“Our church’s entire organizational structure, institutions, plans and efforts must be focused on preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ,” said Dr. Angel Gúzman, vice president of academic affairs for Adventist Theological Seminary. Inter-American, based in Puerto Rico. The call came as top Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Inter-America met recently to review its entire territory. I will go missionary initiatives set in motion for the new year and the years to come.
Dozens of administrators and department heads gathered January 5-6, 2022 to pray, review plans, and solidify initiatives and activities that will mobilize church members for greater involvement in spreading the word. gospel throughout the land.
As guest speaker, Dr. Guzmán reminded church leaders to carefully consider the role of the church in proclaiming the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 as they continue to motivate and engage members throughout the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory.
The Church Prepares the Way
“The church is not the way, but the church prepares the way to Jesus, and that motivation should reach our members,” Guzmán said. It is not about enjoying wonderful programs so that church members can sit as spectators, but “the church must be very conscious of its role.”
This role is to perform the special work of proclaiming the message of salvation as entrusted messengers of God, Guzmán said. “There are many people in the church who are empty because we don’t involve them in understanding the prophetic role we have as Seventh-day Adventists.”
Drawing on the vision and role of John the Baptist in Mark 1, Guzmán reminded leaders that just as John was aware of his prophetic gift, he was not focused on himself but on doing point people to Jesus. Therefore, so must the Adventist Church, Guzmán said. “We exist to create revival and reformation, so that we can be the messengers God has called us to be during these end times.” The church is not a business or an institution but a remnant of God with a special message – a prophetic movement that God has raised up, he stressed.
Guzmán reminded leaders that God’s work should not be ostentatious but should focus more on the content of the message than on the instruments used to proclaim it.
Do not lose sight of your prophetic role
“The danger of focusing so much on the structure of our ministry is that in the end we risk losing sight of the essence of the message and our prophetic role,” Guzmán said. He emphasized that the three angels’ messages, representing the closing stages of earth’s history and the identity of the church, just as Adventist pioneers were certain, must be essential to be effective in fulfilling the mission.
“Every church organization, every institution and every ministry should focus on its role of proclaiming the ‘final message’; otherwise, there is no reason for its existence,” Guzmán said.
Church leaders delved into further study of the three angels’ messages, reviewed, studied and prayed for the dozens of initiatives voted on as part of the I Will Go mission plans focused on the evangelism, education and community service for the next four years.
“We must continue to dedicate our lives to His service, moving forward with confidence as messengers of God to proclaim this precious message throughout the territory,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. To achieve this, he said, it is important “to be together and to move forward together”, to understand each initiative and how departments and ministries are interconnected to engage members up to the congregation. local.
Leaders also reviewed specific activities taking place across the territory as the DIA continues to celebrate 100 years of growth since its official organization in May 1922.
Pursue with passion for the mission
“We must continue to have this passion for this [Adventist] movement, just as countless pastors and lay people did in the beginning here in Inter-America years and years ago,” said Pastor Henry. “Do we still have this passion? All the issues that surround us now, we need to be sensitive as leaders, moving forward into the future, giving members and the community hope in the midst of today’s uncertainties.
Trustees also reviewed the state of membership growth and the need to redouble efforts to spiritually nurture and retain church members. The leaders also reviewed the financial situation of the past twenty years and put in place plans to continue funding the mission of the church over the next ten years.
IAD leaders also discussed the challenge of bringing children, youth and adults back into church life as the pandemic continues to keep churches closed and operating primarily with online services.
Review of major initiatives and activities
Some of the major initiatives reviewed included the recovery of more than 80,000 former church members, the organization of 100,000 Bible studies through small group ministries, the distribution of 6.7 million missionary books in April , thousands of community impact events at Adventist colleges and schools, training hundreds of church members for mission, and preparing for major territory-wide evangelistic campaigns during the year. summer, as well as ongoing evaluations of these initiatives and plans.
“Nothing is more important than continuing the mission God has given us, and we pray that God may grant His church extraordinary success in 2022,” Pastor Henry concluded.
To learn more about Inter-America’s year-round activities, centennial celebrations, and resources, visit 100.interamerica.org