Photo Credit: Inter-American Division President Pastor Elie Henry speaks to thousands of local pastors throughout the Inter-American Division to continue their ministry strong, engaging members in discipleship-making in readiness for the Second Coming of Jesus. More than 3,100 pastors across the territory were engaged in the annual certification training program and celebrated during a celebration program held online, Oct. 21, 2020. [IAD File photo]
Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

T housands of Seventh-day Adventist pastors across the Inter-American Division (IAD) completed another year of training as part of a comprehensive certification program that aims to equip them to better minister in the more than 23,000 churches and congregations in which they serve. The annual event, held online on October 21, marked a special two-hour celebration where top IAD leaders praised the dedicated work of ministers and their spouses shepherding in an extraordinary year of crisis and uncertainty.
“Thank you for your sacrificial service in favor of the church, for your legacy into the work of God,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. Pastor Henry told them to stand firm and continue laboring for God. “There is still an urgent need and hard work to do. With Covid-19, there’s a huge open field, a somber reality with a lot of people looking for answers, longing for hope, and we have a message to share, a people to save, and is [sic] imperative for us to continue the work of evangelism.”

Pastor Henry encouraged pastors to be creative in teaching and making disciples through their lifetime commitment of encouraging members and new believers to become witnesses and disciple-makers before Jesus comes again. “We must continue to unite in purpose and continue ministering to the needs of people in our communities.”

Pastor Jerry Page, ministerial association secretary for the world church, reminded leaders to ensure they are listening to God’s guidance in their particular territory. “God has been doing a great work in every church,” said Page. “Discover what best works in your territory as we work in getting members active like in total member involvement in the I Will Go initiative.”

This year, more than 3,100 district pastors in the IAD have completed 20 hours of certification, said Pastor Josney Rodríguez, ministerial association secretary for the church in Inter-America. Pastor Rodríguez shared that the certification this year was different because it also applied to the pastors’ wives. “Together they carry leadership responsibilities in the church as the ministerial family, especially the role of the pastor’s wife,” he said. The book by Jonas Arrais, former associate ministerial director, and his wife Raquel, entitled Joys and challenges of the Pastoral Family, was studied this year for an equivalent of two-and-a-half professional credit hours.

“You have done extraordinary work this year, and we want to let you know that we love you and will continue to pray that the Lord continues blessing you and your spouse where you serve,” Rodríguez said.

The event saw former leaders and their spouses honored via Zoom video conferencing for being instrumental in leading the ministerial association during the past three decades: Pastor Israel Leito and his wife Ludmila, Pastor Hector Sánchez, and his wife Olga, Pastor Jaime Castrejón and his wife Gloria, and Ivan Omaña and his wife Evelyn. “Through your service during the past 30 years, you have built the kingdom of God in the midst of trials and challenges, and we recognize your efforts and dedication,” said Pastor Rodríguez.

Each of the 24 IAD unions, or major church regions, reported certification training held throughout their territories and local districts throughout the year.

To learn more about Inter-America’s Ministerial Association and its initiatives and events, click HERE

To watch the online program from October 21, 2020, click HERE

This article was originally published on the Inter-America Division’s website