November 14, 2018 | Port-au-Prince, Haiti | Libna Stevens/IAD
The Inter-American Division’s (IAD) Year-End Meetings began with prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a rich harvest of new members in 2019 and for the return of members who have left the church. More than 120 top leaders representing the 24 unions and 42 countries and islands that comprise the IAD territory gathered for the meetings which took place this week Nov. 11-12, 2018, in Petionville, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Adventist World Church President Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson spoke before the start of each day’s agenda, and stressed that leaders need to pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit.
“You are a vibrant church in Inter-America,” said the Adventist leader. “We are coming to the very end of time and we need to see more people coming to the church,” said Pastor Wilson as he referred to Inter-America’s goal of reaching more than 200,000 newly baptized members next year.
Pray for wisdom
“Allow the Holy Spirit to use us to preparing others for Jesus Second Coming,” said Wilson. “The financial challenges and interpersonal challenges, the external problems you face, sometimes they seem too heavy. I have learned to lean on Jesus and need the wisdom of heaven every day.” Wilson challenged leaders to claim James 1:5 with frequency. “If you lack wisdom, ask for it.”
Pastor Wilson reminded leaders that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a prophetic people with a prophetic mission. “As you work in mission to the cities, as you utilize comprehensive health ministries, as you utilize the enormous power of publishing, as you engage our people in soul-winning activities, as you promote small group evangelism, that you utilize media outreach, realize that God will show us enormous things we have never imagined.”
“As you face the challenges in each one of your fields, remember Elisha’s words found in 2 Kings 6:8-16, that God’s forces are greater than the devil’s forces,” said Wilson. “As you launch your administrative meetings, with the newly consecrated, inaugurated officials, may all of us realize that our power is not in this room, our power is not in our financial capacity, our power is not in our educational attainment, but our power is in the Lord God Almighty.”
Keeping the unity of the church
Pastor Wilson also took time to thank the IAD executive leadership for their role in serving the mission of the church in their respective territories. He also spoke on preserving the unity of the church as he referred to the recent Annual Council meetings held last month in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States.
“Regardless of the differences of opinions we have at the end of the day, when we make a decision under the guidance of God through prayer, even if we don’t like the decision made, we need to lock arms together and move forward under God’s guidance. And if there are changes to be made and whatever decisions need to be made, God will see to that but we must move together,” he added. Wilson again thanked the IAD body for the strong support in promoting the unity of the church.
Pastor Wilson was referring to the document on compliance that was voted by Adventist world church leaders recently: Regard for and Practice of General Conference Session and General Conference Executive Committee Actions
“One of the beauties in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the past and to the great extent today is that the policies are the framework on how we are to go together and we agree to accept those policies,” said Wilson. “Focus on why it’s important that we go together,” he added.
The General Conference is not out to grab power nor change the way it works or discipline members, added Wilson. “I would encourage you to help church members who might be confused because the General Conference, the Division and all of us work under the guidance of the Holy Spirit even when we decide something, even if we don’t agree.”
The church moving forward
The church must move forward together, he emphasized. “This is God’s church, He has formed it, organized it and He’s pushing it forward and it has its own mission and I’m not going to break away from this church because this is God’s people,” said Wilson.
Pastor Elie Henry, president of the IAD, told executive committee members that the church in Inter-America will continue to move forward in unity and strategizes toward increased evangelism efforts.
As two additional documents were registered and voted on by executive committee members, such as “How are the items processed onto the General Conference Committee,” and “Mystifying myths: Facts and fiction about the General Conference’s Compliance Document,” several union administrators voiced their opinion regarding the items voted.
Pastor Kern Tobias, president of the church in the Caribbean Union, expressed concern that the process and leadership must ensure that it does not go on and on for years to come. “We must allow the process to be effective,” said Tobias.
President of the Church in Jamaica Pastor Everett Brown praised the top leadership of the General Conference and the IAD for the spirit in which the matter has been handled. He added that at “some point those who have been given leadership of the church must act to preserve the unity of the church.”
Pastor Wilson answered a few questions and let committee members know that most Divisions are very supportive of trying to work together.
For more on Inter-America’s Year-End Meetings, visit us at interamerica.org