Results from an array of evangelistic strategies employed throughout the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) of Seventh-day Adventists (SDA), reflect a culture of discipleship among members and community appreciation for the Three Angels’ Messages in challenging times.
In 2017, the ten-island territory of the NCC was affected by two Category-5 hurricanes and many islands are now rebounding from disasters that displaced several members from their homes and places of employment. Congregations on St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Tortola, Anguilla and Saba are still worshipping under challenging circumstances. In addition, members of four churches, destroyed by the hurricanes, continue to meet, conscious of the SDA Church’s Mission and its relevance.
Throughout the NCC territory, Sabbath School leaders are being encouraged to position Sabbath School classes as vehicles to embrace loved ones and intentionally mentor them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Classes have been functioning as small groups and are pursuing meaningful encounters to fan the flames of transformation in the lives of members and friends.
On St. Maarten, Pastor Marcos Salas, Pastor Earl Esdaile and leaders regard the Sabbath School classes as nodes of influence and are successfully nurturing many souls into the kingdom of God through these portals. “We have to use every opportunity before us to win the lost. That’s what we are here for,” remarked Pastor Desmond James, President of the NCC. “God likes challenges and we must realize that, it is in those challenging times God will manifest His power and His witness. I want to encourage all not to just talk about evangelism, but to participate in it. Be a visible leader in evangelism in your church and in your community.”
Pastor Claudius Morgan, the Special Assistant to the President of the Caribbean Union, who will play a pivotal role in the NCC’s efforts to reach 400 persons for Jesus in 2018, commented on the Conference’s evangelistic strides, “I am confident that if every member of the team embraces the thrust, the Conference can be on its way to a successful year.” Pastor Morgan recently pioneered a historical evangelistic campaign, Impact Guyana; this campaign resulted in over 1,400 new members for the SDA Church in one week, through the efforts of 50 preachers at 50 sites around the Guyana Conference.
Pastor Sylvester Williams embraced purposeful evangelism, in 2018, by drawing on experience he gained as a participating-preacher during Impact Guyana. He adopted the deployment concept and after an 8-day, 8-preacher stretch, five persons joined the Virgin Gorda SDA Church through baptism. “That’s what we need,” lauded Pastor Desmond James. “If we are not reaching people, we are just talking to ourselves. We [have] got to be intentional about what we do and God will give the increase.”
Revival encounters on St. Croix, Tortola and St. Maarten also produced church growth through baptism. At the Hope SDA Church on St. Croix, Pastor Ammaran Williams and Sister Margaret Peters established an accountability partner/spiritual guardian for each new member. And, Pastor Williams has collaborated with the Personal Ministries Leader and retired pastors at the Central SDA Church to rekindle a Bible class which has been strengthening the discipling skills of attendees from several congregations.
Reaching people calls for being with them, listening to their story and developing an approach that is holistic and purposeful. It’s not only about sharing the gospel but living the gospel and being a positive example through the transformation that God offers. In the face of extenuating circumstances, the mission advances as stated by Pastor Hesketh Matthew, the NCC Stewardship Director and Special Assistant to the President for Evangelism, “We are being intentional about reaching people with the gospel and adding to the membership of the Conference. That’s what we are here for.” Pastors are encouraged to make every service an opportunity to grow congregations.