ASI Convention Draws Record Numbers

October 01, 2011 | Conna Bond

Record numbers of attendees and exhibitors participated in the 2011 Adventist-laymen's Services & Industries International Convention Aug. 3–6 at the Sacramento (Calif.) Convention Center. They also gave approximately $2.1 million — well above the $1.5 million goal — to support 47 carefully selected ministry projects around the world, despite a volatile economy and uncertain times. Significant support and attendance from California locals seemed to drive numbers higher this year.

Extra chairs had to be set up for the more than 3,300 people who came to hear Ted N.C. Wilson, Adventist world church president, on Sabbath morning. The exhibit hall had a record-breaking 338 booths representing 221 ministries and organizations from all over the world.

The eight general session speakers and 24 seminar presenters spoke with notable urgency. On Friday night, Ivor Myers, a central California pastor and ministry leader, packed the entire Great Controversy theme, including all major doctrines and prophecies, into 38 breathtaking minutes that left listeners with a clearer understanding of the significance of the Adventist movement.

ASI conventions are rife with networking opportunities. Ron and Marta Davis, managers of Better Life Broadcasting Network in Grants Pass, Ore., say, "It's always so inspirational to hear how God is using just ordinary folk to share the gospel in so many ways and in so many places ... We always come away inspired to continue to seek God and go forward in faith."

Many convention attendees who have never experienced a sense of calling find themselves establishing medical outreach centers in Zimbabwe, ministering to the needs of orphans in Haiti, or simply sharing their faith with friends in their inner circle with new purpose and understanding. Paul Karmy, a cement business owner from Burleson, Texas, started a Christian radio station in the Dallas/Ft. Worth (Texas) metro area, based on interactions he had while manning an ASI convention exhibit booth.

During the convention, ASI officers were elected or re-elected for two-year terms, with Frank Fournier of Eden Valley Institute in Loveland, Colo., taking the helm as president. "My heart's burden is to bring the focus around to spiritual preparation of God's people to ensure success in our ministries," says Fournier.

General sessions and seminars from the convention will be available for online viewing or download on the ASI website Next year's convention will be held Aug. 8–11 in Dallas, Texas.