Building Soul Winning Momentum in the NPUC

 How long would it really take to give every person in the Northwest a chance to know Jesus, hear the Adventist message and join a vibrant Adventist group? That is probably the most important question we as church leaders can continue to address.

Here is an article that will appear in an upcoming issue of the North Pacific Union Gleaner. (Read the Gleaner article here.) Please pray and begin thinking of what a local Momentum Team could do to help your church, school or institution initiate two harvest cycles a year for the next five years.

Building Soul Winning Momentum in the Northwest

mo·men·tum (m -m n t m)   Strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events

          e.g. “So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.” Acts 16:5

in·er·tia   ( -nûr sh )   Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change; Laodiceanism

          e.g. “So, because you are lukewarm– neither hot nor cold– I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Revelation 3:16-17

Question #1. This past spring, 2006, the Kalispell, Montana Seventh-day Adventist congregation, led by Pastor Tom Glatts, went all out to let their community know about Jesus and the Adventist message. They shared their faith with neighbors and friends and sent out tens of thousands of handbills for an evangelistic series by the NPUC Evangelistic team of Jac & ‘dena Colon. When it was all said and done, by God’s grace there were about forty new members of the Adventist movement! Here’s the question-When should the Kalispell church have their next public evangelistic series?

  • a) In twelve years, when it is their turn to have an NPUC evangelist again.
  • b) In five years, when they have saved enough money to invite an Amazing Facts evangelist.
  • c) In a year and a half, when the church members aren’t tired from so much evangelistic effort.
  • d) This fall.

Question #2. This past June Lizzie Johnson graduated from Portland Adventist Academy. For a year and a half she has served as a volunteer assistant pastor of the Mt. Tabor Seventh-day Adventist Church at the invitation of her pastor, Bob Dale. She gained experience visiting, giving Bible studies and preaching. She and a few other youth in the church even held their own evangelistic series, taking turns speaking. When she was trying to decide what to do for her senior project Pastor Dale suggested she write a set of baptismal guides that youth could use to study with their friends. She wrote and published her baptismal manual,[1] covering all fundamental Adventist beliefs, including the remnant, the sanctuary, stewardship and Christian standards, with a Christ-centered, Bible-based, teenage focus. This fall she will begin studying theology at one of our Adventist colleges. Lizzie said at her academy graduation she would love to preach her own evangelistic series. Here’s the question- When should Lizzie be given the opportunity to preach that series?

  • a) When she graduates from the seminary.
  • b) When she finishes her theology studies in college.
  • c) When she is a student pastor during her college studies.
  • d) This fall.

How we answer these two questions depends on our attitude toward the Adventist message and mission, who we think ought to be involved in taking the Adventist message to all the world in this generation, and what we understand about how people make decisions to embrace the Adventist message and unite with the movement.

There are about 13 million people in the North Pacific Union Conference (NPUC) territory[2] and about 90,000 Seventh-day Adventists, or 1 Adventist for every 144 people.

How long would it really take to give every person in the Northwest a chance to know Jesus, hear the Adventist message and join a vibrant Adventist group? This is what church leaders throughout the Northwest have been discussing in earnest recently.

For years the NPUC has been very active in Global Evangelism. Every year hundreds of academy and college students and laymen spend their spring break or vacation in taking the Adventist message to many corners of the globe. In addition, Walla Walla College sends out about 100 Student Missionaries each year. And the NPUC Office Staff, led by Jere Patzer, president, have assisted with large scale evangelistic series, often with satellite uplinks, in Bolivia (2006), India (2005), Philippines & Brazil (2004), Dominican Republic (2003), Guatemala, Africa and Russia.

On these mission trips it became increasingly clear that God has people in every culture waiting to be gathered into the Adventist movement, and that when church members, pastors and teachers work together to win souls there is a much larger harvest. Mission Trip participants also noticed that in the parts of the world where the Adventist church is growing there is a continual involvement by the churches and schools in soul winning.

This has caused church leaders to ask what can be done to have a greater impact for God back home in the Northwest.

They have adopted a plan, called “Building Soul Winning Momentum,” which challenges every church, school and institution to be involved in two harvest cycles a year for the next five years, beginning in 2007. Not just another program, it is an attitude toward the Gospel Commission, the role of the church and each member, and the importance of being involved continually in some aspect of the harvest. It includes a plan to reach the ten largest cities, to provide soul winning tools for youth and laymen, and local and satellite reaping resources twice a year.

Every church member will be invited to participate in intercessory prayer for those they hope to reach with the Adventist message. They will be encouraged to find a missionary partner to reach out together with and form a small Bible study or ministry group. Lay members and youth will be encouraged to hold short reaping meetings followed by an eight night satellite meeting coming from one of the ten largest cities in the Northwest. Those baptized from the reaping meetings will be invited to begin praying for their family and friends as the next harvest cycle begins. There are plans to have two cycles a year for five years, until soul winning becomes a lifestyle in all the churches, schools and institutions of the Northwest.

“Those who take up their appointed work will not only be a blessing to others, but they will themselves be blessed. The consciousness of duty well done will have a reflex influence upon their own souls. The despondent will forget their despondency, the weak will become strong, the ignorant intelligent, and all will find an unfailing helper in Him who has called them.”  {Ministry of Healing p. 148.3}

You can expect to hear more and more about this exciting opportunity to take the Adventist message to everyone in this generation.

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14

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What are people saying where the Adventist message is spreading rapidly? They know what they’re talking about-

  • 1. “Evangelism & Soul Winning is not a department of the church; it is the LIFE of the church. Either a church has life or it doesn’t. And small groups are not a program of the church; they are a LIFESTYLE for a church that wants to grow.”

— Melchor Ferreyra, president of the Adventist Church in Peru, one of the fastest growing fields in the world (in April he became Executive Secretary of the South American Division)

  • 2. “Each church needs to be an evangelistic organization that does church well rather than a church that does evangelism and soul winning every few years”

— Bill McClendon, pastor of the South Tulsa Adventist Fellowship, one of the fastest growing English-speaking Adventist churches in North America. Every year every one of the 100,000+ homes in Tulsa receives at least five invitations to Bible meetings held by the church. Every new member is immediately involved in ministry and helps with a reaping series within a few months of being baptized.

  • 3. “In the Old Testament times the people of God followed the Sabbatical year cycle- six years of work then rest on the seventh. Unfortunately many North American Adventist churches today follow the reverse Sabbatical cycle- six years of rest and then some evangelistic effort the seventh. Often they find it is so hard or frustrating that they wait another seven years before they try it again.”

– Ramon Canals, Evangelist and Assistant to the President of the NPUC for Hispanic Ministries

  • 4. “The character and importance of our work are judged by the efforts made to bring it before the public. When these efforts are so limited, the impression is given that the message we present is not worthy of notice.” {Evangelism p. 128.2}

– Ellen White, who personally helped start Adventist work on three continents

  • 5. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8

– Jesus Christ

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What can a local church (or academy) do to begin its first Harvest Cycle? Here’s a simple plan that can be easily adapted to any situation-

Dates- 2007 Church or School Activity Who Might Lead Out
January 6-12 Week of Fasting & Prayer 1st Elder (or Academy Bible Teacher/Chaplain)
January- March Small Groups- Church members (or students) find a partner and begin a small group ministry or Bible study to meet the needs of their non-member friends, relatives. neighbors and co-workers Personal Ministries Leader and/or Sabbath School Leader (or Academy SA, Class & Club Leaders)
April Reaping Meetings- 14 nights of reaping meetings Team of Seven (Lay Preacher or Pastor, Assistant Leader, Secretary-Treasurer, Deacon, Deaconess, Two Children’s Ministry Leaders)
April Satellite Reaping Meetings- 8 nights broadcast from one of the Ten Largest Cities in the Northwest Pastor or Lay Leader
May-June Friendship Triads- Two members team up with each new member to reach out to their friends and relatives Deacon and Deaconess (or Academy SA, Class & Club Leaders)
July 7-14 Week of Fasting & Prayer to begin the next Harvest Cycle 1st Elder (or Academy Bible Teacher/Chaplain)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20

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What can a church member do to become active in sharing their faith? Here’s a simple plan that can be easily adapted to any situation-

  • 1) Intercessory Prayer– Make a list of those you hope to reach with the Adventist message. Begin praying that God will bless them each day and open their hearts and minds to accept Jesus and embrace the message of His soon return.
  • 2) Missionary Partners- Find another church member of the same gender and ask them to become your missionary partner. They make a prayer list, too. Each week you meet with them to pray for the people on each others lists and to look for a way to demonstrate the love of Jesus to them.

•3)    Small Groups- As soon as possible begin a small group with your missionary partner and anyone else who will join, particularly anyone on your prayer lists. The group might be for friendship & prayer, ministry and/or Bible Studies. Some excellent Bible study guides are the Amazing Facts Basic Set and the Discover Bible Course.

•4)    Reaping Meetings- Bring your friends to reaping meetings at your church or alternate location to help them make decisions they will be proud of for eternity. If meetings are not scheduled soon then hold your own meetings in a living room or alternate location using videos or DVD materials.

•5)    Bible Classes- Encourage all newly baptized members and interests to become a regular part of a Bible Class on Sabbath morning during Sabbath School. Team up as a missionary partner with a new member as they make their own prayer lists of those they hope to reach with their new found relationship with Jesus and His church. Help them continue the cycle.

“I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” Philemon 1:6 NIV

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Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

Thought for the Day: NIV Daniel 7:22 until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.


[1] Titled “My Journey with Jesus” by Lizzie Johnson, available at http://www.lulu.com/ ID: 278500[2] The North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (NPUC) is comprised of six conferences (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Upper Columbia and Washington Conferences) that are united to take the Adventist message to everyone in their five state region (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington) and beyond.

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