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Reach the World: International Leadership Conference - Children’s, Women’s, Family Ministries
June 19, 2017
The first-ever International Leadership Conference was held in Budapest, Hungary, May 10 to 13, 2017. The theme for the conference was “Reach the World.” Three closely related departments—children’s, women’s, and family ministries—collaborated to organize this conference, which brought around 400 leaders representing more than 60 countries from around the world, to focus on current issues facing children, women, and families today. The Northern Asia-Pacific Division was represented by 15 ministry leaders who traveled from Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, and Mongolia to attend and take part in this event.

The conference provided opportunities to listen and learn firsthand through plenary sessions from well-known researchers, authors, and leaders, such as Dr. George Barna (world-renowned researcher and statistician from Barna Research Group), Dr. Kiti Freier Randall (pediatric neurodevelopmental psychologist from Loma Linda University Health), and Dr. Ella Simmons and

Dr. Geoffrey Mbwana (leaders from the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church). A highlight of the conference was the Sabbath sermon presented by Pastor Mark Finley (well-known evangelist).

The various messages presented throughout the conference sought to bring about a deeper awareness of current issues. Barna warned that “we are in a crisis” because families are not intentionally passing on a biblical worldview to their children. According to his latest research, it is culture that is forming children’s worldview today. The presenters not only focused on the challenges, but also called on the church as a community to take advantage of this opportunity to address these issues. Randall called for the church to support families and equip parents to spend “time-in” with their children to make a change in their lives and effectively “reach the world.” She also suggested that the church consider spending more on children and family outreach.

Breakout sessions during the conference gave the opportunity to deal with particular issues faced by each group. The challenges of reaching at-risk children of affluent families, drug-addicted and HIV-infected parents, were presented at the children’s ministries breakout sessions. Women’s ministries discussed the challenges of reaching out to women of other faiths. Family ministries touched the topics of sexual identity struggles, the connection between the church and LGBT communities, and the need to genuinely love and respect all people.

Conference attendees were encouraged to work together to reach and welcome those facing challenges and issues inside and outside the church. They were also invited to commit to, develop and promote personal and healthy relationships, and focus on people’s needs to make a difference in the world.

Lisa Clouzet, Director / Nilde Itin Lust, Associate Director

Children’s, Women’s Family Ministries