Let’s Move Forward!
We have chosen the following mantra for the Southwest Region Conference: “Moving Southwest ‘4’ Ward!” We’ve selected this refrain based on the desire of our workers and members alike to move our conference “forward” under the power of the almighty God through four primary emphases: Evangelism, Adventist Education, Digital & Media Ministry and Youth and Young Adult Ministry. Our scriptural text supporting this theme is, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14.
Despite the current challenges we face in our world, what an exciting time to be living in when we can share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Although the enemies of Christ are rising up and manifesting themselves in a myriad of ways, I’m excited to be in the army of God! I’m excited to share the love of Jesus with others! I’m excited to know that, in this fight against the enemy, we don’t fight for victory, but we fight from victory! Christ already defeated the enemy on Calvary, and “if God be for us, who can be against us.” Romans 8:31.
Knowing we’re already victors and not victims, let’s share Christ’s message of hope and wholeness with relevance. For our conference, we’re stressing relevance in the aforementioned four emphases (Evangelism, Adventist Education, Digital & Media Ministry and Youth & Young Adult Ministry). If we’re going to reach the world, we’ve got to be relevant to the world! Our message is the same, but our methods must be different and relevant to our current context.
In Evangelism, Ellen G. White says, “Means will be devised to reach hearts. Some of the methods used in this work will be different from the methods used in the work in the past; but let no one, because of this, block the way by criticism.” She continues, “Men are needed who pray to God for wisdom and who, under the guidance of God, can put new life into the old methods of labor and can invent new plans and new methods of awakening the interest of church members and reaching the men and women of the world.”
I say it often, and I’ll share it again here: “Jesus isn’t coming anywhere until the Gospel goes everywhere!” To our entire Southwestern Union Conference family—let’s collectively move our Union forward in ministry relevance and press toward the mark for the prize in Christ Jesus! Let’s continue to preach, teach, minister and share the love of Christ with passion, excitement, enthusiasm and relevance to expedite Jesus’ soon return! Maranatha! The Lord is coming!
By Carlton P. Byrd, D. Min.