16 March 2013, Belgrade, Serbia [Jóhann E. Jóhannsson, tedNEWS] On Thursday, 15 March 2013, Pastor Ted Wilson, the President of the World Seventh-day Adventist Church, and his wife, Nancy, arrived to Serbia where members and pastors, met them excited to hear a message of encouragement, learn about the mission of the church for the future and to participate in leadership training.
Early mornings and late nights seem to be the norm for Pastor Ted Wilson, to visit the world fields, and Thursday 14 March was no different. Pastor Wilson and his party started their journey from Zagreb, Croatia to Belgrade, Serbia early that morning. The spring that had arrived a week ago, had disappeared, and the party travelled several hundred kilometres in winds, rain, sleet and snow.
The fist stop in Serbia was a visit to the Union Publishing House and future Media Centre, Euro Dream, in its new facilities donated by a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, was the first assignment of the day. Currently Euro Dream’s printing facilities are operating 24 hours a day printing magazines and books for the ‘Great Hope Project’ in most of the languages spoken in the Trans-European Division.
The Novi Sad Church in Northern Serbia had planned an evening meeting with Pastor Wilson, which opened with the congregation singing, “It is well, it is well, with my soul.” In his sermon, Pastor Wilson focused on the Reformation and how, no matter the costs, the early church reformers stood up for truth. “We, too, are called to be reformers for God”, Pastor Wilson said and added, “It is unsafe for a Christian to act against his/her conscience. Are you willing to stand by Jesus and be true to His Word, also in difficult times?”
Friday morning, 15 March was set aside for a pastors’ meeting. Pastor Bertil Wiklander, President of the Trans-European Division of Seventh-day Adventists, opened the meeting with a leadership-training seminar. “You as pastors are leaders in the Church”, Wiklander said, and focused on seven important characteristics of a good leader: 1) Christ likeness in relationships; 2) Mission Focus; 3) Integrity; 4) Loyalty (to God and to the Church); 5) Professional Competence, 6) Ability to foster unity in diversity; 7) Responsibility and Accountability. “The most important part of leadership is to follow Jesus Christ in every aspect of your lives”, Pastor Wiklander concluded.
“The Spiritual Life of a Pastor or Administrator” was the title of Pastor Wilson’s seminar. “A connection with Christ in all you do will have a powerful effect on your influence”, Pastor Wilson said and shared twenty points on the theme. Pastor Wilson encouraged the pastors to commit themselves to the Lord and to His Service and shared Proverbs 3:5, 6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight”. “If you do this, God will make you powerful, spiritual people”, Wilson concluded.
Following the presentations, the floor was open for questions, and Pastor Wilson gave answers on issues about recent articles in some of our official Church papers about Creation and Mysticism, which contradict the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A question about the Creation’s “gap theory” presented in the 1st quarter Sabbath School lesson 2013 was also raised, Pastor Wilson said that the General Conference was working with the editors regarding the content of the two articles mentioned. “I do not subscribe to Creation’s ‘gap theory’ and it is not something that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is promoting” Wilson said. “I believe that God created this earth and its surroundings (not the whole universe) in six literal days, in resent time”, Wilson said.
Serbia is a part of South-East European Union Conferences (SEEUC) along with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro. For more information of the work of the Church in these countries, please visit www.jieu-adventisti.org. To see more photos from Pastor and Mrs Wilson's visit to Serbia, please click here. [tedNEWS]