Across the region, hundreds of churches connect to study the Bible, pray.
More than 2,300 new believers joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church after a recent four-week evangelistic campaign livestreamed across dozens of islands comprising the Caribbean Union Conference.
The virtual event drew thousands of viewers every night and finished with the largest number of baptisms ever during the territory’s annual evangelistic efforts.
“This online campaign brought the entire union together as never before,” Claudius Morgan, assistant to the president for evangelism in the Caribbean Union Conference, said. Morgan, the keynote speaker of the evangelistic series, said that in previous years, evangelists and pastors focused on visiting one island for evangelism impact while the other islands continued their own evangelism efforts during the same period across each conference or mission. However, because of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in 2021, union evangelism efforts were set up to be carried entirely online from Barbados to the rest of the territory.
The hour-long evangelistic program ran five days every week. It featured music by young people from throughout the territory, and prayer and study on Bible topics, including God’s greatness, the Sabbath, the Christian lifestyle, the gift of prophecy, baptism, stewardship, and more. More than 25,000 viewers connected every evening, with more than 50,000 viewers during the Saturday (Sabbath) worship programs, church leaders reported.
The program’s main livestream point was the Caribbean Union Conference’s YouTube channel and was rebroadcast throughout the conferences and missions across the Caribbean, Jamaica, and specific locations in North America. The series drew a large team of church leaders, young volunteer technicians, and social media managers who worked together to advertise and shed light on the event through various online platforms, including Zoom, radio, and television.
“We have seen so many people give their lives to the Lord in a matter of weeks,” Morgan said. “We keep praising the Lord for that.” Many more were added long after the online series ended on March 26, he said. “A number of persons had to put off getting baptized until COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in April and May as well,” he added. So far, 2,314 have been baptized across the 10 conferences and missions throughout the Caribbean Union Conference.
“A medical doctor in Tortola gave his life to God,” Morgan said. “A famous cricket player in St. Lucia and his family were baptized. An evangelist and her daughter were also baptized in Barbados, and many hundreds more across Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, the North Caribbean islands, and more.”
In mid-May, another person was baptized in Guyana, bringing the total reached during the evangelism efforts to 1,123, Exton Clarke, president of the Guyana Conference, reported. “We accepted the goal set by the Caribbean Union Conference of 1,000 baptisms, setting a goal of five baptisms for each of the 227 congregations in our conference,” Clarke said.
The goal was surpassed due to the commitment of the 32 district pastors, five ministerial interns, and 13 church administrators and directors who worked together in specific evangelistic strategies before, during, and after the evangelistic series, he said. Strategies included a blended approach of using livestreaming and pre-recorded sermons for churches that lacked internet connectivity, as well as teams of prayer intercessors in the districts where campaign sites were operational. They held planning forums and regularly met with pastors and local church leaders for visioning, feedback, and problem-solving. They also discussed equipment upgrades, Bible lesson distributions, and more.
“At the time of launching this virtual campaign, our country was on a stringent curfew, but we learned that there is great potential for online evangelism,” Clarke said. The nightly attendance on the Guyana Conference’s Facebook and YouTube platforms reached an average of 3,000 persons nightly, an overwhelming amount, he reported.
The sentiment was similarly felt throughout the rest of the conferences and mission territories in the Caribbean Union Conference, Morgan said. This year’s campaign surpassed the 2,112 total baptisms reached in the Caribbean Union Conference for 2020.
“Amid the challenges that the pandemic brought us in 2021, we saw more collaboration, commitment, and more engagement as we moved together with this digital production in reaching many more souls for the kingdom,” Morgan said.
Leaders are now looking to intensify efforts during next year’s annual evangelism efforts across the Caribbean Union Conference territory.
The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.