L-R: Inter-American Division Pastors Balvin Braham (top left) vice president, Melchor Ferreyra, personal ministries director, and Elie Henry, president welcome hundreds of pastors, lay preachers, evangelists, and administrators of unions, conferences and missions throughout the territory for an annual evangelism conference held online, May 7-9, 2021.[Photo: IAD Screenshot]
United States | Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

On a quest to fulfill the mission strategies set out for the next four years through the I Will Go plan, top Seventh-day Adventist leaders in Inter-America recently gathered hundreds of pastors, evangelists, lay preachers, laypersons, and union, conference and mission administrators, and their evangelism coordinators for a three-day online evangelism conference.

The conference, held May 7-9, 2021, was part of a series of quarterly training meetings aimed at doubling, strengthening, and optimizing evangelism efforts to reach people throughout the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory during the next five years.

“In the Inter-American Division, we have the mission to preach, teach and serve as we build the body of Christ,” said Pastor Elie Henry, President of the church in Inter-America. “Much like the early church in the time of the Apostle Pau”l, Pastor Henry said, “we must go on a mission to proclaim the gospel, to do the work of ministry, to teach people how to move ahead with God.”

Sharing the whole truths of the gospel

It’s about preparing the church to share the whole truth of the gospel, he said. “How wonderful it would be if we were united in boldly proclaiming that Jesus is coming soon and working to build the kingdom of God. Let us work together, advance together, proclaim [the gospel] and meet the purpose that Jesus calls us to do,” said Pastor Henry. “Each one of us needs to play a role in the mission of the church, moving ahead, praying together, encouraging, caring, teaching, supporting, preaching, and doing everything to present the gospel, having unity of faith, and being rooted in Christ.”

To make that happen, it’s going to take time and unified efforts in the church to find better methods of reaching people with the gospel like never before, said Pastor Balvin Braham, the organizer of the conference and Vice President of the church in Inter-America, overseeing evangelism.

The conference, which was organized collaboratively with the IAD’s ministerial association and personal ministries department, featured initiatives and successful preaching methods currently being used across the IAD territory.

Highlighting best evangelism practices

“We wanted to give the opportunity to exchange the best practices working in each region of the church in Inter-America, assist pastors and lay evangelists with evangelism preaching skills, identify means by which we can help individuals remain committed to Christ, develop networks among the group, and share impactful testimonies of God’s transforming power,” said Braham.

“This conference only opened our eyes to what we are doing right and what we need to do differently,” said Braham. There is still a distance yet to go, he said. “There is room for us to find a new paradigm in our evangelizing, to be able to reach and impact those who are presently not responsive to the gospel.” It’s going to take getting leaders and members to try different methods of evangelism, he said. “We need to help them see differently by educating, training, and developing convictions and moving in another direction,” said Braham.

“The gospel is principally the solution to human challenges so we need to be sure that we are understanding very well how to package this gospel to get it where it is most needed,” Braham said.

Regional leaders shared reports on effective online evangelistic efforts since the pandemic began early last year. In addition, evangelism experts made special presentations to core groups of leaders, shared their experiences, and held Q&A sessions during the conference.

Listening to evangelism experts

Seventh-day Adventist Evangelist, Pastor Alejandro Bullón of South America, spoke to hundreds of pastors on the importance of building the kingdom of God through strengthening the spiritual life of the believer. “It’s not about the goals and the numbers that need to be reached but about emphasizing the spiritual part in each member through prayer, a study of the bible, and witnessing to others that will grow the church almost automatically,” said Bullón.

Pastor Errol McLean, Associate Director of the North American Division’s Evangelism Institute, spoke to hundreds of lay preachers and lay evangelists on their role as preachers in working together to get every member involved in the mission. There has to be a collaboration, McLean said. “The pastor is not working independently from the laypersons and church leaders,” said McLean. “It takes the strength of pastors, church members and church leaders to join [together] to grow the kingdom of God.”

During his presentation to ministers and lay preachers, Pastor Richie Halversen, church planter and local church pastor in Tennessee, United States, encouraged leaders in Inter-America to ensure that they create a culture of kingdom growth. “Churches need to be a safe place for broken people to come,” said Halversen. “We need to love people enough to go and learn of their culture, to relate to people and meet them where they are.” It’s about learning to go into the communities that need to be reached and getting involved in the life of the community, he said. “Our evangelism has to be a place where we create powerful moments for people,” he said. “We have to give them the gospel. Jesus has to be the foundation of our message to them.”

Regional leaders across the 24 unions in the territory also shared their strategies, practical ideas, new technologies, and resources that are making a difference in their respective territories.

Taking the ‘I Will Go’ mission plan to heart

IAD Executive Secretary, Pastor Leonard Johnson, urged conference delegates to take the I Will Go mission plan to heart as they endeavor to preach the Word of God. Pastor Johnson referenced Ezekiel 37 as a message of great encouragement, of restoration, a sense of hope, of assurance to accomplish the mission as pastors and laypersons set to reach people for the kingdom.

“God is able to see what we cannot see, amid the doom and darkness,” said Johnson. “God sees possibility, potential, and souls ready to be saved. We can build up the Kingdom of God as we allow Him to work through us, as we proclaim His Word and trust Him fully.”

To view the presentations, sermons, and testimonies featured during Inter-America’s Evangelism Conference, visit sorttpadd.com.

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