There are three pastors at the Beaverton Adventist Church as well as numerous members that are very involved with leading out in evangelism. Senior Pastor, Rodney Payne, asked me if I was interested in doing the evangelistic series in the spring of 2012. I indicated that I was, but I wanted it to be an experiment if I was to do it. I am 26 years old, and I watch many of my friends leave the church because it feels like such a large ceiling exists over their heads. What I mean by large ceiling is that church structure is heavy, and they feel like the leaders are wasting God’s money. There is currently an attitude of: “I’m spiritual but not religious.” While I agree with this idea that the structure of the church needs to reevaluate what it means to be relevant in 2012, I love this church and I’m trying to help it from the inside….not by leaving.
Of course now I live near Portland where this is the tone of much of the city. It is a very spiritual city, but church attendance is extremely low. My plan was to look at the growth of religion, its development, different religious concepts of the world, worldviews, etc. Then I was going to take that knowledge and compare it with the beliefs and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Global Church. When I look at these comparisons and the church as a whole, the church is doing pretty awesome! I believed and still do believe that we come through looking very God led and Mission minded.
Another aspect of the experimenting that I wanted to do was with some serious Facebook advertising to directly compare with mailings. I also made water bottles and labels that included the website; then I gave cases to church members to give out to fellow employees at their jobs. I designed and created the logo for the series trying to spark interest in a young generation based on the “coexist” bumper sticker theme. I also created a blog site with video conversations leading up to the event to build interest. Finally I offered an iPod shuffle raffle every night, and an iPad to anyone who attended 7 meetings. I learned quite a bit.
First I learned that Young Adults don’t want to come to 20 meetings. Second I learned that if you advertise online, you will most definitely get an “online” crowd. I have videoed each meeting and decided on night 7 to put them on the blog site, which didn’t hurt my attendance but did create a group of people following “from a distance.” Third I learned that mailings designed specifically to draw the foot traffic of young adults will still draw the 50+ community. I found that very odd considering that it didn’t seem to be a very upper age friendly design. The last thing I will mention learning so I can talk about conclusions is that I learned that unique evangelistic designs will result in approximately the same number of baptisms that traditional evangelism does although maybe a little younger baptismal candidates.
I learned a lot more than that, but I wanted to give you some of my conclusions. I think it is clear to me now that if we want to reach young adults and the college age with “series presentations,” then we should invest in making a series of full length feature films or cartoon series (anime style) that carefully transmit our message. I am actually thinking of writing a screenplay for our beliefs. I have also concluded that I will leave the blog site up with access to the videos online for a few years, because I have had a continual amount of traffic to the site (30-60 people per day). The beautiful thing about advertising on Facebook and hosting a blogsite is that you can monitor your traffic. That will give me a reason to continue praying that the Holy Spirit use my words in a powerful way!! (admirethejourney.com)