Ministerial Retreat: Recap
A few times a year, ministers and Bible workers from across the Michigan Conference come together to reflect on their work, receive training, and practical advice from fellow pastors and workers.
In January, Pastors Kameron DeVasher and Mark Howard shared with the pastors and Bible workers how to implement the GROW cycle into their local churches. Below you will read the reflections of two pastors, Jorge Diaz and Gahrett Morgan, regarding the first ministerial retreat of 2022.
By Pastor Jorge Diaz III
In the last couple of years, we have been living in interesting times and have seen rapid changes within our society. As a result of these evident challenges, I have been approached often by people asking, “Has our church’s evangelistic labor become something of the past?” And I boldly say, “No!” Jesus called every believer to embrace the Great Commission as described in the Gospels and acknowledged that we are not to rely on ourselves, apart from God, to fulfill the task amidst its expected opposition. In that commission, Christ promises to be with us “always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
As His chosen representatives, we have the solemn privilege and responsibility of proclaiming the Gospel to the world. If the church’s mission is understood correctly, the individual contribution of every believer is evident. We are told that, “The church of Christ is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. And the obligation rests upon all Christians. Everyone, to the extent of his talent and opportunity, is to fulfill the Saviour’s commission. The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know Him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.” (Steps to Christ, p. 81)
While GROW Michigan is not new for some, its biblical emphasis is significantly essential in these last days. For the GROW “cycle of evangelism” to have greater success in soul-winning, it is vital that every pastor and church member work together on prayerful planning and evaluating all phases of this five-step cycle. The basis of this evangelistic process is taken from Jesus’ teachings within an agricultural context. In the agricultural cycle, the crop cannot harvest itself, nor can a successful harvest be achieved by giving special attention to only one phase of the cycle while ignoring the others.
I recently participated in the winter ministerial meetings held at Camp Au Sable where pastors Mark Howard and Kameron DeVasher were the main presenters. Personally, I’m grateful for the work the Lord has been doing through our conference’s evangelism team. Both presenters shared many practical suggestions based on Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy that assured my heart that indeed there isn’t anything impossible for God! His desire is for all of our churches to thrive as we proclaim Present Truth.
It is my prayer that we keep our gaze squarely on the Master Evangelist! He will teach and empower us to effectively further the Gospel in ways beyond our expectation. But, in order to teach us, we must spend time in prayer and study of His Word. We must remain engaged in local evangelistic efforts and participate in the different training opportunities prepared by our Michigan Conference ministries.
I look forward to seeing how the Lord strengthens our evangelistic efforts in our local district, as my current church district leaders and I draw together a discipleship plan that incorporates each phase of the GROW cycle of evangelism. And I pray the same for you, as you “go forth!” in the Name of Jesus!
—Pastor Jorge Diaz III attended the winter ministerial meetings via Zoom. He pastors the Benton Harbor Spanish, Eau Claire Spanish, & South Haven churches.
By Pastor Garhett Morgan
Our conference ministerial meetings do more than just build camaraderie among pastors, they equip us to work together. This winter’s training session revisited the precious truths of our Adventist message, and reminded us all of the power and relevancy that they still hold. The effectiveness of the Word of God in our churches depends on one thing—actually sharing it with others. The challenge did not fall on deaf ears, as pastors and Bible workers discussed the challenges our church is facing in these unprecedented times.
I sincerely appreciated the practical tips shared by Pastor Mark Howard and Pastor Kameron DeVasher. Too often we can become discouraged that our local churches simply aren’t ready to win souls to Jesus, and we focus on trying to fix these inward problems in our own strength. We were reminded that one of the greatest solutions to our churches’ issues is focusing on seeking and saving the lost. When our churches are united in winning souls for Jesus, many of the problems we thought we had, solve themselves, as we spend our time and resources wisely. The cycle of evangelism still works, if we work it, and the tools that are given through the GROW Michigan initiative will prove valuable to any church that implements them.
—Pastor Garhett Morgan. He attended the winter ministerial meetings in person. He pastors the Three Angels Fellowship & Sparta churches.