As a church, our primary emphasis is mission! It is this mission that has inspired the Atlantic Union Conference theme for the next two years, “I Will Go to Multiply.”
This theme is reflective of the mission God has given to us to take the everlasting gospel to the world. Before Jesus left the earth to return to His Father in heaven, He called His disciples together and gave them what has been called the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, 20, NKJV, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
The Atlantic Union has taken this mandate seriously throughout its history. During the next two years, we are investing a substantial portion of our operating budget to assist conferences within our territory to further embrace and fulfill this mission. We are envisioning a multiplicity of evangelistic outreach activities and the establishment of new churches.
In the strategic plan for the Atlantic Union, the first priority is evangelism. During this pandemic, the union continues to experience success through the evangelistic efforts of our six conferences. In 2019, before COVID-19 struck, the union added 3,369 persons to its membership. Last year, 2020, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the churches within our union territory were either opened with significant restrictions or closed. In spite of these challenges, God used our dedicated members to lead 1,984 persons to be added to our churches.
Going forward into 2021 and 2022, with the reduction of COVID-19 cases, and the gradual reopening of our churches, we anticipate that greater efforts will be made to evangelize our communities. Let us use every means in our “toolboxes” to lead people who are languishing in sin to God. Ellen White said: “Ministers of God, with hearts aglow with love for Christ and your fellow-men, seek to arouse those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Let your earnest entreaties and warnings pierce their consciences. Let your fervent prayers melt their hearts, and lead them in penitence to the Saviour. You are ambassadors for Christ, to proclaim His message of salvation”—Gospel Workers, p.35.
The urgency of sharing this gospel of the kingdom is more relevant today than ever before. The signs of the times are telling us that the second coming of our Lord is imminent. Let us get close to the people, show compassion for them, address their needs, and win their confidence. Share the love of Jesus with them and invite them to come and follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Many broken and hurting people in our communities are seeking answers to these crises that have come upon this earth. We must reach out to them and let them know that there is hope for a better world. Invite them to accept Jesus Christ, who alone can deliver us from this sinful world.
May God help us, ministers and lay members alike, to accept the mandate God has given to His church. There are more territories to be won for the Lord. Let’s go and make disciples for His kingdom.