Executive Committee members raise their hand in support of actions and initiatives during Inter-America’s Mid-Year Meetings, from Miami, Florida, United States, May 4-5, 2022. The meetings were also held on the Zoom platform for the rest of the executive members stationed throughout the division-wide territory.[Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

May 12, 2022 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Inter-America, recently voted to continue united efforts in ensuring that the church territory embraces, engages, and implements dozens of initiatives, and activities in support of its comprehensive strategic mission plans already set in motion during the current five-year period.  Executive committee members joined via Zoom and in person at the Inter-American Division Office in Miami, Florida, United States, for two days of business meetings, May 4-5, 2022.

“We have gathered to review our three main strategic issues to carry on educating, evangelizing, and serving under our ‘I Will Go’ initiative as we celebrate the Division’s centennial commemorations this year,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America.  “We are God’s disciples in the way we preach, talk, and take the time to understand and unite in efforts so that we can continue making sure that the church can remain extraordinarily strong in all areas of the church.”

Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America, presides during the Inter-American Division’s Mid-Year Meetings from Miami, Florida, United States, May 5, 2022. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Pastor Henry called on church leadership to offer the best of their service to God and the community at every educational institution, hospital, clinic, center of influence, local church and small group. “We want to be united in God and help all our church members to grow in Christ, and to be real disciples,” he said.

Nurturing, discipling and engaging more and more church members to be involved in preaching, teaching and serving throughout the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory will require coordination  during the next months and years, church leaders said.

The votes taken included:

The Great Controversy Project 2.0

Leaders voted to adopt the plan of distributing millions of copies of Ellen G. White’s The Great Controversy in English, Spanish and French in 2023 and 2024, following the Adventist world church’s initiative.  The book will become the missionary book of the year for both years. All departments of the church will work together to facilitate the widest possible distribution of the book. A coordinating committee for distribution and promotion throughout all the levels of the church will ensure that the book, along with an evangelistic series and other resources, will be available for a deeper study of the book. Inter-America plans to distribute more than 6 million copies of the book and also make it available in digital format. Inter-America’s two publishing houses, IADPA and GEMA Editors, will seek the best prices so that the book will be accessible and affordable to church members.

Pastor Isaías Espinoza, publishing ministries director for the church in Inter-America, explains the massive distribution of the Great Controversy 2.0 missionary book that will be distributed across Inter-American and the world church 2023-2024. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

New paradigm in Adventist Mission

A new paradigm in Adventist Mission was voted to be adopted across the Inter-American Division following the world church’s recent plan to reset the church’s global mission focus.

“The Inter- American Division is ready to rethink its mission strategy in several areas,” said Pastor Samuel Telemaque, Sabbath school director and Adventist Mission coordinator for the church in Inter-America. “These areas include church planning, mission in the virtual and physical, contextualization, people groups, cross- cultural communication, and sending and receiving missionaries.”

The new matrix will refocus resources to unreached and under-reached people groups in each division territory and for Adventist institutions to send missionary families into areas where the gospel message is needed most, based on the following criteria: Direct contact mission with the goal of creating new worshiping groups; 10/40 window countries and people groups of non-Christian religions; urban areas of more than one million people; post-modern/post-Christian countries and religions; low Adventist-to-population ratio in countries/regions/people groups; and high-impact equipping for direct contact mission.

Part of the mission initiative will also include friendly churches across 12 unions in Inter-America which should be established later this year.

Pastor Luis A. Aguillon, executive secretary for the church in El Salvador, comments during committee meetings, May 5, 2022. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Evangelism Program for the Three Americas

Leaders voted to embrace an execute the Three Americas Evangelistic program coordinated by the General Conference in 2023. The initiative will see 100 visiting preachers from North and South America, including 50 preachers impacting Mexico City, 25 in Guadalajara, North Mexico, and 25 in Bogota, Colombia, March 26 to April 9, 20223.

The IAD will send 100 preachers to the South American and North American divisions to take part in the comprehensive evangelism efforts from April 1-9, 2023. The General Conference, Division, Union, and conference and local churches will share the expenses of this effort.

Fulfilling the mission in Mexico

A vote was taken to adopt decisions taken by the officers of the five unions in Mexico to work more collaboratively to reach non-Adventists in Mexico City and other large cities. The initiative will see a new commission established to develop actionable initiatives to impact Mexico, another commission to guide the process of developing and recommending materials for evangelism, conduct annual national evangelism campaigns every year until 2025, and address collaborative social and evangelistic mission initiatives in Mexico City, in 2023.

Regional evangelism campaigns and conversations

Executive committee members also reviewed the success of evangelism efforts since January as the regional evangelistic campaigns swept across the Caribbean, Central America, and Colombia and Venezuela. The campaigns yielded more than 50,000 baptisms.

Pastor Balvin Braham, vice president for the church in Inter-America, goes over the Division’s centennial celebration events still pending to take place in the coming months. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

In addition, leaders voted to continue in dialogue with coordinated evangelistic efforts among unions to fulfill the mission across the Division territory. Three such special meetings will include administrators and evangelism and personal ministry leaders, respectively, in the Colombia and Venezuela unions, from March 6-10, 2023; English-speaking unions, June 5-9, 2023; and French-speaking unions on Aug. 21-24, 2023.

Herbert Fletcher University

A vote was taken to officially close Inter-America’s Herbert Fletcher University, a higher education institution established in 2007, that provided undergraduate courses and two master’s degrees to Adventist professionals. The institution did not grow as planned and saw very low enrollment during the past six years, church leaders said.

In addition, leaders went over the progress report on Inter-America’s Strategic Plan 2020-2025, were briefed on the latest General Conference Session delegate information, voted on policy amendments and new operating budget guidelines, and adjusted theme activities to children and adolescent ministries, women’s ministries, and youth ministries, among others.  Leaders are still to discuss details of Inter-America’s Pathfinder Camporee which was previously voted to take place in April of 2023.

Faye Patterson, education director for the church in Inter-America, speaks on centers of influence in educational institutions and explains the permanent closing of Inter-America’s Herbert Fletcher University, an online institution, during the business meetings, May 5, 2022. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Leaders voted to increase the distribution of Hope Channel Inter-America in local cable distributors in each union, as well as adopted a new initiative recently presented during the General Conference’s spring meetings on how to tackle social media addiction and increase personal and family devotions.

Centennial Celebrations

Committee leaders were briefed on upcoming IAD’s centennial celebrations this year to highlight the church’s progress since the Division was organized in 1922. Scheduled events include:

  • Centennial Gospel Caravan – where marches, parades, torch passing and special drills will take place in specific communities within the territory without any Adventist presence from July 3 – August 3, 2022.
  • Territory-wide Festival of the Laity – August 4-6, 2022, in Panama City, Panama.
  • Centennial evangelism impact campaigns with IAD union evangelists, on October 22-29, 2022, in the Dominican Republic.
  • Centennial Division-wide Baptism day – October 29, 2022

Edith Ruiz, children and adolescents ministries and women’s ministries director for the church in INter-America, presents different activities initiatives for 2022 and 2023. [Photo: Keila Trejo/IAD]

Additional authorized meetings and events were voted, among others, follows:

  • Holy Convocation (Stewardship) Event, July 9-15, 2022 – in Panama.
  • SeLD Conference – July 25-27, 2022 – Miami, Florida (part hybrid program)
  • ASi Convention, August 17-21, 2022, Online from Jamaica
  • IAD Advisory Councils, September 5-30, 2022, Online
  • Stewardship Advisory, September 7-10, 2022, Dominican Republic
  • Sabbath School Congresses 2023
  • GC/IAD Virtual Festival of Interpreters – Feb. 3-5, 2023.
  • Vacation Bible School Experience Workshop – February 19, 2023, in Miami, Florida.

Inter-America’s next annual executive committee meetings will be held Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2022, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

To learn more about Inter-America’s initiatives, events and activities voted at this year’s Mid-Year Executive Committee Meetings, visit us at interamerica.org

 

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