In Inter-America, Leaders Unveil Soul-Winning Plan to Baptize More Than 200,000 in 12 Months

The Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership in the Inter-American Division (IAD) wants all of its administrators, pastors, lay preachers, Bible instructors, small group leaders and church members to focus on a comprehensive plan to baptize more than 200,000 new believers by the end of this quinquennium, which ends in June 2020. For that to take place, the church at all levels needs to stay focused on evangelism initiatives and activities in the weeks and months to come, top church leaders said during an online Evangelism Summit, held June 4, 2019, from Miami, Florida.

“As members, we have to preach, to win souls for Christ, that’s what God put in our hearts to do,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president for the church in Inter-America. “We have to continue preaching, it is not optional.” Pastor Henry reflected on lessons drawn from the Apostle Paul.

IAD President Pastor Elie Henry motivates pastors and members to continue being committed to sharing the gospel to everyone they come in contact with. Photo by Keila Trejo/IAD

“We see what is happening around us, we know that Jesus is coming soon, so we must be committed to telling everyone that there is a solution, that there is hope,” said Pastor Henry. That commitment comes as a result of a responsibility in each member to live a life reflecting Jesus, connecting or mingling with those around them focused on the mission, with a sense of gratitude for God’s love and sacrifice, he added.

It’s all about a united collaborative work among pastors and laypersons, or active church members, in presenting the everlasting gospel, church leaders said.

“We stand together in soul-winning in the Inter-American Division,” said Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president for evangelism and main organizer of the online event. “We have to conquer in the name of Jesus, for there are too many people out there who have not accepted Christ as their personal Savior in our local church community,” said Braham.

Sharing the gospel with others means discipling them and baptizing them as part of the church flock, said Braham. Bringing in more members to reach the one million new members by mid 2020, a goal set out mid 2015, means looking at numbers reached so far.

Pastor Balvin Braham, assistant to the IAD president for evangelism, shares discipling and member retention plan for the coming months. Photo by Keila Trejo/IAD

Since the current quinquennium began in July 2015, 732,256 new members have been baptized, reported Pastor Leonard Johnson, executive secretary for the church in Inter-America. To reach the goal of one million, 267,744 new members would have to be reached, which is at least 53,548 new members added for the next five quarters, said Johnson.

Pastor Johnson gave an overview of the growth of the church since 2011, including the drops in membership, the missing, those transfers out and unaccounted for, and challenged leaders to continue to be faithful in accomplishing the mission of what was pledged years ago.

Stretching efforts will need to see the 3,200 pastors in the 24 major church regions in Inter-America on board with a comprehensive evangelism plan that will seek to train 100,000 lay preachers, and 300,000 bible instructors. The goal is to hold 104,000 evangelistic campaigns throughout the territory from January to April in 2020. The vision corresponds to what top church leaders voted recently during IAD’s Mid-Year Executive Committee meetings where 2020 was voted in as the Year of Discipleship and Evangelistic Mega Reaping.

Unions, or church regions, will set their own evangelistic goals before the end of the year and unite efforts to not only reach new believers but work hard with discipleship or retention initiatives to get more members involved and committed to the mission, Braham said.

Dinorah Rivera, women’s ministries and children & adolescents ministries director speaks on the importance of involvement of women, adolescent and children in upcoming evangelism initiatives. Photo by Libna Stevens/IAD

The one-day summit touched on the spiritual dynamics in church growth, the relational dynamics between evangelism and financing the mission, the role of the pastor, laity, women, youth, and children in the mission of reaching others, attaining discipleship goals, achieving baptismal goals, and more. Church leaders also answered dozens of questions during the online event.

“Our intention with this summit was to create an understanding among pastors in terms of where we are headed in church growth and retention of members,” said Braham. It’s about mobilizing and inspiring all pastors to maximize their potential in equipping members to continue equipping members in soul-winning. “With the help of the Holy Spirit, and much prayer, we will experience a rich harvest of souls,” Braham said.

To view Inter-America’s Online Evangelism Summit for Pastors, for

English, Click HERE Spanish, Click HERE French, Click HERE

To learn more about Inter-America’s initiatives, activities and events, visit interamerica.org

This article was written by Libna Stevens and originally appeared on the Inter-American Division website.

Photos courtesy of the Inter-American Division website.

We invite you to join our community through conversation by commenting below. We ask that you engage in courteous and respectful discourse. You can view our full commenting policy by clicking here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/9695

Clarification Needed:

I am curious to know how many were already baptized in the past four years. This can tell if this new, bold & bombastic plan is/not realistic. It’s too close to the end of those leaders mandate, so I hope it’s not just a public manipulation aiming re-election 12 months from now.

Just sayin…, because I’ve seen this kind of last minute plans elsewhere before… :wink:

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I must have read this quickly… my mind registered “disciplining

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Why the numbers game? Why not instead call for revival? Where we are encouraged to live a life of honesty, promise keeping, integrity, dealing with lust an adultery, practicing mercy and compassion etc. Ethics and virtue seem to be on a steep slide among many believers.

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Same here when I read your quote. I thought I missed it in the original text since I read it just superficially and quickly.
But what a relief, uh?Though I wouldn’t be much surprised the other way… LOL

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Because there is salvation by numbers too. Some office positions are “saved” when the numbers are good! Re-election matters!!! :wink:

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It is in the article @GeorgeTichy

[/quote]
Since the current quinquennium began in July 2015, 732,256 new members have been baptized,
[/quote]

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G –
“Lessons from Paul” – I do not believe that Paul looked at “Numbers”.
He was satisfied with the Jailer and his family.
It is NOT numbers. It is individual persons and the new life that knowing
God SHOULD bring into their lives.
How many Bible Studies did Paul have to give before the Jailer could be
baptized?
Peter – HOW many Bible Studies did he have to give to Cornelius before
he and his household were baptized?
Our methods and the Early Church methods are not the same. We might
need to be careful comparing our Evangelism Methods with theirs.

Interesting we do not hear of the numbers game in the NAD nor in Europe.
Maybe it is there, and I somehow miss it.

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When one set up a goal, it frequently lead to a game plan based on “Do what ever it Takes”. If evangelistic experience in Augusta Ga is any clue it means A fear based agenda not Gospel sharing message.
The gore of the beasts of Daniel and Revelation will dominate., There will be no reference to Ps 22, 23, 24 or Romans 5, or Phil 2: 5-11, or Hebrews. Gore not Grace will flow. “Safe in the arms of Adventism will be the theme not safe In the arms Of Jesus.”

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QUESTION–
What is the literacy levels among the SDA converts in the Inter-America
area?
Do they EACH have access to a PERSONAL Bible in their language, and
are they able to READ it on their own?
OR, do they just have to HEAR “the word” but not able to read and study
on their own between meetings?
Here in America there are church groups [I belong to one] who sponsor elementary
schools in Haiti. The government is not doing it. And much of the Adult population
is basically illiterate. Kids in our school have been known over the past few years
to be teaching their Parents to read.

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At the risk of sounding insensitive, I suspect the prospects will have one or more classes on “stewardship”
Tax%20collector

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The question is (and we know the answer), what “word” are they hearing?

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It’s not about the numbers. Sometimes we are more focused on converting people into Seventh Day Adventism than converting them into becoming a lover and student of Jesus Christ. To welcome new members into the family means to love them unconditionally, to nurture and accept them as they are until their new found relationship with us and Christ helps them grow. Our genuine and humble acknowledgment that we too are fellow students is far greater tool in teaching than any guilty trip sermons and hammer pounding insistence of obeying the 10 commandments Sabbath after Sabbath. When Christ is lifted up,his beauty becomes magnified - then there’s no problem in obeying the rest that is required. Christ is The Alpha.

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And certainly on “coffee” as well. :wink:

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What has happened to us as a church? Where NUMBERS, something that King David got scolded for, is all that matters. We all know that number hide reality. How many of the achieved numbers left the church soon after their baptism? When the push for numbers is transferred to pastors to baptize for job their security, does virtue and ethics take a second place to just repeating a simple doctronal formula? I think when your boss wants numbers–they will get them by whatever means possible.

Does baptism save us? I wonder? In the final judgement, when the sheep and goats were separated, eternal life was given for no other reason except–caring for others in their need!! Creeds and doctrinal observances was not even considered by God. (I feel bad about this, I am counting on my baptism, my years of tithe paying and Sabbath keeping would carry me into eternal bliss. It is just not fair that some people will be saved without performing all that EGW commanded)!!

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In 3rd World countries ILLITERACY [not being able to read and write]
is a major problem among Adults.
WHAT is the Inter-American crowd [pastors and regular members] doing
to correct this problem??
Schools and the ABILITY to get to a school is a major problem.
I have been in Mexico and Central America.
Resource to learning is worse than in Appalachia during the early 20th
Century in a lot of places.
If they can’t read [the Bible] how can they “study” like the Bereans and
“see what is so”.

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OFF TOPIC –
I posted this on Race Relations site.
Adventist Today has a great article on the HISTORY of Discrimination
of Black Members AFTER Ellen died.
That Testimonies Vol 9 was put together by a Southern Segregationist.
And that influenced acceptance of Black students to our schools and
colleges after [Ellen “said so”]
Black Conferences were never ASKED for by Black Members. But the
“whites” of that day decided “separate but equal” was better.
Very revealing! regarding our church history AFTER Ellen died. [During
her life she advocated the integration of church communities in her
book on “The Southern Work” which was shredded after her death.]

The SDA Denomination became a huge business. Therefore, “Money Matters!”… And since more people means more money, the business will always stress the importance of numbers.

To be fair, though, coming up with some goals is not bad in itself. Otherwise I bet that many pastors would become lazy and lacking motivation for evangelism. Their job description includes many things, and growing their churches is certainly one of them.

My main concern is not this numeric goal but rather the content of what people will be learning, what will actually be the core factor attracting them to the SDA Church. Will it be the true Gospel according to Jesus Christ, or will it be a sectarian mentality fuelled by EGW’s writings?

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Steve,
Discrimination of any kind is one major violation of Christian ethics that, in my opinion and for my consumption, disqualifies any Church from being called Christian. So far the SDAC has fully qualified for disqualification… :wink:

Why the focus on the numbers? It looks like that the pastor’s hunger games are about to start. :joy:

If the person becomes a disciple but decide to be baptize by another institution and be part of it, or to not be part of any institution, does it count as a won soul? Is he/she still a disciple? Or only the ones that join the SDA church and help to complete the 200k? Only if they join the SDA church we will fulfill our mission as christians? :thinking:

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