A two-day Leadership, Education, and Development (LEAD) Conference was held in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) starting August 23, 2022, via a virtual platform.
More than 1,000 Adventist leaders representing various organizations and institutions within the SSD territory joined the meeting, happy to learn and be empowered by the messages and inspiration shared in this gathering.
The 2022 event focused on spiritual resiliency despite the ministry’s challenges in the end days of this world. After being on lockdown for more than two years, countries worldwide are reeling from the effects of the pandemic that wreaked havoc on the economy, national security, and health. This turbulence did not spare Adventist churches; however, the LEAD conference reminded delegates of God’s presence amidst the storm, organizers said.
Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC), emphasized holding fast to God’s mission and being an instrument for completing God’s mission worldwide. Wilson reminded the delegates to hold fast to God and the Bible.
GC vice-president Arthur Stele opened the meeting with a devotional on the importance of the church’s mission and commitment to its completion. “No matter what situation we are in, God’s message and mission will remain the same, and this is the core of our identity as Christian believers,” Stele said.
“We all need rest and individual quality time with God,” GC associate secretary Gerson Santos said. He explained that our work could occupy so much of our time that we lose sight and control of what’s in our hearts.
Former GC vice president Lowell Cooper discussed egotism and its effects on people in leadership.
On the second day of the meeting, GC executive secretary Erton C. Köhler joined the virtual gathering and tackled the importance of a holistic approach to extending care to church workers during a crisis. “Like anyone, church workers need attention and support. Faced with church organization and leadership challenges, ministers and church workers also need comfort, encouragement, and sympathy,” he said.
GC undersecretary Hensley Moorooven shared valuable experience and reminders on what leaders do to thrive in ministry amid a crisis. Moorooven stressed the importance of creating contingency plans to sustain the church and achieve its functionality despite exceptional situations.
North American Division former assistant to the president for communication Kermit Netteburg added in his presentation that for the church, a crisis should never be a reason for the mission to be halted. “An established plan rooted in prayer and thorough planning will help an organization make prudent decisions,” he said.
Netteburg explained that the worst thing that could happen is facing a crisis unprepared. “Planning and thinking proactively puts the organization in a position of stability and focus,” he said. “It allows the organization to focus more precisely on the mission while responding to the crisis.”
The LEAD seminar concluded with a message by former SSD president and now GC associate secretary Saw Samuel. “Leaders of the church are entrusted with an important responsibility to serve God’s people and channel His love and message to others,” Samuel said. “Spiritual leadership reflects God’s character to others. From time to time, we need to reevaluate ourselves, because spiritual leadership is more about being, not about doing.”