By Colleen Tinker
The Adventist organization’s Total Member Involvement (TMI) initiative has yielded another 117,000 baptisms in the countries of Tanzania and Uganda. From June 16 to July 1, close to 124,000 speakers, mostly lay members, conducted evangelistic meetings at 8,00 different sites within the neighboring countries. In addition to the meetings, thousands of Adventists conducted free medical clinics for the communities.
At the end of the weeks of clinics and meetings, 80,806 people were baptized in Tanzania, and 35,969 were baptized in Uganda. These new acquisitions bring Tanzanian membership to about 600,000 and Ugandan Adventists to 330,000. Joel Okindoh, the director of evangelism for the East-Central Africa Division, sees TMI as the key to membership growth.
“Our greatest task is to nurture these new believers and to make TMI the lifestyle of our unions, conferences, local churches, institutions, and individual members,” Okindoh says.
This latest spate of baptisms in Tanzania and Uganda marks the second time that TMI has yielded over 100,000 Adventist baptisms. In May, 2016, TMI-led evangelistic campaigns in Rwanda yielded 110,000 baptisms. In Zimbabwe TMI crusades brought 30,000 baptisms, and thousand were baptized in Romania, Ukraine, and the Philippines this year. This last March there were 73,000 baptisms in Kenya.
General Conference president Ted Wilson acknowledges Total Member Involvement as the key to the recent huge numbers of baptism in the East-Central Africa Division. “After the Total Member involvement experience in Rwanda in 2016, TMI has become a standard feature of the East-Central Africa Division,” Wilson posted on his Facebook page. “We praise God for how the lay people are rallying to the call to become completely involved in soul winning…Let’s all be part of TMI!”
Duane McKey oversees TMI for the world organization, and he said that after the huge baptism in Rwanda last year, “the world church provided the East-Central Arica Division with 1,200 special video projectors that work with only a flash drive, no computer needed, and he encouraged division leaders to hold 20,000 evangelistic series in 2017.”
About 550 Adventists from other countries came and helped with the meetings and clinics in Tanzania and Uganda, and they went back home inspired to energize TMI outreaches there.
Joel Okindoh is pleased with the year’s successes so far and said, “TMI has generated a spiritual revival among all the participants and enhanced unity through foreign guests’ involvement across the territories. TMI is here to stay by the grace of God.”
Adventism is growing, especially in Africa and South America, in large numbers. Total Member Involvement has captured the imagination of many Adventist members, and the successes of free medical clinics and evangelistic meetings tend to generate even more outreaches.
It’s important for Christians to remember what Paul said about false gospels and those who teach them:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:6-9).
Gospel perversions abound, and Adventism is a clever “look alike” false gospel that confuses the unsuspecting. The only antidote to being deceived by this false religion is being exposed to the true gospel and learning to trust and know the Word of God.
It is imperative that we pray for the Lord to bring the gospel to the countless people being imprisoned in false religion, and that we ask the Lord to expose and break the spirit of Adventism, planting His own whom He rescues deeply in truth and reality.