The 2019 “Mega Impact Southern Union” was a spiritual, strengthening event that took place at the Southern Union headquarters in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, October 11-12. The event brought attendees from three Southern Union conferences together to pull souls closer to Jesus Christ — South Atlantic Conference, South Central Conference, and Southeastern Conference, which included pastors, keynote speakers, and directors for the first “Mega Impact Southern Union.” Many traveled far to attend.
On day one, old friends were united and new friendships were created as they embarked on the spiritual event. Smiles surfaced as they heeded to the music of the saxophonist. Laughs were shared as guests enjoyed meals prepared by SLH Events, Inc. Many shared praises about their meals, and gave complements to Zellima Howard, owner, and chef Verne Williams.
After opening the Sabbath with prayer, David Long, Southern Union Conference stewardship director, preached a sermon entitled “I Can See Clearly Now.” In Long’s sermon, he explained that seeing clearly meant that we understand that we are servants of God. “We must keep the servant spirit.” After his sermon, Long sat down for a brief interview with Thomas Dixon.
He summed up the purpose of the event by saying, “Mega Impact is a time for us to come together to help our members to be more prepared to deal with the challenges that they face in their churches as well as in their communities.”
The last session of the night was by the Children’s Ministries Department. Trina Ware, South Central Conference children’s ministries director, said it best, “This was children’s ministries boot camp.” The leaders of children’s ministries worked tirelessly as they trained attendees to better serve the children of their churches, so that they may develop stronger relationships with Christ. The entire weekend focused on children’s ministries leadership.
On day two, attendees engaged in seminars that mentored spiritual leadership, mental health, and what should be taught to the young people. Emerson G. Miller, Ph.D., presented the first Sabbath School workshop for the day. With his lesson “Rethinking Evangelism,” he challenged the attendees to adopt a new way of spreading God’s Word. He presented a survey conducted by The Institute for American Church Growth. They asked 10,000 people one question: “What was responsible for your coming to Christ and this church?” Seventy-nine percent of those individuals said that a friend or relative invited them to the church.
Benoit Petit-Homme, D.Min., author of Seeking the Lost, Keeping Them, Making Them Disciples, presented his Sabbath School lesson on evangelism after Miller. “God’s seeking is the foundation of evangelism,” Homme continued. “Prayer is the most important human factor in effective evangelism.” The underlying message was that everyone can pray, which was the key to his message.
J. Alfred Johnson II, North American Division (NAD) director of adult ministries, was the keynote speaker of the event. It was crucial that he preached at this event because he is well-known among the conferences.
Before Johnson preached, the Maranatha Church’s, Atlanta, Georgia, praise team performed during praise time. During the worship service, Johnson shared the primary motivation for anyone who desires to serve God: “It’s when we realize and embrace a vision of His supreme divine holiness.” His sermon was one of the highlights that made the event a success. Johnson also conducted a stimulating training on growing the local Sabbath School. During the same time in a different venue, Sherri Uhrig, NAD children ministries director, continued with track 5 on developing leaders in children ministries. Justo Morales, and his wife, Rosa, Lake Region Conference children’s ministries directors, also conducted the 7-hour leadership course in Spanish for the Hispanic attendees.
The evening seminars started after lunch. Numerous speakers shared vital information from their ministries. Rosemary Graham, South Atlantic Conference (SAC) disabilities leader, raised awareness for the importance of mental health, stating that “Worship starts in the mind.” Al Freeman, SAC personal ministries director; and Pierre Francois, Southeastern Conference (SEC) Sabbath School director, shared their appreciation for the staff members, and also for the attendees who left the event encouraged to exercise their spiritual gifts and talents that God has given them.
David M. Jones Sr., SAC health leader, stated that one of the contributing factors to mental health is diet. Mark Brown, SEC health ministries director, touched on the importance of exercise as a method for evangelizing to people outside of the Church. Sonia Wrate, from Southern Adventist University, and Eula Winston, from the South Atlantic Conference, presented two dynamic workshops on community nursing. They put a new lens on how churches can serve their neighborhoods, viewing it as an opportunity for an outreach program to gather souls closer to Christ. Darryl Howard, SAC children’s ministries and Sabbath School director, commented on how important this conference was to bring three conferences with the Southern Union together to focus on a shift from membership to discipleship. Empowering Church members and pastors provides an avenue for getting non-church members curious to know more about the Church group, and interested in joining the group.
William Winston, president of the South Atlantic Conference, and his wife, Eula, expressed their gratitude for the contributions and hard work that went into making the event successful. The 2019 Mega Impact Southern Union concluded with a prayer of commitment. Many participants stated that they are looking forward to Mega Impact 2021.
is a junior journalism student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.
South Atlantic | December 2019