Idaho Conference Churches Experience Exponential Growth
The Holy Spirit is being poured out in the Idaho Conference through Operation Exponential Growth. Members who have grown cold are returning to fellowship, community friends who have been looking to heaven for answers are discovering new truth and coming into the Adventist family.
Operation Exponential Growth has been a strategic priority in Idaho for several years. In 2021, the Idaho Conference, in cooperation with the North Pacific Union Conference, began Operation Exponential Growth. The North Pacific Union provided two guest evangelists, assistance with getting Hispanic evangelists and financial resources to make plans a reality.
The conference identified five areas needed to produce Exponential Growth:
- Prayer: Exponential growth takes place when members are strongly connected to God.
- Revival/Revitalize: When we invite the Holy Spirit into our lives, we will experience true revival.
- Baptize/Disciple: Sharing God’s love with others is the natural result of revival.
- Plant: New churches will be strategically planted.
- Reclaim: When a member’s spiritual life has dwindled, it will be rekindled.
Operation Exponential Growth is working. Here are a few exciting examples of how the Holy Spirit is changing hearts.
Chris Evenson, Nampa Church pastor, led his church in praying the brochures mailed would get into the hands of those who are hungering for God. Those prayers worked. A woman had been out walking on a very clean path one day. She couldn't help noticing a flyer, lying alongside the path. She left it there, but when she got home, she felt impressed to go back and get the flyer. She was at the meeting that night and continued attending the series, led by Tyler Long, Washington Conference evangelism coordinator.
Steve Echelmeier, Middleton Church pastor, preached his own series. A couple had moved to the area — just a few blocks from the Middleton church. They had been praying about their spiritual needs and wondered what they should do. The flyer in the mail caught their attention. They believed it was an answer to prayer and attended every meeting. They were amazed to learn about the Sabbath and other Bible teachings. She was baptized and he joined by Profession of Faith.
Michael Zanghi is the husband of a recent new member at the Meridian Church. The church held meetings with Bill McClendon, NPUC vice president for administration, and Michael decided to attend. He was there faithfully and God spoke to his heart at each meeting. Church members had been praying for Michael for two years, so there was great joy in heaven and at the Meridian church when Michael was baptized.
The Baker City Church decided to spend 2021 focusing on Operation Exponential Growth's "reclaiming" element. They identified non-attending members and began actively reaching out to them. Friendships were developed and some are now attending church again.
Prior to the Hispanic evangelistic meetings held in the fall, church leaders were challenged by Gerald Margil, Hispanic ministries coordinator, to hold small group Bible studies in homes. People were energized by this idea. They were excited to attend meetings and prepare for baptism. Jose Alcantara had been attending the Heyburn Church for sevearl years. Many had prayed for him. He had been invited to be baptized but kept putting it off. Then one Sabbath, he stood up at church and said, “I want to be baptized!” Heyburn is a small church, but God can still work on hearts and bring people under conviction. Jose was baptized on Nov. 6, 2021.
The Ontario Church held a Discovering Revelation series led by their pastor, David Brown. At the end of one meeting, Jody Lake quietly came up to Brown and said, "Pastor, I too would like to be baptized. God has changed my life, and I want to commit my life fully to Him." She had faithfully attended each night but had given no prior indication of her decision. Brown said, “It reminds us of how silently and imperceptibly the Holy Spirit works when we cooperate with Him and go and make disciples.”
There are many across the Idaho Conference who have joined the Adventist church by baptism and profession of faith. And there are many more continuing to study. Every baptism and profession of faith represents a changed life — a victory for God’s kingdom. Praise God!
Operation Exponential Growth is not just a motto or phrase. It isn’t something you can check off a list. It is a perpetual commitment to obeying the gospel commission. It is church members working hand-in-hand with their pastor to present the gospel message throughout their communities.
There is sincere gratitude for everyone who has been engaged through prayer ministry, giving Bible studies, following up on Bible study leads and assisting with outreach meetings.
Operation Exponential Growth continues in 2022 with several meetings beginning on April 9 and more later in the year. These meetings will be presented by Idaho pastors as well as guest evangelists. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, there is anticipation for many more decisions made for the kingdom!
The words of Jesus motivate those working for Operation Exponential Growth.“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).