Wilson Makes Pastoral Visits
to Netherlands, Poland
Stresses church unity, outreach with gospel message (Posted March 14, 2013)
BY MARK A. KELLNER
, News Editor
n the first two legs of a trip across the Trans-European Division, Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, told believers to be encouraged in their mission to spread the gospel message.
“One of the greatest challenges we face is to accept that we are a unique group of people, with a special calling,” Wilson said at a meeting at the Warsaw Central Seventh-day Adventist Church on March 10. “We should not be strange people, but we should positively, and with smiles on our faces, spread the good news about God’s grace and Jesus’ second coming.”
On March 11, Wilson and his team visited the Polish Union School and Theological Seminary at Podkowa Lesna. There pastors and other Church workers had gathered for a three-hour worship time and questions and answers session, followed by a fellowship lunch. Wilson said, “I am your brother; we are fellow-citizens on our way to heaven. We are no different from any other, as pastors and lay-members we are all in need of Jesus. God is calling on you to keep the mission and the vision that Jesus is coming soon alive. As leaders, we must spend time with God in His Word and in earnest prayer.”
WARSAW CONGREGATION: On Sunday, March 9, 2013, church members gathered in the Warsaw Central Seventh-day Adventist Church to worship and hear a message from Pastor Ted N.C. Wilson, General Conference President. [PHOTO: TedNews]
Wilson said he is visiting Poland, “to give encouragement to Church members and to be of assistance when meeting with Government officials where we can build relations and inform them about the work of the Church. It is also for my own benefit,” he added. “As I get to learn about the country and the work of the Church in Poland, I am encouraged to see the work moving forward.”
Mariusz Maikowski, a district pastor from Lublin, Poland, said: “This was a very good meeting and Ted Wilson’s message was inspiring and balanced. This visit is very important for the Church and the Church workers in Poland and it is encouraging to know that we are part of a large Church family.”
"We do not come to church for people, yet it is encouraging to see and hear leaders like Elder Wilson and his wife Nancy drawing the attention of their fellow believers to the unsurpassed example of our Saviour. It is a humbling experience to be reminded of the extent and magnitude of God's power available to everyone. I only need to admit that I need it...," said Piotr Lazar, Editor at the Polish Union Media Centre.
In the afternoon, the leaders met with the Seminary’s administrators, as well as the union leadership and conference presidents.
The last visit of the day was to the Spring of Life Foundation, a supportive ministry that operates publishing and printing facilities as well as the New Start Health Program. The Foundation has printed 50,000 copies of the book Great Controversy for the Polish Union Conference and published Wilson’s book, Almost Home
, in Polish.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church with its 5,800 members is a small minority faith in Poland, where 91 per cent of the population of 38 million claim affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.
Earlier, Wilson visited the Netherlands, and, along with Dutch Union president Wim Altink, noted the challenges of evangelizing in a postmodern society.
IN THE NETHERLANDS: General Conference president Pastor Ted N. C. Wilson, left, preaches at Ijsselhallen conference center in Zwolle, Overijssel, Netherlands, on Saturday, March 9. At right is Wim Altink, president of the Adventist Church’s Netherlands Union, who interpreted for Wilson in Dutch. The Adventist Church in the Netherlands has about 5,600 members and a strong church-planting program. [PHOTO: Henk Koning]
“Although you may feel isolated and surrounded by and living in a postmodern and secular society, you are a part of the Seventh-day Adventist world family,” Wilson told some 3,000 congregants at the Ijsselhallen conference center in Zwolle on Sabbath, March 9.
During his first trip to the European country as the church’s president, Wilson also urged church members to seek “revival and reformation.”
“Revival and reformation is most important for our lives, but revival comes only through prayer. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is God’s remnant church with a unique message for unique times.”
In the Netherlands, evangelism requires a unique, tailored approach, one that can take years to make inroads into communities.
“We can’t just preach,” Altink told Adventist News Network. “We need communities that practice the work of God long before we can preach it.”
That’s why leaders look to Adventist congregations such as the one in the city of Delft, which was born out of several Antillean Adventist social workers serving the community, including a focused ministry to teenage mothers. The group formed the Alivio foundation – which caught the attention and endorsement of civil authorities – and a church later grew out of the effort. Leaders consider the congregation a model for church planting by serving the community first.
There are 5,600 Seventh-day Adventist Church members in the Netherlands, with a growth rate of about 4 percent each year. There are 60 churches; seven of these are new within the past eight years. There are a dozen congregations in the pipeline.
-- with reporting from Jóhann E. Jóhannsson and Ansel Oliver/ANN