The Stewardship Department of the North Caribbean Conference held its first advisory for church leaders on Sunday, January 17, 2021. The thrust of the one-day advisory was to champion the commitment of pastors and leaders to create a spiritual environment that contributes to complete health of the member and strengthen the financial system to advance the mission. Along with a slate of content rich presentations, remarks were given by Dr. Kern Tobias, President of the Caribbean Union (CARU). Pastor Desmond James, President of the North Caribbean Conference (NCC) sent his greetings.
As the pandemic lingers, many congregations have been facing threats to their financial viability. The advisory sought to help members align personal needs with funding mission; members were encouraged to place emphasis on the mission of the Church.
During his devotional message, Pastor Terrence Haynes stated, “To do that, we must evaluate the measure of our generosity. Generosity is not only measured in the financial growth of the Church but in the spiritual growth of the congregation. It’s all about God – first. As we move into 2021 in the face of the economic threat, the tendency will be to think about self – first.” Pastor Haynes serves as the Stewardship Director of the East Caribbean Conference. He enhanced the spiritual atmosphere of the empowering day and urged leaders to trust God in the important work of salvation. He added that more attention should be placed on good strategic planning. Stewardship enthusiasts were asked to continue analyzing statistics and to prepare reports which track the stewardship growth of the church.
“We have had many challenges since beginning this journey, coming from many directions, but always – relationships are at the heart of this concern,” observed Dr. Gandalal Samlalsingh, the Stewardship Director of the Caribbean Union, who emphasized that relationships are integral to stewardship celebrations and concerns, especially during this global economic downturn. He quoted, “Let the church appoint pastors or elders who are devoted to the Lord Jesus, and let these men see that officers are chosen who will attend faithfully to the work of gathering in the tithe. If the pastors show that they are not fitted for their charge, if they fail to set before the church the importance of returning to God His own, if they do not see to it that the officers under them are faithful, and that the tithe is brought in, they are in peril. They are neglecting a matter which involves a blessing or a curse to the church. They should be relieved of their responsibility, and other men should be tested and tried.” ( E. G. White, R&H Supplement, December 1, 1986) Dr. Samlalsingh concluded, “Pastors should be an example in diligence, efficiency and spirituality. Seventh-day Adventists are a group of people without equal – willing to do anything for the cause of the kingdom but only if those who lead them do not discourage them.”
The Treasurer of the North Caribbean Conference, Ms. Sanida McKenzie, praised the leaders for their sacrificial ministry. She encouraged the treasurers and pastors to relay gratitude to the members for their commitment to the financial growth of the church. Her presentation focused on deducing the financial growth potential of the church.
Pastor Hesketh Matthew’s presentation on building an effective stewardship ministry was inspiring. He outlined key components of such a ministry in the local church – including the establishment of a stewardship committee. Pastor Matthew said, “The agenda for stewardship in a local church is best shaped and propelled by a committee. The breadth, depth, scope and skillset that the ministry requires demands the engagement of a committee as opposed to one or two persons. We see ourselves as stewards of the financial resources entrusted to this level of the Church. We will endeavor to maintain this in order to be of assistance to the mission of the Church, worldwide.” Pastor Hesketh Matthew is the Stewardship Director of the North Caribbean Conference.
At the end of the meeting, participants joined breakout rooms and shared ideas for developing ministry in the local church and growing ministry in the NCC. Attendees were motivated by the well-planned advisory and are anticipating the second of two NCC advisories, scheduled for 2021.