“That will never work here because we are a different culture.”
“But have we ever tried some of the things they are doing that are working?”
“Well, maybe not, but I’m sure in a secular, affluent, materialistic, post-modern society that the things they do in Mexico and Peru and other places will never work.”
I was convinced once again, through my conversation with another self-fulfilling prophet of failure, that the greatest barrier to reaching American society with the Seventh-day Adventist message and movement is not in the minds of pre-Adventists but in the minds of some Adventists!
Since I’ve had the privilege of traveling to many parts of the world where the Adventist movement is growing rapidly, I have collected ideas and experimented with them back home in the US. Where they are used with flexibility they work here, too!
As this post is published I’m in Peru with 85 Americans, preaching in 52 sites throughout the city of Trujillo. Besides helping with soul winning I hope we are training soul winners for back home that have the faith to believe that God will use them to make a difference on both continents.
I will share (below) some of my sketchy notes about key lessons learned from several parts of the world. I encourage you to experiment with some of these ideas, or others you have picked up from Continue reading
The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the numerical growth of the Body of Christ, the renewal of existing churches, and the overall impact of that Body on the culture of any city.
Nothing else—neither crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, mega-churches, consulting, nor church renewal processes— will have the consistent impact that dynamic, extensive church planting has. This is an eyebrow raising statement, I know. But to those who have done any study of the subject, it is not even controversial.
Tim Keller, The Cutting Edge Magazine (Vol. 9:2)
The West Plains Seventh-day Adventist Church has over 30 thousand people living within a 5 mile radius that we are charged with taking the Adventist message to. At the time of our church organization this fall, we had over 30 people sign our charter membership list.
Sabbath, Dec. 5, Thirty-one members accepted the challenge to give Bible studies in the coming year (2010). We will complete the training for this group on December 19, with Steve Rogers “Fishing Tips” on giving Bible studies.
The West Plain Church has also agreed to the Upper Columbia Conference Share the Life proposal which includes a call to personal and corporate revival and reformation and hiring a Bible Worker Coordinator who will help equip, resource and support these members in their Bible work.
“53 countries have more than 10,000 people for every Adventist. 20 countries have more than 100,000 people per Adventist. 10 countries report more than 1,000,000 people per Adventist.
Let me illustrate it another way. Let’s pretend we can climb the tallest building in South America and have all the people living in the South American Division file by one per second, single file, 24 hours a day. How often would we see a Seventh-day Adventist walk past? Every 1.9 minutes.
But if we climbed the Mount of Olives in Israel (or the mountains of Central Asia) we would have to wait 148 minutes (2.5 hours) between every Adventist. And if you came with me to Egypt and we sat on a pyramid and had the people of Egypt Continue reading
Ten thousand dollars ($10,000) will soon be presented to the Oregon Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on behalf of the Keizer Spanish SDA Company as part of the 30-30-30 Church Planting Assistance Plan. This is the second NPUC church to qualify. (The first was the White Center Spanish SDA Church.) God has been working in a remarkable way among the Spanish-speakers of the Keizer community near Salem, Oregon. Here are some highlights—
Keiser- Meeting as a lay-led initiative in a house that they soon outgrew, they moved to a church and were organized in the June 2009, almost 100 people attend on Sabbath. From the beginning the leadership was strong and committed. Continue reading
On Sabbath October 17, 2009 I had the privilege of meeting with one of our newer church plants in the Washington Conference, the Southcenter Adventist Company.
Here are a few of my observations from that wonderful experience–
- Multi-cultural Group- “Since heaven will be multicultural we decided we ought to prepare for it here” one of the church leaders said with a smile. “Although many of us came from the Korean church we now represent many cultures and countries.” The pastor is Filipino, the elder if Chinese and the deacon is Korean. A number of other Asian, African and American groups are represented, all bringing something unique to the congregation. During the World Missions time in Sabbath School several members were able to tell direct personal stories of recent visits to relatives in China, etc.
- Youthful, Family-focused Church– The congregation has a feeling of life and energy as infants, toddlers and adolescents participate in their children’s Sabbath School classes, the worship service and, of course, potluck. I had been asked specifically to preach about how to strengthen the home and family through family worship and other activities.
- Warm and friendly– I was greeted by several young men at the door as I entered the church. The three Sabbath School adult groups all reached out to those who came a little late, inviting them to join their group. One young man who was in his fifth day off drugs Continue reading
We need more lay members like Allison Downs. North American Division President Don Schneider reports seeing Allison at the Ontario Conference Campmeeting this summer. She is planning to plant a church at Moosenee, on St. John’s Bay four hours from her house! Since there are no roads Continue reading
“Since this post office box is for a new Seventh-day Adventist Church, can you find us one with lots of sevens in the number?” I jokingly asked the postal clerk.
He smiled. “I’ll see what I can do.”
We had recently planted the Abundant Life Seventh-day Adventist Church in Wenatchee, Washington as an effort to involve more members in ministry and to have more points of contact with the community. Our volunteer secretary, Amber Barber, told me they needed my signature to rent a post office box so we met at the post office one afternoon. Looking at the five sizes of boxes we decided to rent the second smallest size, and then waited in line for the first available clerk to help us.
When it was our turn to go to the counter a friendly man with the name “Emery” on his badge offered assistance. “Let me see what box numbers are available for that size box.”
Soon he returned with a list of about a dozen possibilities. Pointing at the first number on the list he said “Here’s one with some sevens in it.”
“P. O. Box 1774. That’s a good one,” I responded.
“Or you might be interested in this one.” He pointed to a number farther down his list.
The number jumped out at me. “How did you know we might want P. O. Box 1844*?” I asked amazed. Continue reading
It started last fall with a Spokane area bus wrapped with the giant question “Did you used to go to church? Tell me why you quit” and a website www.WhyIQuitChurch.com. With a large response to the online survey, many saying they had drifted away rather than outright rejected the church, and public showings of the movie “Lord, Save Me From Your Followers” an growing group of interests were formed. Now project coordinator Dave Livemore, Upper Columbia Conference Personal Evangelism & Discipleship Coordinator, reports that they are exploring the possibility of planting a new Seventh-day Adventist Church with the growing group of interests and those from existing churches who have a special passion for this ministry. Stay tuned to see what God does.
The White Center Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church in Seattle, Washington is the first church plant to qualify for a $10,000 grant from the NPUC under the new 30-30-30 Church Planting assistance guidelines.
Organized as a church May 9, 2009 with 145 members, the White Center congregation is focused on taking the Adventist message to the 43,000 Hispanics within a five mile radius of where they are located in Seattle, WA. Working in cooperation with their conference and union leaders, thirty of their members have been trained and equipped to give Bible studies and are actively involved in giving Bible studies this year.
Here are four of the factors in their rapid growth–
- Week of Reaping every month. Every month the group has a Week of Reaping, allowing those who were baptized last month to bring their friends to be make decisions for baptism this month, and then to bring their friends the following month.
- Weekly Small Groups. Every Friday evening Continue reading