Why Not Try This? …Learn from Where the Church Is Growing

“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 your own mission trips or your reading of Adventist World and Adventist Review, and see what God does when we go after the mission He has given us without making excuses!

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

Global Missions Lessons

Learning how and why Adventism is growing rapidly in certain places.

1. Mexico

    1. Reaping by all ministers 3x/yr
    2. Requirements for an Organized Church

                                 i.    Leadership in all departments

                                ii.    4 meetings per week

                              iii.    Up to one year without a pastor without complaining

  1. Each church start Adventist work in a new area each year


2.   Ukraine 

  1. US evangelists mobilized
  2. Use Communist resources

                                 i.    Party halls

                                ii.    Swimming pools,

                              iii.    Radio waves

  1. Pastors mentor young potential pastors


3.   India

  1. Go to untouchables
  2. Survey village leaders, find ripe villages
  3. Multiple simultaneous church plants, e.g. Ten village program
  4. Role of Bible Workers


4.   Bolivia

  1. Harvest Cycles
  2. Major Cities live meetings with downlinks to all churches


5.   Philippines

  1. # A, B, C Interests before opening night of meetings


6.   Peru (see more details below)

  1. Small Groups, Families, Leaders trained, equipped, mentored
  2. Youth Evangelism- The Caleb Project, The Macedonia Project
  3. Pastoral Training Program
  4. Role of media in the mission
  5. Integrated Evangelism

Appeal- what is the next step for you?


Peru Details

1.   Small Groups

  1. “Every member of the church a member of a small group”
  2. Small groups of families (vs. individuals) meet weekly
  3. Small groups the delivery system for outreach ministries (e.g. Health, finance, family seminars held simultaneously in small groups across union) (see Health DVD)
  4. Annual Resources for group, leaders (see manual and magazine)
  5. Conference and Union leaders fully engaged
  6. Homes of Hope Sabbath- May 30; invite family, show DVD, give book, invite to join small group
  7. Group leaders selected by local church yearly, mentored by pastor & elders (see DVD and manual)
  8. Groups win souls, retain souls, subdivide yearly

2.   Youth Evangelism

  1. a.  The Caleb Project (see DVD report)-

                                 i.    Ten days each summer

                                ii.    All churches, youth groups, small groups in union invited to send a team to the various locations within designated conference of the union

                              iii.    Mornings- Service projects in community, afternoon- Bible studies, evening- Preaching, teaching at evening meetings

                              iv.    Lodging and meals with host families; provide own transportation

                               v.    1,000 involved in 2009; Goal- 5,000 involved in 2010

                              vi.    Organized by the Union and Conference Youth Departments

  1. b.   The Macedonia Project

                                 i.    Similar to Caleb Project but initiated by Peru Union University

3.   Pastoral Training (Undergraduate)

  1. Classes Mon-Thu; In the assigned district Fri-Sab
  2. New church district assigned each year with increasing responsibilities
  3. Five year program

4.   Role of Media in the Mission

  1. Media Center next to Union office, supported by both Peru Unions
  2. Three sections- Web & Promotional Videos, Radio, Television
  3. Union-wide DVD and poster including plans, conference & union leadership “face time” produced yearly for all churches and small groups (see DVD, poster)
  4. Video team (1-2 people) at all major activities & events to record for annual DVD report (or special project report, e.g. Caleb Project) for all churches and small groups
  5. All major initiatives include a

                                 i.    Project name

                                ii.    Logo & Mascot (person who represents the project)

                              iii.    Theme Song

                              iv.    Bible Verse foundation

                               v.    Promotional DVD for all churches and small groups before event

                              vi.    Report DVD for all churches and small groups after event

  1. Printing done by the Graphic Arts Department of the University

5.   Integrated Evangelism

  1. One plan that includes all departments (vs. each department develops its own plans)
  2. Key events that impact local churches and small groups on one unified calendar (see Calendar for 2009)
  3. Small groups are the delivery system for most departmental activities
  4. All activities evaluated on how effectively they build up members, train and send them out, bring in new members
  5. All departments involved in major projects (e.g. All administrators and departmental leaders at both the North Peru Union and the North Pacific Mission met with us in planning our Peru Mission Trip)
  6. Streamlined office staff. Typical arrangement-

                                 i.    3 Officers (who may carry additional responsibilities, e.g. President/GlobalMissions, Secretary/Education)

                                ii.    5 Departmental Leaders (e.g. Children/Women, Communications/Youth, Health/Family/Stewardship, Ministerial/PerMin/SS, Publishing/Trust)

                              iii.    Small support staff (Accountant, 3-4 Admin Assistants)

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