The Seventh-day Adventist Church is pressing ahead with
efforts to share Jesus in big cities following a 2014 initiative in Manila that
resulted in more than 10,000 baptisms, world President Ted N.C. Wilson said.
The church, recognizing that the number of people in cities
has surpassed those in rural areas, has been implementing “Mission to the
Cities,” an initiative under each of the world church’s 13 divisions makes
expansive and deliberate plans to meet the health and spiritual needs of city
Wilson himself is placing a strong emphasis on the issue, leading
public evangelistic meetings over the past two years in New York; Port Moresby,
Papua New Guinea; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and, most recently, Santa Rosa and Manila,
Philippines. He is scheduled to lead additional meetings next year in Harare,
Zimbabwe, and the U.S. city of San Antonio, Texas.
But "Mission to the Cities" is more than preaching, Wilson said.
“The Spirit of Prophecy says that the best thing you can do
in the city is medical missionary work,” Wilson said in an e-mail interview.
“This special comprehensive and sustained outreach to the cities is what God
has been asking us to do for a long time.”
He said much has already been done in the cities, including
a pilot, one-year program called NY13 in New York last year that led to more
than 4,000 baptisms, and ongoing work with “Hope Manila 2014: iCare,” in the
Philippine capital, where more than 10,000 people have been baptized since
“But we have so much more to do through the leading of the
Holy Spirit as we approach Christ’s soon coming,” Wilson said.
On the surface, the task may appear daunting.
Slightly more than half of the estimated 7.1 billion people
on Earth live in cities today, a shift from the majority that lived in the
countryside until 2009, according to United Nations data. Seventy percent of
the world’s population is expected to live in cities by 2050.
Of the world’s 500 cities with a population of 1 million or
more, 43 don’t have a single Adventist congregation, according to a “Mission to
the Cities” strategy approved by the church’s 2013 Annual Council.
Wilson said: “We must continue our work in the rural areas but
never forget our special ministry for the cities as was recorded about Jesus’
ministry in Matthew 9:35-38, Luke 4:18-19 and Luke 19:41-42. It is Christ’s
method of working.”
Matthew 9 describes how Jesus “went about all the cities and
villages,” teaching in synagogues and healing sicknesses. Luke 4 records Jesus
speaking in the city synagogue in Nazareth about His mission to “proclaim the
acceptable year of the Lord,” and Luke 19 depicts Jesus weeping over the city
of Jerusalem for rejecting Him.
Adventist leaders also find encouragement in church
co-founder Ellen G. White. Wilson noted that White wrote in her book “Medical
Ministry”: “When we work the cities as God would have them, the result will be
setting in motion of a mighty movement such as we have not yet witnessed” (page
Wilson praised the Manila process— with a series of health and spiritual initiatives
before and after his evangelistic series there on May 4-17 — as a model for the
church to follow going forward.
“The ‘Hope Manila 2014: iCare’ evangelistic activities went
very well and
included many preparation meetings leading up to the actual public
meetings,” he said. “There were health and community outreach activities
the main public evangelistic outreach.”
Wilson said he was looking forward to participating in the upcoming
evangelistic series in Harare in May 2015, and in San Antonio in June 2015, shortly
before the world church holds its quinquennial General Conference Session in
The Harare program is being organized by local Adventist
Among those spearheading the San Antonio effort are
Adventist evangelist Mark Finley; Robert Costa, evangelism coordinator for the
Adventist world church; and Duane McKey, vice president of the church’s
Southwestern Union Conference, which includes San Antonio.
Review news editor Andrew McChesney at [email protected]. Twitter:
Special May 2013 issue of Ministry magazine dedicated to
“Mission to the Cities"
Adventist Review article: “GC President Shares Jesus With Manila’s Rich and Powerful”