Pastor Brian Yarbrough hosted an ‘end time’ seminar in our small church at the Irrigon Seventh-day Adventist Church in April of 2019. Two meetings were held every night with a light meal in between. For those who attended at least 7 of the meetings, a beautiful Strong’s Concordance was given. Many were able to take one home with them.
The meal was simple and contained very nutritious soups, salads and breads. The meal time was a wonderful sharing time with all the people who were attending the meetings. It was nice to get to know these people. We had a small group that attended all of the meetings. It was a very gripping message due to Pastor’s gift to communicate very clearly and all were able to understand.
As a result LindaLee was baptized on April 27,2019. She had been studying with Pastor for several weeks before she took the plunge and received the Holy Spirit in Baptism. In addition there are two other adults and two minor children who are studying with Pastor for baptism sometime in the near future.
In conclusion, this seminar was a wonderful success and we are looking forward to holding another in the near future.
Two more churches to check out and I am done searching. That was my feeling toward churches until, a cheerful woman rang my doorbell. She had a wonderful smile and shared Amazing Facts Bible Study guides with me. I had no intentions of reading them until I saw the questions on the back. I became interested in them and looked forward to her returning and getting the next lesson. One day she did not return. I thought, “What did I do to keep her away?”
I did not have any interest in attending another church. I did have a different interest in one church that was across the street. It was down the hill behind my house and I could watch from my porch what was happening there. I would watch them arrive every Saturday all dressed up to worship and would wonder, “What are those crazy people doing going to church every Saturday? Don’t they know that you’re supposed to go to church on Sunday?” Why do those people attend church on Saturdays and not Sundays? What’s wrong with them? Each Saturday I would watch these people attend church and wonder why?
One day I needed help putting together a gazebo. I decided to ask for help from the members of that church. I found out the name of the church was Selah Seventh-day Adventist Church. I decided to go to the church and walk in and I met Pastor David Morgan. I was expecting to meet an over-weight, pushy, non-caring and womanizing person. I was wrong. He gave me an overview and tour of the church. To my surprise, there was the woman who used to come to my door and drop off those lessons. It was the Pastor’s wife – Annie Morgan. My shaking knees were no longer shaking and I started to feel better.
A few days later, Pastor David Morgan and a few members came to my house ready to work. Pastor prayed and we worked together to install the gazebo. They were as one, treating me as family, even though they did not know me. We had a great time. I decided to attend their church to see why they were as one. They were friendly, caring, and helpful. The Pastor encouraged us to read from our Bibles and not take his word. He read from the Bible often. I have been waiting for this type of message rather than others who do not use the Bible. One Sabbath I approached the head elder and asked what it took to be baptized and become a member of this church. Pastor Morgan studied with me until I was baptized. My question about the Sabbath was solved. I now serve as a greeter and in the Selah Adventist Community Services ministry. Now my wife, Guadalupe, is preparing to be baptized.
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. ~ Romans 5:20-21
Modern evangelistic efforts come with a new set of opportunities, but also a new set of challenges. Today, people are not as familiar with Biblical themes and stories as they have in times past. Biblical illiteracy is on the rise, and regardless if people attend church or listen to sermons, the practice of studying Scripture is largely underdeveloped in most believers. The challenge is, presenting messages with heavy theological themes makes it difficult to creatively set the context for some topics that require a much more comprehensive understanding of the Bible.
However, this new reality is also creating new opportunities that are exciting. Little to no biblical knowledge gifts learners with the beauty of starting from scratch, often without many of the harmful preconceived interpretations that can create barriers to growing faith. The opportunity to approach Scripture from a “childlike” posture, leaves the reader more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in revealing what is necessary and every foundation to the Christian faith. We have found this year that we are attracting a growing demographic of new believers which are changing the way we reach our community. We are embracing what is new with hopeful anticipation of making new disciples in Christ.
Living Free was the title of the series we chose to offer, and it was all about finding freedom through God sent relationships. This topic proved to be a powerful evangelistic tool in that it was so practical, it was able to translate well in all major issues of life. In this series, we explored the idea of freedom of being what God wants for us and how he uses people to do it. Instead of focusing on what tends to have us bound, we focused on seeing the help God has constantly offered us, even in our darkest moments.
This approach allowed us to connect the mission of Christ with the mission of the church in the incarnational method God uses to send salvation through people. Overall, we found these topics to hit home for many people, which raised awareness of people needing people to get through hard times, which voiced the need for having a family (church) to journey with.
One younger member of our church had been off and on with God for about two years before eventually he started attending more frequently, about three months before our series begun. He had just started a new relationship with someone who had no religious background, but he invited her to church. It was clear that she had no idea what was happening and, for the most part, was just there because she had been invited. But then, something amazing happened.
Our people embraced them, and loved them, and began to become friends. The real shocker was the first day they came to church by themselves. We were all amazed and grateful to God. After a few months, they began to help with the social media team, and I began to notice our posts getting better and receiving more traffic. One post I will never forget, was when I read the caption, “Saturdays are for second chances!” I was moved with joy and praise because I know who had created this post and I knew their faith was growing.
The only thing I didn’t know was how. No one was studying the Bible with them and they were only coming to church. I couldn’t figure it out. Finally, overwhelmed with curiosity, I had to ask, and their answer was shocking. In order to recap the message to create a social media post, they were listening to the message over and over again to find something to write. They were also paying close attention to the service and going back to read what Scripture was given. The day of their baptism, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Everyone knew that in some small way, they played a part in leading someone to Christ, and if we give God space, he can do amazing things.
We’ve decided as a leadership team to let grace be in charge, as referenced in the Scripture above. Christ needs to be the leader, both in our personal lives and in our church community. As we submit to his leading, we are praying that stories like this will become commonplace.
For most of my life, there
was an underlying darkness that seemed to accompany me. I grew up in an
environment where it did not matter what you felt like on the inside, as
long as the outside was put together. This way of handling “stuff”
nearly cost me my life.
It was the beginning of October in 2001. I
had entered my last year of college in Texas. Two and a half years
earlier, I had gotten out of the Army to pursue a degree in Theology. I
had a supportive loving wife of ten years, three school aged children, a
house that had squirrels in the attic, a full course load, and a
marriage that was falling to pieces right in front of my face.
This particular season had been really tough on our relationship because like most men, I have a propensity Continue Reading…
As part of the strategic plan, it was my privilege to conduct a series of messages under the title “Salvation in Symbols”, which was based on the theme of the Sanctuary.
There were 15 messages in total which were given to an average attendance of 60 to 70 people, including some visitors, who discovered the interesting Adventist theology regarding the Sanctuary and its meaning through their furniture.
In addition to the lessons learned through Bible study, we took the opportunity to celebrate that week of prayer to ask God for wisdom and direction for the project we currently have regarding the purchase of a building in Vancouver.
We believe in the power of prayer and even more so when we as a church unite for a purpose. At the end of the week of prayer, we consecrated ourselves to God through a communion service.
The Lord has manifested in an amazing way. We have received very good news that we hope will soon be announced the whole brotherhood.
Thank God for his Word … I can say that it was not easy to carry out this series of preaching … but at the end, I feel strengthened by what I have learned and even more by the results in my congregation
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Carrol lived in the Spokane area most of her life. She decided to move to the Walla Walla Valley and a friend invited her to church. At that point she was looking for something enduring in her life. Even though she grew up in the small town of Spangle, near an Adventist Academy and Church, she had very little interaction with Christianity. When Pastor Troy Fitzgerald heard about Carrol’s desire to learn and to follow God, he started studies and invited her to Sabbath class at the University Church. Every appointment and every experience at church deepened her love for Christ. Her commitment to health and peace in her life has grown and she is ready to testify about Christ’s saving power. She was baptized in the pool in her community with neighbors there watching scene.
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The evangelistic series was outstanding in almost every way. From the very beginning, the Valley View Seventh-day Adventist Church (located in East Wenatchee, Washington) came together in a beautiful unified spirit. Virtually everyone was excited and inspired to be able to share the good news of Jesus to our community.
The leadership of the church really rallied together and we began planning almost a year in advance—planning for outreach events, planning every detail of the evangelistic campaign—along with our Evangelism Committee. The leadership of our Evangelism Committee did an outstanding job in the finalization of all details, ordering resources, planning the children’s programing and all internet and media advertising.
The attendance of the church family was strong each night, averaging between 100 and 120 each night. We sent out 43,000 invitational brochures, and on opening night, 64 non-Adventists came to the meeting. Attendance for the non-members continued in the 54-60 range.
One of the families attending had previously visited our church and they were very excited about the meetings that were starting. There was, however, a major conflict because they were highly addicted to tobacco. The family members expressed the belief that they would certainly never be able to stop after smoking for 46 years with multiple failed attempts to quit the addiction.
Happily, during the evangelistic campaign, Pastor Korter did a stop-smoking training with this family. By God’s grace, they quit cold turkey, remained smoke-free until baptism, and praise God that His victory is still theirs. Similarly, another man was victorious who had smoked for years and years. He, too, did not believe he could quit smoking—especially due to the home atmosphere from his wife’s smoking habits. However, the pastor did a stop-smoking training with him. By God’s grace, he too quit cold turkey and remains smoke-free to this day. This man had previous baptisms into the Pentecostal church, the Methodist Church, a Nondenominational Church and even the Mormon Church because of his search for the truth. Now be was baptized into the Adventist Church and is thrilled to discover truth as it is found in Jesus Christ. The man’s wife has become interested in learning more about Jesus and is attending along with him. Evangelism still works!
“Pastor, how can I get involved in ministry?” That is an exciting question for a pastor. And it’s the question Daniel asked one Sabbath after church that led to discussion, brainstorming, prayer and, eventually, got Daniel and me out on the streets going door to door. We shared a desire to reach the predominantly Hispanic neighborhood across the street from our church. Daniel speaks Spanish and I don’t. He printed off some fliers to offer Spanish Bible studies. As we stood at each door I would silently pray and smile while Daniel talked with the people. It was exciting to see Daniel’s enthusiasm for sharing his love for Jesus.
Daniel is an overcomer. I was reminded of this as we went door to door. Daniel had a cast on his hand that made it difficult for him to pass out fliers and to knock on doors. He had recently had a wood shop accident and it was likely that he would loose a finger. But Daniel’s hand was healing. I was inspired as I watched Daniel serve so willingly, even with these limitations. Overcoming is something that Daniel has experienced a lot of. Daniel just graduated from high school. This was a remarkable achievement considering that he had suffered a major trauma when he was 14 years old. He was in a comma for 2 weeks, had to eat through a feeding tube, he lost his ability to walk and talk. God blessed his recovery and he relearned how to do the basic things of life. Early on in his recovery he experienced a distinct calling from the Lord to serve Him. Daniel’s recovery has been richly blessed and Daniel desires to live out that calling to serve his Healer.
I first met Daniel during an evangelistic series I preached in the Fall of 2018 at my Church in Poulsbo, Washington. God again called to Daniel’s heart during those meeting. Daniel reaffirmed his desire to respond to God’s calling to serve him and in November, 2018 I had the privilege of Baptizing Daniel.
It is a blessed pleasure to baptism a child of God. But that blessing is extended when you get the added opportunity to disciple that person and to serve along side of them. I praise God that I had the opportunity to meet Daniel through evangelism. I continue to praise God that six months after his baptism, Daniel is inviting me to do ministry along side of him.
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By God’s grace our fall meetings went really well! Our little church was excited to hold another evangelistic series and my wife and I appreciated the support and prayers of the members. Many of our members committed to helping in various ways and it was encouraging to see their enthusiasm and dedication.
A few months back one of the couples attending our church had taken the initiative to follow up one of the It Is Written Bible study leads that we had received back from our recent mailing. This couple met the Peters family; a dear family of seven. After doing Bible studies with them for quite a while, they were able to bring the Peters to our evangelistic series.
We started our meetings off with 13 non-Adventist adults and 8 children. The Peters family and several individuals faithfully hung in there with us through the entirety of all 24 presentations.
Brandy was a lady in her mid-thirties who gave her life to the Lord in the last five years. She came to this series because she got a flyer in the mail and was interested in learning about the prophecies of the Bible. One evening after I sent out a group text to those attending, she responded with the following message:
“Great. I plan to be at all the meetings. Thanks. I don’t really have any questions.. , I’m just soaking it all in at this point. It is very interesting to me and I am enjoying everything I’m learning. It’s really helping me to understand many of the difficult-to-decipher verses I have read in the past, but now make much more sense.”
We were thrilled to see her excitement and openness! Brandy continued to regularly attend each meeting and readily accepted the Sabbath along with other testing truths.
Not only were non-Adventists blessed by the truths presented. We also had two recently baptized couples from the Castle Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church who faithfully attended each meeting. Every night they sat in the front row and loved hearing the messages they were understanding better and becoming more grounded in.
In the book Evangelism page 5 we read: “Evangelism, the very heart of Christianity, is the theme of primary importance to those called to herald God’s last warning to a doomed world. We are in time’s closing hours, and the Advent message, proclaimed to make ready a people prepared for our Lord’s return, must swell to a loud cry reaching the uttermost parts of the earth.”
I want to be a part of that “loud cry” here in my little communities of Winlock and Onalaska. Pray for us as we continue to work and make disciples of those who attended our meetings. May God continue to help us all to be faithful and sharing God’s last-day message with the world.
Does Adventist evangelism still work? Most people say the beasts and images no longer work. However the real numbers, beyond the misunderstandings show differently. USA Today declared the Adventist Church the fastest growing denomination in 2011. The heartbeat is still the very relevant messages of Jesus. In this book, author Roger Walter seeks to provide a level of intelligence that moves beyond the urban myths, and show why it can still work and to give the reader a significant amount of wisdom as they seek to share Jesus in their communities. He delves into the science of evangelism and how to do it so that it’s effective in reaching people for Jesus.