The challenge of fulfilling the Great Commission during pandemic times has been met by the Seventh-day Adventist Church with creativity, attention, and care for people. The current reality is churches that are working to provide various programs, meetings and training in a digital platform due to the need of respecting health security measures. Not to mention the emphasis that the organization has placed so that the care of pastors and other leaders is always carried out in a responsible manner.
In this context, the missionary balance presents some important data. According to the survey carried out by the Personal Ministries Department of the South American Adventist headquarters, 168,985 people received Bible studies in the first quarter of the year through the work of the Adventist organization in eight South American countries. The number of Bible teachers reached 130,793.
The Executive Secretariat of the South American headquarters keeps a record of missionary activities using the ACMS system. According to the data compiled in the ACMS system, from January to March 2021, 39,468 new Adventist members were registered, mainly through baptisms and professions of faith.
In the same period, the records show 39,677 exits from the Adventist Church, either by abandoning the faith or even death. With that, the real growth of members was -0.01%, if the comparison is made in the same period in 2020.
For Pastor Herbert Boger Jr., Director of Personal Ministry, the challenges are present, but, in his assessment, “the intensity of the pandemic made us act even more intensely by the methods of Christ”. Boger points out that “faith and mission overcome the crisis, so we can celebrate the amazing results of this first quarter. They are nothing but miracles of God through His church ”.
In the opinion of the Director of Evangelism at the Adventist South American headquarters, Pastor Luís Gonçalves, “even in the face of the pandemic, with so many restrictions, we can see a church that is praying more, seeking the power of the Holy Spirit, and that is looking for new ways to evangelize ”.
Gonçalves adds that creativity has been the hallmark of a responsible church, so it does not fail to play its evangelizing role, even in a prolonged period of quarantine. He cites possible ways to act now. Some of them are digital evangelism schools, activities in the drive-in format (services in which people do not need to leave vehicles to be able to enjoy), online Bible classes, among other initiatives.