We are Adventists who are on the move as 'God Still Leads' in the North St. Catherine Zone. Just when you thought the blessings were exhausted and God moved on to do something else, somewhere else in the universe, He continues to amaze us as He empowers His people to carry His mission forward in the earth.
The people of God should be encouraged by this because the Bible writer said every nation, kindred, tongue, tribe, and people would have the privilege of hearing the Good News about Jesus Christ. He is saving men, women, and young people from our sins as we await His return.
As our beloved pastors gave greetings and brief reports from their districts, one thing was abundantly clear (as in all zones in the CJC territory) - 'God Still Leads' in evangelism, member care, ingathering, love, and the promulgation of His Word.
During his inspiring devotional address, Pastor, Dr Wayne Palmer, shared a sobering thought: We must 'Treat this Convention as if it were [our] last. Don't take it lightly'. Pastor Palmer eloquently narrated Acts 2:2-7; 12-18 as the foundation for his message given under the caption: 'Spiritual Intoxication'. He commenced his message by saying, 'The Church was, the Church is, and the Church will be the greatest Institution given by God. Just as love is in marital unions, God shows love for His Church. Jesus will soon be here to collect His saints'. Even though the devil is after the Church, and traitors, hypocrites, and 'tares' gather themselves among us, He is 'leading the Church of God. There must be unity and peace among us if you want the Church to be what God wants it to be. We need the Spirit of Jesus Christ! We need the Holy Ghost'. What more appropriate an exhortation could we receive as we face the most trying times in our history?
Pastor Nevail Barrett, our Executive Secretary, presented this week's powerful promulgation. Not wasting any time, he said, 'God is in control of His true Church. We are to respect the leadership of the Chuch. Where the Bible is silent on a matter, it becomes an ecclesiastical decision. This is God's Church. It is not an independent Church'. Then Pastor Barrett provided a concise treatise on unity and biblical responsibility in leadership. God knows that His people are all different and that we see things from varying perspectives. Miraculously, however, the Holy Spirit leads us to all truth, and we submit those perspectives to Him as we understand the fundamentals of truth.
As he has done during each Convention, the President, Pastor Levi Johnson passionately addressed the brethren. But this time he was laser-focused on us maintaining the standard of truth in all of our churches and institutions. He reiterated that the Church does not belong to us. It is God's Church. Jesus gave His life so we could be saved, and righteousness must continue to thrive in our midst if we hope to represent the King aright.
'There must be no error in the Church'! Pastor Johnson exclaimed. 'We must get back some respectability in the ministry! I rebuke disrespect, in Jesus' name'! We join our President in this sentiment. Our God requires love, truth, and respect to reign in the hearts of those for whom Christ gave His life. It is then, and only then that we can be true-hearted ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
As Pastor Johnson continued to share, he encouraged us to be effective in 2020 by serving God faithfully and deliberately in light of the following five Strategic Imperatives:
1.) Committed to Christlike Living
2.) Communication, Education & Development
3.) Preaching, Teaching & Discipling
4.) Comprehensive Health Ministries
5.) Committed to Serving Humanity
Pastor Billy Watson, the Conference Treasurer, shared the financial numbers and how these numbers provide an honest view of our faithfulness in stewardship. And the feature that underscores this fact is the ingathering report given by Pastor Barrington McClean, Director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries. Every church district provides their written reports, and Pastor McClean masterfully takes us district-by-district, church-by-church, highlighting the goals and outcomes of each. He further emphasises the 'top ingatherers' as he builds our praise for God, to a grand crescendo. These reports aptly demonstrate that God's people will always have what we need. They further confirm that He will always provide a way to drive the mission He has entrusted to us, and difficult financial times must not hinder the work. The earth is His, and therefore He makes all resources available to accomplish the goal.
There is so much more we could report about Convention 2020 in the North St. Catherine zone. Suffice it to say it was an inspiring day (as was the case with all Conventions thus far). The Dinthill Technical High School auditorium was transformed into a worship centre where God's people gave Him the highest praise.