by AT News Team
It was once known as the association of “self-supporting institutions,” schools and other ministries which the Seventh-day Adventist denomination does not control and for which it takes no financial responsibility. It has become “ASI,” the Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries group, an association of “supporting ministries” or independent nonprofit organizations that are loyal to the denomination and small businesses.
Its annual convention attracts up to 3,300 people each year and its exhibition hall is noted for demonstrating the wide variety of causes and concepts that Adventists in North America are involved with. The 2012 event is in Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center and runs this week, August 8 through 11.
Last year Elder Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference, preached on Sabbath morning at the convention. This year’s speakers include Shawn Boonstra, evangelism coordinator for the Adventist Church in North America, and John Bradshaw, director of the It Is Written television ministry. The other speakers are not denominational employees—Dr. Neil Nedley, president of Weimar Health and Education Center; Frank Fournier, president of Eden Valley Institute; Steve Wohlberg of White Horse Media; Chad Kreuzer of Anchor Point Films; and Steven Grabiner, president of Outpost Centers International. No women are among the announced preachers.
A major activity at these annual gatherings is a large offering which is distributed among projects submitted by various independent ministries, all members of ASI. Last year the offering totaled $2.1 million, according to the organization. Several members told Adventist Today there are hopes of an even larger offering this year.
Although ASI is open to Adventists across the board, requiring only that a local pastor sign off on the membership application, it is widely known for attracting a more conservative mindset. For example, the most widely known member organization is the independent television network, Three Angels Broadcasting. It will broadcast live coverage of the convention each evening from 7 to 9 p.m. (Eastern Time), Wednesday through Friday; and much of the day on Saturday, August 11. The signal is available on the Web, as well as by satellite and a few local cable channels.