By Nadeth B. Quinto
Nearly 500 Seventh-day Adventist church leaders and delegates from different unions, missions, conferences, and institutions all over the Philippines attended the Philippine-wide Leadership Evangelism and Development (LEAD) Conference on March 9-11, 2018, held at Bacolod Pavillon Hotel, Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
The theme “Faithfulness to His Word: The Spiritual Leader’s Commitment” became an inspiration for all the Adventist leaders to be more faithful and committed
in the Lord’s work.
Central Philippine Union Conference President Agapito J. Catane, Jr. expressed his warm words of welcome to all the delegates for attending this one of a kind program of the church, to be equipped and to move forward with a mission especially in doing the Lord’s work in these last days.
“It is indeed our pleasure to host the LEAD Conference 2018 with the three unions of the Philippines – the North Philippine Union Conference (NPUC), Central Philippine Union Conference (CPUC) and the South Philippine Union Conference (SPUC),” said Pastor Catane. “It is really a wonderful time to fellowship together,
making acquaintances with our fellow Adventist leaders and workers, old and new, all throughout the Philippines,” he added.
Executive Secretary Eliezer T. Barlizo, Jr. of CPUC said, “We are glad that our leaders from the General Conference are organizing this valuable and noble program of the church, and we are happy and grateful that by God’s grace, the program is very successful with the support of our administrators from the three unions, and also to our secretaries who have been sacrificing for the preparation of this conference.”
He also shared his hopes and dreams that everyone must be united and be revived by the words heard during the convention.
Southern Asia – Pacific Division President Samuel Saw shared that this kind of program develops and educates the leaders to acquire more knowledge and understanding as Christian leaders. “To fellowship, to learn, and to grow together to become a blessing in the Lord’s church,” said Elder Saw.
Pastor Roger Caderma, president of the South Philippine Union Conference, also said, “We are happy and thankful for this program. This is intended for all of us: to live a life of a leader and to be a model among the people.”
Moreover, North Philippine Union Conference President Romeo Mangiliman also commented that this is one of the best seminars that he has attended Hundreds of Adventist leaders attend leadership training in central Philippines NEWS because it is about leadership. “A seminar wherein we can be enriched especially for future leaders. My expectations are met, and I am delighted for having this kind of seminar,” he added.
Dr. Hector J. Gayares, Jr., president of the Adventist Medical Center Bacolod, heartily expressed that this LEAD seminar gave them spiritual perspective on spiritual leadership. “It brings us back to focus on our mission, and it brings us back to the kind of leadership wherein our ultimate chairman of the board is Jesus Christ. We are just His stewards, and we are accountable to Him in everything that we do.”
He also added the benefits of having this seminar; basically keeping each one to be grounded and anchored being on a faith-based institution, an institution which is being run by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, bringing all the workers of all institutions to be Christ-centered.
Furthermore, Dr. Bill Knott also shared that our church today needs leaders who have the ability to welcome change; leaders who can be flexible, and leaders who are not afraid of the changes that are happening from day to day.
“The kind of leader that is most needed is someone who has an unwavering principle, yet willing to change methodologies as the situation calls for it. We need people with strong values but flexible methods,” Dr. Knott strongly emphasized.
The three-day convention had plenary and break-out sessions throughout the day. Different presentations were delivered by the guest speakers coming from the General Conference (GC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church such as Dr. Gerson Santos, GC director for Urban Ministry; Dr. Bill Knot, editor and the executive publisher of the Adventist Review and the Adventist World magazines; Dr. David Trim, GC director in the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research; and Geoffrey Mbwana, GC general vice president.
It was also attended by leaders from the Southern Asia – Pacific Division (SSD) headed by the president, Elder Samuel Saw; Pastor Rudy Baloyo, SSD executive secretary; Max Langi, SSD treasurer; Jacinth Adap, SSD under treasurer; Dr. Bienvenido Mergal, SSD vice president and IEL coordinator; Helen Gulfan, SSD Women’s Ministries director; Atty. Rex Rosas, SSD Legal and PARL director; and Pastor Edwin C. Gulfan, SSD field secretary for Evangelism.
A special program was also conducted on Friday evening. It was sponsored by Bacolod Adventist Center brethren from children to adults, filling the hall with songs of praise as more people came over to join together in worshipping the Lord in heaven.