Every five years, Seventh-day Adventists convene a General Conference Session to conduct the business of the church. Delegates from around the world converge on a host city for the 10-day event of information, instruction and inspiration, which usually attracts upwards of 100,000 people. In 2020, the General Conference Session will take place in Indianapolis, the “Circle City” in the center of Indiana, the state that calls itself the “Crossroads of America.”
The Lake Union is excited that the 2020 General Conference Session (GC2020) will be held within its territory. Indianapolis, the capital of the State of Indiana, is a fascinating Midwestern city of moderate winters and bearable summers, and has hosted a General Conference Session before. The city’s convention center is more than adequate to host a GC session, and the city has much to offer in terms of natural and cultural attractions.
To prepare the metropolitan Indianapolis area for GC2020, the Indiana and Lake Region conferences have launched coordinating programs of evangelism and discipleship; Indiana’s program is called “Ignite Indiana” and Lake Region’s is “Impact Indiana.” Intended to actively engage all area churches to impact Hoosiers for Christ leading up to, during and beyond the GC Session, Ignite Indiana and Impact Indiana will bring revitalization to churches as members are mobilized for mission and ministry.
LAKE REGION CONFERENCE: IMPACT INDIANA
To date, a series of church growth initiatives already have occurred. Acutely aware that without the Holy Spirit’s aid attempts to reach people for Christ will fail, area churches have come together regularly to pray and fast for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. An unprecedented spirit of unity and collaboration is permeating our churches, whose pastors meet weekly to plan and execute the church growth initiatives. Students from Oakwood University have already descended on the city, distributing religious literature and giving Bible studies, and an array of training events are taking place.
This summer, Abraham Jules will be the featured evangelist at a two-week evangelistic reaping initiative in Indianapolis. A world-renowned evangelist from New York City, Jules preached at a rally on March 16, challenging members to share Christ with their family and friends. “I believe that Impact Indiana will be the next ‘Great Awakening,’” says Jules, adding, “I can hardly wait to return to Indianapolis this summer.” Carlton Byrd and the Breath of Life team will hold a major campaign in the city next year.
Impact Indiana intends to partner in significant ways with Ignite Indiana, the program of the Indiana Conference. Together, they will sponsor an evangelistic meeting just prior to the GC Session at which Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference, will preach. Another joint venture of the Indiana and Lake Region conferences will be a massive Your Pathways to Health Clinic that will provide free medical and dental care to those in need. Hundreds of volunteers from around the country will provide the manpower for the clinic.
“I hope it doesn’t sound like a cliché, but Impact Indiana will have a major impact on Indiana,” says R. Clifford Jones, president of the Lake Region Conference. He adds, “Already we are witnessing the movement of the Holy Spirit and miracles are taking place. Our members are engaged and enthusiastic, and we expect to see hundreds if not thousands accept Jesus Christ and join the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
INDIANA CONFERENCE: IGNITE INDIANA
The Indiana Conference in partnership with It Is Written (IIW) Television Ministry held a state-wide evangelism training at Timber Ridge Camp in Indiana on April 9‒13. “Practical Evangelism, A Life-Changing Journey” was attended by 43 members who received group and one-on-one instruction by Yves Monnier, Evangelism director for It Is Written, and Jack Phillips, It Is Written Bible worker. “Finding and Following Up on Interests,” “Giving Bible Studies,” “Tools Every Disciple Needs,” and “Creating Lay Evangelism Teams” were a few of the topics that were presented.
On Thursday and Friday afternoons, two-person teams went door-to-door in Spencer, Indiana, and surrounding towns. Putting into practice the tools and training they received was well received by those at the doors. At the end of Friday afternoon, 64 Bible study interests were realized. The Spencer and Ellettsville churches had Bible study teams in place, ready to follow-up on these interests.
As these newly trained lay evangelism teams go out into their own communities, the interests will be followed-up on by local volunteer lay Bible workers. The strategy is to have as many individuals as possible ready for state-wide reaping meetings scheduled for the spring of 2020.
Future one-day trainings will take place in the fall of 2019 with IIW and NADEI (North American Division Evangelism Institute). A final three-day training will be taking place with It Is Written in January of 2020 in the Indy Metro area.
R. Clifford Jones, Lake Region president, and Kathy Griffin, Ignite Indiana project manager, with Herald staff