to the community.“We must walk in humility and responsibility with great determination in preaching that Jesus is coming very soon,” he said. The reminder came as Pastor Henry spoke on key significant decisions taken that will see a new team of dozens of IAD department heads, division institution administrators and union mission administrators accomplishing the mission through 2025.
Pastor Henry clarified that the church in Inter-America took the decision to elect its top leaders in April since the church’s General Conference (GC) Session has been postponed several times due to the pandemic. The GC Executive Committee recently authorized world divisions to appoint officers, field secretaries, department directors as well as administrators of union missions.
“Thank you for your commitment and for dedicating your entire lives to the service of the Lord,” said Pastor Henry as he addressed the leaders who will retire from active service in the coming days. “The church must move ahead without stopping,” Pastor Henry said. He invited leaders and members at every level of the church to pray for God’s leading to finish the task at hand.
Mission to the Upper Class
Executive committee members voted to establish a special committee that will coordinate a program to evangelize people of the upper class starting at the division level in collaboration with each union and local field in the territory. “’The Mission to the Upper Class Committee’ shall provide concepts, guidance, counsel, methodology, resources, and training to the fields for successful implementation of the mission,” read the voted statement. The role of the committee includes establishing specific evangelistic objectives to reach the upper class, determine specific initiatives and its target groups, outline strategies to equip persons to execute the initiatives, evaluation and specific functions of all involved.“The church in the Inter-American Division has not effectively reached the upper class with the gospel,” said Pastor Balvin Braham, vice president for the church in Inter-America overseeing evangelism. “We need to be more intentional about reaching the upper class,” he added. There are resources to reach and the capacity to rescue, retain and disciple persons of the upper class, he explained. “We must do so with a sense of urgency.”
Pastor Henry appealed to top leaders to focus on that need in their territory. “Understanding that upper class evangelism won’t be easy,” he said. “It’s not as fast at obtaining results as we are used to, and it may take us many more resources.”
The Mission to the Upper Class Committee will get underway during an online evangelism conference via zoom on May 7-9, 2021. Leaders voted to hold the online event for 2,000 pastoral evangelists and 1,000 lay evangelists from throughout the territory. The conference will assist pastoral and lay evangelists to hone their evangelistic and preaching skills, motivate them to maximize their soul-winning potential and highlight the effective use of evangelistic methods and resources.
IAD Centenary Celebration
A series of initiatives and activities for 2022 were approved to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the IAD. The church in Inter-America was officially established on May 11, 1922.“We want to celebrate God’s providence and affirm our values in Inter-America,” said Braham, who is overseeing the celebration events. The idea of the celebration during the year is not about creating new programs but focusing on the mission programs that are already in place in the I Will Go strategic mission plan, he explained. “Engaging and highlighting these core values will pump up this celebration as we go forward in thanking God for the way He has led this church,” said Braham.
The centenary celebration will be officially launched during the year-end executive committee meetings in Oct. 30, 2021. The launch will follow a consecration service involving specific sites at Inter-America’s 24 unions on Jan. 8, 2022, to begin the celebration activities highlighting evangelism, education, and service to the community across the territory.
Leaders also looked at data on the role of Adventist education, reviewed updates on articles on the church in Inter-America to the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventist, voted on the amendment of several policies, and voted to allow a designated disaster response committee to manage rapid relief response funds for church members of crises across the territory.
In addition, committee members voted on the missionary book of the year for 2022: The Great Controversy 2.0 authored by Ellen G. White—co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Committee members were reminded of the upcoming Adventist Virtual Global Camp Meeting scheduled to take place May 19-23, 2021.
Authorized meetings as well as a calendar of special days and events for the IAD territory was tabled to be voted on a special executive committee meeting on July 1, 2021.
Leaders also voted to hold a Virtual Stewardship Congress on Aug. 14, 2021.
To find out more about Inter-America’s initiatives and activities throughout the coming weeks and months, visit us at interamerica.org