IAD President Pastor Israel Leito chairs a leadership meeting with church department directors, Dec. 5, 2017. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

December 7, 2017 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD

Seventh-day Adventist Department heads at the Inter-American Division (IAD) were debriefed this week on initiatives and projects completed during the year and set their sights on plans and activities scheduled for 2018.

“We are here to work closer together, to see what difficulties you encountered this year and see how we can support the department or ministry which you lead,” said Pastor Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America.

One of the main focuses of the year will be for member retention.

“We must work intently on establishing discipleship goals and plans for each of department to work on retention of new members. It’s not only about winning souls but retaining those new members joining the church,” Pastor Leito said.

Retention will mean pastors and church elders will ensure that the spiritual needs of new members are being met, church leaders said.

So far, 18,000 of the 25,000 church elders have begun a three-year certification program that will enhance their role in assisting the pastor in ministering to the membership every week, reported Pastor Leonard Johnson, associate director for the ministerial secretary in Inter-America.

Pastor Samuel Telemaque, IAD Sabbath School director share the drive and comprehensive role of the Sabbath School groups for evangelism growth. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

It’s about seeking ways to make certain there is passion for ministry and seeking ways to assist overburdened pastors who lead so many congregations with trained elders and rekindle the passion for ministry, explained Johnson. “We are seeing these challenges as real opportunities in 2018 to continue to really fulfill the mission of the church in ongoing growth and baptism through ministers and elders,” he said.

The Sabbath School department will continue to not only encourage the study of the Bible but also enhance its role in evangelism to transform lives and reach out to communities. “We need to have a balance in Sabbath School, a holistic growth,” said Pastor Samuel Telemaque, Sabbath School director for the church in Inter-America.

Telemaque also reported on the success the 15 centers of influence are having across the IAD territory. So far the IAD has the most centers of influence than any other division territory around the world.

The plan is to strengthen those centers of influence and educate more IAD regions on the role and function of centers of influence in cities and communities for more church growth, explained Telemaque.

More emphasis will be given to sharing the church’s health message in local churches across the IAD. “I have seen a great awakening with the health message and the ‘I Want to Live Healthy’ initiative that’s benefiting not only the church membership with its surrounding communities,” said Belkis Archbold, health ministries director for the church in Inter-America.

A push for more awareness and training of church leaders on mental health issues will also carry a strong emphasis to reach more of the core membership through children and adolescent ministries, youth ministries, women’s ministries, and others.

“We must train our pastors and other professionals so they can identify the young person, the church member who is dealing with depression and mental issues,” said Archbold.

IAD leaders review completed programs and activities during 2017 and new initiatives ahead. Image by Libna Stevens/IAD

Department leaders also discussed how the IAD’s comprehensive “Lord Transform Me” initiative, which involves motivating church leaders and members to pursue a spiritual transformation in Jesus through a daily study of the Bible and a prayerful lifestyle, can be simplified starting in 2018.

Leaders also looked at comprehensive training from Loma Linda University that certified hospital administrators and key hospital staff this year from most of the 14 hospitals in the IAD territory. According to Dr. Elie Honore, Adventist Healthcare Services Inter-America president, the focus for 2018 will be more towards systematic orientation for leaders chairing hospital boards.

“We are working to make sure our hospitals gain local and international accreditation and work on improving facilities across the board,” said Honore.

In addition, ministries will focus on establishing a model school for literature evangelists, more evangelism initiatives in church schools, and a series of activities during the Year of the Children and Adolescent across the territory.

Department heads also went over budget figures to carry out initiatives and activities in 2018.

IAD administrators and department heads will again meet early in January to set the pace to a packed year of activities.

To learn more about Inter-America’s initiatives and activities planned across the territory in the coming year, visit us at interamerica.org

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