Category Archives: Soul Winning

Momentum – Re-inspire and Revive

by Dayv Lounsbury, Pastor of the Spokane Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

For over a year now the Spokane Central Church has been planning and preparing for these reaping meetings. Our primary focus was to reach those who were part of our interest list developed over the year. We have contacts with people from our many ministries like: God’s Closet, STEAM Ahead @ Discovery Junction, VBS, Kids Bible Club, Pathfinders, local outreach seminars, weekly Bible studies, small groups, and many from just our regular Sabbath worship services. We had about 30 active interests that we specifically were hoping would join our meetings in some way. About 10 actually did participate.

We also love how local evangelism re-inspires and revives our membership as well. So we also reached out to our inactive or infrequent members. We were very pleased to average about 90 adults and 10 kids for our meetings each evening. About 30 of these in regular attendance were part of our specific target group. And we continue to see growth and spiritual development from these contacts. We currently have 7 in active baptismal preparation and another 13 filled out decision cards saying they are “rededicating their lives to Jesus” in response to the meetings.

Our theory for the meetings was simple: construct them in a way that removes the normal barriers/excuses that people have to avoid them. By reducing the meetings to just Fri/Sab and sharing 2 topics on each night, we were able to share 17 fundamental teachings in 3 short weekends. By providing meals and childcare it made the meetings very accessible and enjoyable to all. We also kept the timeframe palatable by keeping them to 2 hours (6pm-8pm) and that included the meals. So the first presentation was from 6-6:45, meal from 6:45-7:15, and second presentation from 7:15-8pm. We had very few preliminaries or added “fill” and kept things simple. We had limited music, with just a “theme song” after the meal to welcome people back to their seats, and then wrapped up each evening with a special music presentation as people contemplated the topics heard that night.

I am VERY pleased with how things turned out. I currently project we will have 6-8 baptisms as God still moves on hearts and I am shocked at how many of our own members still tell me they have not heard some of these teachings before (even the lesson on eternal torment??) We have created a survey asking people to respond to how the meetings went and so far the responses are very favorable. Our fellowship hall proved the perfect venue for the evening meetings and our Outreach Team is excited to learn from this attempt and make it even better next time. Since our main target audience is our ongoing interest list, we avoided the normal large expense for public marketing, although we are not opposed to doing more of this in the future.

I am thankful to God for his protection, inspiration and blessings for allowing our church to hold these meetings. Our members are not exhausted (some are already asking “When can we do this again?”) and our interest list keeps growing. I know God still has great plans in store for our church as we follow him and are faithful to share His gospel with our community.

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Changed Lives – Couple Finds Truth at Adventist Prophecy Meetings

by Randy Maxwell, Pastor of the Renton Seventh-day Adventist Church

In early March of this year, Joe and Marilyn were watching TV when an advertisement for a “Revelation Speaks Peace” seminar caught their eye. The seminar was being held in Puyallup, Washington.

Marilyn, who had never heard of Voice of Prophecy or Shawn Boonstra, suggested to Joe that he invite their friend, Bruce, to go with him on opening night to see if it was worthwhile as Puyallup was a long way to drive with Seattle traffic congestion.

Joe went to the seminar and came back home that night very excited about what he heard. The couple attended as many nights as they could and learned from Pastor Boonstra how perfectly clear the Bible can be when allowed to speak for itself. “We learned about the Sabbath,” said Marilyn, “and the Holy Spirit spoke to our hearts that we had been attending church on the wrong day.”

Encouraged to find a Seventh-day Adventist Church in their area, they began a search and attended three Adventist churches—one of those was Renton SDA. “We had a checklist: Are the people friendly? Does the message line up with the Bible? Are they talking about prophecy and how it relates to what’s happening in the world today? Renton SDA checked every box on our list.”

On October 5, Renton pastor Randy Maxwell began a prophecy seminar entitled, “Unlocking the Mysteries of Prophecy.” The timing was perfect for Joe and Marilyn, who were having their new-found faith confirmed in Bible studies conducted by the Renton Bible Worker and at the meetings.

Each presentation was followed by a short health talk, a nutritious snack, and a question and answer period. “Pastor Randy Maxwell is a very gifted pastor and speaks directly from the Bible and makes it relevant to what is happening in the world today,” said Marilyn. “We met his wife Suzette and discovered that she and Pastor Randy have a true heart for people and the Word of God.”

Before the Boonstra meetings, they had been searching for truth two years! “We attended four different churches and none were teaching the full Bible like the Seventh-day Adventists!”

On October 28, Pastor Maxwell, accompanied by the Bible Worker, baptized the couple a week before the prophecy series concluded. “Joe and Marilyn are enthusiastic witnesses for Jesus,” says Maxwell. “They are excited about the truth and it was a thrill to baptize them into Christ and His remnant church,”

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Momentum – The Summer that Changed Everything

by Terrance Taylor, Pastor of the Pasco Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church

Summer was approaching and I was looking forward to it! Not that much of a shock, right? Who isn’t looking forward to the summer? Almost everyone I know already has something planned for the summer. Vacations, weddings, road trips, you name it…any reason to get away is a good reason. While the summer is exciting for most people, it’s the absolute worst time for a Pastor.

Pastors know that when summer comes around, their members usually don’t. Attendance is down, giving is down, and the church seems to be on Sabbatical. Except for the occasional VBS program lead by some extremely driven person, everyone else is M.I.A. The best pastors can do is try to overlook the obvious and plan for the fall.

So why was I looking forward to the summer? For the last three years, I noticed a trend in my church that I almost missed. As we have become increasingly less inward focused and more outreached focused as a church, we have adjusted our ministry plans to the pace and personality of our local community. And what we discovered was the summer and winter seasons were actually the best times of the year for Evangelism. Evangelism for us simply means, sharing the Good News with people who have never heard it before. This makes our target demographic very specific and gives us a strategy that requires us to be prayerful, creative, and responsible. This keeps the focus off ourselves and motivates us to leave our building and be in our community.

Ministry of Healing pg 143-144 provides the best strategy that we have found to engage with those around us in a healthy way, “Christ Method Alone!” Christ Method Alone has  become the core value of our ministry practice. It reverses the order of what we had typically done without compromising our vision and mission. Christ Method Alone takes time, ingenuity, and sacrifice. There’s no silver bullet. No cheat code. Nothing about this is easy. But it is rewarding! Being Jesus to someone you are building a relationship with is so much more fulfilling than telling someone about Jesus that is essentially a stranger. It’s David with a slingshot vs Rambo with a machine gun. Getting close instead of getting lucky!

I was really looking forward to the Summer! Our calendar for the summer was full and it was going to be exhausting. We planned nine outreach events, live streamed our service, added an evening worship service offered at 6pm, and moved our service time back two hours from 11am to 1pm. We planned more in nine weeks than we had done in the previous two years combined.

About halfway through the summer I was thinking to myself, “what did I get myself into?” Signs of the summer slide began to show. The faithful few began to get stronger and stronger while others seemed to rail behind, unable to keep up with the pace. I was out of timeouts and I was ready to throw a Hail Mary and get this game over with…until week seven.

There was a young couple with children that had not attended church in over a year and a half. Despite the many calls and facebook likes, life seemed to have their hands tied behind their backs and church was out of reach. Until week seven. Our 6pm service was new and not very well attended by the church. I tried to stay excited about it but it was becoming harder and harder to do. Finally…week seven came. Week seven…halfway through the service…at about 6:20pm…I saw them walk in. They walked in like they were looking at the house they grew up in. Filled with nostalgia, being reminded of things they had forgotten, noticing what had been painted or moved. I saw a smile. I gave a wink and a nod to say hello…and to say thank you. Thank you for giving me my strength back. Thank you for allowing God to bring you to remind me of why we signed up for this summer maddness. Thank you for the strength and courage to get ready for week eight.

 

Fast forward. They’re still coming! Three other families that weren’t coming, came back, and are still coming! The church has a new energy and a renewed focus to our mission. Evangelism may not be easy, but it simple. I’ve learned that taking risks and being willing to fail is a great way to learn. New things come with new methods and new expectations. Change happens when you want it to happen, either on purpose or by accident. This summer changed everything, I’m glad it’s over, because I’m looking forward to the next one.

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Changed Lives – A Treasure Book at a Thrift Store

It all began for Larry one day when he went to a local Seattle Thrift Store. He was browsing the books when a particular one caught his attention. It was the book The Great Controversy. Larry opened and perused the pages and what he was reading got him so interested that he purchased the book. He was fascinated by the Bible prophecy content of the book as well as their precise fulfillment.

On the last week of September 2017, Larry received a Revelation: The Final Events Seminar handbill through the mail. He was excited to attend and even invited his wife, Vicky, to go with him. The first weekend of the seminar was held at a community hall in Seattle, not very far from where they live. From the very first presentation they attended, Larry and Vicky felt convicted that what they were learning was Bible-based. They decided to keep coming night after night.

Before the seminar venue was moved to the Greater Seattle Filipino American Seventh-day Adventist Church, Larry had a chat with the seminar presenter, Pastor Eddie General. He told the pastor how much he appreciated the seminar presentations. He also mentioned to him that the seminar presentation content was very similar with what he was learning from The Great Controversy.

Larry and Vicky came and attended presentation after presentation. During the message about the Seventh-day Sabbath and Baptism they both decided to follow Jesus all the way, embracing all the Bible teachings they were learning . They were even more delighted to learn that Ellen G. White who wrote the book they had been reading, was chosen by God to receive the spirit of prophecy gift to guide and bless God’s remnant church-the very same church they would be joining.

Larry and Vicky, with 7 more individuals, were baptized on November 25,2017. They are excited, not just to learn about the Bible teachings they now have, but also to share them with others as God provides the opportunities.

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Momentum – Win Souls, Be Wise (Proverbs 11:30)

by Viorel Negoi, Pastor of the Grandview Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Grandview SDA Church has strong leaders and friendly members. They network with each other throughout the week. Also, every child, youth, or adult who attends this church is very much appreciated. Representatives of various age groups, ethnic backgrounds, and social statuses are the strength of our membership. Furthermore the neighboring community recognizes the hospitality of our local church for helping struggling families with work on the farm, finances to pursue Christian education, finding jobs, overcoming drug addiction, and getting food.

There is something to do for every member of our small congregation. Everybody is encouraged to participate in an uplifting Sabbath worship service, to enjoy monthly vespers and gym night games, summer outdoor church, camping, and nature walks. An intentional caring ministry is extended weekly to friends through the Grandview Adventist Junior Academy and Food Bank.

Constant outreach efforts by pastor, church leaders, and members focus on reclaiming three families of missing members, several former Adventists and non-Adventist graduates of GAJA. Church members are great in witnessing to their relatives and friends. At our prophecy seminar more than 30 visitors attended the presentations. Three young people were baptized, and two adults were re-baptized. All member involvement, or friendship evangelism, and felt-need ministry, are key factors in retaining visitors.

We are committed to continue a healthy relationship with the surrounding SDA congregations. In the past, significant support was provided by church leaders and members to help raise the Spanish work in Grandview and Sunnyside and the same continues today in making sure that both the English and Spanish work expand. There is a healthy relationship between members of the English and Spanish congregations on a weekly basis. There is also a strong bond with both Prosser and Sunnyside congregations at the Food Banks in operating facilities of and presence at school events, gym activities, and in conducting prophecy seminars.

 

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Momentum – WWU Theology Student Mentoring Reports

Over the 2016/2017 school year there were 8 Walla Walla University students who participated in the Theology Student Mentoring Program. These are their stories:

Joel Barajas

Words cannot express how blessed I have been a part of the City Church family and learned from Pastor Mike Bamett. In the beginning of this journey, I was a bit hesitant in working with Pastor Mike because we have different personalities, but we have the same mission and that is to share Jesus to the people we come in contact with. Pastor Mike has started a high school ministry within the City Church, but it is with public school students that are not Adventist, which was perfect because I went to public school all my life. After meeting the youth, I noticed that our backgrounds were very different. They came from broken homes, parents in and out of jail, separated parents, and abused both physically and emotionally.

I had a difficult time with connecting to them, but God created me with the ability to share a laugh and a smile with broken people. With the gift of humor that God has given me, it didn’t take long for them to warm up to me, especially Tyler. Tyler is a high school super senior that has been searching for his identity in Christ and for a sense of purpose. He opened up to me and shared his past experience in school and his home life. Although they made me sick to my stomach because no one should have to go through the situations these kids have gone through, I was able to share with them of the Gospel of our soon returning Savior. I thought I was there to help the kids get closer to God, but they have shown me that even though we have different paths, we all have a Savior that is by our side through the bad and the good.

Being a part of three other ministries on campus and being invited to go preach around Washington, I had a difficult time connecting with the Adventist youth within the City Church because my Sabbaths have been hectic this year. Pastor Mike has given me opportunities to lead the youth Sabbath school and allowed me to preach for the congregation three times this year. I focused my sermons on the youth and encouraged them to stay in the church with my testimony, treat others with love, and be unashamed for what Jesus has done for them. I feel that God has truly worked through me during my time at City Church and I have received valuable information from Pastor Mike.

 

Matthew Cosaert

It takes some time to get to know a high-school student. Though I have Continue reading

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Momentum – Reaping at the Elma Church

The Elma Seventh-day Adventist Church moved forward with a reaping series presented by Pastor Ryan Whitehead. As the series grew closer, the members’ names in which they were praying for increased. In the small Elma church of about 15 attending there were over 80 names being prayed for on a consistent basis. When the series began, there were 8 individuals who consistently came throughout the meetings. 3 of these were family members of present members. 3 saw a flyer and came as a family. The other 2 were a couple who were attending infrequently, but during the meetings enjoyed a break from their children.

Throughout the series, these 8 individuals were joined by many others on different nights. The overall result of the meetings was an opportunity for church members to grow and be reaffirmed in their experience with God. Several were able to see their family members be convicted about what they heard and thus start to plug in consistently at church.

There was also the opportunity of community members to visit the church and several saw the truth of the Sabbath which they are now following.

The Elma church seeks to reach out to these individuals and encourage them to take a step of faith to follow what they have seen to be truth. This is happening through friendships and through continued invitation to future events.

 

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Soul Winning – My Bucket List

Given 18 months to live, Bob Stuart decided to bring one person to church every month. Imagine how quickly the Adventist Church would grow if each of the church’s 20 million members brought in just one person a year. Read More

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Momentum – Cycle of Evangelism

by Dave Crockett, Pastor of the Lewiston Seventh-day Adventist Church

With the arrival of our new Bible Worker, we started 6 month cycles of evangelism, starting in June and December of each year. We offered a Depression and Anxiety Recovery Program for members and the community and our Bible Worker began laymen training with Soul Winning Classes. We followed up on interests from Amazing Facts, It Is Written, and Voice of Prophecy, developing Bible studies. We offered a Setter Health, Better Life Seminar, which focused on natural remedies and heart healthy cooking. This was offered to the community, and we had a wonderful response.

We followed this with the Future of Freedom Seminar, focusing on the statement that Jesus made, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free!” We used various prophecies from Daniel and Revelation to highlight truths that will set us free from the deceptions of satan. The format was a 45 minute lecture and then moving into discussion groups lead by our local elders. We started with 15 or so non-members, of these, 11 attended all the way through.

We are now in the middle of our 1 year plan:

  • We have a Prayer Ministry, with a director who functions year round. They sponsor prayer type of events throughout. The latest focus was Prayer walking, where those involved would place a door hanger on each door, with a note letting them know that their house was prayed for.
  • We presented the “Contagious Adventist” seminar in October/November of 2016 as a training event for our church family.
  • Our Bible worker lead out in a School of Evangelism, which was a training event for our lay members, This was done in December of 2016 and will be again in August of 2017.
  • In January of 2017, the Depression Recovery Seminar was offered to our community. At our fair booth about one third of those who filled out a Community Survey indicated that they would attend.
  • In March of 2017, we sponsored a Cooking Seminar, again about one third of respondents from the fair showed an interest.
  • Then from March 31—April30, we ran a locally presented Evangelistic Reaping series. Follow-up included ongoing Bible Studies and Oasis groups (these are lay led in-home groups, patterned after Lee Venden’s suggestion at the conclusion of his “All About Jesus” seminar)
  • September 1-3, we are sponsoring a Marriage Enrichment weekend for the community.
  • Then September 6—October 11 Parenting Classes, both a Marriage Enrichment and Parenting Classes were asked for by the community.
  • Then October 20— November 19 we will conduct a locally presented evangelistic Reaping series. Follow-up will include ongoing Bible Studies and Oasis groups (these are lay led in-home groups, patterned after Lee Venden’s suggestion at the conclusion of his “All About Jesus” seminar)
  • In December the Lewiston Church will again be producing our Christmas Cantata.
  • For the rest of December, we are going on vacation!!!

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Changed Lives – Future of Freedom

by Dave Crockett, Pastor of the Lewiston Seventh-day Adventist Church

Audrey was our first baptism, followed by 5 more and others planned for the future. Audrey’s journey to her baptism was a long one! She has been a member of many different churches here in our valley, but not finding what she really needed along the way. As a caregiver, a couple of years ago she began to take care of the mother of one of our church members. This meant that she had regular interactions with the woman’s family who are active here in the Lewiston Church.

The woman she was taking care of passed away, and her job ended. However she had seen something in the lady’s family that was different and she wanted to know more. One thing led to another, and she ended up in our church one Sabbath. Of course our church welcomed her (they’re very good at that!) and she came again the next week and the next, until it became a regular habit. Bible studies ensued, she came to the meetings and came under the conviction she needed to be re-baptized. We are praising the Lord for her decision and there’s more to come!

We are following up with a class on Sabbath mornings lead by our Bible Worker/Outreach Coordinator, Slavik. He is a tireless worker who loves Jesus and people! He did all the visiting along with his other duties during the series. Our plan to once again have a six month cycle of outreach is starting in September, and we look forward to more stories like Audrey’s!

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