Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Ministerial Department Hosts Lay Pastors Retreat, Allegheny East Conference, "Waking Up the Sleeping Giant", Gene Donaldson

Allegheny East Conference Ministerial Department Hosts Lay Pastors Retreat

Story by LaTasha Hewitt

Allegheny East Conference’s (AEC) Ministerial Department recently hosted a lay pastors’ retreat, themed “Waking Up the Sleeping Giant.” Led by Gene Donaldson, Ministerial director, the three-day retreat focused on rekindling the embers of faith and personal evangelism.

“We wanted to highlight the importance of personal evangelism in order to fulfill the Great Commission and to teach pastors how to encourage members to get involved in personal evangelism,” shares Donaldson.

The retreat, which included 11 AEC lay pastors, addressed how many church members have untapped potential for personal evangelism. Presentations were structured into five parts: the need for personal evangelism; definition and challenge; identifying your witnessing styles; relationships; and how to transition to spiritual conversations and use your faith story.

Attendees were encouraged to awaken this potential within their congregations by fostering a culture of evangelism, supporting and equipping their members, and setting an example through their own evangelistic efforts. “The retreat re-energized and motivated me to go back to my mission field equipped with tools to share God’s Word from a personal perspective,” shares Boniface Getugi, lay pastor of the Living Springs Fellowship church in Baltimore.

“The retreat showed me how to involve my members in evangelism by … telling your own personal story on how God brought you to Jesus Christ,” says Michael Cox, lay pastor of the Faith church in Cambridge, Md.

“I am sure that when we go back to our church and implement Jesus’ model of personal evangelism, our members will catch the vision and start to run with the mandate,” shares Andrew Brown, lay pastor of the House of Praise church in Oxon Hill, Md.

According to conference guidelines, a volunteer lay pastor (VLP) is a lay pastor who has been recommended by an area leader/ethnic coordinator, Ministerial director and assigned by the executive committee. Reappointment to VLP status is contingent upon attending annual training events, an annual performance review, and the recommendation of the sponsoring church board (if applicable), the area leader/ethnic coordinator and the Ministerial director. 

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