Story by V. Michelle Bernard
In 2016 conferences within the Columbia Union territory started 50 new church plants, the most in the North American Division (NAD) that year. To make this possible, the union provided $67,500, and solicited $250,000 from the NAD and General Conference, reports Frank Bondurant, vice president for Ministries Development.
At the May 2016 union constituency meeting, President Dave Weigley and the conference presidents launched an evangelism initiative named “Share the Light—Share the Hope.” Each conference pledged to make evangelism a special priority for the first 18 months of the new quinquennium. Bondurant shared these 2016-17 conference highlights:
• Allegheny East churches spent $1.4 million in evangelism, and celebrated 1,000 baptisms.
• From January to June 2017, Allegheny West churches celebrated 500 baptisms, with a goal of 1,000 by the end of 2017.
• In Fall 2016, Chesapeake sponsored a conference-wide evangelism initiative, and hosted 50 meetings. Earlier this fall, pastors held 11 meetings in Bulgaria.
• Mountain View members served 975 people with free medical services during Your best Pathway to Health, and are hosting 36 follow-up evangelism meetings.
• New Jersey members celebrated more than 530 baptisms during the Caravan of Compassion and Project Caleb initiatives.
• Ohio members started six church plants and celebrated more than 300 baptisms, including 103 in Hispanic churches.
• In 2016 Pennsylvania members hosted 14 “Faith for Family” meetings in western Pennsylvania and look forward to seeing the benefits from the Fall 2017 meetings in central Pennsylvania.
• Potomac churches experienced more than 300 baptisms after seminars with evangelist Alejandro Bullón. Leaders equipped young adults during the INSPIRE event. In 2017 the conference challenged every church to do evangelistic outreach.