After a year that was abnormal, stressful, and sometimes tragic, thousands of ministers and their families set apart time on February 1–5, 2021 to pray, fellowship, and be encouraged during a week of spiritual emphasis.
Coined as Inter-America’s Pastoral Family Week of Prayer, the once-a-year event occurs at the beginning of each year to provide spiritual strength to the 4,028 local church pastors and pastoral veterans in administrative and departmental leadership positions that oversee the more than 23,000 congregations and institutions across the division.
This year’s speaker was Alejandro Bullón, Seventh-day Adventist evangelist and pastor, whose theme was “God Our Strength”. He based his messages on Psalm 46.
“As leaders, you must keep a connection with heaven to be victorious in the task,” said Pastor Bullón. He encouraged ministers to be connected with Christ, who is the only One who can fill the life of the pastor and his family with security and salvation. He also encouraged families to love and embrace their pastoral ministry, regardless of the difficulties they face every day. In addition, Pastor Bullón spoke to the pastors’ kids and encouraged them to live a life dedicated to God.
This year saw the most connections among pastors and their families as the pandemic lockdown continues across the Inter-American Division territory, according to Pastor Pedro Iglesias, Family Ministries director of the church in Inter-American and one of the main organizers of the event. “We had more than 3,000 connections through several rooms set up in the Zoom platform every night,” said Iglesias. Many had 15 leaders or more watching from one connection.
There were some online programs held during the pastoral week of prayer in previous years, but many more were connected this year, said Iglesias.
“So many pastors, spouses, and family members have passed away during the pandemic,” he said. “This year, more than ever, we prayed together and asked for greater faith to rely on God, who is our shelter and our strength.”
In spite of church buildings being closed, pastors have continued to not only shepherd their members but also work at reaching out to new believers, added Pastor Iglesias. More than 94,000 new members joined the church in 2020, and leaders believe that number will surpass 100,000 as reports continue to come in.
“It was important for those on the front lines to receive a special message this week,” said Pastor Josney Rodríguez, Ministerial Association secretary for the church in Inter-America. “The week was all about stretching the family bonds among the pastoral families throughout Inter-America, praying together, working together, crying together, and moving together toward the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Pastor Elie Henry, Inter-American Division president, prayed for the pastoral families and thanked them for their dedicated service. “God is with us not only through the tribulations, but He is always with us,” said Pastor Henry. “I hope we continue this year to go where God calls us to go, do as He calls us to do, so that there can be many more victories in the name of the Lord.”
To learn more about initiatives and activities by Inter-America’s Family Ministries and Ministerial Association, visit interamerica.org