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Feature

Starting a New ASI Chapter

Wayne Atwood

01/01/2011

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When I moved to Québec eight years ago, I was surprised to discover that Canada had no ASI chapters. I’d been involved in supporting ministries most of my life and knew firsthand the importance of networking and dialogue.

About a year ago, Québec Conference president Dragan Stojanovic told me how he’d personally come to recognize the importance of teamwork while serving as a pastor in Chicago, Illinois. There he’d had his first opportunity to work with ASI members. He’d been very impressed to see lay people working hand-in-hand with church leadership.

After becoming president of the Québec Conference, he was disappointed to discover that the province lacked any ASI presence. When he learned that I’d been involved in ASI for a number of years, he shared with me his desire to form an ASI chapter in Québec. I was excited that his enthusiasm for ASI stemmed from personally witnessing productive cooperation between individuals, ministries and church leaders. We both agreed that teamwork between the organized church and its laypeople is a winning combination.

We started sharing our vision with supporting ministries, business people and professionals here in Québec, eventually holding a meeting to discuss the possibility of establishing a new ASI chapter. We worked closely with ASI National, the Canadian Union and the Québec Conference along the way. Recently, we received final approval to start a Québec chapter of ASI.

We’ve come to realize that, in places like Québec where the church is quite small, networking may be even more important than in areas with higher populations of Adventists. As the world moves further and further from God’s ideal, Christians can sometimes feel isolated from likeminded people. ASI provides opportunities for belonging, friendship, mutual encouragement and a “meeting of the minds” as members combine their God-given talents to further God’s work.

Personally, I’ve discovered that adaptability is one of the keys to success in a world that is constantly changing. Of course, I sometimes worry when I hear people talk about change because I get the impression that some want to “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” The only way to make truly meaningful change is by staying grounded in the principles of God’s Word, which contains the principles that underlie ASI’s foundation.

With ASI expanding into new countries, it’s important to understand the rich heritage that has been passed down to us from our founders. I think of the well known quote, “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” (Ellen G. White, Last Day Events, p. 72).

What a promise of hope! We can move forward, but we must stay true to the light behind us saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

As we organize this brand new chapter of ASI in Québec, we’re seeking to incorporate principles of teamwork and cooperation. We’re excited about the potential impact of ASI in Québec. We wish to stay true to timeless principles and yet discover new ways through which we can reach out to the very secular culture of Québec. Pray for us as we face the challenges inherent in this pioneering stage. We’d love to have you join us at our first official ASI Québec Spring Meeting, to be held May 13–14, 2011. Call 800-651-1275 for more information or to register.