A New Mindset: SEC Evangelism Expo 2018
18th January 2018
On Sunday 7 January, about 1000 people attended a very well organised and effective South England Conference (SEC) Evangelism Expo at Newbold College of Higher Education. This yearly event is an opportunity for the Church leadership to share the strategy for the Church but also encourage and motivate one another in the work of the Lord.
This year, the event did even more, it gave members the confidence in the leadership steps that SEC President Dr Emmanuel Osei and his team have taken to lead the Church in 2018. The presence of the Holy Spirit was felt throughout this event and attendees were in awe by the thought-provoking mindset transforming message from the guest speaker Dr Sam Telemaque, the Inter-American Division Missions and Personal Ministries director.
Dr Telemaque drew his illustration of the future of the Church from the experience of Peter and Cornelius in Acts 10. God transformed Peter, a Jew who had a fixed mindset to be able to go and meet Cornelius a Gentile. "God will do the same for the Church in England", Dr Telemaque encouraged! "God will transform this Conference to reach to the nation and to the world. Do not be afraid of the mission in England, because through Cornelius, God showed that all people are important to Him", he added.
By the show of both hands, the audience displayed their position and willingness to receive this new mindset and further God's mission. In the words of Dr Telemaque, "God will do something new in the SEC, in England and in the world."
Before delving deep into the strategy, Dr Osei took the audience on an affirming journey of how he and his team sought God first in their October 2017 Directors' Residential meeting. "We had one purpose in mind, we wanted God to speak to us on how we were to move forward in 2018", said Dr Osei. He said that the message was loud and clear, that for the Church to make headway, it had to move towards total member involvement, this includes every member taking part, being disciples, utilising their God-given talents but also engaging with the millennials (18 to 35- year-olds) and working with them to fulfil the great commission.
The strategy, EEE (Evangelism, Everyone, Everywhere) Refresh, will this year focus on Reclamation. This was mimicked with the parable of the lost sheep, that the shepherd counted his sheep, and when he realised that one was missing, he went looking for it until it was found. The Church ought to do the same. The current 40% loss of members shows that there is more work to be done. Godwin Benjamin, in his Reclamation presentation showed how the Church can move towards seeking the lost. "Each church will have a Reclamation team which will train members on various ways of retention including how sensitive they should be with those members being reclaimed", said Benjamin.
With over twenty-five workshops, presented with so much enthusiasm, members felt truly equipped to fully participate in the change and thinking of the Church as it endeavored to reach out especially to the millennials who up until now feel sidelined. 17-year-old Gisela Simbana who attended the teens' workshop with her parents said, "I liked how Pastor Juan Patrick put the point across of how the Church can engage and capture the minds of teens." She added, "I therefore look forward to using my talents in the church."
This was also a thanksgiving and celebratory event. One attendee said, "I am so thankful for this Expo. I attended the Education workshop and as a mother of three young children, I have been equipped on how to support my children as they attend mainstream education."
Dr Osei gave thanks to the Lord for His provision for the radio license and recognised the work that Pastor Michael Hamilton (Adventist Radio director) has already begun. The radio is due to launch at the end of January. "The vision of the radio is that it will reach out and broadcast real issues and also be relevant to the millennials", said Pastor Hamilton.
British Union Conference (BUC) Health, Women's Ministries and Community Services director Sharon Platt-McDonald presented 9 churches with cheques as part of the ADRA-UK/Adventist Community Services (BUC) Award which she has been leading. The churches were recognised for their impact and influence in outreach. The majority of funding came from ADRA-UK with the BUC Community Services also funding churches making a positive impact in their communities with their outreach ministries. ADRA-UK CEO Bert Smit shared the good news of how ADRA will now be supporting local church initiatives to impact their community.
There had also been an opportunity for questions to the leadership. "I was pleased with the transparency of the leaders and their willingness to listen to the pastors and members. I am very hopeful for evangelism this year", said Reading West Community Ministries leader Elder David Aboagye.
The ending of the event saw Dr Telemaque's empowering presentation on the progress of training Global mission pioneers and a prayer session. Then Pastor Osei pronounced a blessing to all as he sent all to go and be disciples.
[Judith Makaniankhondo Nyirenda]