The North Caribbean Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (NCC) is gearing up to reach thousands of people with the gospel during a multi-district evangelism series on the island of St. Croix at the end of March.
The evangelism effort is part of what is being coined the St. Croix Global Total Member Involvement initiative, where dozens of volunteers from General Conference (GC) treasury, led by treasurer Paul H. Douglas, and other church organizations will partner for the island-wide community outreach March 30 to April 13.
Themed “Impact 2024 — Your Journey to Joy,” the evangelism is part of the mission project that calls for “everyone doing something evangelistically positive for Jesus as we come closer to His soon return,” GC president Ted N. C. Wilson said.
Wilson and GC secretary Erton Kohler met with the evangelistic planning team led by Josue Pierre, associate treasurer of the GC, in Maryland, United States, in January, ahead of the launch in St. Croix.
Total Member Involvement
The initiative will see church leaders and members engaged in the two-week evangelistic series each evening at four church district locations. Guest speakers from the North American Division of the Adventist Church include Ainsworth Keith Morris, James Doggette Jr., Louis Soto, and Ramone Griffin.
“This is so exciting, energizing, and motivational, and we cannot sleep,” Desmond James, president of NCC, which is headquartered in St. Croix, said. “We have never had anything of this magnitude here, so we have restlessness in our bones.”
In the past, evangelistic impact has been carried across the 10 islands that make up the conference, but never in St. Croix, James said. With a population of more than 41,000 in St. Croix, church leaders are dreaming of reaching all of them, he added. “We are preparing to meet the needs of hundreds of people and penetrating in all areas.”
Service to the community will include health and wellness clinics with a team of 20 medical staff from Loma Linda University Health, in coordination with dozens of local church members.
Preparation Has Started
In preparation for the evangelistic impact, church leaders and members took part in training programs and seminars on how to engage their community and get involved in the mission for maximum results. The training was led by a team from the GC, January 26-28.
Local leaders also outlined the need to engage the total membership in this mission, including engaging hundreds of young people.
The island has more than 5,000 Seventh-day Adventists, James said. “All must be involved. We are going to storm the kingdom of the devil, and it is our hope that more souls are brought to Christ and that the Advent message will reach all corners of St. Croix.”
At an evangelism rally held on Saturday (Sabbath), January 27, local churches reported on the care groups that have been established and signed up scores of families through local initiatives as prospects for evangelism campaigns.
Emil Peeler, senior pastor of the Capitol Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church in Washington, D.C., United States, and one of the evangelism coordinators, spoke to the team of church leaders and members who are taking part the evangelism efforts.
“Several prayer bands are coming together, praying for the plans, preparations, and the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit to intervene as people are reached,” Peeler said. “The truth still makes an impact, but the greatest challenge is to get people to ‘want’ a change because people are comfortable,” he said. “They feel they do not need to change their beliefs. But everyone needs the grace of God,” Peeler said during the training session.
Church leaders outlined comprehensive strategies to reach the people of St. Croix, including a digital evangelism campaign with video shorts and additional content with stories of hope, NCC communication director Leriano Webster said. “The plan is to fill the churches during the evangelism impact. That’s why we are not going to carry the evening sessions online,” Webster said. “We want this impact to be in-person connections with the wider community.”
The initiative is expected to draw participation from the Inter-American Division and Caribbean Union Conference treasury personnel for the two-week duration.
The more than 5,000 Seventh-day Adventists in St. Croix worship in eight churches. The Adventist Church operates a primary and secondary school on the island. The NCC has more than 15,000 members in 41 churches and congregations across 10 islands, including Anguilla, British Virgin Islands (including Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda), United States Virgin Islands (St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas), and the islands of Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten.