November 2020 Carolina's 10,000 P5
1. PRAISING GOD AND PRAYING DURING DIFFICULT DECISIONS
A. Changing Plans for Our 43rd Constituency Session
On October 12, the Executive Committee of the Carolina Conference met by Zoom for a specially called meeting to consider and act upon the implications which Covid19 restrictions will have on our Constituency Session scheduled for August 2021. This important event directly effects the Carolina Conference for the next five-years, as it relates specifically to the election of its leadership (officers, directors & associates) and the selection of members for the Executive Committee for the next quinquennium.
At the end of September, my fellow officers and I visited our camp, Nosoca Pines Ranch (NPR), where we hold our sessions. We came to the realization that unless there was a major shift in the restrictions on large gatherings, it would be impossible to house the 400+ delegates or facilitate a full-scale session at NPR. Consideration was then given to hosting a virtual meeting, but we soon understood the size of the group creates unfeasible challenges. Next, we contemplated scaling the entire event into a one day-business session, as is done in numerous conferences, but discovered an entirely different set of obstacles. Besides, a one-event cannot add the wonderful spiritual emphasis (unparalleled in most other conference sessions) for which we, as officers, have been tremendously grateful.
After grappling with these issues, two possible options were considered – since the Executive Committee represents the voice of the constituents of the Carolina Conference between each quinquennial session. Here were those choices:
OPTION A - Hold the Constituency Session at Lifeway Ridgecrest Conference Center (Near Black Mountain, NC) as scheduled on August 19-22, 2021.
Points considered regarding this option included:
▪ Cost to utilize this facility would have been approximately $140,000.00.
▪ Funds used for this purpose would need to be re-directed from the capital improvement plans to NPR in preparation for the quinquennial session.
OPTION B - Defer the Constituency Session for one year to August 18-21, 2022 to be held at Nosoca Pines Ranch.
Points considered regarding this option included:
▪ This will extend the voted term of all elected officers, departmental directors, associate departmental directors and executive committee members for one more year.
▪ Two other conferences in the Southern Union (Florida and Southeastern Conferences) have chosen this option.
▪ The next quinquennial session would follow the normal five-year cycle, to be held in 2027 rather than 2026.
In that meeting, the Executive Committee voted to adopt Option B and postpone the 43rd Constituency Session by one year and host it at Nosoca Pines Ranch during the weekend of August 18-21, 2022.
More-often-than-not, life brings circumstances we did not plan or hope for, as we have experienced over the past several months with Covid19. How do we handle such moments when God directs us in changing our plans? Even when we cannot understand His plans, we can always trust His perfect love for us. When we surrender our own expectations, we are free to realign ourselves with God. There is something about saying, “Your will be done,” that helps us get to the place of yielding our lives to God’s design. Let us keep praying for our conference’s entire leadership team and for the constituent members of God’s church as we cherish the beautiful assurance of this promise – especially in times like these:
“The LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him.” Psalm 32:10
B. Changing Plans for Our 2021 Camp Meeting at Lake Junaluska
On October 27, the Executive Committee considered a difficult decision to again change our plans from meeting at Lake Junaluska for our 2021 annual Camp Meeting and to transition this to a virtual event.
Our rationale for this action was based on several factors as mentioned below:
The COVID-19 Pandemic is still a significant health crisis and is continuing to escalate with more positive tests, hospitalizations, and tragic death tolls.
Lake Junaluska has currently limited the use of Stuart Auditorium to no more than 100 attendants in compliance with the North Carolina Governor’s executive order for public gatherings.
Although we are hopeful for the development of a vaccine to stem the tide of this dangerous virus, clarity regarding such vaccine issues probably will not be known for at least a few months, making it too late by that time, if necessary to cancel camp meeting.
It would seem quite inconsistent for us to plan on moving forward with a large gathering at camp meeting especially when we have already decided to postpose the 43rd Constituency Session for the Carolina Conference to the summer of 2022.
or us to facilitate the planning and implementation of a virtual camp meeting event, we need to contact our major speakers and presenters right away. To plan such an event, a special Camp Meeting Sub-Committee has been established to meet on November 23. Please pray for this committee as we implement making these changes in our plans.
I share in the disappointment of missing another opportunity for our Carolina family to get together at one of the most beautiful events and loveliest of locations in the Carolinas. While some may give in to cynicism and think there is nothing we can do, let us not forget the power of prayer.
Prayer is the exact prescription the Bible gives us to cure our anxieties and quiet our hearts with HIS peace. In times like these, I cling to one of my all-time favorite promises from God’s Word:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (ESV)
I am confident that our gracious God will carry us through this crisis. We will have camp meeting again – hopefully as scheduled on May 29 - June 4, 2022 at Lake Junaluska, but most assuredly soon and very soon by the Crystal Sea!
2. PRAY FOR SOUTHERN ADVENTIST UNIVERSITY
Southern Adventist University is a co-educational institution established and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Southern Union Conference, offering doctoral, master’s, baccalaureate, associate degrees, and one-year certificates.
Many of God’s leaders around the world, in North America, throughout the Southern United States and right here in our home states of North and South Carolina have been educated and prepared for a life of service to Christ as a result of the sacred ministry of this campus.
Their mission is grounded in Jesus Christ and dedicated to the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This school of higher learning exists to equip students to embrace biblical truth, embody academic and professional excellence, and pursue Spirit-filled lives of service.
Many of us not only dedicated our lives in service for Christ and His church, many of us also found the love of our hearts and companions for life on this campus nettled in the beautiful mountains and valleys of Tennessee. I am certainly one of those witnesses to that blessing!
Southern Adventist University in the process of searching for a new President. At our Board of Trustees meeting in September, Dr. David Smith announced that he will retire in May 2021 at the conclusion of his fifth year as president of Southern Adventist University.
Dr. Smith took office as the 26th president of Southern Adventist University on June 1, 2016. Prior to that, he worked as professor and chair in SAU’s English Department from 1981 to 1998 before leaving to become president of Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Smith served there for 13 years and then returned to Tennessee in 2011 as senior pastor for the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.
“David’s passion for students and for spreading the love of Christ has inspired me,” said Tom Verrill, senior vice president for financial administration. “His presidency accomplished significant objectives that prepare us well for a strong and successful future.”
I will miss his warm smile, his kind and gentle spirit of humility, and his God-given wisdom and professional demeanor that has guided SAU through some challenging times. In a recent conversation with him, I asked Dr. Smith if there was anything we as a Carolina family could uplift in our prayers for our university besides God’s direction and blessing in our search to confirm a new president for our campus.
He mentioned that they were having a series of prayer revival meetings led by Pastor Myron Edwards. He sensed the powerful leading of the Holy Spirit on the hearts of our students there. It appears that many have chosen to take the step of full surrender to Christ through baptism as a result of what he has witnessed taking place through the outpouring of God’s spirit there.
In summary, let us join in a special commitment this month to uplift two specific areas for our university at Southern in earnest prayer:
A. The search process to find and confirm a Godly and gifted president.
B. A powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the heart of every student impacted through the recent prayer revival meetings being held on our campus.
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:
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)
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)
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)
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)
For Doctrinal Faithfulness — "By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you." (2 Timothy 1:14)
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)
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. Jimmy Shwe ............................................................................................................................................Pastor
New Bern Karen SDA Mission Group
Greensboro Karen SDA Mission Group
Columbia Karen SDA Mission Group
Chapel Hill Karen SDA Church
2. Silvertone Stare ....................................................................................................................................Pastor
Woodruff SDA Church
Union SDA Church
3. Ric Swaningson .....................................................................................................................................Pastor
Wilson SDA Church
4. Alvaro Torres, Jr. .....................................................................................................................................Pastor
Durham Spanish SDA Church
Sanford Spanish SDA Church
Henderson Spanish SDA Company
Carrboro Spanish Pueblo Del Dios Viviente Company
5. Peter Trzinski .............................................................................................................................................Pastor
Roanoke Rapids-Roanoke Valley SDA Church
Wake Forest SDA Church
Rocky Mount SDA Church
6. William Underwood ............................................................................................................................Pastor
& Overseeing Pastor*
Summerville Community SDA Church
Orangeburg SDA Church
Irmo Fellowship SDA Company*
7. Steve Vail ........................................................................................Carolina Conference Evangelist
Carolina Conference 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
5. Church Ministries
6. Children & Young Adults
Over the past few months, we have focused the departmental functions of Administration and Outreach. We continue with this issue to focus on another vital outreach departmental ministry – that of our Adult Sabbath School Ministries.
During this month of November,
I invite you to prayerfully uplift our
Hispanic Ministries Department
under the leadership of Elder Samuel Romero and his secretary, Mary Romero
The goal of our Hispanic Ministries department is to reach each and every member of the Hispanic population in our conference for Christ. This department also seeks to train and equip each member to share the Gospel with their friends, neighbors, and loved ones.
God has tremendously blessed this special work during the past 20 years by increasing our Hispanic church family from a mere fledging group of believers to over 6,000 members representing 1/4th or 25% of the membership of God’s church in the Carolinas. ¡Alabamos a Dios por esta maravillosa bendición! (We praise God for this amazing blessing!)
5. SATURATED WITH THE WORD – Fundamental Belief # 16 – The Lord’s Supper
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 # 16: The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Savior. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christ like humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians.
A. Matthew 26: 26-28 (KJV) — “Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
B. John 6:51 (KJV) — “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
C. I Corinthians 10:24-26 (KJV) — “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broke for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.”
D. Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) — “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come into him, and will dine with him, and he with me.”
6. REMEMBER AND KEEPING IN FOCUS OUR 2020 VISION
VISION I: ESTABLISH NEW CHURCH PLANTS & GROW EXISTING ONES
Praising 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].
As of the end of September 2020, we have a total of 36 Groups 31 Companies and 136 Churches in the Carolina Conference.
In our prayerful quest toward our goal of 20 new church plant in South Carolina, we have successfully established 9. In North Carolina we have established 18 out of our ambitious goal of 40. Of the 90 progressions or steps that we began to pray for in 2016, we have reached 27. Obviously the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has had a significant impact on this path of our progression in church growth, but the enemy of Christ will definitely not triumph. We have the promise of His word in Philippians 1:6 that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to our Church Planting Committee under the chairmanship of Elder Gary Moyer and especially to Elder Brad Cauley who has served as our Director of Church Planting and Church Revitalization for the past 8 years. Brad has accepted the call of God to serve as the new Executive Secretary for the Northern New England Conference. Although our hearts are saddened to see him leave our conference family, we wish him and Nellie along with their children Alexandra and Bradford God’s special blessings as he continues to use his Heaven-ordained gifts to serve the Lord in a new venue of leadership for His church. Brad just completed his doctoral program at Andrews University, primarily focusing on the theme of his published book entitled Steps to a Vibrant Church. This book is being marketed through AdventSource and has been an amazing blessing to pastors, lay leaders, and churches in both the Carolinas and across the entire North American Division.
In 1909 Ellen White received a vision in the night with what she referred to as an impressive scene. In that vision, one with authority pointed her to a map picturing God’s vineyard that needed to be cultivated and nurtured. This vision is referenced in Volume 9 of the Testimonies to the Church on pages 28-29 where she states:
“As light from heaven shone upon anyone, that one was to reflect the light to others. Lights were to be kindled in many places, and from these lights still other lights were to be kindled....I saw jets of light shining from cities and villages, and from the high places and the low places of the earth. God's word was obeyed, and as a result there were memorials for Him in every city and village. His truth was proclaimed throughout the world.”
Therefore, we continue pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus
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: