Mission and Evangelism

Name: Diane Watts

City, State: San Antonio

The Seventh-day Adventist movement is an organized system to do God's Work. A system is parts "working" together. The church has been given a layout on how to systematically do the work. So what is the problem? It is the implementation! I have witnessed some department leaders thinking, planning, and showing that their department is a separate entity that excludes other departments.I don't fault anyone, just stating what I have seen for the last twenty plus years. I have seen departments competing... doing the same thing... doing it only one time... to see who did it the best; and not focusing on on-going ministering. However, prior to 1990, I also was blessed to have witnessed the implementation of how the Seventh-day Adventist movement works and saw the results as well... Praise God!.
This is an overview of planning and working together. Detailed information is available.

Resources: Leaders + Sabbath School + Personal Ministries(and departments) + Community Services ( and departments)
Procedures: - Respect leadership by planning and working together

- Inreach, & Nurture: homogeneous ( language, culture, personality, learning styles, Bible topics interests, etc.)
heterogeneous ( mixed, new-old believers, mentors, etc.

- T.E.M.I., Outreach, Bible Studies, Meetings: T - Teach & Train, E- equip, M- motivate members in mobility, I - involved
On going: Outreach, Bible St., Informal & Formal Meetings/Seminars

- Serve: Departments come in unity (comm-unity) with Community Service to serve the needs... what ever they might be

Assessment/Results - Soul Winning = Cycle of Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Reap

Below is a "Focus" visual that was presented to our church last year encouraging leadership, department leaders,and members to Uplift Jesus as we work together.

Mission and Evangelism

Interest Coordinator
(Fellowship) Music (Discipleship)
Sabbath School EVANGELISM Personal Ministries
(sow, grow, reap, keep)
Study, Inreach T.E.M.I., Bible Studies
Nurture PRAYER Outreach, Meetings
(Comm-Unity) Community Services (Serve)

Stewardship - Risk Management - Communication/Multi-Media - Greeter- Usher

Would love to share rest of plans that co-relate with the General Conference goals: Reach Up to God, Reach In With God, and Reach Out With God

Seventh-day Adventist Christian Cultural/Community Center

Name: Mark-Shane Scale

City, State: London, ON

Based on my experiences, I feel that the church has to be transformed for mission work in 21st century North American mission field. Currently, we operate as a community for fellowship around rituals that have been entrenched in centuries of Christian ceremonies. However, this has led us to be inward looking and to operate as a club of members rather than have caused us to see ourselves as missionaries who exist to win others to our faith and mission.

I recommend some radical transformation of the church from how it operates now to a model that I call the cultural center model, where our existence is to provide a forum and opportunities for meaningful discussions around spirituality, ethics and the meaning of life. The cultural center model, instead of a church service that is focused on liturgy, operates as a welcoming space where people of all faiths are invited and welcomed to come and have dialogue and conversation about what it means to be human and to live out our humanity in an ethical way. Through facilitating such discussions and conversation, the Adventist church can expose other Christians and non-Christians to Adventist culture and answers to these questions in a non-judgemental way.

From my experiences, North American people are afraid to enter a church building. Even the term "church" can create an uncomfortable feeling for persons. However, if we repurposed these institutions as cultural/community centers, we might be able to break down some walls and to get outsiders to feel less fearful or defensive about attending meetings at a "cultural/community center".

Also, as part of the change in name comes a change in dress code. Whereas we have to formally dress for a church worship service, with a cultural or community center, we would be able to have a more casual dress code. This would allow persons to come to meetings in jeans and t-shirts or other simple dress rather than jackets and ties. This would make it more welcoming and less intimidating for persons to just stop by.

Meetings would be less bound around rituals and more open to question and answer forums where non-Adventist can learn about Adventist answers to the questions of spirituality, ethics, and human life. These new centers can also have bookstores, museums and free Adventist literature library for persons to learn Adventist heritage.

Centers would then provide meetings where individuals can learn lessons about how Adventist culture and theology can help them become more ethical human beings and help them spiritually in their walk with God. Centers will also be places focused on outreach rather than providing services to members. Success would be measured by the number of non-Adventist visitors.

Meetings can be in a more relaxed and informal Sabbath Service with sofas, hymnals, beverage, and snacks. Persons can walk away with tracks or books, and have questions answered. Instead of sermons, we could have seminars that deal with topics such as:
- how to deal with death and dying family members?
- how to love and honor an aging parent?
- how to deal with physical abuse?
- how to overcome addictions?

These how-to seminars would have panels discussion or special presenters that draw on Bible principles, lived experiences and counsels from Adventist pioneers and history.

Thoughts on Mission

Name: LeRoy Washington

City, State: Kamuela, Hawaii

I believe our church mission has two major responsibilities of equal importance: 1) Evangelism; sharing and spreading the good news; 2) Nurture and Retention. It is of equal responsibility to meet the needs of our established members and the needs of our converts who have joined us. For me that means we honor our traditions, doctrines; those ideologies that make us who we are. At the same time the implementation and application must be relevant in a diverse, ever changing world. Principles remain; human nature changes little; but societal, generational customs, lifestyles, and cultural influences, language, adapt and change with growing innovation. What was the norm in the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th centuries may not be the same today in the 21st century and just because you may be a 4th or 5th generation, conservative, fundamentalist, or liberal, post-modern Adventist of significant maturity, one must be increasingly careful to uphold Christ’s principles of love; in psychological terms; tolerance of ambiguity in the cognitive dissonance a multi-cultural society presents. These principals apply on the individual, church, and even more so institutional level.
Someone said it well, the larger an institution gets the more accommodating it must become too difference, not compromising principle, and not confuse the two, if it is to remain healthy. Principles are timeless, but the interpretation of these principles is time and culture sensitive, allowing for diversity and difference. One’s tolerance of ambiguity must increase as the cognitive dissonance increases. As our world grows smaller by automation and technology the more it must adapt and flex. We live in the present, with historical knowledge, and future hope, (Romans 8). God speaks to all of his people, individually and collectively who are open to hear him. He (God) is open to diversity and has a sense of humor. Look at the differences. The responsibility of leadership is to be wise enough to realize when this is happening and validate it. This is not ‘creeping compromise’ as we like to postulate in Adventist lingo, but can be closed minded rigidity if allowed, rather than a liberated, open, creative minds.

A Contemporary Issue

Name: Ean Nugent

City, State: Bowie, MD

First I would like to express my deep appreciation to our division administration for having the courage to undertake so noble and bold an endeavor as this restructuring. I also deeply appreciate their willingness to give members a voice in this discussion.

The third point under the Mission Committee’s terms of reference reads, "Create a program for educating, mentoring, and training, members, including contextualizing the Adventist witness, providing a greater emphasis on contemporary issues, including involving the young adults."

I am greatly interested in seeing this program designed and implemented. I know I will personally benefit from such a program. However, there is a major “contemporary issue” I hope will be included in this program. It is an issue that I believe can be solved by a proper contextualization of the Adventist message. It is the issue of interracial and intercultural relations.

Throughout its history, the United States has struggled, with great failings and some success, to solve the “race issue”. While primarily between blacks and whites, racial tensions between all races have plagued this great nation. And today, despite the election of the nation’s first black president, only 40% of whites, and 35% of blacks describe race relations as “very good” or “fairly good” (http://tinyurl.com/RaceViews). Despite its best efforts, our society has been unable to solve this problem. Does the movement entrusted with a message to every “nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” have nothing to offer them?

I hope that we will seek and find the grace to confront this highly “contemporary issue”. Through teaching and example we provide society with solutions in healthcare, education, and doctrine. But the healthy, educated, theologically sound racist (of any race) will hardly enter into the kingdom of God. And besides the racist, I believe we can all grow in our understanding and trust of other races and cultures. Cannot we, by teaching and example, demonstrate to society that the gospel claim is true – in Christ there is neither preference nor enmity between Jew or Gentile, black or white, Hispanic or Asian.

I am very grateful for the work that has been done by the NAD Office of Human Relations (http://humanrelations.nadadventist.org/). However, I believe their efforts have been unable to penetrate down to the local levels. Somehow, this issue must be addressed at the conference, church, and individual level. I believe the program being designed has potential in this area.

Here are some examples of the types of questions I believe the designers of the program, as well as administration at every level, should consider (in no particular order):

• For members in largely homogenous congregations, how can we provide opportunities for them to create meaningful, trusting, cross-racial and cross-cultural relationships? (An example is Oakwood and Southern’s DEEP weekend)
• Should a congregation’s worship culture most closely reflect its majority, history, or present leadership?
• Is the “white flight” phenomenon bad and, if so, how can we prevent it?
• What harmful stereotypes are common in our churches (both racial and cultural) and how can we educate ourselves away from them?
• How can we constructively (not vindictively) discuss personal hurt because of racial or cultural bias with the goals of forgiveness and reconciliation?
• How can we facilitate dialogues between races and cultures that increase understanding and trust while avoiding offensive and inflammatory language?

Thanks again for your willingness to hear.

Prayer For Those We Disagree With

Name: Teresa Quintero

City, State: Woodland CA

While it is nice to see so many men praying, it gives the appearance of a church with no women....makes me feel a tad invisible and not wanted. :(

But to my subject. While I see admonitions to be united, to be decent to each other and such, I believe we need need to be reminded to pray for each other. Besides that we are helpless to love others as Christ loves us and need to be in constant prayer that we are given that desire. In my experience anyway. We need to be constantly reminded to pray for each other, that of course we may not feel the desire to do so, but we need to pray for that desire. If we wish any real unity, if we wish the latter rain, then we are going to have to start praying for each other, pro-WO and anti-WO, in addition to any and all other factions we have.

When we individually are in surrender to the Lord and in prayer for love for those we disagree with as well agree with, and in prayer for those we disagree with we will see God work.

My two cents. :) Teresa



Name: Evie Young

City, State: Mosier, OR

I'm all for mission's (reaching the un~churched) and I have a concern for the church members. Specially the new members. There needs to be a special outreach to them, till they have been in the Christian way of life and they understand it all. They need to be loved & nurtured in Jesus' love. Make sure they get invited home for dinner Sabbath so they can get acquainted, make sure they have connected with someone and found a friend.
The title "new members" can also mean new to the community. "Don't give 'em a job right off", "make 'em feel loved & welcomed first". I think this is such an important part of our mission work. Is to let each other know they are loved & cared for among the body of our church. Reach out to the under dog.