Church Celebrates More Than 240,000 Baptisms Worldwide Since 2015 Through Full Member Participation

Total Member Involvement (TMI) is at the heart of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s strategy and the cornerstone of this quinquennium’s “I Will Go” theme. The TMI report presented on Friday around 8:30 p.m. during the 61st The General Conference (GC) session highlighted the incredible work of missionaries, leaders and lay people to bring people to Jesus over the past seven years and showed how effective the TMI strategy has been for the church world.

OVERVIEW: 240,000 BAPTISM SINCE 2015

Presented by Duane McKey, assistant to the GC president for TMI and president of Adventist World Radio (AWR), Ramon J Canals, director of GC Sabbath School and Personal Ministries, and Cami Oetman, vice president for advancement at AWR, the This year’s TMI video presentation recapped the milestones from 2015 to present and highlighted how the total number of baptisms has reached over 240,000 in just seven years.

“We know that unions, divisions, conferences and missions have all done their own TMI projects,” began Duane McKey. “Since 2015…probably the biggest health event we have ever had in Harare, Zimbabwe. Brother Wilson preached a series…this vacant mall, we rented it all out. 30,000 people were treated there in one week.

From there, the TMI initiative was catalyzed at the 2015 GC Session in San Antonio, where leaders held evangelistic meetings, baptized people, and planted six churches. Other significant outreach events took place in Rwanda in 2016, Romania in 2017, Japan and Zambia in 2018, India in 2019, Papua New Guinea in 2020 and the Philippines in 2021.

Ramon Canals, Secretary, Ministerial Association, General Conference (GC), welcoming the congregation during Sabbath School on Saturday, June 11, 2022. [Tor Tjeransen/ Adventist Media Exchange (CC BY 4.0)]

GROWING BAPTISM RATES, INCREASED AWARENESS—RWANDA CASE STUDY

In his presentation on the effectiveness of TMI, Raymon Canals recapped one of the first TMI campaigns in Rwanda in 2016, which inspired “successful models in the Central and East Africa division, Eastern Europe, Japan and in many other countries”.

Organized by the East-Central Africa Division and the Rwanda Union Mission, the project was led by GC President Elder Ted Wilson and his assistant for TMI Duane McKey, and involved lay evangelists from Africa, Europe and America. It resulted in the baptism of over 100,000 people.

“Through the essence of TMI, every member of the church was involved, resulting in the greatest kingdom growth ever from a single evangelistic push in the Seventh-day Adventist Church” , said Canals. As a result, almost everyone in Rwanda knew about the Adventist Church.

Focusing on the benefits of TMI, Canals highlighted the “dynamic power” of TMI in mobilizing and growing the Adventist Church around the world.

“We have more people involved in spreading the gospel than ever before,” he began. “Wherever TMI has been implemented, churches are experiencing a dramatic increase in baptisms,” Canals said. “There has been a greater awareness of the community and its needs… We are seeing an increase in the retention of new members. He adds, “there is more clarity of vision and unity of purpose.”

In Rwanda specifically, Canals highlighted a division-wide growth rate of 22% and an increase in member retention rate to 80%.

“The reason is that each new member is assigned a spiritual guardian,” he explained. “Newly baptized members join a six-month discipleship class. Everyone gets involved in a small group or choir, and every member gets involved by giving Bible studies and bringing someone to Jesus…the best way to build the faith of new believers is to get them involved.

WORLD GROWTH SUMMARY

Viewers enjoyed engaging video footage of each year’s evangelistic highlight, showcasing the diverse and multicultural nature of the Adventist Church and its members.

After Zimbabwe and San Antonio in 2015, and Rwanda in 2016, leaders, missionaries and lay people traveled to Romania in 2017 where they preached the TMI “Earth’s Final Countdown” series of sermons. Using cell phones to send Sabbath School lessons to isolated farms, this outreach gave rise to Adventist World Radio’s cell phone evangelism initiative, which continues to grow.

After that, more than 1,000 meetings were held in Tokyo and Zambia in 2018, including events on health, evangelism and Bible studies, which resulted in the baptism of more than 18,000 people.

Then in India in 2019, hundreds of locals visited free medical clinics set up in Chennai and Calcutta and stayed for evangelistic meetings presented by Elder Wilson and other preachers. Then in 2020, health and evangelism events were held in Papua New Guinea, which made the South Pacific Division the only region in the world to see an increase in baptisms in 2020.

“People were so excited to do these huge TMI events…then COVID hit…but they weren’t discouraged, so they did these events on their own anyway,” McKey says. “We have stories and stories of entire Protestant churches and others removing their signs and putting up Seventh-day Adventist signs instead.”

124K BAPTIZED INCLUDING 700 ASSASSINS

After six years of growth and TMI, the movement reached a milestone in the last quarter of 2021 when 124,000 people were baptized in Mindoro, Philippines.

“Amazing,” McKey said. “In Mindoro itself, this war was going on…in the mountains, the rebels had killed 40,000 people in the last 50 years. He added, “The war is over because of TMI, because of health evangelism and gospel sharing.”

Through television and radio evangelism, two islands in the Philippines heard the TMI sermons preached by Elder Wilson and others, including 700 assassins who killed people in the war and who were also baptized. They are now building a church and inviting other members of their community to help them and get baptized.

This year, Mexico City is the target of TMI initiatives. “TMI continues by the grace of God,” McKey said.

THE HARVEST PATTERN OF EVANGELISM

A video presentation titled “Grow Your Church” by Associate Sabbath School and Personal Ministries Director Jim Howard explored the growth cycle of planting and harvesting to illustrate the church’s mission to do disciples. The steps described were: preparing, planting, cultivating, harvesting, storing.

“We praise God that members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church around the world are answering the call and engaging in every phase of discipleship,” Howard said. “They prepare the soil of the heart with friendship and service, they plant seeds of spiritual truth through conversation, invitations, literature and media, cultivating spiritual interest with personal and small group Bible studies. They reap the decisions to follow Christ and be baptized with personal and public callings, and they preserve that harvest with ongoing, systematic discipleship.

Building on this model, each step of the harvesting process was illustrated with video testimony from Adventists around the world who are actively involved in reaching their communities for Jesus in creative and innovative ways. Some highlights included friendship evangelism in Romania (prepare), distribution of truth-filled messages through the GC’s Great Controversy project scheduled for 2023-2024 (factory), as well as Bible studies, baptisms and community events to nurture new church members in various countries. .

“Wherever you are and whatever your position in life, God calls you to be part of his mission. His message to you and me is an invitation: ‘Jesus is coming soon—let’s get involved!’ said Howard.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM WORLD ADVENTIST RADI

Bringing together the entire presentation with beautiful images and testimonies from his travels with AWR, Cami Oetman shared a presentation consolidating some of the ministry highlights his team has experienced over the past quinquennium. Having preached over 350 sermons, Oetman has become a recognized presenter and a much-loved influence of God throughout the world.

Cami Oetman, vice president for advancement, Adventist World Radio (AWR) Total Mission Involvement (TMI) program, Friday, June 10, 2022.  [Tor Tjeransen/ Adventist Media Exchange (CC BY 4.0)]

Cami Oetman, vice president for advancement, Adventist World Radio (AWR) Total Mission Involvement (TMI) program, Friday, June 10, 2022. [Tor Tjeransen/ Adventist Media Exchange (CC BY 4.0)]

“For more than five years, I have witnessed firsthand the power and breadth of God’s life-changing truth.” Documenting more than 100 testimonies from around the world of lay people involved in the Great Commission, Oetman notes how, as a result, “rebels, witches, psychics, drug lords, prostitutes, thieves, and many others who were once unreachable…have now accepted Jesus and the Adventist message.Killing a fire for mission in the hearts of many, many young people and adults have dedicated their lives to mission and “witness the ripple effects of a person who gets involved”.

Along with his powerful message, Oetman shared the testimonies of four people who were baptized live during Friday night’s GC session report. Willy, a member of the Philippine Army with 16 years of service and star of the short film The Executioner, gave his life to Jesus through AWR’s work in Mondoro.

Jerome, also a member of the Philippine army for 16 years, entered the baptismal waters. Fueled by anger after the murder of his brother, he sought revenge against the rebel forces of Mondoro. However, after spying on the AWR team, he was impressed by the number of rebels laying down their weapons and giving their lives to Jesus. After witnessing the baptism of his former target and enemy, Jerome recognized that “what Adventists are doing is a complete message from God.”

Dequan, raised in a non-denominational church and orphaned at a young age, was baptized by Pastor Byron Wright. Reflecting on past times of desperation, he said, “I used to use marijuana, alcohol and world music for comfort, when I should have used God for it… This It was only when I lived in the word of God, that my life seemed brighter than ever and simple yet more fulfilling.

Pathfinder Omarielis was baptized by Pastor Gabriel Polino, following her experience with Adventist youth ministries. “On this day when young people have so many things that catch their attention, this beautiful young woman has chosen to turn her attention to the word of God.”

Whether young or old, big or small, “God can use anyone.” Oetman said. “All you need is a willing heart.” She added, “Everyone can do something.” By inviting Jesus to do his work through you, many around you can experience the saving grace and transforming love of Christ. Jesus is coming. To be involved!

Watch the live stream of the full report here.

  • Angelica Sanchez contributed to this report
right-hook-arrowContact

Comments are closed.