Church Ministries for Everyone
“Church Ministries is about helping to accomplish the church’s mission, using the gifts and talents within the church,” explains Southwestern Union Vice President for Church Ministries Tony Anobile. “The beauty of what we do is everybody brings their gifts to the table. My forte isn’t going to be yours, and your forte isn’t going to be mine. But together we shine in the areas that we’ve been blessed with. Collectively we make a significant impact.”
Rather than creating new programs at the union level, Anobile is more interested in providing support and promoting programs that the five area conferences are running. He also oversees Adventist Community Services, children’s ministries, men’s ministries, family ministries, Sabbath School ministries, stewardship ministries, women’s ministries, and youth and young adult ministries for the Southwestern Union and works closely with their departmental directors.
Whether Anobile is exploring children’s spiritual styles with children’s ministries, or interacting with stewardship ministries, creating bilingual videos on giving, or helping the youth pass out tents and sleeping bags to homeless immigrants, his focus remains on preparing people for the kingdom.
This is why Anobile and the other Southwestern Union administrators have been bringing Growing the Kingdom events to the conferences within the Southwestern Union. These events train and equip ministry leaders and also provide an opportunity for attendees to ask questions of the union leadership.
“I always say they can ask about the good, the bad and the ugly,” Anobile says. “We’ve had some significant dialogue on a variety of issues.”
At the last Growing the Kingdom event, held in Oklahoma City, there were more than 200 local church leaders in attendance. “This is a great opportunity to meet the soldiers who are doing the work in the field—both pastors and lay members,” he says.
Anobile emphasizes that lay members are going to become more important over the next couple decades, as many pastors will be retiring and there are not enough new pastors entering the ministry to replace them.
“We need all hands on deck—kids, young adults, adults and seniors,” he says. “If your life has been changed by Jesus, your response should be, ‘I want to tell others about Jesus!’”Following the pattern of the disciples, whose main focus was mission, Anobile is devoted to preparing people for the kingdom and developing leaders.
The next Growing the Kingdom event will be held September 8-9 in Houston, Texas. Those interested in learning more can call 817.295.0476 or visit SouthwesternAdventist.org/church-ministries.
By Lori Futcher
Record Freelance Writer