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Inter-American pastors review best practices for evangelism and retention

Miami, Florida, United States—130 pastors, administrators, and lay preachers from the Seventh-day Adventist Church throughout the InterAmerican Division (IAD) met during a two-day summit to review evangelism practices and set up new strategies to reach more people with the gospel.

Balvin Braham, assistant to the president in evangelism for the church in the IAD stated, “What leaders want to see is at least 200,000 or more new believers across the territory every year. For that to happen means not only empowering and energizing church members into becoming disciplemakers, and getting children and young people more involved, but also finding better methods to preach the gospel in public and small-group settings.”

Summit leaders met in several groups to highlight their best practices and new ways of improving evangelism, discipleship, and retention and devise new evangelism initiatives they can implement this year.

Robert Costa, associate ministerial secretary for the Adventist General Conference, encouraged leaders to look for ways to adopt new methods of evangelism.

“We . . . cannot discount technological media,” said Costa. “Using Christ’s method of preaching, technology tools and proclaiming the message every Sabbath will bring success,” he added. “When the people are cemented in the Bible message, they stay in the church because there is power in the Word . . . so, if we don’t preach the whole message, then it’s pastoral malpractice.”

Preaching the gospel from the pulpit is what Claudius Morgan has been doing for more than 31 years. He’s been a well-known evangelist throughout the Caribbean, the Inter-American region, and even in parts of North America. 

“The key is that connection with the Holy Spirit, digging deep into the Word of God with a mix of prayer nights, anointing services, food drives for the needy in the community, children’s programs, fellowship, and more,” said Morgan. “Getting church members involved in the preparation and running of a public campaign is key to growing the church and retaining members.”

Pastors in Guatemala began equipping and involving more church members in all kinds of evangelistic efforts, such as distribution of tracts and books, social projects in the community, discipleship training, social media impact, and more. Already, 114 new churches have been planted since last year, and pastors are challenging the 5,000 trained and actively involved members spreading the gospel throughout Guatemala to commit to winning five new souls each this year.

Israel Leito, president of the Seventh-day Adventist church in the IAD, praised the hard work of pastors and members in growing the church but challenged leaders to reach further. Sam Neves, General Conference associate director of communications, stated, “In the next 24 hours, more than 100 million people will look to Google, YouTube, and Alexa for trustworthy answers to their deepest questions and crisis. Unfortunately, they will not find the eternal gospel God has called us to proclaim, because the nearest Adventist website is beyond page 3.”

“We presented a few things to group leaders on possible ways to measure other metrics outside of baptisms and the numbers, as well as new tools for members to be involved in evangelism efforts continually,” said Jose Romero, IT director for the church in the IAD, who led a technology team during the summit.

“Leaders will compile all the methods discussed and evaluated during the summit and will apply them for greater effectiveness across Inter-America,” Braham said. [Libna Stevens/IAD]

Concerted efforts result in almost 4,000 baptisms in Cameroon

Cameroon—Baptisms crowned the “harvest” phase of the Pentecost 2018 series, an outreach and evangelistic initiative of the West-Central Africa Division (WAD), a church region that includes Cameroon and 21 other nations in Central and West Africa. The public commitment of new members through baptism came at the end of a series of biblical messages on 611 public sites. Public evangelism was driven by the support ministry of 3,482 small groups and a series of planned acts of community service and charity.

Cameroon Union Mission (CMUM) evangelism director Meting Jean Pourrat shared that he was able to witness God’s assistance throughout the logistically challenging initiative. “Once again God has led us through, but I believe we can still do better than this to the glory of God,” he said. Several medical specialists joined a Health Mobile Clinic initiative, including cardiologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, gynecologists, laboratory technicians, and nurses.

Community outreach and service initiatives opened doors and made it possible for the church to launch the of the initiative. Besides local preachers, guest speakers from the WAD headquarters and the world church preached in various venues across the country.

“I felt blessed as every evening I was able to share God’s Word,” said Stella, a church member who attended and listened to General Conference associate secretary Hensley Moorooven preaching in the capital city of Yaoundé. At the end of the series, all across Cameroon, 3,741 persons were baptized. Another 1,000 people are still studying the Bible, with plans to be baptized in the near future.

Statistics reveal church membership has now reached 108,000 members worshipping in almost 1,500 churches and groups in Cameroon. The challenge, however, is how to nurture and keep those members “in the fold.” Leaders shared that the regional church is now implementing an intentional plan to help new members succeed via the Total Member Involvement program. “By involving every newly baptized member in missionary and community activities, we will make strong disciples committed to prayer and Bible studies,” said CMUM president Assembe Valere.

The 163 pastors called to minister to church members in Cameroon recently attended a spiritual retreat with General Conference Ministerial Association leaders Jerry and Janet Page as guest speakers. “It was all about rekindling the flame so that the authentic experience of the early Christian church can be reproduced,” leaders said. “It was a beautiful conclusion of Pentecost 2018 in Cameroon. It really rained.” [Adventist Review & Abraham Bakari, West-Central Africa Division News]

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