From the President's Pen: The Only Thing
People took it to heart in the 1960s when the Green Bay Packers’ football coach, Vince Lombardi, said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
As I complete my twelfth year as your servant leader for the Lord here in the Carolinas, I would like to modify Lombardi’s passion for football with my passion for Jesus by saying, “Winning hearts for Heaven isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”
One of my favorite hymns that I’ve sung since my boyhood days is, “Lift up the Trumpet and Loud let it Ring! Jesus is Coming again!” Why? Simply because I want to be ready when Jesus comes. I desire to do my part in reaching every heart I can for Heaven. I choose to commit my life to Christ’s calling of “Seeking and Saving the Lost.” We have been on a journey of evangelistic fervor and discipleship nurture across the Carolinas!
I pray for the day when not one single church or company in the Carolinas will report “0” as their soul-winning record for the year. How will that be possible?
• We can experience the power and presence of the Holy Spirit only when our hearts are more inclined to time spent in earnest prayer than to being entertained by television comedians.
• We can expect to witness a mighty revival across the Carolinas only when we are more interested in beginning each day with our morning devotion than ending our day with evening sports.
• We can expect a transformation in our personal joy and peace only when we consciously decide not to violate the principles of health reform that remind us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God desires that we purposefully commit ourselves to avoid clogging our brains so that we can discern the voice of His Spirit.
• We will experience the amazing transformation in our lives and in our churches only when our thoughts are focused on the spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness rather than the fads and fashions that grab our attention as distractions by the enemy of God’s children.
Tyler Long, Personal Ministries director for the Washington Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, didn’t mince words when he penned this truth: “The results you’re getting in your churches are because your systems are designed for that outcome. If you had zero baptisms last year, your systems are perfectly designed for that outcome.”
Evangelism, which is spreading the gospel, is important to Jesus. As the Bible tells us, Jesus came so that we may live. We often make evangelism and discipleship so complex and confusing with a host of strategies and programs. Simply put, Jesus wants everyone to know, love, and live His truth so they, too, can be part of God’s holy kingdom.
The word “Evangelism” actually comes from the Greek words “euangelion”—a good message or gospel—and “euangelizo”—to announce, declare, bring, or preach this good news. Notice the word “angel” tucked inside the word. An angel is a messenger. Those who practice evangelism are indeed delivering a message: One of extraordinarily good news, life-giving and transformative, with eternal ramifications.
While the word “evangelism” isn’t mentioned a lot throughout the Bible, its theme is woven throughout the New Testament. All four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are rooted in evangelism, and scholars often refer to the writers as “the evangelists.”
Shown in the first graph (above, left) is the unfortunate picture of how our churches in the Carolinas looked like in 2019, even before the pandemic years began. At that time, only 24% of our own churches were identified as growing or multiplying. In just three years, that percentage has more than doubled to 53% of churches considered growing or multiplying in the Carolinas (below, right). This is a result of the Holy Spirit blessing our Conference’s intentional focus on evangelism. We must earnestly and prayerfully consecrate our hearts to receive the power of the Latter Rain revival, to transform all yellow and orange churches into green and blue churches by honoring Christ’s calling to grow and multiply.
Jesus had a message, one that He came to earth to deliver, to teach, to die in our place for our sins in which He had no share, and to rise again to provide every single one of us with a glorious eternity. And we are tasked to deliver that message, both by Jesus and every other apostle, in no uncertain terms. It’s the only thing!
Your servant leader,
Carolina Conference President