“We thought that when we last met in the office on March 16, that our office would be closed for two weeks, but it’s been more than four months working from home,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America during a staff meeting on Zoom this morning.
“There are no plans to return to the office [building] for now.” That means for the month of August and the rest of the year, it’s all up to how things change or progress, he said.
A special committee has been in place for weeks to assist in the transition into working in the office when the time to return becomes official, he said.
Pastor Henry thanked the department heads and staff members for their dedicated work accomplished during the ‘new reality’ to minister and lead throughout the territory. “You have become more and more adaptable in the situation we face, in moving the mission of the church forward with the leaders in the territory.”
So far, more than 45 million minutes or 751,713 hours have been devoted to zoom meetings and events under the IAD’s global Zoom accounts used across the territory, technical staff reported.
“We trust and continue to work together with great responsibility, keeping the future in view, walking together to strengthen and assist the territory to continue to be strong,” said Pastor Henry.
The staff was briefed by IAD Treasurer Filiberto Verduzco on some financial budget adjustments that will be done during the rest of the year and projections for the coming year, as he previously reported.
There are challenges to meet the budget adjustments for the operations at the Division level, said Pastor Henry. “We are not sitting in Miami over a pile of gold. We do not have resources piling up, but what we have we are committed to using for the advancement of the mission of the church.”
Pastor Henry said that there would have to be adjustments to the staff, to begin setting the budget for 2021, 2022, and the rest of the five-year period. “For us, the quinquennium has started now as if we had just finished the General Conference Session in Indianapolis,” he said. “We are not making drastic changes for 2020, but focusing more on next year and beyond.”
Pastor Henry referred to a number of leaders and staff members who had planned to retire by the scheduled General Conference Session in Indianapolis, Indiana, which was postponed for next year because of the pandemic. “We want to invite those who were planning to retire and those who are ready for retirement to come to see us before the year is over,” said Pastor Henry.
In the same way, IAD administrators would sit down with human resources to review the distribution of tasks among the office staff, stated Pastor Henry. “We are not waiting for May 2021 when the next GC Session is scheduled to make the necessary changes we need to make,” he said.
Plans are not to increase the number of elected staff in Miami, according to Pastor Henry. “On the contrary, we are going to try to keep the team thinner in Miami since technology is teaching us that there is much more that can be done as we reduce costs in order to move forward with our responsibilities.”
Pastor Henry appealed to leaders and staff to continue to pray more for the advancement of the church throughout the IAD and the membership, many of whom have lost jobs, those who are ill, and the families of those who have lost a loved one to COVID-19.
The Administrative Committee voted to establish a prayer committee to give leadership to the spiritual environment in the territory of the Inter-American Division. The purpose is to design and implement prayer initiatives to sustain a movement of intercessory prayer at all levels of the church.
“We need to continue praying and preparing others to give their life to Christ,” said Pastor Henry. “We need to keep navigating in this reality and continue being transparent as a church, and adapting to sharing the gospel by all means.”
To learn more about the Inter-American Division, it’s territory, initiatives, activities, and resources, visit interamerica.org