“You are called by God and you’re a gift given by God to our church, to continue helping the church grow and mature,” said Inter-American Division President Pastor Elie Henry as he recently commended thousands of local church elders for their dedication and committed service in shepherding the membership throughout the Inter-American Division (IAD) year after year.
Pastor Henry was addressing the more than 43,000 church elders taking part during a short certification online session meant to highlight the continuing education to equip, strengthen and train them to be effective leaders in their local church and to offset the limited number of ministers available in the IAD. There are over 23,000 churches and congregations throughout the IAD. Pastors could have five, ten, or as many as 24 congregations to oversee.
Importance of church elders
Local church leaders are the ones who consistently ‘build the body of Christ’ every week during the weekly services, visiting members, teaching the Word of God and ensuring that all members are discipled and growing in Jesus, said Pastor Henry. It’s been like that for nearly 100 years since the Inter-American Division was established in 1922, he said.
More than 35,000 local church elders completed the certification program last year, reported Pastor Josney Rodríguez, ministerial secretary for the church in Inter-America and main organizer of the initiative. The online program, held on Feb. 19, 2022, represented the closing of the annual certification program for church elders throughout the IAD since 2017, and the start of the new certification for 2022, he said.