Reports from the island and event coordinators indicated that hundreds of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church Leaders in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) participated in a historic island-wide church officers’ training program on Sabbath, January 18, 2020. In an effort to assist leaders who work to fulfill the SDA Church’s Mission in that territory, the one-day training session focused on empowering leaders for efficient service. Although the sessions were primarily for individuals who serve on committees and boards, the organizers extended an invitation to key leaders from the local churches and the BVI Seventh-day Adventist School.
Pastor Sylvester Williams, Coordinator of the work in the British Virgin Islands said, “This is the first time we are reaching all officers, committees and board members across the territory, all at one time, in an effort to train and equip them in their responsibility to help lead this Church. There are many who come from various environments and many may not understand the organization, as it is constantly growing. If we want to lead this church, if we want to have part in moving the church forward to the coming of the Lord, we must understand what the Seventh-day Adventist Church, organizationally, is all about and how we can be efficient officers of the Church.”
Pastor Desmond James, President of the North Caribbean Conference, led the plenary session which focused on leadership and influence. He told the leaders, “There is no concentration of authority in any of the church’s organizational levels, from local field, union, division, to the General Conference level. Authority is disbursed and committees have their authority that is granted and which renders accountability to the constituency it serves. We need authentic, genuine, humble, Christian leaders in the Conference who govern, who supervise, who encourage as Christ did. God wants you to be transformed to lead effectively before Christ’s return.” The President reminded leaders to study the Word of God, pray and share with others about the transforming relationship with the Lord in dedicated service to fulfilling the Mission of the Church.
Other NCC facilitators were the Treasurer, Ms. Sanida McKenzie, and departmental directors, including Dr. Vincent A. David, Mrs. Linda Ambrose and Mrs. Gerene Joseph. The local presenters were Shorn Bridges, Delroy Jennings, Vansitter Huggins, Thomas Alexander, Gracia Smith as well the local pastors, Sylvester Williams, Leriano Webster, Ray Edwards and Trent Berg. The presentations focused on policies governing boards and committees; the fiduciary responsibility of leaders; church property insurance; accident insurance for the uniformed child; church emergency response; and, the duties and responsibilities of the departmental officers.
The event coordinator noted, “The church in the BVI has embarked on leadership development which is all-important for the church organization to thrive and function effectively in today’s environment of continuous change.”
Pastor Sylvester Williams added, “It is imperative that we invest in training and development to avoid mistakes that result from lack of information and knowledge. In order to deepen or change the Church’s culture and make the Church relevant, in order to achieve the desired results, leader development must be intentional and continuous.”
The Principal of the Seventh-day Adventist School, Mr. Wade Tobin, commented, “Leaders and members were excited and empowered to serve after the day’s session which was a well-planned and executed initiative. It is crucial – we have to ensure that the church fosters a culture of empowering leaders and members.”
Pastor Desmond James concluded that it was a very successful day as pastors and leaders worked, as a team, and executed an efficient program that empowered the church to embrace its preferred future. Additional training sessions have been scheduled for the British Virgin Islands territory.