Adventist Teachers Called to Be Ministers
Adventist Teachers Called to Be Ministers
The second Teachers’ Congress sponsored by the Education Department of the Inter-American Division took place from September 10 – 13, 2014, in Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Over six hundred university presidents, union and local field presidents, education directors, principals, and selected teachers from the English, Spanish and French-speaking regions of the Division were in attendance.
“The Teacher As A Minister of the Gospel” was the theme chosen for the congress, and every worship and workshop session spoke to the relevancy of this theme. Special guest speakers included Dr. George Knight, retired SDA educator, administrator, and writer, who challenged the educators to look at Adventist education in light of the apocalyptic vision outlined in Revelation 14. He reminded everyone that as educators, we must give hope to our students through our apocalyptic mission. An amazing lover of Adventist history, Knight paralleled the historic growth of Adventist missions to the growth of Adventist schools. He reiterated that the purpose of Adventist education is three-fold:
- To prepare students for this life;
- To introduce students to Christ;
- To inspire the coming generation with an understanding of prophecy, giving them hope for an eternal future.
Another well-known presenter was Dr. Lowell Cooper. Cooper, a general vice-president of the General Conference also serves as chairman for the boards at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Science Center and Adventist Health International. Dr. Cooper challenged his listeners to think seriously about the church’s responsibility to its educational system when he stated that the church needs to see the institution as an extension of the church and that our schools are not just employment agencies. His inspiring sermon on Sabbath further challenged the educators to look at their work as a calling from God. He said “God doesn’t call people to positions or careers until he calls them to Himself. When you sense your calling from God, He puts you on pathways you will not understand.”
Also in attendance was Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, the Director of Education at the General Conference of S.D.A. Dr. Beardsley-Hardy addressed the topic “SDA Education as an Evangelistic Strategy”. In her remarks, she stated that the Bible should be the center of all curricula and that the core features of Adventist education should be:
1.Redemptive in its purpose
2.Balanced, and a holistic development
3.Restoring the image of God in students
- Developing in students the ability to think and do
- Preparing students for service in this life
The list of presenters at this historical congress showcased some of the best names in the church’s organizational and educational system: Dr. Ella Simmons, General Vice-President of the General Conference; Dr. Myrna Colon, Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Antillean Adventist University in Puerto Rico; Dr. Myrna Costa, Vice-President of the Inter-American Division; Dr. Mike Lekic, Associate Education Director of the General Conference; Susana Schulz, Assistant Editor of Dialogue University magazine at the General Conference; Dr. Luis Schulz, Associate Director of Education at the General Conference; Dr. John Wesley Taylor, Associate Director of Education at the General Conference; Dr. Dan Tucker, Marketing Consultant; and Dr. Filiberto Verduzco, Treasurer of the Inter-American Division.
Interspersed through the daily activities were inspiring devotionals and heavenly music. The catchy and rhythmic theme song, written especially for the congress, reminded us daily of the special mission of Adventist teachers in our schools. Everyone left this conclave with a renewed sense of purpose to fulfill the mission for which Adventist schools were established. Organizing and coordinating this five-year event were Dr. Gamaliel Florez, Director of Education for the Inter-American Division, and Dr. Faye Patterson, Associate Director of Education for the Inter-American Division. We look forward with anticipation to the next Teachers’ Congress!
By: Lynn C. Smith, Education Director, TCIM