Adventist Lay Members
Pledge $1.8 for Mission
ASI convention draws nearly 2,000 for Sabbath worship
BY CONNA BOND, ASI communication director
Personal spiritual growth and youth-led evangelism were prominent themes at this year’s ASI International Convention, held August 4-7 in Orlando, Florida. At the August 7 Sabbath morning worship, nearly 2,000 attendees gave or pledged a total of $1.8 million for mission projects, approximately 150 percent of the preconvention funding goal.
A diverse mix of church and lay leaders addressed the three-day event, including James Rafferty, Tim Riesenberger, Kevin Sears, Jeffrey Rosario, Tony Moore, Mark Finley and Adventist Review editor/executive publisher Bill Knott. David Asscherick, director of ARISE Institute, began the convention with a keynote address on the deeper meaning behind Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.
A high point of the event was Mark Finley’s Sabbath morning sermon. Departing from his originally intended topic, he examined the parable of the ten virgins as it relates to personal readiness for Christ’s Second Coming. Setting the tone for his message, he prayed, “We’ve talked about outreach. We’ve talked about soul winning. We’ve talked about evangelism. We’ve talked about the finishing of your work in the world. But Lord, there’s a work to be done in the church, a work to be done in our hearts, a work to be done deep within us.”
LAY MINISTRY: New North American Division president Dan Jackson shares his perspective on the value of lay ministry efforts while his wife, Donna, and Nancy Wilson, wife of General Conference president Pastor Ted Wilson, look on (James Bokovoy/ASI)
Each session included testimonies and interviews by ASI members who are working on the frontlines of lay evangelism in a variety of spheres and using a broad range of methods. Many of those methods were discussed in five seminar tracks on evangelism, health and spiritual growth, as well as on the basics of business leadership and ministry fundraising.
Neil Nedley presented a popular seminar on improving memory and intelligence, and Wes Youngberg and Karen Houghton shared information about the relationship between healthful living and genetic restructuring. Dr. Viriato Ferreira, a physician from Portugal, came the farthest distance to speak about reaching people in well-developed nations with secular mindsets.
“People may be irreligious,” Ferreira said, “but I’ve yet to meet someone who is not spiritual. Every person has a built-in receptor to the Holy Spirit.”
On Friday evening Jeffrey Rosario strongly challenged the church to expect significant contributions from youth, as well as to recognize their capabilities and responsibilities at earlier ages than is typical in today’s society. His message was given wings by prior testimonies from teenagers who participated in this summer’s ASI Youth For Jesus program, the month-long evangelistic effort by young people ages 15 and up that sets the stage for each ASI convention.
Prior to the convention ASI leadership set a special projects offering goal of about $1.2 million to support 39 projects around the world. The offering collected at the ASI Convention far exceeded the goal, with approximately $1.8 million given or pledged over the coming year.
Other highlights included special addresses by Dan Jackson, the new North American Division president, and Nancy Wilson, wife of new General Conference president Ted Wilson. Pastor Wilson also spoke to the ASI crowd via video address, revealing personal ties with ASI that go back to its formation in 1947.