January 2021 Carolina's 10,000 P5

1. PRAYING FOR A YEAR OF RECONNECTION AND RECLAIMING ACROSS THE CAROLINAS

The eight conferences of the Southern Union territory in the North American Division for the Seventh-day Adventist Church have designated 2021 as the year of reconnecting with members whom we have lost from our church family and fellowship. The sad reality is that across the eight states of the South, this represents a staggering 47% of those who were baptized or came into the church by profession of faith who have disappeared from the fold of God’s remnant church.

As we prayerfully consider what steps must be initiated to make this reconnection with missing family members, there are some basic questions we have been asked to consider:

  1. Where are they?

  2. Why did they leave? The usual reasons are…

  3. Life’s hardships.

  4. Theological differences.

  5. A preference of simply participating electronically from home.

  6. Are we avoiding the big mistakes in trying to reach the missing?

  7. A prime example of this is by sending a letter to raise money for the building fund when they have not even been part of the church for years.

  8. When is the best time to ask them to come back?

  9. Christmas programs, Spring Musicals, Special Events or Revival Weekend Rallies – these and many more social, spiritual, or cultural events can be a wonderful way to re-engage interest in making their way back home.

  10. How will we greet them when they come back?

  11. There is a definite need for educating our church members in what to say and how to act when missing members return. This can be a tipping point for whether they choose to make baby steps back or walk away forever – never again to return.

Consider for a moment the one of the most compelling parables of Jesus in the story of the Prodigal’s Son. The return of the son is captured in Luke 15:20 – “And he arose and came to his father. But when he wasstill a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” It is noteworthy for us to see the response of the father to his returning son as we prayerfully glean gems from how we as churches focus our prayers on reconnecting with those who once walked with us:

  • “His father saw him…” - Ask God to open our eyes so we can be looking for His returning children.

  • “and had compassion…” – Ask God to open our hearts so we will not view or treat them as rebels, but as redeemed by His precious blood.

  • “and ran and fell on his neck…” – Ask God to open our arms to genuinely embrace those whom we can reach and love back into the fellowship and fold of our church families.


2. PRAY FOR OUR RELIGIOUS LIBERTY SABBATH

January 23 has been designated as Religious Liberty Sabbath for 2021. Every year we have an opportunity to highlight God’s sacred gift of freedom of conscience and make an appeal to our church members to financially support the Public Affairs & Religious Liberty (PARL) ministry of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Here are a few of the many ways PARL advocates for your religious freedom:

  • Each year one million copies of Liberty magazine are put into the hands of thought leaders in the government and community across the North American Division.

  • The Seventh-day Adventist Church defends you in religious workplace accommodation challenges. Many legal precedents have been set over the years on behalf of your right to uphold your freedom of conscience and keep the seventh-day Sabbath holy.

  • We maintain a close communication with legislators at the state and federal levels to protect against legislation that might inhibit your free exercise of religion.

  • The weekly “Liberty Insider” tv program on 3ABN television network reaches to every corner of the United States and to a global audience.

  • The North American Religious Liberty Association, our Church’s member-driven advocacy organization, mobilizes church members for freedom action.


As citizens of this world and ambassadors for Christ, it is our responsibility to emphasize the meaning of

religious freedom. It is our responsibility to keep before the thought leaders of our governments the

importance of religious accommodation and freedom of expression.


Last year, just as the COID-19 Pandemic was beginning its dreadful spread across our nation, our Carolina church family rallied around the need for championing the cause of Religious Liberty by supporting it with the third highest per-capita giving and third highest grand total in monetary contributions of the eight conferences in the Southern Union Conference territory. What did that represent? Take a look at the chart below:

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. Ryan Ashlock ............................................................................................................................................Pastor

Charlotte University City SDA Church

Huntersville Lighthouse SDA Church*

2. Eric Bates ......................................................................................................................................................Pastor

Arden SDA Church

3. Jorge Baute ................................................................................................................................................Pastor

Upward SDA Church Fairview SDA Church

Asheville Korean SDA Group*

4. Marcos Bernal .........................................................................................................................................Pastor

New Bern Spanish SDA Church Wilmington Spanish SDA Company Myrtle Beach Spanish SDA Group

Morehead Spanish SDA Group

5. Steve Bietz .................................................................................................................................................Pastor

Morganton SDA Church Table Rock SDA Church*

Valdese Great Hope Mission Group*

6. Ivan Blake .............................................................................................................................Part-time Pastor

Fletcher SDA Church

7. Daniel Bran, Jr. .........................................................................................................................................Pastor

Tryon SDA Church

*Serves as an Overseeing Pastor who supports the work of a Volunteer Lay Leader (VLL) or

A Volunteer Lay Pastor (VLP)


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:

During the month of January,

I invite you to prayerfully uplift our Planned Giving & Trust Services Department

under the leadership of Rick Hutchinson and his secretary, Rebecca Deal




This department exists to serve those of our constituents who desire to achieve their stewardship objectives during and after their lifetime. Information and assistance is provided through


the expertise of trust officers who are certified to perform the duties of their department. This information and assistance is provided through seminar presentations, development of wills, clinics, and private consultations.

As part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, our mission is to assist our members in finding ways to balance their financial needs for the present with their needs for the future. We value every member’s desire to care for his or her family’s future needs, as well as the desire to assist in the advancement of the gospel. Our personnel can provide helpful information regarding the best way for constituents to benefit through a planned gift or to plan for the distribution of an estate.

5. SATURATED WITH THE WORDFundamental Belief # 18 – The Gift of Prophecy

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 # 18: The Gift of Prophecy The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested.

A. 2 Chronicles 20:20 (NKJV) “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe in His prophets, and you shall prosper.”


B. Amos 3:7(NKJV) “Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”


C. Joel 2: 28 (NKJV) “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions.”


D. 2 Peter 1: 19-21(KJV) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

6. SPECIAL THINGS TO PRAY ABOUT THIS MONTH

A. Remembering Those Who Served Christ and His Church in the Carolinas and Recently Fell Asleep in Jesus:

Elder Louis Canosa once served as the Superintendent of Education and as our Estate Planning and Trust Service Director for the Carolina Conference. He passed away on November 6, 2020 and his memorial service was held at the Mount Pisgah Seventh-day Adventist Church on December 19. Please remember his wife Irene, as well as his children and grandchildren while they bear the loss of this faithful servant of Christ.





Pattie Morris served the Carolina Conference as one of our leading Literature Evangelists. Sadly, she suffered a stroke last week and fell asleep in Jesus on Sabbath, January 16. Please uplift her husband Jabe, who partnered with her in her passionate ministry that led people to desire a deeper study of God’s word and resulted in the baptisms of special hearts for Heaven. She will also be greatly missed by her church family at the Little Creek Seventh-day Adventist Fellowship in Clayton, NC.




Elder Fred Rimer served the Gulf States Conference as Executive Secretary till he came to the Carolina Conference in 2006 as the Pastor of the Pickens and Anderson Churches in South Carolina. He and his wife Joyce retired about 11 years ago near Westminister, SC. Fred has struggled for a number of years with a variety of challenges related to diabetes. On Sunday, January 17, he fell asleep in Christ and awaits the wake-up call of his Savior. Join me in uplifting Joyce and their family in our prayers during this time of sadness and loss.



B. Remember Our Global Church Family as we Grapple with the COVID-19 Crisis Impacting our General Conference Session:


For the second time in 10 months, members of the General Conference Executive Committee voted to postpone the quinquennial session of the denomination, originally scheduled for late June of 2020, due to challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The persistence of the deadly global COVID-19 pandemic and its enduring impacts on public health, travel, and the availability of international visas persuaded the international body to postpone the session until June 6-11, 2022, also in Indianapolis. The new plan voted by church leaders and laypersons now postpones the date for the denomination’s quinquennial business session for nearly two years from its originally scheduled dates, as allowed by the Adventist Church’s constitution.


Following the presentations and discussion, the recommendation to move the dates of the General Conference to June 2022 was put to a vote by electronic polling. The motion passed with a vote of 185 to 9. Following the vote, Dr. Peter Landless, the Chief Medical Counsel for the General Conference, concluded the discussion with this serious observation: “We have been brought to this point, not because it is something we would like to do, but something we have to do.”


Pray for the entire leadership of our church as they grapple with these major challenges that are impacting the organization and operation of God’s remnant church.



C. Praying for Our Ministerial Meetings & Evangelism Impact

Please uplift our Ministerial Council [Elder Haskell Williams, Elder Gen Altermatt, and Elder Samuel Romero] as they work out the details of the schedule for our Ministers “Zoom Retreat” with guest presenter, Ben Lundquist. Because of restrictions on gatherings, the dates will be a little shorter than we had originally planned.


The original intention was to have the retreat at Myrtle Beach immediately preceding (and leading into) Evangelism Impact. Due to the gravity of the present COVID-19 challenges that we are facing at the moment, both meetings will now be virtual.

Pray for these plans and for our pastors during this the Virtual Ministers Retreat that will take place on:

Tuesday, January 26 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Wednesday, Jan. 27 9:00 am – 4:30 pm




Our Evangelism Impact will not take place at Myrtle Beach as it has been for the past few years. Rather it will be held virtually beginning on Friday, Jan. 29 at 7:00 pm and continue through Sabbath, Jan. 30. Our churches are encouraged to join the Worship hour message at 11:30 am for the sermon.


These are important meetings that will impact the ministry of The Carolinas as we step forward in faith to fulfill the sacred mission that Christ has committed to His church of the Carolinas to seek and save every heart for Heaven by the power of the Holy Spirit.


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