Derek Morris, President of Hope Channel International, opened the second day of the LEAD Conference presentations on Wednesday morning, saying “Take a moment to give a wave to everyone else that’s here, we can't all talk but we are around the world and we are a part of the family of God.” Everybody turned to the camera and waved and with that, the second Annual Council meetings began with singing and a devotional lead by Merlin Burt, director of the Ellen White Estate.
Division Reports On ‘I Will Go’ Initiative
Division leaders from across the world explained how they are implementing the ‘I Will Go’ strategy within their churches. Each of the Church’s 13 divisions and 2 attached unions are committed to the achievement of the Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the “I Will Go” strategic plan. Programs, ministries and groups have been set up in order to encourage and equip church members to reach others effectively.
The Southern Asia-Pacific Division boasts 14 countries with over 1 million population, 3000 pastors leading congregations across the division, and 1.6 million church members. They aim to involve everyone in the ‘I Will Go’ plan with their strength and resources. By translating the ‘I Will Go’ three objectives: mission, spiritual growth and leadership they have taken their acronym SSD (Spiritual Growth, Servant Leadership, Disciple-Making Mission) as the core mission of their church structure. Emphasis is placed on implementing performance indicators for the strategic plan for each department, which is evaluated on a periodical basis. By asking these key questions: Where are we? Where are we going? How will we get there? And did we make it? The Southern Asia-Pacic Division can ensure they are making progress.
The South American Division focused on Total Member Involvement in order to fulfill the ‘I Will Go’ mission. A committee was formed to evaluate each of the KPIs and a survey was drafted to qualify each objective according to church priorities. Indicators were re-organised in four areas: communion, relationship, mission and leadership. Emphasis was placed on improving Adventist involvement in prayer and daily Bible studies, caring for members who have been recently baptized, caring for families and multiplying Sabbath School and small group outreach.
Ministry through Media
Ministry through media has become an essential part of taking God’s Message around the world. Reylourd Reyes, a church planter in the Philippines, explained how he was able to utilize social media to connect with others through the development of the CAFÉ Life app. CAFÉ Life was developed to connect young professionals, it contains lists of different discussion groups meeting in the city run by Adventist leaders and has been an essential tool in leading others to Christ. CAFE life is available on GooglePlay and the App Store.
Jason Lombard, Pastor of Media and Administration of Spencerville Church, located in the U.S. state of Maryland, explained the importance of investing in digital evangelism. Lombard urges churches to re-visit their nominating committees to include roles for social media teams. This, he believes, will greatly benefit the spreading of the Gospel Message around the world. “The state of our world requires us to use many different methods without compromising our message.”
Sam Neves, associate director of communication for the global Adventist Church and Rick Kajiura, communication director for Adventist Mission discussed how each of member can understand ‘I Will Go’ and share progress through the “I Will GO” website. The website gives a detailed list of the Objectives and KPIs and how every member can achieve them, it also provides digital resources one can use to promote the ‘I Will Go’ plan. You can submit your story on how your church has implemented the ‘I Will Go’ strategic plan on the ANN or the I Will Go websites.
Communication director for the global Seventh-day Adventist Church, Williams Costa, Jr. shared stories from ANN on how volunteers are working tirelessly throughout COVID19 to support those in need. Emphasis was placed on keeping up-to-date with news in relation to outreach and mission work through ANN. “In a world that changes continuously, we need to be aware of new technologies and how we can use them to preach the Gospel.”
Pastor Mark Finley also shared his book titled ‘Hope for Troubled Times.’ Millions of copies of this book have been shared around the world and as a result have helped others to see the light in darkness.
Elbert Kuhn, associate secretary for the global Adventist Church, shared how ‘I Will Go’ was formed by volunteers who were willing to be sent to challenging places in order to share the Gospel Message. Adventist Volunteers have been sent to more than 100 countries and there are more than 30 thousand volunteers across the world. “Every country has practical needs; you will find the right place for you,” says Kuhn. New possibilities have been presented as a result of COVID19, for volunteers to spread God’s word.
Ministry in Ukraine
Yury Bondarenko, a doctor in UKraine, described how the Angelia clinic has been providing ongoing support for people during COVID19. Angelia clinic is open in Ukraine for those who are unable to get care due to the spread of COVID19, they offer free medical kits, masks, cloths, antiseptics and COVID testing. “God gave us protection, no one was touched by COVID19,” he said. “God covered our needs.” While fear is an ongoing issue with many of the medical doctors and nurses in Ukraine, the Angelia clinic is working to fight against the stigma and spread God's love to the community.
Closing of the LEAD Conference
The LEAD conference closed with Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the global Adventist Church, made a personal call to every church member watching to participate in the “I Will Go” strategic plan. Wilson pled, “commit your life in helping church members to proclaim the message of God.” Finally, the conference concluded in prayer, saying “Give us the power to not only say I will go but to actually accomplish everything you have outlined for us, the strategic plans are there, the concepts are there, and now we as your leaders are committing ourselves in joining your church members through the power of the Holy Spirit.”