Why Not Try This? …Add a “Local & Global Mission” time to Your Sabbath Morning Service

One of the most difficult things a Seventh-day Adventist pastor or church can do is to change the schedule or order of worship on Sabbath mornings. Somehow many people think there is something sacred about which part of the service comes first, second or third.

With this in mind, I am still going to suggest that you talk with your church board(s) about adding a “Local & Global Mission” time to your Sabbath morning schedule. You see, in the early Adventist church the Sabbath School program had a World Mission segment and emphasis. Fortunately many of our churches still have this in some form. And for many years the worship service was preceded with the “Home Missionary,” “Lay Activities” or “Personal Ministries” period.

Somehow both of these vital segments have gotten crowded out in many of our churches. Without these weekly reminders of what God is doing through His church locally and around the world, many of our new members and younger generations are not catching the vision of a worldwide movement and a God who is at work all around us locally in the lives of the members.

Why not talk with your church board(s) about adding a 15-20 minute segment between Sabbath School and Worship Service, perhaps from 10:35 to 10:55am? Each Sabbath there could be 5-10 minutes of local missions focus and another 5-10 minutes of Global Missions focus. The Personal Ministries Leader could assist in coordinating the Local Missions time and the Sabbath School superintendent could assist in coordinating the Global Missions time.

What would the Local Missions time look like? Here are some suggestions-

1)     Newly baptized interview. Have a brief testimony or interview by someone who has recently been baptized,

2)     Baptism. Conduct a baptism.

3)     Interview Ministry Leader. Interview a ministry leader, such as Pathfinder, Adventurers, Community Services, Bible Study coordinator, Men’s Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Greeters Ministry on what God is doing through that ministry to change lives.

4)     Newly Transferred Member. Interview a family who has recently transferred to your church, asking them how they became Seventh-day Adventist Christians.

5)     Bible Study Leader. Interview someone who is giving Bible studies or leads a Bible study group.

6)     Ministry Video Clip. Show a video clip from one of your ministries.

7)     Stewardship Testimony. Have a brief stewardship testimony about how God has been faithful when His gifts are managed the way He has instructed.

8)     Sabbath Blessing Testimony. Interview someone about how they learned about the Sabbath and what a blessing it has been in their lives.

9)     Hope in Tragedy. Interview someone about how God helped them deal with a tragic loss.

10) Community Leader Award. Present an award to a community leader who has made a valuable contribution to the good of society and have several church leaders pray for their service to God and mankind.

11) Soul Winning Plans. Talk about up-coming soul winning plans in the district.

12) Report on recent soul winning activities. Give an update about that literature distribution effort, the church-wide outreach last week, or the various Bible studies that are going on currently.

13) Group Intercessory Prayer for the Community. The congregation can be invited to pray in groups of two or three for the people in the community who are in need, asking God to bless them and to help the church come in contact with them so that Jesus can be shared.

14) Praise & Sharing Time. With a roving microphone, invite people to share what God has done in their lives during the past week or two.

15) Church School Outreach & Soul Winning. Most Adventist church schools have regular outreach and soul winning activities. Interview some of the students and/or teachers about a recent activity.

What would the Global Missions time look like? Here are some suggestions-

1)     Adventist Mission DVD Segments. Show a segment from the Adventist Missions DVD sent to every Adventist church in North America each quarter. There are usually 6-10 segments, ranging in length from one minute to ten minutes. Each quarterly DVD has enough material for half a dozen Sabbaths!

2)     Continued Mission Story.Have a good story teller tell a short installment of a continued mission story from a book such as “Singer on the Sand,” “Taught by a Tiger,” “Nyla and the White Crocodile,” “Jungle Thorn,” “Fire on the Mountain,” “Clever Queen,” or any of the other great mission story books found in most Adventist church libraries. Most of these books have about 10-13 chapters. If someone told a 5-10 minute story from each chapter you would have spellbinding mission action every week for an entire quarter! You would probably see attendance increase, too, as children begged their parents to take them to church!

3)     NW Spotlight on Mission. Each quarter the NPUC sends a “Northwest Spotlight on Mission” DVD to every 1st elder and Sabbath School Superintendent in the Northwest. Each DVD has 1-5 short story segments that can be shown over several Sabbaths.

4)     Missionary or Student Missionary. Interview a visiting or returned missionary or student missionary. Ask them to show pictures for a vespers program later in the day.

5)     Short-term Mission Trip Report. Show a few pictures from a recent short-term mission trip and invite the congregation to a longer program at vespers that day.

6)     Adventist Mission Website Resources.http://www.adventistmission.org/ has lots of resources that can be used, including-

i)        Quarterly Mission Magazine Stories for each week of the quarter

ii)      Inside Stories which are found each week in the Adult Bible Study Guides

iii)     DVD Stories

iv)    “Life of a Missionary” stories from those who are serving currently

v)     Articles on Mission

vi)    A map with links to each of the world division’s websites.

vii) Various other resources such as audio, books, links, puzzles, etc.

7)     Pray for God’s Work in Specific Countries. On the back of the Adult Bible Study Guide each quarter is a map of the World Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that is the special focus. Each Sabbath invite the congregation in groups of twos or threes to pray for God’s work in a specific country.

8)     Send literature to a mission field. From time to time the Adventist Review magazine lists requests for literature from around the world. Invite members to bring the items needed so they can be prayed for and sent out the coming week.

9)     Dedication prayer for those going on a mission trip. Do you have someone who is going on a short term mission trip or a student missionary assignment? Why not invite them to the front to share what special requests they have and ask several church leaders to pray for them?

What do we hope to accomplish by having a regular “Local & Global Mission” Time each Sabbath morning? We hope to inspire the members of our congregations to actively participate in sharing the Three Angels Messages in their neighborhoods, communities, cities and around the world.

“The message of the third angel is a world-wide message. It is to go to foreign lands; it is to be preached in the home field. Into cities and towns and villages, into the highways and hedges, the light of truth is to be carried. In all these places there are those whose minds are receptive, and whose hearts are ready to respond to the appeals of the Spirit of God. These will welcome the truth if they have opportunity to hear. God is waiting for His peopleto bear to them the message of Him who died–the just for the unjust. He desires to work through men and women who, losing sight of self in Christ, are content to say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” {AUCR, April 15, 1912 par. 4}

Once you integrate a “Local & Global Mission” time into your Sabbath morning service you will wonder how you ever got along without it. People will look forward to hearing and sharing what God is doing in their lives and around the world. Children will be inspired to work for God now and to decide to be missionaries when they grow up. Guests will witness God at work in your congregation and recognize that, even if the church is small, it is part of a worldwide movement. As the bolder ones in the congregation share, those who are more shy will find courage to tell what God is doing in their lives, too. And God’s work will be enlarged because of the continued focus on missions- foreign and at home- that your church is offering.

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

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