September 2023 Carolina's 10,000 P5
Embracing Carolina with the Compassionate Call of Christ
The 10,000 President’s Prayer Partners is a fast-growing group of Carolina Conference constituents who take matters such as these to their knees. We invite you to join us and make this monthly list a matter of prayer. Together we seek the Lord for His answers and provisions to every need we bring before Him.
As of the end of July 2023, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Carolina Conference has a membership of 25,828 believers. These members have either been baptized or have joined the church through a profession of faith or a transfer of membership. They are part of 178 churches and companies that span over 500 miles from east to west and over 300 miles from north to south across North and South Carolina.
We praise God for the faithful labors of our pastors and lay leaders, who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, contributed to an unprecedented kingdom growth of over 1,000 lives reached for Christ in 2022. According to the conference clerk’s report for July, we have 14 more baptisms than at this time last year. This continues to be a passionate goal for us each year: to exceed 1,000 as we continue to pray for revival and the outpouring of the Latter Rain across the Carolinas.
I recently read a wonderful article in the latest issue of Ministry magazine by Dr. Eric Freking, a pastor and evangelist for the Indiana Conference, entitled “Atomic Habits: Five Changes to Revive Your Church.” In the article, he encourages us not to feel overwhelmed by the task before us but to focus on small, consistent changes that build momentum in our mission. Here are his suggestions:
1. Set aside 15 minutes a week for earnest prayer with your church family to unite the church.
2. Spend an hour each month (or even each quarter) on Sabbath outreach. He suggests four options:
• Visit a shut-in member
• Place door hangers inviting people to online Bible studies
• Follow up on leads from Bible studies or other interests
• Serve the community by feeding the homeless or visiting people in a nearby hospital or nursing home.
3. Treat Sabbath School Classes as small groups. Unfortunately, 90% of our English-speaking churches don’t do this, while 90% of our Hispanic churches do, contributing to their impressive growth rates. Small groups encourage Bible study, discussion, and participation.
4. Preach well-organized, biblically founded sermons that are delivered with interest, sincerity, and clarity. Given that many of our pastors serve multiple churches, training in this area is crucial.
5. Focus on both the local and worldwide missions of the church. Undertake at least one simple project as a church to clearly convey your specific focus, purpose, and mission.
Would you make this a matter of earnest prayer for your church? As Pastor Eric Freking aptly summarizes: “Systematic and continual small actions lead to continual growth.”
Focus on Discipleship
In this P5 issue, we continue our focus on discipleship. We have dedicated the year 2023 to learning more about how we can walk closer to Christ through the counsel of Scripture, highlighted in practical ways in the Discipleship Handbook of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In addition to hundreds of our churches participating in small group studies of this book this year, we are also dedicating time at each Executive Committee meeting to highlight themes from each section of the book.
Every Monday morning, the staff of the conference office spends 15-20 minutes focusing on the subject of a chapter each week. In just the past few months, we’ve had the opportunity to consider various topics in our walk with Christ, including:
• Distinctive characteristics of Christian behavior
• What the Bible teaches us about how to faithfully keep the Sabbath
• The importance of reverence
• Financial stewardship
• A focus on health and caring for our bodies
• Christian modesty
• Entertainment and family relationships
During the month of September, our office staff will focus on evangelism as a process that involves multiple steps requiring careful planning and dedicated efforts. Without careful attention to each of these biblical principles and steps, we risk experiencing disappointment and discouragement in the church.
We invite you to join us in praying for the indwelling “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit to guide us in our continued study of faithful discipleship, as this is the true fulfillment of Christ’s gospel commission to His church.
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
Protection from Our Sinful Heart
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.
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.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
2 Timothy 1:14
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
A Strong Marriage & Family
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
Beginning with our April 2019 issue of P5, we started highlighting a department of the conference each month. Our aim is not to provide a comprehensive report of all their accomplishments, but to uplift our leaders and their faithful service in their respective ministries through our prayers.
In September 2021, we began the second full cycle of remembering all the ministry departments of the Carolina Conference.
Starting with this issue of our President’s Prayer Partners (P5), we are shifting our focus from Outreach ministries to Church Ministries.
The Church Ministries branch of the Carolina Conference encompasses the following departmental subdivisions of service:
• Family Ministries
• Prayer Ministries
• Hispanic Ministries
• Singles’ Ministries
• Men’s Ministries
• Women’s Ministries
• Planned Giving/Trust Services
• Health Ministries
In this September issue, we ask you to uplift our Hispanic Ministries Department in prayer. This department operates under the dedicated leadership of our director, Pastor Ricardo Palacios, and the secretary serving this department, Lorraine Gonzalez.
The goal of the Hispanic Ministries Department is to reach each and every member of the Hispanic population in our conference for Christ. They also aim to train and equip each member to share the Gospel with their friends, neighbors, and loved ones. God has tremendously blessed this work over the past 20 years. From their early beginnings as a fledgling group in the Carolinas, they have grown into a phenomenal family of believers that now represents 25% of the entire membership of our conference!
As a President’s Prayer Partner, we invite
you once again to be truly a people of the
Word. As Seventh-day Adventists, we adhere to
28 Fundamental Beliefs that are based solely on
the Bible. We began our third cycle of focusing on
these vital beliefs, which are centered in Christ as
both our Savior and Lord, in December of 2021.
Let’s continue to thoughtfully place His Word
in our hearts every day this month. I personally
carry a set of these passages in my car and recite
them aloud as I drive from one place to another.
My aim is to say one verse prayerfully at least
five times a day for a week, thus internalizing the
promise of God’s Word: “Thy word have I hid in
mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
I encourage you to repeat these passages until
they become a part of your very being. Of course,
you’re always free to do more. Please consider, in
a prayerful manner, how you can saturate your
soul with His Word and make it a part of your
heart every day.
Remember that wonderful promise? “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)
It feels like just weeks ago that we were concerned about staffing needs for the effective ministry of our 20 church schools in North and South Carolina. These schools serve as vibrant evangelistic outreaches to the children and youth of our churches and communities.
Our Executive Education Committee met numerous times to pray and interview a variety of prospective candidates. As we narrowed down our timeline to finalize teaching personnel for several of our schools, there were moments when we had no prospects in sight. It was during those times that prayer served as our direct link to the One who has promised to supply all our needs.
We are incredibly blessed in the Carolinas to have a superb educational leadership team. Rick Anderson serves as our Superintendent of Education, Cara Simonds as our Associate Superintendent of Education, and Courtnie Hodgins as our Secretary for the Office of Education.
By God’s grace and provision, we have been blessed with 12 new members on our teaching team, just in time for the school year to begin! God is so good and always so faithful.
Join me in praising God and praying for each of them by name, as well as for the schools where they will be serving as Christ’s ambassadors to His children and youth.
Here are the newest members of our Carolina Church School’s education team for the 2023-2024 school year:
Be part of God’s praying church across North America by uplifting these leaders of our church who guide God’s work in these territories of God’s vineyard: