5 Questions for Emanuel Pelote
5 Questions for Emanuel Pelote Interview
by Celeste Ryan Blyden
Emanuel Pelote, the owner of Intelligent Design Systems, a technology consulting company that creates databases and web applications, lives in Washington, D.C., and attends Allegheny East Conference’s (AEC) Fourth Street Friendship church. Since taking up the mantel as president of the Columbia Union Chapter of Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (CUASI) last year, he’s been working with his board of business owners and ministry makers to find ways to increase membership. In an email interview, we sought to learn more about him and his passion for ministry:
Q: You run a technology company. Why are you pursuing a degree in pastoral ministry? A: I truly enjoy serving our clients through finding creative solutions to their business issues. But I have to tell you, that what really drives me, what gets me out of bed every day is this God-given passion to express God’s goodness to my family and to a world that is hurting for lack of His presence in their lives. I read a book recently called Follow Me by David Platt, where he makes the important point that knowing, loving and serving God is not a part of a Christian’s life; it is the entire heart, soul and foundation of a Christian’s life.
So when it comes to any profession or any business, especially in technology, we know that whatever we create will disappear in a short time and be replaced by something else. But when my business and my life are grounded in the mission of building the kingdom of Christ, the product of all of that effort will have lasting, eternal results. 1 Peter 2:9 is a clear calling to every man, woman, boy, girl, and, of course business owner, that we have been chosen to proclaim God’s praises out of gratitude for what He has done for us. So my business is just an expression of the calling God has given me as a believer.
Q: Why do you believe members are the key to changing the world for Christ?
A: I really love what Paul says in Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12, when he talks about the body of Christ working together. As Adventists, we understand the value of official church institutional structures. Yet a head in a body is of no use without the hands, the feet, the eyes and ears all working in harmony together. The Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, whether we are in church leadership or not, to work together to reveal His love to so many in this world that are lost without Him.
There are true tragedies and darkness around the world, and people have a right to wonder “Where is God?” God’s answer is us. The church institution was never designed to reach the world without us. There will never be enough pastors or money in the budget to do that. But through us---the members---God will bless our homes, businesses and careers abundantly enough that He can use them collectively to call many of the lost to come into a saving relationship with Him. We are the key, because it’s God’s plan that the world would find Him through us.
Q: How are you working to grow the CUASI chapter?
A: We’re focused on our mission, which, in a nutshell, is to encourage, empower and equip Adventists for ministry. For every Adventist who has ever felt that God had some kind of purpose for them, we’re growing a ministry here in Columbia Union that will encourage them in that endeavor. For example, I’ve spoken with physicians who felt sure that it was God who called them and got them through medical school, but later on felt themselves consumed with the business of medicine, and had lost their sense of mission in their work. We’ve been able to connect them with other physicians who are actively winning souls through their practices, to help them re-capture that flame. We also empower members by opening up opportunities for them to strategically collaborate with congregations across the union.
One of many examples I could give is Ed and Carol Williams’ Former Adventist Recovery Ministry, which focuses on reclaiming former members and provides an excellent example of that collaboration as the Chesapeake Conference has wholeheartedly embraced and supported their efforts. CUASI is engaged in equipping members through training, such as the evangelistic training we provide through the New Beginnings evangelistic series, and through our conferences. We also offer training to any congregation who would like to learn how to share the gospel as individuals, and the response has been fantastic. Our annual convention is designed to provide all three of these things for our attendees.
Q: Why do you hope members across our union will attend this year’s convention, April 17-19 in Bethesda, Md.?
A: Have you ever noticed that so many people just assume that the passion in their faith has to die down and grow a little colder the longer they remain in the church? Or that our life as Adventists isn’t supposed to continue to be life changing after the first couple years? A fellow ASI member just today quoted Proverbs 11:25 to me which says that “he who waters will be watered himself” (NIV). We want the Adventists of the Columbia Union to be truly alive for Christ, and we know that the way to do that is to answer His calling on our lives. That’s really why our theme this year is “Answering the Call.” When we come together and work together across cultures, conferences and congregations to answer His call, then He will breathe new life and power into His people.
Here’s a glance at our schedule:
Thursday – We will visit the General Conference, Ellen White Estate and have lunch at the GC Cafeteria. The convention opens Thursday evening with Ohio Conference’s Karl Haffner, one of my favorite pastors and authors.
Friday – We’ll offer 16 workshop sessions sharing tools for people who wish to answer God’s calling in their lives. There will be sessions on How to Start a Ministry, Natural Health practices, How to use the internet for ministry, Understanding the Adventist Blueprint for Ministry, Christian Leadership and others. Friday evening will feature a worship concert and a message from Pastor Gary Wimbish, a former law school dean in Baltimore, who now pastors Allegheny East’s Columbia Community Center in Columbia, Md.
Sabbath - Attendees will witness several examples of how God is literally doing miracles today through Adventists who are simply willing to answer the call on their lives. We’re very grateful that Dave Weigley, our Columbia Union President, was willing to actually re-arrange his schedule to join us and share the word of God for divine worship. On Sabbath afternoon, Robert Folkenberg, the former General Conference president, will lead a powerful Share Him presentation. Share Him is responsible for literally thousands of conversions to Christ every year, and transformed Adventist lives as well, because they gently guide you to the point where you are ready to win souls for Christ even if you’ve never done anything like it before! We will also collect an offering to support creative lay-ministry throughout our union. To register, including meals and overnight accommodations, just visit www.cuasi.org, and click on the convention link which will lead you to the online registration pages at AdventSource. Meals and hotel can be reserved through the registration page. The Sabbath service is open to all, so for those who are planning to drive in only for Sabbath, there is also an option to purchase meal tickets for the on-site, full-service buffet.
Q: What is the message of Isaiah 6:8, and what does it mean to you?
A: Isaiah 6:8 says, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me” (NKJV). That verse serves as the foundation for this year’s convention, and this passage says so much about what God is doing in His church. Isaiah had a vision of the majesty of God, and wanted to join in, but like many of us, he felt unworthy, unskilled, unable. But that’s when he was touched with a coal from the altar which had been covered by the blood of the Lamb, he was given strength to serve God. That’s my prayer for myself and for everyone who comes to this convention, that we will see God clearly, be touched by Him, and receive power and willingness to answer God’s call to them saying “Here am I! Send me.”