President Shares Vision for Growth in Ohio
s we continue into 2018, I want to share with you some dreams we have for church growth in the Ohio Conference. Three-and-a-half years ago, our conference faced serious financial challenges. I reached out to you through a letter about Vision Ohio, an initiative for growing healthy churches and continuing the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church by training and mentoring our members in personal ministries and evangelism. Your response was overwhelming, and we pushed through that difficult time without having to cut pastors. Ministry in our conference remained unaffected. I’m glad to say that today we are no longer in that situation. As I have visited our churches, however, I have observed some needs that I would like to address. Many of you are in districts with multiple churches, and your pastor’s time is split between them. Others are in large churches with several pastors. From my experience, I have found that no matter the size of the church, pastors often do not have adequate time to train members for outreach. People continue to give to Vision Ohio, although we have not made additional appeals. I would like to allocate these funds for teaching our laypeople not merely “how to give a Bible study,” but how to comfortably do so, how to guide new believers through
Ron Halvorsen Jr., Ohio Conference president, shares with constituents the details of the Vision Ohio initiative.
the decision-making process, and, ultimately, how to assist them through preparation for baptism. I’d like to hire ministers with successful public evangelism experience. It is very difficult to conduct a four- or five-week series of meetings these days. However, if our members are actively involved in giving in-depth Bible studies, we could conduct a Week of Prayer with an appeal for baptism or a short-term evangelistic meeting. Please do not stop giving to your local church. Your tithe and local church offerings are the two highest priorities, as well as the financial lifeblood of the work here in Ohio. Perhaps you contribute to evangelism or mission work outside the conference. I would ask that you earmark those funds for Vision Ohio, and we will really see our mission move forward in a truly powerful way. If you would like to be a part of this outreach, please contribute to the Vision Ohio initiative. This could boost our local church growth. After all, that is our commission, and we are serious about it. Please pray with me for Vision Ohio, and give as you are able.—Ron Halvorsen Jr., President
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Columbia Union Visitor--March 2018