Toward the culmination of Harvest 90

Phenomenal success has attended many divisions' Harvest 90 efforts. Let's plan for a victorious culmination.

Carlos E. Aeschlimann is an associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and coordinator of the Harvest 90 program.

Harvest 90 is a world wide evangelistic program that was adopted by the church at the General Conference session in New Orleans in 1985. It extends from July 1, 1985, to June 30, 1990. Harvest 90 recognizes that "We are in the days of the harvest. The times demand that the church arise and direct her energies to reaching every region and every ethnic, cultural, and social group."

The Harvest 90 program has three important dimensions. First, the spiritual dimension: to encourage personal growth through Bible study, intercessory prayer, fellowship, worship, and revitalization of family religion so that homes may become centers of love, care, and witness. Second, the evangelistic dimension: recognition of the local church as a center of evangelism, nurture, and training of members for ministry, and renewal of the proclamation of the biblical prophetic message of Seventh-day Adventists. Third, the training dimension: to double the number of members equipped for soul-winning activities ac cording to their spiritual gifts, and to make every Seventh-day Adventist church a training center for service.

There are also three Harvest 90 goals. First, to double the number of accessions that were achieved during the One Thousand Days of Reaping. Second, to reclaim inactive church members and maximize church attendance. Third, to involve laypersons, along with their pas tors, in all kinds of evangelistic and missionary activities.

June 1988 marked the completion of the first three years of Harvest 90. The program has been enthusiastically accepted and is being implemented in all the divisions and unions of the world. The results have been very encouraging. Excellent plans have been outlined; administrators, departmental leaders, pas tors, and laity are involved; spiritual revival is occurring in many places.

Encouraging results

The world baptismal goal through the halfway point of Harvest 90 was 820,000 baptisms. Thanks to the Lord, 1,075,050 persons were baptized during that period, giving an overflow of 255,050. Of the 10 divisions, six had reached their goal.

During 1987 three divisions passed the 90,000 mark in baptisms: Inter-America, 95,486; Eastern Africa 93,951; and South America, 91,400. During the past four years baptisms have increased consistently (see table 1).

The methods that have produced the most souls up to the present time are:

1. Public evangelism: evangelistic campaigns held in churches, public halls, tents, saloons, etc., conducted by evangelists, pastors, laypersons, and youth.

2. Bible studies: given to groups, families, or individuals by pastors and especially laypersons.

3. Baptismal classes: especially in the churches, schools, and homes by pastors and laypersons. Many churches have separate permanent baptismal classes for children, youth, and adults.

4. Revelation seminars: held in churches, schools, hotels, libraries, and homes. These seminars are in use through out the United States, Europe, and in the South American and South Pacific divisions. Soon they will go to all the world. Everywhere the results have been good.

5. Home evangelism: many homes have become centers for evangelistic activities such as Bible studies, seminars, and branch Sabbath schools.

6. Frequent baptisms: in many places each church conducts a monthly baptism. At each ceremony the call is given for those who would like to prepare for baptism. Immediate follow-up with Bible studies prepares new candidates for future baptisms.

Successful new methods

During Harvest 90 many new methods have been tried:

1. National and multinational evangelistic campaigns: in a country or several countries, a series of seminars or other types of meetings are conducted in all the churches and in hundreds of new places in a united and simultaneous plan.

2. Multiple metropolitan evangelistic campaigns: in a large city the pastors and hundreds of lay members of all the churches unite to do evangelism and cover the city.

3. Evangelism and health: presentation of various health and doctrinal pro grams simultaneously.

4. Massive Revelation seminars: a country or a certain area is covered with hundreds of simultaneous Revelation seminars directed by pastors and laity. In the South American Division each Sabbath school class conducts a Revelation seminar.

5. Pioneer Plan: in South America the majority of the churches choose groups each year to leave the mother church and form a new congregation.

6. Mobile evangelism institutes: The Euro-Africa Division has organized a mo bile evangelism institute that holds evangelistic campaigns in a city for six months, acting as a school of evangelism in which pastors and laity learn how to conduct successful campaigns.

7. Evangelism among Muslims: in 1986 the Far Eastern Division organized a 10-day conference on ways to evangelize Muslims. Twenty-five workers were as signed to work among these people, and this endeavor is producing results. This year the division will hold a similar conference on how to work among Buddhists.

News from the divisions

Up to the midway point of Harvest 90 the South American Division had re ported the greatest number of baptisms. They have been conducting a powerful evangelistic program that includes national and multiple metropolitan campaigns, baptismal classes in all the churches, the Pioneer Plan, and Revelation seminars conducted simultaneously throughout the countries in the division. In 1989 there will be a gigantic evangelistic campaign in Brazil, and in 1990 the division will have a multinational evangelistic campaign.

The Inter-American Division has a permanent program of evangelism. The division has four evangelists, and each union has its own. Large numbers of laity participate in all aspects of evangelism, preparing 85 percent of the baptismal candidates. All the pastors engage in evangelism, and they prepare hundreds of laity to lead out. The administrators from the division level to the local fields give evangelism absolute priority and conduct at least one campaign per year. In 1989 there will be a gigantic multiple metropolitan evangelistic campaign in Mexico City, with preaching in 1,500 places at the same time.

The Africa-Indian Ocean Division has the highest baptismal goal for the world field: 410,000. They have implemented a strong pastoral and lay evangelism program. New countries and new tribes are being entered, including the Pygmies. In Rwanda, a mass baptism of 4,500 was held one Sabbath. It is difficult to construct enough churches to hold all the new members. Elder Neal Wilson conducted a large evangelistic campaign in Arusha, Tanzania, in September of this year.

The Eastern Africa Division holds second place in baptisms to date. In the second year of Harvest 90, 97,181 souls were baptized. They hope to baptize more than 100,000 this year. Many members of the tall Masai people are responding to the gospel. In Mombasa, 60 Muslims were baptized last year. Annual Council is being held in Nairobi in October; it is hoped that the largest gathering of Adventists in the history of the church will be present.

The Far Eastern Division, with millions of Muslims and Buddhists, faces one of the greatest challenges in evangelism. Definite plans are being laid to evangelize these religious groups. In Indonesia, 25 Muslims were baptized one Sabbath. In Manado, Indonesia, an evangelistic campaign conducted by women resulted in 160 baptisms. In Seoul, Korea, 2,000 cottage meetings will be conducted simultaneously this year. In the Philippines new villages are being entered at the rate of more than one per day. The division averages 85 baptisms per day.

A great evangelism revival is taking place in Europe. In the Euro-Africa Division, mobile evangelism institutes have been held in Vienna, Zurich, and West Berlin. In Spain, evangelistic campaigns in the cities of Madrid, Valencia, and Zaragoza have just ended. Next year a Spanish national campaign will be con ducted simultaneously in 75 places. An evangelistic campaign in Lisbon, Portugal, attracted more than 4,000 persons. At the present time 700 persons have requested Bible studies.

In the Trans-European Division, through public evangelism and Revelation seminars, a great revival has been taking place during the past few months. A multitude metropolitan campain in London produced 400 baptisms. As a result of evangelistic meetings in Gdansk, Poland were obtained and more than 100 were baptized. In Stockholm, 1,700 non-Adventists registered for 15 different seminars. More than 500 persons at tended the religion seminars.

The South Pacific Division is above its goal. In Australia, evangelistic campaigns will be conducted in 40 principal cities. Revelation seminars are spreading rapidly throughout the country with very good results. In the Pacific islands, pas tors and laypersons are working together and winning souls.

The Southern Asia Division is working to penetrate its enormous cities and its thousands of tiny villages. Elder Gerald J. Christo, division president, held an evangelistic campaign in Hyderabad that resulted in 141 baptisms. In Meghalaya Section, lay member Charles Sangma conducted cottage meetings in six villages, yielding 66 baptisms.

The North American Division was above its goal during the first six quarters of Harvest 90. Public evangelism and Revelation seminars are the most productive methods for winning souls. Among the evangelists and pastors who baptized more than 100 persons in 1987 were Kenneth Cox, who baptized more than 450; and J. J. Rodriguez, who baptized 302. Fifty churches participated in a multiple metropolitan campaign in the Greater New York Conference, and 1,465 persons were baptized. Similar campaigns are planned for New Jersey, Potomac, Texas, Oklahoma, and California. More Revelation seminars are being conducted by pastors and lay members alike.

Culmination of Harvest 90

There are only seven quarters left in the Harvest 90 program. We recommend that divisions, unions, and local fields increase evangelistic activities to the maximum in order to obtain the largest possible results in the final stages of the program. We hope to baptize 500,000 souls in 1988. This would be the first time in the history of our church that so many were baptized in one year. Several divisions and unions are planning to reach their total Harvest 90 goal by the end of 1989 so that the baptisms in 1990 will be a substantial overflow. If all divisions, unions, and local fields exert special efforts, they can reach their goals by the time of the General Conference session in Indianapolis.

During the last part of 1988 and the first part of 1989, it would be advantageous to outline final plans and promotional materials for the culmination of Harvest 90. Also it would be well to be gin training workers and laity for the great final offensive in evangelism that will bring the program to a close with a glorious victory.

During the last year of Harvest 90, from July 1989 to June 1990, we hope to implement a gigantic Festival of Reaping through a global program of total evangelism.

Another idea is to organize and launch a worldwide evangelistic campaign, with every administrator, departmental leader, and pastor, plus 1 million laypersons, participating. The key to this plan is to have each church throughout the world serve as a center of evangelism by conducting a yearlong program of soulwinning activities. We suggest the fol lowing activities: two evangelistic campaigns during the year (one in the church and the other in a new place), multiple Revelation seminars, a permanent baptismal class, and home Bible studies con ducted by pastors and laypersons.

We hope that during the last year of Harvest 90 500,000 homes will be centers of evangelism for neighbors and friends. Also it would be desirable for each Adventist family to win to Christ one family member, friend, or neighbor. This would ensure a great victory that would help us to mobilize and train at least 1 million laypersons to be soul winners.

Churches should have frequent baptisms during the last year. The ideal is that each church should have monthly or at least quarterly baptisms and make a fervent call at each ceremony to obtain the names of others who should be encouraged toward baptism.

I believe that if the entire world church will unite in a total evangelistic program, with the local church as the center of evangelism, mobilizing all the pastors and a million laypersons, and using various methods of soul winning, it will bring the sure blessing of the Lord and yield a grand victory. Working together and empowered by His Spirit, we can all reach our Harvest 90 goals.

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Carlos E. Aeschlimann is an associate secretary of the General Conference Ministerial Association and coordinator of the Harvest 90 program.

October 1988

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