In the U.S., Young People Team Up with Their Pastors for Preaching Trips

Partnership with ShareHim ministry is providing hands-on experience, inspiration.

John Simon, for Lake Union Herald, and Adventist Review
In the U.S., Young People Team Up with Their Pastors for Preaching Trips
(Left to right) Nathan Zapata, Leo Lara, and David DeRose take a break from preaching to enjoy a cultural excursion arranged by the ShareHim coordinators. [Photo: ShareHim]

A group of youth and young adults from churches across the Lake Union Conference in the United States teamed up with their local pastor recently to preach the gospel throughout Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

The thirteen participants — four pastors and nine of their respective young adult church members — partnered in late 2023 with the ministry ShareHim to work with active evangelistic efforts.

Firsthand Accounts 

Abdiel Lozano and Diana Mora, together with Freddy de los Santos, senior pastor of Milwaukee North Hispanic and three other churches in Wisconsin, journeyed to Santa Clara, Peru, to work with an evangelistic campaign. 

Diana, who currently works as a school paraprofessional, admitted some nervousness, though she had preached before. Yet, she said, she was buoyed by how encouraging and supportive the Santa Clara church members were. She also recalled a day of divine “serendipity.”

“November 1 is celebrated as the Day of the Dead, and by God’s providence, that was the day I preached about the state of the dead,” Diana recalled. “I could see that many people were hearing this message for the first time, and they were being convinced by what Scripture says. At the end of the meetings, one teenage girl decided to be baptized. It was the first baptism held in that relatively new church, so it was a very special celebration.” 

Brothers Daniel and Marcus Toppenberg, Detroit-area natives, ventured to Cúcuta, Colombia, with Dan McGrath, pastor of the Metropolitan Church in Plymouth, Michigan. This was a first-time experience for both Daniel, a senior at Southern Adventist University, and Marcus, a freshman at Union College. They each preached a 10-part series in different churches around the city and according to McGrath, the young men shone in their presentations. 

McGrath said group leaders began calling Marcus “pastor” because he did such an excellent job. Likewise, Daniel exhibited a unique teaching style that resonated with the guest attendees in a simple yet profound way that deepened their understanding of the Adventist message. 

Another pastor who witnessed the impact of his young people preaching the transforming message of Jesus Christ was Darrel le Roux, senior pastor of the Grand Rapids Central and Lowell churches in Michigan. He partnered with Jake McFarland and Trevor Mathison to go to El Salvador, and reported the encounter exceeded their expectations and has even carried over to the home front. 

Trevor was grateful for how warm and welcoming the Salvadorian church members were. “I never personally witnessed how powerfully God works in other people’s lives on your behalf when you work for Him,” he added. “It led a young man to tears and ultimately a baptism.”  

Actually, it led to multiple baptisms, as Trevor also sealed his decision for Christ earlier this year. 

Le Roux says they plan to collaborate and prepare presentations that the three will be presenting to the local church. “This was one of my desired outcomes,” he noted, “and I believe the ShareHim experience affirmed Jake and Trevor to want to do this back in our own church.”

Meanwhile, David DeRose, senior pastor of the Fort Wayne First Seventh-day Adventist Church in Indiana, traveled with Nathan Zapata and Leonardo Lara to the Dominican Republic in early October. They witnessed the power of God’s Word as they each preached during an evangelistic series. 

“The experience not only provided an opportunity for the three of us to bond more closely,” DeRose said, “but it helped us to more tangibly appreciate our connection to the worldwide Adventist Church.” He continued, “We ministered side-by-side with our brothers and sisters from the Dominican Republic,” as well as fellow American ShareHim missionaries from Kentucky, Nevada, California, and Massachusetts.

About ShareHim 

ShareHim, an evangelism initiative based at the Carolina Conference of the Adventist Church in the United States, seeks to establish strong, healthy mentorship bonds between pastors and young adults. These bonds, forged through a memorable team-building excursion to an international or domestic evangelism site, then provide an impetus for young adults to engage in long-term, active soul-winning in their local spheres or perhaps even beyond. 

While expressing appreciation for the Lake Union Conference’s participation, the director of ShareHim, Jeremiah Weeks, concisely articulated the essence of this ministry: “By God’s grace, we’re seeing encouraging results, with young adults growing spiritually while building closer mentoring relationships with their pastors. According to the pastors, many of the young people are now more involved in leadership and ministry in their home churches. Also, a number of the young adults involved from the North American Division have decided to pursue full-time ministry, which is great news!” 

The preaching initiative is made possible through the support of ShareHim donors, the North American Division, Adventist Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI), and unions and conferences across North America.

The ministry has already set a trip itinerary for 2024 and included information to those who want to learn how it operates, tap into helpful resources, and read inspiring testimonies. “Pastors are especially invited to contact ShareHim to discuss the prospect of formulating a team of young adults and participating in one of the upcoming trips,” the ministry said. 

The original version of this story was posted by the Lake Union Herald.

John Simon, for Lake Union Herald, and Adventist Review