Adventist Journal Online | NAD ministerial association focuses on training for church revitalization


The inaugural training camp highlights the region’s new focus on church growth.

Hhave you noticed that attendance is dropping significantly in your local church? You are not alone.

In fact, according to research by eAdventist Membership Services, church attendance during the pandemic (virtual and in person) is down 72% in North America.

It is time, say church leaders, to take a fresh look at the ministry, mission, and purpose of the local church.

The North American Division Ministerial Association (NAD) hosted the inaugural Church Revitalization Boot Camp November 4-7, 2021 in Washington State, United States. Her goal was to begin unboxing best practices for churches to assess their current status, pray through a new vision, and find renewed growth.

“Every church in the North American Division needs some type of revitalization,” said Ivan Williams, director of the NAD Ministerial Association. “Some churches love their history but have little to look forward to for their future. We are really focused on revitalizing churches not only in attendance, not just in tithing, but also in growing multiplication of people, because Jesus loves people.

The difference between a declining and growing church is often a slight shift in thinking from the “what” of ministry to the “why”. This reflective process – by examining why we do specific aspects of ministry – helps church leaders refocus on their God-given mission, realign ministries with the purpose of the church, and engage in growth-oriented ministries such as evangelism, first impressions, worship services, child ministry, prayer, and Bible study.

“We will never be pre-COVID again,” admitted Buster Swoopes, pastor and presenter of the Texas Conference. “Every church will have to go through a micro or a macro revitalization. “

Jerome Hurst, an Allegheny West conference pastor, started at the Ethnan Temple Adventist Church in Pittsburgh, Pa., Two weeks before COVID-19 shut down in-person church services. Like many churches across North America, the congregation has pivoted to new levels of community service and outdoor ministry.

  • “Being involved in the church allows you to facilitate change,” said Heather Crews, associate ministerial director for the North American division. “When I look at my church, I see that it is imperfect and I have been hurt several times. Yet this is the church that I have chosen to get involved with because you can repeatedly vote for change if you stay. ” [Photo: Heidi Baumgartner]

  • Jose Cortes Jr., associate director of the NAD ministerial association, takes a group photo during the Division’s inaugural church revitalization training camp, held November 4-7, 2021. [Photo: Heidi Baumgartner]

“We used the term as we are replanting the church,” Hurst said. He explained that the congregation was aiming for a restart date of Easter 2022. “I didn’t know the vocabulary of revitalization until now. This boot camp gave me formal training and validated that the Spirit is leading.

Before the pandemic, Francisco Brito and his Spanish-speaking congregation planted Triumph, an English-speaking church in Auburn, Washington. “We find that we need to revitalize our core management team,” said Brito, who brought four of his leaders to training camp. “We need to work again on our commitment to intentional ministry. ”

“At the end of the day, the mission, vision, plans and strategies are just tools,” said Paulo Macena, recently appointed director of leadership for the North American division. “The Bible is clear that the early church turned the world upside down because it had the Holy Spirit.”

Ministerial Association launches new website to provide long-term support to churches in revitalization. They also make the church revitalization and planting boot camp program available through the Adventist learning community.

“We encourage every church to do [a church health] balance sheet … to see what the [current] the vitality of a church is and works for the betterment of our condition, ”said Jose Cortes Jr., associate director of the NAD Ministerial Association.

Bill McClendon, vice president of the North Pacific Union Conference and training camp presenter, noted that “in the heart of every Adventist is the desire to see our church grow.” He added, “Great things can be accomplished by people who believe that God will do great things. “

The original version of this story was published on the North American Division news site.

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