Momentum – Admire the Journey

There are three pastors at the Beaverton Adventist Church as well as numerous members that are very involved with leading out in evangelism. Senior Pastor, Rodney Payne, asked me if I was interested in doing the evangelistic series in the spring of 2012. I indicated that I was, but I wanted it to be an experiment if I was to do it. I am 26 years old, and I watch many of my friends leave the church because it feels like such a large ceiling exists over their heads. What I mean by large ceiling is that church structure is heavy, and they feel like the leaders are wasting God’s money. There is currently an attitude of: “I’m spiritual but not religious.” While I agree with this idea that the structure of the church needs to reevaluate what it means to be relevant in 2012, I love this church and I’m trying to help it from the inside….not by leaving.

Of course now I live near Portland where this is the tone of much of the city. It is a very spiritual city, but church attendance is extremely low. My plan was to look at the growth of religion, its development, different religious concepts of the world, worldviews, etc. Then I was going to take that knowledge and compare it with the beliefs and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Global Church. When I look at these comparisons and the church as a whole, the church is doing pretty awesome! I believed and still do believe that we come through looking very God led and Mission minded.

Another aspect of the experimenting that I wanted to do was with some serious Facebook advertising to directly compare with mailings. I also made water bottles and labels that included the website; then I gave cases to church members to give out to fellow employees at their jobs. I designed and created the logo for the series trying to spark interest in a young generation based on the “coexist” bumper sticker theme. I also created a blog site with video conversations leading up to the event to build interest. Finally I offered an iPod shuffle raffle every night, and an iPad to anyone who attended 7 meetings. I learned quite a bit.

First I learned that Young Adults don’t want to come to 20 meetings. Second I learned that if you advertise online, you will most definitely get an “online” crowd. I have videoed each meeting and decided on night 7 to put them on the blog site, which didn’t hurt my attendance but did create a group of people following “from a distance.” Third I learned that mailings designed specifically to draw the foot traffic of young adults will still draw the 50+ community. I found that very odd considering that it didn’t seem to be a very upper age friendly design. The last thing I will mention learning so I can talk about conclusions is that I learned that unique evangelistic designs will result in approximately the same number of baptisms that traditional evangelism does although maybe a little younger baptismal candidates.

I learned a lot more than that, but I wanted to give you some of my conclusions. I think it is clear to me now that if we want to reach young adults and the college age with “series presentations,” then we should invest in making a series of full length feature films or cartoon series (anime style) that carefully transmit our message. I am actually thinking of writing a screenplay for our beliefs. I have also concluded that I will leave the blog site up with access to the videos online for a few years, because I have had a continual amount of traffic to the site (30-60 people per day). The beautiful thing about advertising on Facebook and hosting a blogsite is that you can monitor your traffic. That will give me a reason to continue praying that the Holy Spirit use my words in a powerful way!! (admirethejourney.com)

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