Top Seventh-day Adventist leaders from the Inter-American Division (IAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met recently to review territory-wide I Will Go mission initiatives, setting them in motion for the new year and the years to come.
“Our church’s entire organizational structure, institutions, plans, and efforts must be focused on preparing the world for the Second Coming of Christ,” said Angel Guzmán, vice president of academic affairs for Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary, based in Puerto Rico. said in an introductory presentation.
Dozens of administrators and department heads gathered on January 5-6, 2022 to pray, review plans, and solidify initiatives and activities that will mobilize church members for greater involvement in spreading the gospel throughout the land.
As guest speaker, Guzmán reminded church leaders to carefully consider the church’s role in proclaiming the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14 as they continue to motivate and engage members on the whole 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. These are not wonderful programs for church members to enjoy while they 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 the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
Drawing on the vision and role of John the Baptist described in Mark 1 of the Bible, Guzmán reminded leaders that John was aware of his prophetic gift and was not focusing on himself but on doing point people to Jesus. So it must be the same for 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, nor 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, more than 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 final stages of earth’s history and the identity of the church, just as Adventist pioneers were certain, must be essential to accomplishing mission effectively.
“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 pondered further study of the three angels’ messages, reviewed, studied, and prayed for the dozens of initiatives voted under the evangelism-focused I Will Go mission plans, education and community service for the next four years.
“We must continue to dedicate our lives to his service, stepping forward with confidence as messengers of God to proclaim this precious message throughout the territory,” said Elie Henry, president of the IAD. To achieve this, he added, it is important “to be together and move forward together”, to understand each initiative, how departments and ministries are interconnected to engage members down to the local congregation.
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.
Passion for mission
“We must continue to have this passion for this [Adventist] movement just as the countless pastors and lay people did in the beginning here in Inter-America years and years ago,” Henry said. “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. Leaders also reviewed the financial situation of the past 20 years and put in place plans to continue funding the church’s mission over the next 10 years.
IAD leaders also discussed the challenge of reintegrating children, youth and adults into church life as the pandemic continues to keep church buildings closed and services operating mostly online.
Main initiatives and activities
Key initiatives reviewed include the recovery of more than 80,000 former church members, the organization of 100,000 Bible studies through small group ministries and the distribution of 6.7 million missionary books in April. Other plans included hosting thousands of community impact events at Adventist universities and schools, training hundreds of church members for mission, and planning large-scale evangelistic campaigns. of the territory during the summer.
“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,” Henry said.