“What are your success secrets? Why is Richardson SDA bursting at the seams?” I’m asked frequently.
It’s true that we have wonderful problems- not enough parking, seating or Sabbath School space each week. We just baptized our 800th member in July and are hoping to help plant our 9th church in 14 years next spring, in Dallas zip code 75218.
The truth is, we’re not sure why we keep growing! We know we have plenty of flaws and faults but perhaps it’s because we choose to focus on Jesus, His Word & His mission!
Some phrases from our church bulletin (in bold italics) give clues on how we try to stay faithful and focused.
1. “Sharing the Adventist Message with all the DFW Area and the World in this Generation.” We are thrilled to be part of this final movement of God, not because we have earned it or deserve it but because we have accepted His invitation to join it. And we want to pass on the invitation to the 6.5 million people who live within 75 miles of our church home regardless of their race, culture, language or age. In fact we believe everyone in the world would be happier and better off if they accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embraced all the teachings of the Bible and united with His final movement. This motivates us to provide Amazing Facts Bible Study Guides and GLOW tracts to all who will pass them on, and to contact all our visitors within 72 hours. Matthew 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-3; Revelation 14:6-12.
2. “Celebrating Changed Lives.” You know God is at work when every week you hear a short, powerful testimony of how God has changed a life (for example, in the past six weeks we have heard these stories: Buddhist medical student becomes Adventist, Homeless heroin addict becomes Adventist, Eleven days tobacco free, found ‘not guilty’ of a felony after five years, lost job because of the Sabbath but new job pays 62% more, Sunday church website that sent a couple to Richardson SDA, Ireland Mission Trip stories, etc.). These stories energize us and help us be bolder in sharing our faith. Psalm 78:4; Revelation 12:11.
3. “Songs of Praise.” “Intercessory Prayer.” “Message.” People who visit Richardson say it has a friendly, joyful atmosphere everywhere- the parking lot, lobby, halls, Sabbath School and Worship Services. This is reflected in the songs we sing (a combination of hymns and praise songs), the messages shared from God’s Word, and the interactions of the people. We know that life can be tough- a job loss, an unfaithful spouse, rebellious children, a discouraging medical diagnosis, a failed major exam, financial and other stresses. So we want all our gatherings to be places where people find joy and hope in Jesus! The presence of genuine praise and joy seems to drive away the spirit of selfishness and conflict. Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Nehemiah 8:10; Philippians 4:4-8, 13, 19.
4. “Please remember in prayer: Our new members: [names listed].” We do everything in our power to help new members get a strong, positive start. All those joining Richardson by baptism, re-baptism, profession of faith or transfer attend our “New Member Orientation” seminar the Friday night before we vote them in. During this exciting, interactive seminar we hear each other’s story of God’s leading in our lives, review the Adventist message, share our four hopes for their lives over the next six months, including how to get “plugged in”, talk about the worldwide work of the Seventh-day Adventist movement and share practical ways how they can be involved. Many say this is one of the best Adventist meetings they have been to in their lives. The next day they share their testimonies with the congregation. We list them in the bulletin each week for a month inviting the congregation to pray for them by name. Elders help them find members who will stay close to them in their new growth. Acts 2:42-47; 2 Peter 2:1-8.
5. “Church Board Mentors [listed by position, name, phone]. To start a group (Sabbath School, Ministry, Bible Study or Mission) find 3 leaders (Upreach/Inreach/Outreach) and 1 Church Board Mentor then start bringing people to Jesus and His final movement!” The main role of our Church Board members is mentoring individuals and group leaders. Anyone, whether a Richardson member of not, can begin a group as long as one of our Church Board Mentors agrees to mentor them. At church board meetings we learn of new groups from the Church Board Mentor who has agreed to mentor them. This has become a quick way to activate people in ministry. Safeguards are in place for our Children’s, Youth and Financial Ministries positions. Exodus 18:17-24; 2 Timothy 2:2.
6. “Sabbath School Class Locations.” We keep adding Sabbath School groups as long as we have three leaders for each group. Our Young Adult Sabbath School group recently subdivided into four sub-groups, each with the three leaders needed. The Youth Sabbath School is led by teams of youth, each mentored by an adult. Psalm 119:11, 105; 2 Timothy 3:15-17.
7. “North Dallas Adventist Academy [contact info and leaders names].” We love our school, pray for the staff, commit over half our budget to its ministry and cooperate with its mission. Older students are shown how to prepare younger students for baptism. We believe that the mission of the school is the same as the mission of the church- “Sharing the Adventist Message with all the DFW Area and the World in this Generation.” 2 Kings 6:1-7; 1 Timothy 4:12.
We believe everyone in the world needs to know that Jesus loves them and He is coming back soon! We will do all we can to mobilize as many into the harvest as possible.
3 Ways to learn more about what God is doing in/through Richardson SDA—
1. Email. Ask for our weekly e-newsletter at email@example.com.
2. Web. Watch video clips on how to transform your church at https://danserns.wordpress.com/transforming-your-church/.
3. Visit. The 4th weekend of every month (Friday 7pm to Saturday 7pm) will give you a taste of how we function as a growing church family. Let us know you’re coming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:1.
This article was published in abbreviate form in the Southwestern Union Record.
Thank you, Dan! Just know I’m praying for you and with you.
Love you, your sister Marilee