The new year comes with fresh determination, new dreams, new resolutions, a renewed spirit, and a renewed focus on our mission. In contrast, God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Yet, every day, God is in the process of doing new things in the lives of His children. Jeremiah understood this when he wrote Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (NIV). The year 2022 finds us still dealing with COVID-19, but God’s faithfulness and love continually sustain us. Every day that we wake up and realize we are still alive and breathing, we too, can join Jeremiah in saying, “Great is thy faithfulness.”
The Israelites were still in the midst of the Babylonian captivity when God spoke to them through Isaiah, the prophet, saying, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”—Isaiah 43:19, NIV. Even though they were still in the throes of brutal captivity, God revealed that He was doing something fresh and new in their lives.
We are beginning this year with this same bright optimism and a renewed determination to reach the people in our territory with the Christ-centered message of hope and wholeness.
The Atlantic Union Conference has had an extraordinary history of sending missionaries all over the world in the past 120 years. This is a rich and powerful legacy that will continue. But we realize that the mission field is also at home—in our own communities and neighborhoods. While the Atlantic Union territory is the cradle of Adventism—the place where it all began—it also includes eight of the 10 most secular and post-Christian cities in the United States. It has become a “melting pot” of ethnic groups from countries around the world and evolved into a microcosm of the global landscape. Right here in our territory, millions need to hear the good news of the gospel.
Even though the work is enormous, the mission is clear. Our task is to reach the whole world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, including our communities here in the Atlantic Union. We will utilize all the evangelistic tools at our disposal. For example, through digital media evangelism, we can reach people who might not come to our churches through traditional evangelism. Our activities will also include prayer evangelism, establishing more centers of influence, and medical missions. Our God and our gospel are the same, but our methods to reach the people must adjust with the times. We will also continue to use the beloved tried-and-true methods where they still work.
We invite and encourage every church member in the Atlantic Union Conference to be involved in some form of evangelism this year. The methods may be different, but the mission is still the same. Ask God to reveal to you how you can be involved in reaching someone this year with the gospel. As you share your faith and accomplish your mission, you will experience the great joy that comes with winning souls for Jesus. Yes, the new year comes with fresh determination. We will face new challenges, but with the continual presence of God in our lives, we will accomplish our mission and experience joy never experienced before. As your new president, I pray that the year 2022 will bring joy, peace, and happiness to you and your family.