February 3, 2018

Church Intent on Changing the Leadership Culture in Inter-America

Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News

Changing the leadership culture throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) territory is what top church administrators have been aggressively seeking to do with on-going training geared toward its regional and local church administrators and department heads at every level of the church organization.

“We need to be servants of the Lord as we lead His church, because it is not about me, about us, but about God and His Church.”

Hundreds of committee and board members across unions, conferences, missions, educational and health institutions in Inter-America were summoned to an online training program themed ‘Transformed to Lead a Healthy Organization,’ from the IAD headquarters in Miami, Florida, United States, on January 24, 2018.

“The church is not led by one person, but it is led by a committee,” said IAD church region president Israel Leito, as the online event began. “We need to be servants of the Lord as we lead His church, because it is not about me, about us, but about God and His Church.”

Leito urged board leaders and members to remain loyal to God, to His church and His people. “Let every committee meeting be an experience of worship; let us make our meetings a way to glorify God and not a moment to control and take advantage of others,” he said.

The six-hour session sought to equip members of governing boards and committees to fulfill their responsibilities, said IAD assistant to the president Balvin Braham, who is in charge of leadership development for the church in Inter-America.

A committee is all about decision-making, and it is so important for its members to understand that process, said Braham.

“Many people who are members of boards do not fully understand their role, and many at times are silent members and may not understand what they vote,” he said. “Board members are the significant ones making the decisions, so they must know their function, not just be left to the administrators and some department leaders.”

Board members are the ones in charge of the organization and administrators are only acting on their behalf, added Braham.

“We want board members to be able to support the administration in fulfilling the mission and understand their roles in the process of decision-making,” he said. “[And we want] to assist them in understanding the principles of the governing policies of the organization.”

Braham emphasized the importance of the training provided by the regional church leaders.

“I get so much feedback from individuals, enlightened by what their functions ought to be during committee meetings,” he said. “We recognize the greater effect leaders and members can have as they fill their functions and responsibilities they are called to do.”

The training is part of the IAD’s ongoing Segment Leadership Development (SeLD) conference series which featured presentations on appeal processes and ad hoc committees, membership, agenda and communicating actions, accountability of members, understanding financial audited statements, and more.

Several Q&A segments were included in the online training where participants submitted their questions by email during the program.

According to Braham, regional leaders will also provide training to local church board members. “Training sessions are scheduled to take place in April across the more than 20,000 churches and congregations in Inter-America,” he said.