October 28, 2015 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD
Top leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church from across the Inter-American Division (IAD) took action to implement a comprehensive evangelism plan set to involve all members in the life and mission of the church, during day one of the church’s business meetings held in Miami, Florida, on Oct. 27, 2015.
The new in-depth plan seeks to engage the more than 3.8 church members in spiritual initiatives that will motivate members to a daily transformed life in Christ, lead them to identify gifts and talents for service, equip them to connect and share the love of Jesus in their communities and disciple new members into the Adventist faith.
It’s about transforming lives within the church and its surrounding community, said Pastor Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America, as he spoke to the more than 140 administrators and leaders who oversee the 24 major church regions in the IAD.
“This is not about just saying what we would like to do or achieve, this is about preparing a people and being ready for the coming of the Lord,” said Pastor Leito. “This is about fostering and promoting unity in diversity while we accomplish the task of fulfilling the mission.”
The mission can only be accomplished by motivating all church members to be involved in serving where their strengths could be best used as they connect within and outside of the church walls, church leaders said. The plan falls under the IAD’s church growth and consolidation strategic plan which includes the Adventist world church’s Total Member Involvement initiative approved earlier this month.
How the plan will work will have to do with close-knit initiatives, activities, and training organized by all of the church’s department and ministries at all levels of the church, explained Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the president for evangelism.
“We are making a call to motivate all members to participate in church life,” said Braham as he read parts of the 34-page evangelism strategy to the committee. The call also goes to unions and local field leaders to find ways to promote, implement, and foster congregational life among the more than 20,000 churches and congregations across the IAD, the document said.
More member involvement at the higher levels of the church will include a 10 percent increase in lay members participating in the IAD mid-year business meetings which comes to 24 non-Committee member laypersons, and for non-committee member laypersons to be appointed for each local field whenever IAD’s year-end business meetings are held in a particular union region. Similarly, unions were encouraged to increase their lay involvement by 15 percent and fields were recommended to appoint 25 percent more laypersons to their bi-annual committee meetings as well.
The evangelism strategy will fall under the initiative called “Lord Transform Me” which is an intentional effort of all church employees and laypersons in the IAD to live Christ-like lives, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in harmony with Romans 12:2, explained Braham. The plan will be supported by two other strategic issues, which include further institutional development and intensify the use of technology to share the gospel.
Leaders took an action to hold intensive training of initiatives and activities under the evangelism strategy for each department and ministry April 18-21, 2016, for the 24 union leadership. In addition, local training will take place in four separate regional summits for the entire 24 Inter-American unions and local fields, in Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua during in June and July next year.
IAD leaders also took action to cut the number of days of bi-annual business meetings and Division events and hold more video conference meetings and more regional events to save costs, effective next year.
IAD’s Year-End Committee Meetings and its various board meetings will continue until Nov. 3, 2015.
For updates on decisions voted during this week’s meetings, visit interamerica.org