From the Desk of the Ministerial Director – Leaders Bleed Too!

“Leaders hurt.  Leaders weep.  Leaders are afraid.  Leaders get knocked down.  Leaders fall down. Leaders bleed. But the best leaders just keep getting up one more time.” If you are needing a “leader booster shot” take a few minutes to read Leaders are Bleeders: Pastors Who Want to Quit by Brian Dodd. Praying you can remind yourselves DAILY that everything you do—motivated by love—really does matter to our Heavenly Commander in Chief!

Comments Off on From the Desk of the Ministerial Director – Leaders Bleed Too!

Filed under Leadership

Why Not Try This? – 4 Things to Do if Your Church Says “No” to Evangelism

What should you do if church leaders show little or no enthusiasm, or even try to roadblock your efforts? Here are four things to do. Read More

Comments Off on Why Not Try This? – 4 Things to Do if Your Church Says “No” to Evangelism

Filed under Leadership, Lifelong Learning, Soul Winning

From Beyond the Pulpit – My Car Doesn’t Trust Me

by Stan Hudson, who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference

Every 270,000 miles or so I usually turn my Honda Civic in for a new one.  I just did it again a few months ago.  I like the gas mileage and the reliability…but I spoil myself with a higher model, one that has a few bells and whistles.  This time I got one that has a bunch of “safety features.”

There is a not-so-subtle trend today among auto manufacturers where they are trying to be helpful, I think, in pointing out our “mistakes.”  My Honda literally jiggles the steering wheel when it thinks I am too close to a painted lane line.  And should I do the unthinkable and take off my seat belt a second or two early as I am pulling into a parking spot a female voice warns “please put on driver’s seat belt.” 

This untrusting attitude is established early when you prepare to start the engine.  A printed message says something like “you DO understand that if you have an accident it’s YOUR fault for not being a responsible driver, don’t you?”  Self-driving cars are based on a very clear view of drivers like you and me; that view is that we can’t be trusted to do a competent job of getting to where we need to get without major problems along the way.

My Honda isn’t the only car I’ve driven lately that doesn’t trust me.  A GMC rental I drove in Arizona while I was on vacation bird watching was a real nagger.  On a canyon dirt road I was driving, then stopping, then driving slowly as I was spotting interesting birds.  A strict warning flashed on screen:  “Good driving requires focus.  Keep your eyes on the road.  If you need to stop for a rest, please do so.  DO YOU AGREE?”  And that message would not go away unless I hit the “I agree” response.  And I mean it stayed up even after I had stopped the engine later, then drove some more.  The rebel in me didn’t want to agree, but it would not let me get away with that!

A Mazda we recently rented for Oshkosh had a radio that could not be turned off!  No kidding;  all you could do is turn the radio down so far you couldn’t hear it.  But it still displayed the song currently playing on the radio station.  And what about these cars that lock doors when you aren’t wanting them to?

I have wondered what this “Big Brother” trend really means in our world today.  Is it the insurance industry?  The government?  Whomever we are talking about, they have a negative view of our IQs.  They think we need help!  More than that, they aren’t offering it to just those who would like it, because it’s not an option.  Just try to find ways of turning off these “safety features.”  Most can’t be, including that woman telling me to put on my safety belt.

There is talk that cars are being developed that are completely self-driven.  And the worries that follow that is, “will the government monitor where we are and perhaps have better ideas about what society should be doing in their cars?”  For instance, like remotely keeping people from driving on high traffic days…or maybe even not driving on Sundays to preserve the environment. 

The progressive movement in our culture today has a poor view of humanity; it is that we are all fairly stupid and in deep need of enlightenment (okay, some truth there!).  Pop science with their views on origins is part of that.  And so are Christian scholars who don’t believe in the reliability of God’s word (and thus God Himself); apparently God needs modern help in communicating truths to us.  That thinking is large and in charge.  And just like in our Hondas, we can’t turn those voices off!  My Honda just doesn’t trust me.

Comments Off on From Beyond the Pulpit – My Car Doesn’t Trust Me

Filed under Lifelong Learning

Momentum – The Vision

by Myckal Morehouse, pastor of the Stone Tower Seventh-day Adventist Church

The vision for an evangelistic series for Stone Tower Seventh-day Adventist Church began in late summer, 2018. In 1953, Stone Tower had been built as the evangelistic center of Portland. “Evangelistic Center of Portland” was even engraved into this cornerstone set into the foundation of the church. With this in mind, our church plan was not simply an evangelistic series held once, but to re-establish Stone Tower as an evangelistic center in Portland once again. That plan would include yearly evangelistic meetings, bridge events, training for Bible Workers, fostering an atmosphere of friendship evangelism, and equipping every person with the resources they would need to embrace our returned focus on evangelism.

To kick-off our shared vision, our church decided to do an evangelistic meeting in the spring of 2019, that was bigger than anything Stone Tower had done before. The plan included coordinating a major evangelistic series with two other churches (Mt. Tabor Seventh-day Adventist Church & Lents Seventh-day Adventist Church), mailing to more than 100,000 homes in Portland, advertising through banners, yard signs, billboards, and a large 30 feet banner that would span down the side of the church. We included money to fly a team of literature evangelists (14 students) from Kentucky to canvass the area for four weeks. It also included setting up a 3 month Bible worker training school, with students from Generation of Youth for Christ and other areas. The total cost of the program was $60,000 and we immediately began fundraising.

Within a few months, we had not only raised our goal, but far exceeded it, while watching our local tithes and offerings increase. Our churches were excited! Mt. Tabor advertised for the series, and Lents setup several billboards. We were blown away, when 270 people showed up opening night, then 260 for our second night. We averaged 150 during the week and 200 on the weekends throughout the entire series. We had up to 36 children on our closing night of the series, which concluded with a
special concert from the children for all the attendee’s.

We praise the Lord for the 26 people who made a decision for baptism and joined the Church. As a result of the series, our churches are re-engaged and enthused about evangelism. God is inspiring many families to give Bible studies in their neighborhood. Several gained victory over cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana as a result of giving their lives to the Lord in this series. One young adult who came to the series as a result of seeing a billboard, has now become our social media director and is enthusiastically sharing the Adventist message!

We praise God for inspiring us back to our evangelistic roots, and the imperative of Jesus to make disciples. Our Church has our identity back and more importantly, men and women are responding to the gospel in one of the most secular places in America; Portland, Oregon.

Comments Off on Momentum – The Vision

Filed under Soul Winning

Changed Lives – Public Evangelism Doesn’t Work?

by Scott Tyman, pastor of the Tacoma Central Seventh-day Adventist Church

I was privileged to share the three angels’ messages in the Tacoma community at four different locations. Our budget was around $10,000. I have heard recently that people no longer come to meetings from brochures. Well opening night in the four different locations we were blessed to have around 35 pre-Adventist come to the meetings. Five of those who attended had either Master of divinity degrees or masters degrees in theology. After the 10-week seminar, almost all these people went through the entire series of meetings on the book of Daniel.

As follow up to this prophecy seminar, we invited Brian McMahon to be a part of the reaping process. Opening night, we again had approximately 35 pre-Adventist. 15 to 19 came directly or indirectly from the prophecy classes that I had been teaching. So far, we had 7 become part of God’s last day church and we have 10 “A” interests that will be baptized in the very near future. We also have formed 3 small groups for continued studies with these interests.

We have another person who attended my Seminar who now is studying with 10 different people using the prophecy series that I had been using. Out of this group, 30 to 35 are now starting to keep the Sabbath. We are hoping this will be a part of our new church plant in the very near future.

Everyone who gives their life to Christ has a story and I would like to share a very quick story from one who attended Brian McMahon’s series. His name is Mo. He is an overnight truck driver. One evening around midnight he was in western Washington channel surfing and came across a radio broadcast on 3ABN. He was so impressed with the program that he listened night after night. He could not believe what he was hearing so he shared it with his mother. The mother was so impressed that she decided to call about the speaker, Brian McMahon. Brian told Mo’s mother that he was coming to Tacoma to do a live series in the spring. They both looked at this as providential and God’s leading. In May, both Mo and his mother are now part of God’s worldwide church family.

Don’t let anybody tell you public evangelism doesn’t work!

Comments Off on Changed Lives – Public Evangelism Doesn’t Work?

Filed under Changed Lives, Soul Winning

From Leader to Leader – Evangelism Phobia

(Summary of a Podcast by Gerry Pool)

by César De León Ph.D LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference

I was listening to a Church Leaders Podcast, with host Jason Day, where he interviewed Gerry Pool, a well-known, outreach strategist, church planter, best-seller author, and lead pastor.

I appreciated Gerry’s simple ideas on how we can embody God’s mission as we reach those in our circle of influence, who need a Savior.  Gerry is best known for shifting church cultures and turning up the evangelistic temperature of its members. 

In this particular episode, Gerry shared why he thinks many churches are struggling with evangelism. He suggests that adopting a multi-generational approach, creating trust among those who are not believers and being intentional about evangelism without seeing unsaved people merely as the end result of a project, is foundational. 

The premise is that most churches are struggling with evangelism.  A majority of churches are rating themselves a “3”—on a scale of 1-10—with some pastors even rating themselves in negative numbers.  Many Christians report they don’t know what their church’s evangelistic expectations even are. Gerry reminds his listeners that evangelistic conversations typically will not take place by chance.  Actually, they tend to take place when we have intentionally prayed and planned to be open to the Spirit’s promptings about who, how and when to have these transformational conversations.

Some people are quick to excuse themselves from evangelistic conversations by arguing that these are not their gift; however, if we are disciples of Jesus, we need to become fishers of men as our divine Master was.  Gerry’s evangelistic approach is organic and natural, but also very intentional.  As he presents his approach to groups, he likes to start with a simple exercise that he recommends as part of evangelism training. After the group is divided in half, one half is asked to: “discuss all the reasons you think non-Christians avoid Christians”.  The other half is asked to “discuss all the reasons Christians avoid non-Christians”.  He gives both groups 15-20 minutes to come up with some bullet points identifying why this mutual avoidant phenomenon exists and what the primary challenges are to engage with non-Christians. 

Gerry believes that many Christian are afraid to witness because they may be asked questions that they don’t know, because they are afraid that their friends will think they just became “projects”, or because they’re afraid of not being politically correct.  On the other hand, non-Christians are often afraid they are going to be judged, preached at, sermonized, not heard, and may even feel devalued in the process.

Gerry developed a strategy to minimize these common obstacles while honoring non-Christians and facilitating engagement in spiritual conversations.  He calls his strategy 3-D-1 and believes that this is a user-friendly framework to help an average Christian feel more comfortable about becoming a mission-focused disciple.

Identify One-life

One person in your sphere of influence who is far from God, someone where you live, work or play; one person that you can pray for and eventually strike a spiritual conversation with. Pick one person that God has put on your heart to reach.  Don’t make him/her “a project”. Be intentional about creating a genuine friendship as you keep in mind that this person really matters to God and therefore, should matter to you. Once you have identified your One-life, you are ready for the 3D’s.

Develop Friendship

Develop an ongoing, authentic, genuine friendship.  This friendship should be intentionally grounded on common interests, with the purpose of developing bridges that will eventually develop trust.

Discover Stories

This is the paradigm shift in evangelism.  Invite Christians to develop the curiosity to discover the stories of their One-life. Ask questions and really listen and understand where people are coming from, which typically is not a Christian perspective. Discover their life stories and explore their life experiences.  The emphasis here is that we, as Christians, need to earn the right to tell our stories by listening and being curious about learning the story of the One-life before we tell our story and share the story of Jesus.  “In other words, seek to understand before you seek to be understood”—explains Gerry.  “You show empathy, learn their perspective, learn to see things through their eyes”.  This develops trust because you learn to care for and deeply value your One-life friend.

Discern Next Step

We ask Christians to pray and rely on the wisdom and discernment from the Holy Spirit to determine what the next best step to take with your One-life is.  “We ask people to pray—says Gerry—”so based on a person’s story we can discern what is the best next step in their spiritual development.”  Is it to just continue hanging out, or to invite them to dinner, or start Bible studies? Is it an invitation to a small group or church?  Or maybe we’ll be prompted to invite them to accept Jesus into their lives.

This method is an organic, natural way of reaching out to the non-Christians in our spheres of influence without making them feel uncomfortable, judged, or as objects of a project.  As we go through our summer and the rest of this year, can you think of One-person that you can start praying for that you can eventually strike a spiritual conversation with?  Perhaps the focused intentionality in your prayers might change everything; after all, Jesus said “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened unto you” (Matt. 7:7,8).  Would you be willing to try out this simple, 3-D-1 method and possibly experience God not only taking away your fear/apprehensions about evangelism, but actually surprising you with unexpected transformational friendships, as you become a joy-filled fisher of men?

Comments Off on From Leader to Leader – Evangelism Phobia

Filed under Leadership

Why Not Try This? – Surviving Without Announcements

by Roger Hernandez
Source: NAD Ministerial

I was worshiping in a congregation (in the last year) that had Adventist Church on the sign, but might as well have called themselves the Announcement Church, because that’s all they did. They had one person do announcements from the front in Power Point, followed by another person who reaffirmed the previous announcements with no power point, followed by the pastor who highlighted yet some others. It easily took almost 20 minutes, probably closer to 30.

This does not happen every week, but too often to be overlooked. I personally believe, through experience and research, which guests don’t really come to church looking to find out when the next fund raising car wash is. I have also been to enough growing, healthy churches that do minimal announcements from the front to know a church can thrive with a change in this area. Here are five suggestions you can use if you want to be more sensitive to guests (and members): Continue Reading…

Comments Off on Why Not Try This? – Surviving Without Announcements

Filed under Why Not Try This?

Momentum – A New Day Dawns

by Linda Anderson

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. 

Comments Off on Momentum – A New Day Dawns

Filed under Soul Winning

Changed Lives – Two More Churches

The following story is the personal testimony of Larry Richardson who was recently baptized into Christ as a member of the Selah Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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.

Comments Off on Changed Lives – Two More Churches

Filed under Changed Lives, Soul Winning

Lifelong Learning – The Science of Sabbath

In a world saturated with technology and social media, more and more people are becoming burned out. Is taking a day off every week from the stresses of life important? As Seventh-day Adventists, we believe it is. But what about taking a day off every week from technology as well? Read this insightful article (The science of Sabbath: How people are rediscovering rest—and claiming its benefits) on why this may be something to try.

Comments Off on Lifelong Learning – The Science of Sabbath

Filed under Health & Temperance, Lifelong Learning