The Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries (ASi) of the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) convened at the La Carmela de Boracay Resort, Aklan, Philippines, for a four-day convention September 1-4, 2022. According to organizers, this was by far the largest delegation ever.
The 2022 convention of Adventist business professionals from SSD dwelt on overcoming challenges while advancing God’s mission in the workplace. Under the theme, “Scaling Up During a Crisis,” more than 500 delegates from various countries within the division assembled for the first time since the pandemic. This gathering was initially planned to be in South Korea in 2020 but was rescheduled because of the pandemic.
ASi is a mission-driven organization empowering lay people of the church to be involved in various church missions and projects. The incumbent president of the SSD-ASi chapter, Rexon Nainggolan, opened the convention. “The integrated work of the church through leaders and lay people creates a network of believers that supports each other in fulfilling the mission,” Nainggolan said.
Speakers from various industries in the marketplace and Adventist Church leaders shared management ideas and development strategies contextualized for church organizations to achieve mission-oriented, Christ-like working ethics in various Adventist offices. They also reiterated the value of epitomizing a positive mindset, following the example that leaders and disciples of the past exhibited, while following God’s mission.
A Clear and Absolute Mindset
In his devotional message, General Conference Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director James Howard encouraged delegates to find inspiration in Nehemiah’s way of thinking as he faced challenges in his leadership and mission. Amid the political and spiritual challenges that hurdled Jerusalem’s rebuilding, Howard emphasized that Nehemiah remained focused on his mission.
“Nehemiah’s mindset was clear and absolute,” Howard said. “Nehemiah left an example of dependence on God; understanding his mission and identity, taking action and responsibility; he spent time studying and developing clear plans, and remained focused on his mission,” he added.
Adventist University of the Philippines theology dean Felixian Felicitas shared the story of Joseph and his response to crisis while thriving in God’s mission for Israel. He reminded delegates about the character that Joseph exemplified when he was betrayed and when his faith was stretched. Joseph’s resilience paved the way for God to fulfill His mission for Israel. “Just like Joseph, all of us face crises at different levels and perspectives,” Felicitas said. “But despite facing what seemed to be insurmountable feats, Joseph understood that God never forgets, that God hears our prayers, and that He is in control.”
Ready to Face Crises
SSD communication director Mamerto Guingguing II welcomed the Sabbath through an inspirational talk on spiritual scaling-up during the Friday evening service. The Bible account records countless occasions when adversity tested the mission, yet the Lord’s work flourished through His leading, he said. “To fortify our Christian character, God permits mishaps and reversals to refine us and prepare us for the greater crisis ahead,” he said.
Guingguing added that prayer and spiritual discipline are essential to ready our hearts as we face a greater crisis in the end time. “Despite life’s challenges, praise and worship should be the heartbeat of the Christian life. This should be our spontaneous response to difficulties,” he said.
Scaling Up for Mission
Business professionals in marketing, human resources, project development, and networking presented modern strategies and trends to complement the church’s mission.
Product marketing specialist Albright Dy discussed fundamental elements of scaling up and achieving a great value of service in taking part in God’s mission. “If the quality of work we dedicate for the mission is random, spontaneous, and mediocre, the possibility of scaling up is far from [being achieved],” he said.
Working Hard and Cheerfully
Behind every organization are people who have invested their skills and time in keeping the entity’s operations and brand promise. Amytis Mahal Sandalo-Banaag, senior assistant human resource officer, reminded delegates and business professionals about giving value to the best investment each organization has, their people. Banaag quoted Colossians 3:23, where Paul wrote, “Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters” (TLB). * According to Banaag, God does not settle for less. “He is performance-conscious and is concerned about the quality and level of our work towards the mission,” he said.
Marvin De Ocampo, ASi member and senior financial advisor of a renowned global financial company, invokes clear objectives for identifying strategies to position the church where people can find the church easily and have a clearer understanding of who we are and what we do as a church. “Our strategy is to create a plan that will help the church identify how we can establish our presence in the communities through mission-oriented projects and how it should be positioned in the mind of individuals who see us and attract them to follow Jesus,” he said.
“The main business of the church is to bring the message to the world,” SSD president Roger Caderma said in his closing remarks at the end of the event. Caderma described the Adventist Church as an organized entity with all its organizations, institutions, schools, hospitals, publishing houses, and supporting ministries. Despite its organized composition, he said, “numbers are useless if we don’t fulfill the gospel commission.”
He added, “Seventh-day Adventists are people with a mission, people with a purpose, and people with commitment.”
Thriving Despite the Pandemic
Despite the pandemic, several projects were developed in prime locations around the division to establish an Adventist presence in unreached cities. One of the projects that ASi funded was the establishment of a church on Komodo Island in Indonesia.
The island is a tourist destination known for Komodo dragons, a member of the monitor lizard family. Despite being a tourist location, an Adventist presence was not yet established in this location. SSD-ASi purposed to build a church and organized an evangelistic meeting, which resulted in the baptism of the first eight believers on the island.
The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.
* Verses marked TLB are taken from The Living Bible, copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill. Used by permission.