The Anchorage Northside Seventh-day Adventist Church decided to do a unique series of prophecy seminars aimed at not only Biblical truth but spiritual friendship as well. The seminars were held in the fellowship hall with the round tables that seated approximately eight people. Each table had a lesson facilitator and assistant. At the beginning of the session the attendees were led through the beginning of a lesson by a table facilitator. Then after about fifteen minutes of study and discussion I would interject with 30 minute presentation on the evenings subject. The last few minutes the facilitators again led their tables in the study of the lesson. The evening wrapped up in an hour to an hour and a half.
Our seminars consistently had around 40 to 50 participants. About 12 of them were non-baptized guests who were intrigued with the message of hope the Bible portrays through prophecy. It was enjoyable to watch the tables in action from two counts. The first was the new people opening up to wider and deeper understandings of Christ. They were constantly amazed and challenged by what they learned. The second was watching the member facilitators shepherd their tables through the studies gaining confidence in the Word and in their friendships with the attendees.
The overall results were not as high as anticipated from a baptismal perspective. There were two baptisms and 4 rebaptisms. However the impact on the members who facilitated was profound. They felt the weight of shepherding other people through the Three Angels’ Messages and really felt engaged with soul-winning. One gentleman said, “I’ve been through all this before but I got the most out of this this time.” This was pretty much the summary of everyone involved.
We learned quite a bit about doing meetings this way. It was the first time for most of us so we did make some mistakes. However, we do look forward to correcting those and doing another one. The one profound take away was that more members were involved in the actual getting the information out, which led to more interaction with the attendees. This dramatically helped to build the relational aspect to the meetings. By God’s grace in Christ and the empowering of His Spirit we will grow soul-winners at Northside.