Mission to Cities, Revived by His Word, Highlight Spring Meeting
Adventist leaders identify 24 global cities for evangelism efforts (Posted May 10, 2012)
BY ANSEL OLIVER, Adventist News Network
Top regional Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders identified 24 cities that will receive targeted outreach efforts, the next step of a plan voted by church officials last year to focus on urban area ministry worldwide.
During the April 17, 2012, opening of Spring Meeting—one of two annual convocations of the General Conference’s Executive Committee—leaders stated plans for renewed outreach in a megacity in each of the movement’s 13 world divisions. Some divisions identified multiple cities.
In Moscow, Russia, and Kiev, Ukraine, the church will hold a total of more than 30 simultaneous outreach campaigns, each following previous work building and training small groups of those interested in joining the church. Church leaders will plant churches in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and in Lagos, Nigeria. Alumni of Hiroshima Adventist Academy will be recruited to take part in outreach to Tokyo, Japan.
The worldwide urban ministry focus will start next year in New York City, with a representative from each division attending part of the four-week initial outreach.
“It’s not just an event—it’s God’s comprehensive plan for reaching big cities,” said Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “New York will be a symbolic [global] launch.”
Meeting at the church’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, leaders reminded Spring Meeting delegates of the world’s changing demographics, which led to the plan voted last year. “For the first time in history more than 50 percent of the world’s population live in cities,” said Mark Finley, longtime Adventist evangelist and an assistant to the GC president. “About 70,000 people every day move from rural areas into cities.”
Many divisions are prioritizing the initiative by starting a unique fund. Leaders in South America have built a fund of several million dollars for reaching Buenos Aires.
“Our priorities have to be [reflected] in our budgets,” said Erton Köhler, president of the South American Division. “We are planting seeds and preparing our people for something big.”
World church officials today also unveiled the Revived by His Word initiative, a plan urging members to read through the Bible between now and the 2015 General Conference session. The initiative includes a Web site, www.revivedbyhisword.org, which features daily blogs and other resources to promote Bible study.
Leaders said research suggests that 47 percent of world membership regularly reads the Bible.
“Our goal is to have at least half of the church membership involved in some aspect of Revived by His Word in systematic daily Bible study,” Finley told delegates.
Leaders kicked off the program with each division president reading a portion of Genesis 1. Backed by top world leaders on the platform, Wilson held up a small Bible and urged members worldwide to join the program.
“Unfortunately . . . thousands of Seventh-day Adventists are not reading His Word, and even some of our own schedules are demanding. I’m going to commit myself today to spending more time in the Word of God,” Wilson said.
Delegates also received a report on the newly formed Greater Middle East Union, where church leaders are establishing community centers to serve local neighborhoods.
Homer Trecartin, the union’s president, said the “centers of influence” would offer numerous services: everything from job, language, and computer training to libraries, Internet cafés, and counseling services. Five are in initial stages of being established, and plans call for 25 to be set up by the end of the year, 100 by the end of 2013.
“This has created excitement among both local and expat workers,” Trecartin said. “It’s part of our goal to mingle with people and meet needs.”
The Greater Middle East Union ?was created in October 2011, and leaders classified the territory as a “world priority.” n
Cities Identified for Urban Ministry Emphasis by Division
East-Central Africa Division: Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo
Euro-Africa Division: Prague, Czech Republic; Geneva, Switzerland; Hamburg and Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria
Euro-Asia Division: Kiev, Ukraine; Moscow, Russia
Inter-American Division: Mexico City, Mexico; Caracas, Venezuela; ?Bogotá, Colombia
North American Division: New York City, United States
Northern Asia-Pacific Division: Tokyo, Japan
South American Division: Buenos Aires, Argentina
South Pacific Division: Sydney, Australia; Christchurch, New Zealand
Southern Africa-Indian: Ocean Division: Luanda, Angola
Southern Asia Division: Mumbai, India
Southern Asia-Pacific Division: anila, Philippines
Trans-European Division: London, United Kingdom
West-Central Africa Division: Lagos, Nigeria