he 1922 General Conference session did not begin well for Arthur G. Daniells. On Sunday he was replaced as president of the world church. But he ended the week in a powerful way with a sermon on prayer and commitment.
Speaking with tearful humility before the gathered ranks of church workers, he described his own neglect of prayer. “It is a sin that has been written against me,” he confessed. “We do somehow allow this strenuous pressure of life to deprive us of our time for prayer. We must not do it, brethren! I have come to a very serious conclusion that I cannot do this and hold my ground. Can you?”
Throughout the auditorium voices were heard shouting “No!”
Daniells was no longer the official head of the church, but he continued to lead by establishing the Ministerial Association, and directing it with a signature emphasis on prayer and spiritual revival.
During this quinquennium the Ministerial Association has reflected the resolve of Daniells and current church leadership by placing strong emphasis on prayer and revival, including leading the Revival and Reformation initiative.
Seeking God’s will through prayer and studying the inspired counsels were the first steps as we put together an outstanding team of associates. As a group we initiated all our discussions of responsibilities and budgets in the same way. It is how we developed our shared visions for the future and implemented a wide variety of programs that train and equip our ministers.
The Ministerial Association finds its purpose in helping pastors succeed in their God-given mission. Whether encouraging deeper spirituality, affirming doctrinal truths, equipping with practical resources, or energizing for outreach, we first direct our attention to the pastor, who serves as the central leader for the life of the congregation.
We meet with thousands of ministers at training events around the globe. We also connect with 18,000 pastors each month through the pages of Ministry magazine. Derek Morris and Willie E. Hucks II edit this journal to enlighten ministers both inside and outside of our faith. Our Project Reaching Every Active Clergy Home (PREACH), headed by Anthony Kent, sends a complimentary subscription of Ministry magazine to 55,000 pastors across all denominations.
In 2012 we introduced Ministry in Motion, a weekly television program and podcast cohosted by Kent and Morris. They have produced 152 programs that feature dynamic speakers, gifted leaders, and other ministry professionals. The guests bring to the table fresh ideas that viewers can use in their own churches.
The most popular program on the Hope Channel is Hope Sabbath School, also hosted by Morris. Each week he leads an estimated 1 million people through the Sabbath school lesson, and models for pastors, elders, and other members how to teach the Word of God interactively in small groups.
Ministry in Motion, as well as Ministry magazine and our other major programs, are enhanced with Web sites and mobile apps overseen by our finance and technology manager, John Feezer. We now have more than 5.6 million visitors to our various Web sites and an increased social media reach of more than 20 million impressions. We feel that God has opened up new channels for sharing our resources.
Preparing Leaders for Evangelism
In the Advent Review and Sabbath Herald of August 2, 1906, Ellen White wrote that evangelism “is to occupy more and still more of the time of God’s servants.” It has certainly occupied Robert Costa’s time. Since 2010 he has been involved in eight satellite outreach efforts and 49 other evangelistic series. Altogether, almost 13,000 baptisms were reported from these meetings.
Costa has worked to transform our churches into evangelistic centers through the plan Pulpits of Hope. He also introduced GCevangelism.com, with evangelistic sermons and fresh, multiethnic graphics that are free to download.
While presenting in more than 50 training workshops, Costa observed leaders and lay members working in unity under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and believes the best is yet to come. The Ministerial Association team is already serving as a leadership partner in the massive Mission to the Cities and Comprehensive Health Ministry thrusts.
Serving Pastoral Families
Shepherdess International provides affirmation, nurture, development, and resources that allow all members of pastoral families to thrive. Janet Page leads this effort, as well as serving as world coordinator for GC prayer ministries. She has gone to every division multiple times to help with events that train ministerial family members in discipleship that leads to evangelism and service.
Page edits The Journal, which delivers articles that directly impact the life, family, and ministry activities of this group. It has nearly doubled its circulation in the English language in the past quinquennium. It also feeds content to sister journals in six other languages. Like all our major magazines, past issues are now easy to access on the Web.
A newly developed Web site and our social media platforms are playing an ever-increasing role in this ministry. A Facebook group for spouses of pastors has grown quickly and is remarkably active.
The Holy Spirit has raised up dedicated Shepherdess leaders in divisions, union conferences, and conferences all over the world. Recently, a grassroots ministry for preachers’ kids has become an official part of Shepherdess International and is being resourced.
Equipping Elders, Deacons, and Deaconesses
The Advent movement is powered forward by 250,000 local church elders. They get direction from Elder’s Digest, edited by Jonas Arrais. More than 220,000 copies are printed each quarter and delivered to individuals in 14 different languages.
We recently released a new edition of the Elder’s Handbook and distributed it through the Ministerial Resource Center. We also launched a new Web site in 2014 with additional resources posted for elders, deacons, deaconesses, and their spouses.
In addition to elders, we have the privilege of serving a new lay constituency. Two years ago Annual Council voted to assign to the Ministerial Association the responsibility of nurturing 700,000 deacons and deaconesses. The first Handbook for Deacons and Deaconesses was prepared and released this year. Other training resources have been posted online to inspire, inform, and train these valuable people.
Investing in the Next Generation
The Ministerial Association invests in the next generation of pastors, beginning with their schooling. We work in concert with the Department of Education during accreditation visits to our schools of religion, ensuring a sound curriculum for those preparing for ministry.
We also provide visiting professors at a number of universities, who lecture at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Successfully providing such a quality theological education guarantees a consistent voice as the third angel’s message is proclaimed throughout the world. To this end, associate Willie E. Hucks II has coordinated visits to more than 20 seminaries and schools of religion in 11 divisions.
Not Us, but Christ
We have seen God’s power in the past five years. He is why we have been able to implement and maintain such a large set of programs in the association. We see Him working with power through the ministerial secretaries around the world. We give God the glory for what has been accomplished, and look forward to seeing what He will do in the future.