James A. Cress (deceased), Immediate Past Director
he primary mission of the General Conference Ministerial Association focuses on pastors, pastoral families, and church elders. In order to fulfill our mission, we work with various church organizations (such as divisions) by participating in training programs and gatherings. In addition, the Ministerial Association provides a variety of resources to those they serve.
For 17 years the Ministerial Association was led by James A. Cress, until his death in November 2009. His many years of service were greatly appreciated. Since Cress’s death Gerry Karst, a General Conference vice president and adviser to the Ministerial Association, has been coordinating the programs of the association.
Each ministry of the association provides below a brief summary of its work during the past five years.
More than 250,000 church elders and company directors volunteer to serve as local church leaders for the Seventh-day Adventist worldwide church—an army of people dedicated to the mission of spreading the gospel. Since 1990 the Ministerial Association has committed to help them accomplish an effective ministry along with their pastors. One of the tools to reach this goal has been the Elder’s Digest magazine. Today, more than 200,000 copies are printed each quarter and delivered to individuals in more than 100 countries in all world divisions. Many other resources with practical instruction and leadership have been prepared during the past five years, including an Elder’s Handbook PowerPoint CD and a Seventh-day Adventists Believe Evangelistic Kit. Also, many elders’ training events have been conducted throughout the world.—Jonas Arrais.
Clergy Professional Growth, Continuing Education, and PREACH
Clergy Professional Growth, Continuing Education, and the PREACH initiative are three functions that complement one another. PREACH is an acrostic: Project Reaching Every Active Clergy Home, and describes an outreach ministry for clergy of all denominations. This ministry seeks to build relationships while offering support, resources, professional growth, and continuing education opportunities, as well as information regarding the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
We have sought to offer professional growth, continuing education, and the fulfilling of the PREACH initiative by:
- Providing Ministry, regularly, to more than 63,000 clergy who are not ministers of the Adventist Church.
- Providing by satellite Ministry Professional Growth Seminars annually, offering the highest caliber speakers to a global clergy audience, estimated to be 25,000 each year. These seminars have been broadcast on the Hope Channel and made available via Internet Web-streaming and DVD recordings.
- Participating and hosting booths at numerous major clergy conferences, where dialogue and appropriate exchange of views can occur.
- Conducting training events in most of the divisions worldwide.—Anthony R. Kent
Evangelism and Pastoral Leadership
There were two major achievements in Evangelism and Pastoral Leadership during the past five years. The first involved the promotion of the every-member-evangelism program (called “Nice to be Nice”) in the South American, Euro-Asia, and West-Central Africa divisions, along with other territories. In a glowing report from the last itinerary before his death, James Cress spoke about a church leader who told him that in the short period that the “Nice to be Nice” program had been in operation in his territory, they’d already baptized more than 80 persons. The second achievement was the publication of The Gospel of Love and Real Evangelism. Using some of the methods that the book espouses, I conducted a two-week field school in Meghalaya, India, with the baptism of 536 persons.—Peter J. Prime.
Ministerial Resource Center
The Ministerial Association Resource Center has committed itself to providing the finest resources for pastors and elders and at the lowest cost possible to better equip leaders for effective ministry. In some areas of the world these are the only resources they will receive. Several of our resources have also been translated into various languages such as French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese. Over the past five years we have distributed more than 1 million books/DVDs/CDs worldwide. Here are some statistics of interest: Book Club: 223,000; the book Seventh-day Adventists Believe: 300,000; Bible commentary sets: 25,000; Church Manuals: 20,000.
We praise God for the privilege of serving Him and helping prepare people for His coming. To view all resources available, go to our Web site, www.ministerialassociation.com.?—Jonas Arrais.
Ministry, International Journal for Pastors
Ministry, distributed to more than 85,000 Adventist ministers and clergy of other denominations, has been held in high regard since its first publication in 1928. Within the past five years, circulation among Adventist ministers has increased more than 20 percent and doubled for clergy of other denominations. Also, visitors on the redesigned Web site have multiplied fivefold. Seventh-day Adventist Church organizations publish eight versions of the journal in other languages, as well as an international French edition. Because of the international nature of the journal, each October issue features writers from various parts of the world.
To increase the journal’s effectiveness, the following projects have been implemented:
- A peer review system
- A ministerial student writing ?contest
- A writer’s workshop for potential writers
The editor expresses appreciation to three key individuals—Willie E. Hucks II (associate editor), Sheryl Beck (editorial specialist), and John F. Feezer IV (development specialist)—for their commitment and expertise.—Nikolaus Satelmajer.
Shepherdess International publishes The Journal, a quarterly magazine focused on the interests of ministerial wives. World-wide circulation totals more than 10,000, with translations in English, Spanish, French, German, and Russian.
Theology spouse training was conducted each year at four universities and colleges (Andrews, AIIAS, Newbold, and Helderberg), and large conventions were held in 10 divisions. Conference-wide meetings, weekend retreats, and educational events were scheduled in every division. Special conventions for preachers’ kids were conducted in several divisions, emphasizing positive aspects of life in the ministry family.
Continuing education consisted of biblical hospitality and neighbor outreach with the goal of sharing the love of Jesus Christ within continuing relationships. In addition to formal evangelistic preaching, outreach activities included literacy training, health education classes, Bible prophecy seminars, and local livestock projects.
The Holy Spirit abundantly blessed the labors of these dedicated Shepherdess heroes this quinquennium, which tangibly strengthened local church congregations throughout the world, both in numbers and unity.—Sharon Cress.
This article June 24, 2010.