Every January, many conferences and missions around the Adventist world organize their pastors’ meetings. Some conferences refer to them as "workers' meetings."
For the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference, we decided to call these meetings “Leadership Summit.”
And last week's leadership summit was a huge success!
We brought together an inspiring group of people—pastors, chaplains, principals, care home CEOs, and administrative staff—to connect over their shared experiences in ministry.
Centred around Strength in Unity (Ephesians 4:1–16), these amazing leaders discussed how they could use collaboration to overcome any challenge that comes their way.
Plus, we had the honoured presence of a local church elder who contributed richly to this stimulating experience for all present!
Following Ellen White’s advice, "Whether superiors, inferiors, or equals, your work is, to begin with, your own heart. Humble yourself before God. Come into the right connection with Him by yielding to the creative power of the Holy Spirit. Then will be seen in the church the unity that is of value in God’s sight. There will be sweet harmony, and all the buildings, fitly framed together, will grow into a holy temple in the Lord.”
As leaders, we must learn how to guard ourselves against divisive mechanisms such as fault finding, misinterpreting mission motives, circulating insinuations, arousing suspicion, and breaking confidence in leaders' integrity.
By coming together and staying united, we can overcome these divisive forces and be successful in our mission work.
The overarching objectives of last week’s leadership summit were twofold:
First, we wanted to equip leaders with actionable information and insights they could use in their ministry.
Second, we wanted to build a strong network of leader-to-leader connections that would allow collaboration and unity across all ministries in the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Conference.
We stayed at the Manitou Hotel in Saskatchewan. While learning and networking were essential objectives, we also wanted our leaders to be rejuvenated. It is a beautiful hotel, home to the Dead Sea of Canada, a mineral lake with enough salt to make you float.
After the meetings, the summit participants can enjoy the hot mineral pool and continue discussing ministry and life.
On the last night of the summit, while relaxing in the hot mineral pool at the resort, I had a chance to connect with Pastor Neil Tagarao (Chaplain for West Park Manor Care Home) and Pastor Federico Cela (District Pastor for Weyburn & Estevan Church).
Pastor Neil had felt the call to attend the leadership summit for a while. However, he needed to find out if it was right. After all, his family already had so much going on, and it would be difficult for him to take time away from them. But in the end, Pastor Neil knew this was God's calling and decided to go ahead with his plans to attend.
At first glance, he thought it was just another “pastors meeting,” where administrators would talk about lofty ideals without providing any real actionable information or insights.
He soon realized how wrong he was as each presenter* spoke passionately and knowledgeably about authentic and inspiring leadership—from servant leadership models—to preventing sexual harassment, exploitation, and abuse—to learning about the history of Adventist heresy—to breaking down ministry silos—as well as developing healthier systems and strategic frameworks for accountability.
During one of the talks on heretical teachings, Pastor Neil felt empowered when the presenter gave concrete examples of addressing heresies (anti-Trinitarians, sinless perfection/last-generation theology, etc.) respectfully yet effectively.
He took notes throughout the session, but what really stayed with him were all the amazing conversations he had with fellow leaders from different backgrounds who were unified under one goal: making sure every ministry has strong leaders dedicated to serving God's people in their communities.
After three days of learning and networking at the leadership summit, Pastor Neil left feeling inspired and ready to put into practice everything he learned during this invaluable experience!
Charles Ed II Aguilar, President
*ADRA Canada, It Is Written Canada, Burman University, North American Division and the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada presented powerful and relevant actionable information that can be used in ministries.