December 2020 Carolina's 10,000 P5

1. UPLIFTING THE CHALLENGES FACING OUR CHURCHES


It’s Christmastime in Carolina. One year ago, none of our churches anticipated the unimaginable year that we would experience through much of 2020 and the transitions that would carry us into 2021. I had never even heard of or experienced Zoom as a technological means of keeping us connected in multifaceted ways of meetings, conferences and worship services that impacted the life of our 178 and growing number of churches and companies across the Carolinas and beyond. A Pew survey conducted this year found that one third or more of those who had previously attended church on a fairly, regular basis do not really bother to watch online services. How can we restore what we have lost through the uncertainty of this pandemic in the life of our churches?


Dr. Willie Edward Hucks II is an associate professor of pastoral Theology and homiletics at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary at Andrews University. In a recent article of the Adventist Review, he identified five areas of church life that must be impacted to revitalize and restore what must be regained in each of our churches to fulfill the sacred mission of God’s remnant church for these end times. They include:

A. Worship B. Fellowship C. Ministry D. Mission E. Evangelism F. Prayer




It is a saddening reality that those who were already on the fringes of total commitment to the message and/or mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church may have disconnected permanently from returning to active worship and ministry. Of those churches that have reopened their doors to in-person services, their attendance is 30-60 percent less than their pre-COVID-19 attendance.


This month let’s pray about worship as an integral part of restoring the life of our churches. I believe that we should exercise wisdom by adhering to the counsel and safety measures of masking, six-foot social distancing, and the washing of hands regularly.


Let’s pray for the implementation of a vaccination process that will help minimize and eradicate this awful COVID-19 virus.


Let’s pray that by the Holy Spirit’s still small voice that our church members and their families will recognize that if we are able to go to the grocery store or other places of normal business, we can also make our church attendance a priority in our desire to honor God by coming into His presence with responsible faith rather than inflated fears.


Let’s pray that as the impact of this pandemic diminishes through the months of 2021, every Seventh-day Adventist in the Carolinas will heed the counsel Hebrews 10:25 9 (NLT) – “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”


2. PRAY FOR MOUNT PISGAH ACADEMY

Mount Pisgah Academy [MPA] is our Seventh-day Adventist boarding school for grades 9-12. Owned and operated by the Carolina Conference, and located in Candler, NC, MPA is dedicated to preparing young people academically as they continue their education and preparing them spiritually for eternity.


This beautiful campus includes 230 acres of lawns, It is a saddening reality that those who were already on the fringes of total commitment to the message and/or mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church may have disconnected permanently from returning to active worship and ministry. Of those churches that have reopened their doors to in-person services, their attendance is 30-60 percent less than their pre-COVID-19 attendance.


This month let’s pray about worship as an integral part of restoring the life of our churches. I believe that we should exercise wisdom by adhering to the counsel and safety measures of masking, six-foot social distancing, and the washing of hands regularly.


Mount Pisgah Academy [MPA] is our Seventh-day Adventist boarding school for grades 9-12. Owned and operated by the Carolina Conference, and located in Candler, NC, MPA is dedicated to preparing young people academically as they continue their education and preparing them spiritually for eternity.

This beautiful campus includes 230 acres of lawns,


trees, flowers, and hills, with an indescribable view of the Southern Appalachians and the 5,721 foot peak of Mount Pisgah for which the school is named. To meet the educational and spiritual needs of the students, an administration building, cafeteria and music building, gymnasium, church, dormitories, and an industrial complex have been constructed.


MPA offers an excellent academic program that integrates the latest technology, using hands-on teaching with low student-teacher ratios. Their advanced diploma program allows students to take college-level classes and earn college credits while at MPA, while their strong commitment to service in the community and around the world makes them unique.


I love the theme of our campus at MPA:

“Jesus Lives at Mount Pisgah Academy. He lives within our hearts.”


This month, let us uplift our administrative team at MPA in our prayers as they continue to dedicate their energies and leadership gifts to making our academy all that God desires it to be in touching the hearts and lives of the young men and women that are impacted on these sacred grounds:


Let us also uplift in our prayers and support a very special project that is taking place on our campus. MPA is currently working to renovate all the rooms in the girls' dormitory to create a homier atmosphere for our students. By adding new cabinetry, overhead lighting, outlets with USB ports, and so much more, the upgrades currently happening will improve the quality of life for the girls’ dorm residents.


We are excited to have Maranatha Volunteers partner with us during the summer of 2021 to finish two of the three halls in the dormitory. Here is what the change will look like in each room:


3. PRAYING FOR OUR PASTORS & THEIR CHURCH DISTRICTS

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, these words of encouragement were penned for our churches: “Ask of me, and I will answer your requests. The promise is made on condition that the united prayers of the church are offered, and in answer to these prayers there may be expected a power greater than that which comes in answer to private prayer. The power given will be proportionate to the unity of the members and their love for God and for one another.” [9MR, 303]

Praying for our pastors is very important. They are serving God and the attacks of the enemy are relentless. They must be covered in our prayers on a daily basis. Our prayers should be personalized by saying the title of pastor along with their name since they hold a position of sacred trust for God’s remnant church.

Why not pray specifically for our pastors by name using these seven needs and scriptural promises:

  1. For Protection from Satan — "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)

  2. For Protection from Our Own Sinful Hearts — "But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death." (James 1:14-15)

  3. For Deep Spiritual Encouragement — "For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine." (Romans 1:11-12)

  4. For Wisdom — "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him." (James 1:5)

  5. For Doctrinal Faithfulness — "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." (2 Timothy 1:14)

  6. For A Healthy Body — "But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others, I myself should be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:27)

  7. For A Strong Marriage & Family — "Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church." (1 Timothy 3:2-6)

PASTOR CHURCH(ES); COMPANIES & GROUPS

1. Casey Vaughn ............................................................................................................................................Pastor

Monroe SDA Church

Rock Hill SDA Church

2. Jeff Wait ...........................................................................................................................................................Pastor

Wilkesboro SDA Church

Lenoir SDA Church

3. George Wennerberg ............................................................................................................................Pastor

Wilmington SDA Church

New Bern SDA Church

4. Patrick Williams .......................................................................................................................................Pastor

Asheville Foster SDA Church

5. David Wright ...............................................................................................................................................Pastor

Hendersonville SDA Church

6. Bryan Aalborg ...........................................................................................................................................Pastor

Charlotte Sharon SDA Church

7. Glen Altermatt .........................................................................................................................................Pastor

West Columbia SDA Church


4. PRAYING FOR OUR DEPARTMENTAL MINISTRIES

Last year, starting with our April, 2019 issue of P5, we began highlighting a department of the conference each month – not so much as to give a full-length report of all that they have been doing or are accomplishing, but rather to simply uplift in our prayers all our leaders and their faithful service. The ministries of the Carolina Conference are basically structured under 6 organizational departmental functions. They include:

1. The Adventist Christian Book Center

2. Camp Meeting

3. Administration

4. Outreach

5. Church Ministries

6. Children & Young Adults


Over the past few months, we have focused our prayers with the departmental functions of

Administration and Outreach. We continue our focus on the next department that is designated as a vital part of the Church Ministries in the Carolina Conference:

So during this month of November,

I invite you to prayerfully uplift our

Men’s Ministries Department

under the leadership of

Elder Tony LaPorte and

his secretary, Jayme Rouse




Men are consistently faced with questions and challenges concerning their role as husbands, fathers, and spiritual leaders at home and in present day society.


The Carolina Conference Men’s Ministries Department has introduced various approaches to address these relevant issues and meet the needs of the men in our region. They provide programs, resources and training for local church Men’s Ministries leaders that promote effectiveness and success. In the past five years they have conducted several instructional training sessions to certify our local leaders. Currently there are thirteen local leaders that have been certified by the North American Division Men’s Ministries Department. Several resources such as books, websites, DVDs, and personal instructional counsel have been provided on an ongoing basis.


Throughout the years, several meetings (2-3 per year) have been conducted for the purpose of training and for the planning of Men’s Retreats and other events focusing on meeting men’s relevant challenges. These events give leaders the opportunity to share ideas, plan local church events, seek advice, and build support networks and friendships.

5. SATURATED WITH THE WORDFundamental Belief # 17 – Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

As a President’s Prayer Partner, we again invite you to truly be a people of the Word. As Seventh-day Adventists, we embrace 28 Fundamental truths that are based on the Bible alone. This is the second cycle in our emphasis on these vital beliefs that are centered in Christ as our Savior and as our Lord.

Let’s continue to place His Word prayerfully in our hearts each day of this month. I carry a set of these passages with me in my car and repeat them aloud as I drive from place to place. My goal is to prayerfully say one verse at least five times a day for a week, thus embracing the promise of God’s Word – “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11.


Repeat these passages over and over till they become a part of your very being. Of course, you can always choose to do more. Prayerfully consider how you can saturate your soul and make His Word a part of your heart every day.

FUNDAMENTAL BELIEF # 17: Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love.

A. Acts 1: 8 (NKJV) — “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”


B. Romans 12:4-5 (NKJV) — “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.”


C. Ephesians 4:11-13 (NKJV) “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”


D. James 1:17(NKJV) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

6. THE FOCUS ON OUR 2020 VISION

Over the past five years (From 2016-2020) we have focused our attention and prayers on seven visionary goals for God’s work through the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Carolinas. This month marks the end of this quinquennial term. As we reflect on what we have focused our prayers and energies to accomplish for Christ, let’s not forget that these goals are not an ending, but rather a journey in which we will continue to travel on till we reach our Heavenly home. Here is a quick summary of our seven goals and how your prayers have guided and will continue to guide in their fulfillment:


1. ESTABLISH NEW CHURCH PLANTS & GROW EXISTING ONES

PRAY AND COMMIT to a FAITH GOAL of raising at least 20 New Church Plants in South Carolina and 40 in North Carolina.

In addition PRAY and COMMIT to a FAITH GOAL of 90 TOTAL progressions or steps in congregational status [GROUPS > COMPANIES > CHURCHES].


RESULTS: As of October 31, we have established 11 new church plants in South Carolina and 18 new church plants in South Carolina. As of this month (December), we completed our goal of 90 progressions or steps in congregational status Praise the Lord!


2. WELCOME TRAVELING PILGRIMS

PRAY AND COMMIT to place attractive and updated signage of welcome greetings by the Seventh-day Adventist Church at every Interstate entry point into North and South Carolina with our conference website information.


RESULTS: For the past five years we have contracted to maintain 2 welcome signs on interstate entry points into North Carolina and one into South Carolina.


3. ORGANIZE HOUSES OF PRAYER

PRAY AND COMMIT to develop a plan in which every church building of the Carolina Conference will be a church of HOPE (Houses of Prayer Everywhere). This must include specific, publicized times in which our church sanctuaries may be accessed by:

▪ Members of the church individually and collaboratively united in Prayer

▪ Youth and Young Adult Prayer Bands

▪ Individual and groups from the community with specific needs


The primary function of this strategy is to realize our source of power by seeking the Lord in personal prayer and by reflecting on His Word.


RESULTS: Ongoing. We certainly need to develop a greater emphasis on prayer in each of our churches. So thankful for those churches and individuals who have committed to established opportunities for prayer time. I especially praise the Lord for the establishment of a regular Youth Prayer Line every Tuesday evening as well as our regular prayer line that meets each Monday evening.


4. ADVANCE ADVENTIST EDUCATION

PRAY AND COMMIT to increasing the number of our church schools to at least 25 with a 5% increase in our overall K-12 enrollment from what it is now. We embrace the Advent message that we are living in the closing moments of earth’s history. Therefore, it is our desire to advocate and validate the counsel of God’s messenger that “In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one.” Education, Page 20


RESULTS: Accomplished and exceeded our enrollment projections! Praise the Lord, indeed!


5. FOSTER A CULTURE OF SOUL WINNING

PRAY AND COMMIT to leading at least 1000 new souls every year to embrace Christ and His truth as members of God’s remnant church. To accomplish this, every pastor will receive encouragement and support to:

▪ Develop, communicate and implement an annual plan for kingdom growth in each church. This plan should intentionally include and involve the youth and young adults of the church.

▪ Host or personally hold at least one evangelistic/reaping effort annually in their church district. Opportunities should be explored to involve students who have participated in a ShareHim series of meetings.

▪ Follow with an extended plan of discipleship that includes an intentional involvement in the life and ministry of the church including that of being an actively engaged disciple-maker.


We hold the conviction that the Holy Spirit will bring people into the church by the power of proclaiming the truths of God’s Word. However, only the power of compassionate love will keep them connected to Christ and the mission of His church.


RESULTS: Twice we reached our goal of reaching $1,000,000 for Evangelism. Although we’ve come close, we’ve not realized our prayerful hope of seeing 1000 souls in a single year for Christ’s kingdom in the Carolinas, Ongoing efforts to emphasize evangelism and soul winning have takenplace through Evangelism Impact Weekends at Myrtle Beach, SC and STS (Seeking to Save) Planning by our pastors and churches. This will be ourongoing conviction, quest, and dedicated labor for the Lord till He returns to gather His children home.


6. ENRICH ADULT SABBATH SCHOOL MINISTRY

PRAY AND COMMIT to enrich the Sabbath School Programs of our Conference to include an intentional and inclusive focus on all four dimensions of the Adult Sabbath School Ministry.

Mission (Through a regular focus on mission stories and utilization of media such as Mission Spotlight or Mission Sonlight DVD’s)

Fellowship (Through a time for testimonials prayer requests & praises)

Outreach (Through an emphasis on witnessing opportunities and stories)

Bible Study (Through the utilization of teacher resources and young adults in an in-depth study of the Sabbath School Lesson Study)


To accomplish this, my desire is that we follow the guidance of the world church and the North American Division to re-establish the term “Sabbath School” in place of “The Church at Study” in at least 50 Carolina churches that will serve as models for the four-fold function of Sabbath School Ministry.


RESULTS: Gradual and Steady progress is being made in this arena. Although we don’t have a final count on this at the moment, significant strides have been made to highlight the 4-dimensional heart-chambers of our Adult Sabbath School ministry in our churches. Again, we will press forward with the desire to create an atmosphere where Sabbath School is just as, if not even more important than the main worship service in the effectiveness of every church’s ministry.

7. EXPAND OUR PUBLISHING MINISTRY

PRAY AND COMMIT to expanding the work of our publishing ministry in the distribution of truth-filled literature by:

▪ Promoting a visible display of a Glow Tract Rack in every Carolina Church for members to utilize in sharing seeds of truth in every church community across North and South Carolina.

▪ Developing the Magabook program to include and demonstrate a growing number of students from our church schools and academies in our conference territory in conjunction with an annual rate of increased sales.

▪ Supporting the work of our dedicated full-time literature evangelists by adding a full-time field district leader.

RESULTS: Major gains in GLOW Tract Racks in our churches; Magabook programis still in need of a greater emphasis; Support of our full-time Literature Evangelists and their labors remains strong.



7. REMEMBERING AND UPLIFTING GOD’S ANOINTED LEADERS FOR THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN CONTINUOUS PRAYER

Be part of God’s praying church across North America by uplifting these leaders also in the Pacific Union of Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada who guide God’s work in these territories of God’s vineyard:


Elder Leslie Louis
President