This article was published in abbreviated form in the June/July 2022 issue of Ministry Magazine.
By Jacob & Dan Serns
Dan: Celebrating Changed Lives
“Melinda, how has God brought you to this place in life?”
Sabbath morning during the worship service we always had a Celebrating Changed Lives feature. Today I was interviewing those who were joining the church that month through baptism, profession of faith and transfer.
“I had a really tough life growing up and got onto drugs early. Then because I needed money for drugs I became a prostitute. That’s when I became really hard-hearted.” Melinda’s two teen-aged daughters standing beside her started nodding their heads. “But there was this lady who was always so nice to me when I was mean to her and I couldn’t figure out why. She kept inviting me to a women’s Bible study group and told me some of the women had had a really tough life, too. When I finally came with her I knew I had found a spiritual home where I could grow and become like Jesus. Everything is changing in our home. Our words. Our music. Our pictures. What we watch.”
“Praise the Lord!” I said as I moved to the oldest daughter. “How has God brought you to this place in life?”
“It’s pretty much like Mom said. It’s getting better and better now. I like it.” Her younger sister agreed.
“And all three of you are telling the world today that you belong to Jesus and are uniting with His final movement! We are not perfect people but we are all in to let the world know that Jesus loves them, that He’s coming again soon, that He has a good plan for their lives, and that it’s time to take Him seriously. Welcome to the family!”
Not all of our Celebrating Changed Lives interviews on Sabbath morning are this dramatic. But all of them show how God is at work changing our lives. Some testimonies have featured victories in Sabbath work issues, relationships healed, decisions for baptism, new ministry or group leaders, a story from someone who handed out a GLOW tract, or those returning from a mission trip or spiritual retreat. Other times we have interviewed long time members about a turning point in their lives from years before, or how they first decided to return tithe.
If you want an evangelistic culture in church, one of the simplest and least expensive (free) ways to do it is to add brief (1-3 minutes) interviews during the worship service.
“And they [believers] overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” Revelation 12:11.
Jacob: Baptismal Celebration Sabbaths
“Would it be ok if I said a prayer for you right now?” I almost surprised myself with my own question to Verna, the older lady cutting my hair. The conversation had wandered through the usual small talk and gradually drifted deeper and toward more spiritual things. She shared with me that she was going through a tough time and, seeing the tears forming in her eyes, I felt compelled to ask if I could pray for her, as I sat in the barber’s chair of that budget hair salon. “Yes!” She blurted out. After praying, exchanging contact info, and going our separate ways, months passed.Continue reading