Elder Joshua Lawrence and Pastor Jeff Jefferson presenting at the LTM planning meeting on Saturday.

Cayman’s Adventist churches gathered last Saturday (29 July) to begin planning for a regional summit to be held on Grand Cayman in March 2019. Saturday’s joint planning meeting of churches took place at the Walkers Road Kings Church.

The summit is in support of the region-wide Lord Transform Me (LTM) initiative launched locally in January 2016. The LTM, organised in phases spanning five years, aims to inspire and motivate church members to forge and to strengthen personal relationships with God and to develop their talents in the service of God, their church and the wider communities.

The combined churches’ Saturday afternoon planning drive was jointly led by Pastor Jeff Jefferson, local LTM and Personal and Pastoral Ministries Director, and Elder Joshua Lawrence, Retention Leader, Assistant Personal Ministries Director, and Bible Counsellor.

The LTM programme was introduced region-wide by the Adventist Inter-American Division (IAD) that is responsible for the administration of the churches in the nearly 50 territories spread across the Caribbean and Latin America.

For the 2019 Cayman summit a contingent of nine IAD LTM leaders, along with delegates from churches in this area of the Caribbean (inclusive of Cayman, the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas) are expected on Grand Cayman March 24 to 31, 2019. The summit, with the aim of consolidating and expanding the locally tailored LTM initiative, will be organised in nine centres on Grand Cayman.

Similar LTM summits will be arranged in selected countries within groupings of the other territories administered by the IAD.

Pastor Jeff Jefferson polling the audience at last Saturday’s planning meeting on their concepts of the LTM programme.

Local preparations for the summit will be formally launched in September, 2017, when members of local churches will subdivide into small groups who will be trained and resourced in readiness. Progress assessments will be conducted at various points.

As part of last Saturday’s initiation, members were sensitized to 21st century styles of leadership in an increasingly complex world.

In this phase of Saturday’s presentations, Pastor Jefferson reflected on today’s “global citizens,” also sometimes called “multi-movers,” who operate in increasingly complex environments, and the interconnectivity and inter-change of ideas that are increasingly characteristics of this setting.

Today’s interconnectivity is so cutting-edge, he said, that it is “now possible to be a global citizen without even leaving home.”

Further adding to the complexity, he said: “Never before has there been so much inter-change among religions of the world.”

This complexity, he said, must be understood in the context of today’s wide-scale access to education, the greatest level so far to be achieved in the history of the world.

Another factor that adds to the complication is that people are living longer, so that there is greater generational diversity among populations sharing the same space.

“With that longevity, therefore, comes a particular challenge”—and, that is, how these groups with their distinctive characteristics and with such differing views can manage to share the same space harmoniously while preserving self-expression and their sense of integrity.

In describing the defining characteristics of the different categories of people so closely intertwined, whether in a church, home, workplace or community, Pastor Jefferson outlined relevant thought processes and motivations for each segment.

Bearing in mind these new realities facing church leaders today, he said, it was essential to create an environment of receptivity to genuine questioning. Similarly, leaders are called upon to facilitate greater autonomy and involvement in decision making among the various sectors of church membership.

This means, he said, as is true in the church as in society in general, that the days of centralized power are over. The fact is, he said, that the scale and complexity of environmental factors impacting members and leaders on so many levels demand that autonomy for decision making be transmitted down the ranks. Otherwise, he said, the scope and demands of leadership “would be overwhelming.”

A key strategy in response to this changing landscape was that of embracing a “system-based,” concept of leadership, he said. As such, this approach should be broadly based on the understanding that “to optimize the whole, you have to focus on interrelationships of its parts” or sometimes accept a trade off with respect to the impacts of some parts.

To achieve this more effective leadership style, Pastor Jefferson encouraged leaders to place greater reliance on, and confidence in, God’s guidance, rather than on human abilities. He further counselled sensitivity to the differences between biblical principles, personal preferences, and organizational practices.

As a final suggestion, Pastor Jefferson said that leaders must “consider feedback and mitigate unintended consequences”: “Sometimes leaders are largely focused on what works today and very little on how it affects the future.”

Download mp3