The following was originally published in NAD NewsPoints by NAD Communications.
The North American Division (NAD) is sponsoring its first He Said Go Missions Conference on November 18-20, 2016. Several Adventist universities have held missions conferences in the past but, according to Elden Ramirez, Office of Volunteer Ministries director, this is the first NAD sponsored and organized conference focusing specifically on missions.
“This is one-of-a-kind multi-generational gathering for dialogue on the critical topic of our church’s mission in a world that needs Jesus,” says Ramirez. The conference is geared toward students, lay members, and denominational employees. “Mission work is for everyone,” says Ramirez.
“The purpose of this conference is to serve as a catalyst for missions, not only overseas, but also in domestic service,” Ramirez asserts.
That’s why this event is so important, he says, sharing that it’s a ministry summit, a “service summit that members do not want to miss.”
“It is our prayer that our local church members become active in their communities and abroad,” Ramirez adds.
In order to accomplish this task, He Said Go Missions Conference coordinators are inviting medical professionals, union and conference leaders, university/college presidents and their respective chaplains, along with their missions coordinators, to be part of this special gathering. Youth directors, youth pastors, academy chaplains, and young adults are also invited to attend.
But what makes this conference special?
This is a strategic conference where lay members and denominational workers are invited to come and dialogue about the need of the Adventist Church in outreach and mission work. “Our church has done an excellent job in providing conferences for denominational employees and lay members but seldom do we have a conference where everyone is seated at the table to wrestle with a topic that has been at the forefront of the church,” explains Ramirez.
Not only is there sometimes a gap between church workers and mission-minded members, often times the generational gap has prevented the church from moving forward in its entirety. Says Ramirez, “It is our prayer this conference will inspire every generation so we can work together in achieving the great commission. It is time for us to put our generational differences aside and talk about a major need in our church. . . . What better way than to work together to meet the needs of those around us and show God’s love, mercy, and grace, in a practical way?”
And part of that dialogue will also be the point that mission work is more than outreach.
Dan Weber, NAD Office of Communication director, recently sent a letter to communication leaders across the division, encouraging support and attendance to the conference as well as service through mission work. He shares his own experience: “Serving as a missionary overseas helped open my young eyes to a world that was much broader than my narrow Michigan viewpoint. What I learned during that time shaped not only my worldview, but the way that I looked at how our church can affect the lives of those in need. I can honestly say that upon returning home at the age of 22, I was not the same person as the one who left at 19 years old.”
NAD coordinators report that the conference, from the start, has been “bathed in prayer.” They are anticipating a successful event with keynote speakers and presenters who include high-profile Adventist leaders, speakers, and visionaries: Carlton Byrd; Dwight Nelson; Gary Krause; Jonathan Duffy; Leslie N. Pollard; Randy Roberts; Andrea Luxton; Richard Hart; Daniel R. Jackson; G. Alexander Bryant;, Elden Ramirez; Sam Leonor; Yami Bazan; and Steve Case.
“We know God will bless this church gathering because at the center of if it is Christ and His great commission,” says Ramirez. “I hope and pray everyone reading this will take the time to partner with us by praying for this conference, and if it’s within their means to attend, to set the weekend aside and register before space runs out.”
The missions conference encourages total member involvement. Ellen G. White’s words appear in the He Said Go webpage as a reminder of the task set before believers by Jesus: “Wherever we see work waiting to be done we are to take it up and do it, constantly looking unto Jesus. If our church members would heed this instruction, hundreds of souls would be won to Jesus. If every church member were a living missionary, the gospel would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to all peoples, nations, and tongues” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 32).