Q&A – Why do I never hear about the Adventist churches in my town?

Church, Ancient, Landscape, Architecture, Old, History

I received this message out of the blue from someone in another state I haven’t heard from in years…

Question: Hi Dan, I have a question. I don’t attend the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) church where I am, but there is a Spanish SDA church in town and also an English speaking SDA Church in town. We never hear about anything they are doing. We hear nothing at all. This is true of other towns as well. So that’s my question… why not? What do you think?

What would you say?

Here’s how I responded.

Answer: Hi D————, great to hear from you. It’s been a while. You’re asking some very important questions. I believe the Lord wants every church to be on fire and bold in serving others and sharing Jesus with their communities. The devil would like to get them distracted with a thousand other things. Why don’t you go visit the English church and the Spanish church and share with them what you just asked me and ask them the same questions? I would love to hear the responses you get from members and church leaders. And perhaps God is calling you to go and make a difference too. What do you think?

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Making Appeals – Top Ten

Ask, Sign, Design, Creative, Information, Help

An appeal is an invitation to take a next step with Jesus.

 

  1. Appeal often. At the end of every sermon. At every baptism. At the end of every Bible study. Whenever the opportunity arises.
  2. Appeal because of Jesus. Talk of Jesus’ goodness, kindness and love. Talk of how much Jesus loves each person. Talk of Jesus’ wonderful plan of redemption. Tell stories of Jesus’ life. Tell the parables Jesus told. Tell them what Jesus is doing now in heaven. Then invite people to respond to Jesus.
  3. Appeal for Jesus. If Jesus were right there with you what do you think He would say to this person? Would He say, “Follow me and I will use you to lead others to me”? Would He say “Come to Me and find rest”? You are an ambassador for Jesus to make the appeals He would make.
  4. Appeal for simple action. Ask “Is there anything that would make it difficult for to follow Jesus and be baptized like He was?” Ask “Would you like Jesus to be in charge of every part of your life and make the changes that only He can make?” Ask “Is the Sabbath truth clear to you? Would you like to begin spending this day with Jesus in the way He has told us in the Bible?”
  5. Appeal with the benefits of following Jesus. Rather than focusing on “ought to” focus on “how to” and the blessings of following Jesus. Instead of “You don’t want to receive the mark of the beast, do you?” say “Would you like the Lord to write His law in your mind so you understand clearly what is right and wrong and in your heart so you want to obey Him out of love?”
  6. Appeal in a variety of ways. When appealing invite people to respond with a “yes” or on a card or with a raised hand or by coming to the front or by standing and saying something good about Jesus, etc.
  7. Appeal based of God’s Word. Show clearly what Jesus says in His Word and invite people to follow. Ask “Is this Bible truth clear to you? Are you willing to follow Jesus in this area of your life?”
  8. Appeal briefly. Avoid hostage appeals that go on forever, pressuring people to respond so they can leave. Make your appeals brief, positive and to the point in a Christ-centered way.
  9. Appeal with several options. Sometimes give multiple appeals. “Let us all stand. Tonight/Today I’m talking to three groups of people. I talking to those who have never asked Jesus to be in charge of every part of their life. Next I’m talking to those who are walking with Jesus but have never been publicly baptized by their own decision. And finally I’m talking to those who have been baptized but have gone on breaking one or more of God’s commandments, knowingly or unknowingly. If you are in one of these three groups raise your hand and wave it at me. While our singers are singing, I want all of you in these three groups to come to the front so I can talk with you briefly. Come now.” When the group is at the front say “I’d like everyone to put their hand on their heart and repeat after me. ‘Jesus, I love you with all of my heart. Whatever you say to do I am willing to do. Wherever you say to go I am willing to go. Help me take my next step with you no matter what anyone else may say or think of me. Thank you for helping me, Jesus.’” Then say “Amen and Praise the Lord! The Lord will answer your prayer. We’d like to get your contact information so we can help you take your next step with Jesus. Here are the cards and pens. Our assistants will help you then pray with you before you go back to your seats. As you fill out the information our singers will sing another song. When you are finished you may return to your seats and we will have prayer with all the congregation then dismiss.”
  10. Appeal to believers to make appeals to their friends. As you make an appeal you can say “Please pray for your family or friends who are here who need to make a decision for Jesus. Pray that the Lord will make truth clear to them and that they will feel the love of Jesus drawing them to a full surrender to Him.” You can also say to the entire audience “When you go home you can invite your friends to follow Jesus and share with them what you have decided. Turn to someone in front of you or behind you and tell them something good about Jesus so you can practice before leaving. Then pray with each other and dismiss quietly.”

 

“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32.

 

 

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How Evangelism Can Work, by Angel Rodriguez

 

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Area Evangelism Training at Houston Central Seventh-day Adventist Church (February 2019)

Introduction: The Role of Evangelism

Have you noticed how a church can be transformed when a new pastor arrives to a district?  You can have the same church board, the same congregation, the same community, the same ministries within the church, with the same financial restraints, and yet, when new leadership arrives to the same congregation, you can have new results in church growth. Some may ask, “how?”

I want to share with you that the old adage, “evangelism does not work in today’s post-modern society,” is actually inaccurate and incorrect.  From my personal experience, I have placed into practice seven important principles that help make evangelism effective. Continue reading

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Why Not Try This? …Invite a Friend to Take their Next Step with Jesus

 

friends talkingMaking Appeals – Three Keys

Do you remember who invited you to accept Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, to embrace all Bible truth, to be baptized and to unite with God’s final movement? You can make those same invitations to those in your circle of influence. And those who accept can do the same until the ripples of invitations go to all the world and Jesus returns!

Here are three keys to making invitations and appeals. Continue reading

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Why Not Try This? … Mentor New Members

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New Adventists and those preparing to unite with the Adventist movement are surrounded by their New Member Coaches, New Member & Visitor Sabbath School leaders and Church Family on my final Sabbath in Beeville, Texas November 3, 2018.

We had just finished a Week of Reaping. George and Mary, who we had never met before the week started, had made their decision to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, embrace all the truths of the Bible, be baptized and unite with the Adventist movement!

What could we do to grow these brand new baby Adventists? We did our best to prepare them well. How could we give them the best chance possible to start strong in the faith and lead others to Jesus and see them baptized as well?

Here are three steps we took to mentor our new members. Continue reading

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Making appeals is a lot like Thanksgiving Dinner

Restaurant, Table Setting, Decoration, Dishes, Elegant

The family has gathered. Clusters of people are scattered throughout the house, visiting with each other. The cooks have been doing their job in the kitchen. The wonderful aromas have been drifting through the house. And now it is time to eat.

 

But what if no one says “Let’s eat”? What if people just get hungrier and hungrier but no one gives the invitation. What if no one goes around and gathers the people to the table for the meal?

 

We live in a world full of hungry people. We have the Bread of Life. The delicious aromas of the everlasting gospel are going around the world more and more. Someone needs to give people the invitation to come to the table and eat, to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, to embrace all His truth in the Bible and to unite with His final movement!

 

Here are my top seven simple ways to make the invitation, to make appeals, whether in groups or individually.

 

  1. Taste the food yourself. It’s much easier to make appeals when you believe that everyone in the world would be happier and better off if they accepted Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embraced all Bible truth and united with God’s final worldwide movement.
  2. Invite those who are hungry. Some people are so used to spiritual junk food that they resist nutritious, delicious wholesome spiritual truth. Don’t force yourself on someone who is not ready to make a decision. Look for those who are looking for something better.
  3. Make simple, clear invitations. “The food is ready! Let’s eat! Let’s meet in the dining room right now for prayer” will usually get a much better response than “Here’s a complete menu of what we will be eating today. Are you willing to eat some of everything?” In a similar way “Do you want Jesus to be in charge of every part of your life?” will usually get a better response than “Do you have a comprehensive understanding of all the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and are you willing to obey all of them right now?”
  4. The atmosphere is as important as the food. If there are bad attitudes and unhealthy relationships people will get indigestion even if the food is delicious. In a similar way we need to have the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, etc.) operating in our life when we make appeals so people will enjoy saying “yes”!
  5. Emphasize the blessings rather than the obligations. If people don’t eat they will die. And if they don’t accept and follow Jesus they will die eternally. But why not emphasize how good the food tastes, how wonderful the fellowship is and how gracious God is to provide it all. Let people know how wonderful it is to have a Friend and Savior who loves them so much that He died for their sins and He wants a forever friendship with them. Then say “Is there anything that would make it difficult for you to follow Jesus wherever He leads and be baptized like He was?”
  6. Help people get to the table. Some people just need to hear “Let’s eat” and immediately they race to the table. But what about great-grandma who is in a wheel chair? She needs someone to push her to the table. What about the children who are playing? They need someone to go to them, get down on their level and encourage them to come and help them turn their attention from their toys to the wonderful meal that is waiting. In a similar way some people some people are ready to sign the card, raise their hand or come to the front as soon as you say “I’d like to invite you to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord today.” But others will need extra help. You might say “Jesus loves you so much that He left heaven and came to this dark earth where He was mistreated and killed so that you could accept Him and go to heaven with Him when He comes again. Do you love Him enough to raise your hand right now and say ‘I love you, Lord and I accept your promise to come into my heart and home and change me’?”
  7. Ask clarifying questions to those who don’t seem ready to come to the table. If someone doesn’t respond to the invitation to come sit at the table and eat there might be a hidden reason that becomes clear when we ask a few questions. In a similar way when someone resists responding to the first or general invitation we might ask some questions like this and listen for the answers of their lips and of their hearts.
    1. How has God brought you to this place in your life?
    2. What have been some of the turning points in your life where you have seen Jesus change you?
    3. Have you come to the place in your life where you can say “I have accepted Jesus as my Creator, Savior and Lord”?
    4. Do you want Jesus to be in charge of every part of your life?
    5. Have you come to the place in your life where you can say “I realize the Bible is different from every book ever written. It is God’s voice speaking to me and I want the Holy Spirit to help me follow God’s truth. And I want to learn something from God’s Word every day”?
    6. Is the Sabbath truth clear to you? Is there anything that would make it difficult for you follow Jesus and keep it holy?
    7. Have you come to the place in your life where you can say “I realize in these last days that God is raising up His final movement. Just like the early church it keeps all the commandments of God, arose as a result of prophecy, teaches and preaches prophecy and has a prophet in it. And I want to be a part of God’s final movement”?
    8. Is there anything that would make it difficult for you to be baptized and unite with God’s final movement?

 

With a heart full of love for Jesus and all His children go out and invite hungry people to come to the table and feast on all that Jesus provides and show them how to begin inviting other hungry people to come to the table as well.

 

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This article was published here.

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Why Not Try This? …Take the Adventist Message to a New Community

Related imageThe City of Benbrook, Texas (population 23,000) has never had a chance to hear or see the Adventist message. Until one year ago this month.

A group of us from the Crowley and Ft. Worth First Seventh-day Adventist churches made a commitment to do whatever we could to establish a permanent Adventist presence in Benbrook. We spent Sabbath afternoons with prayer caravans, stopping to pray at key locations throughout the community. We knocked on doors and offered Bible study guides. We offered an Anxiety and Depression Recovery Seminar. A Bible Worker knocked on doors asking who was interested in learning more about the Bible. We rented locations for health presentations and Bible Prophecy Meetings. We started Bible Study groups in every home that opened to us. We put our location on Google maps and started a Facebook page.

Last week our small team (“Mission Group”) was officially recognized by the Texas Conference as an “Organized Company” on the way to becoming an “Organized Church.” Here are a few lessons we learned along the way so far.

  • Accept help. Some Adventists are not yet able or willing to leave the comfort of their home church.  But we have gladly accepted their help with prayer support, door knocking, seminars and donations.
  • Everyone is needed. God has brought together a wonderful and growing group of believers numbering 35 a year after starting. About a third were active Adventists elsewhere. Another third were inactive Adventists who are now plugged in and learning to lead. And the other third are brand new Adventists or Pre-Adventists. All are involved in the mission.
  • Expect to see Jesus transform lives. If you were to come visit on a Sabbath morning you might see some of these examples. (Names have been changed).
    • Margie greets you at the door. Although she’s a lifelong Adventist she didn’t attend church for years until invited to help start a new church. She is also the new church treasurer.
    • Joanie welcomes you to a Sabbath School group that is meeting in the church lobby. Six months ago was the first time she had ever set foot in an Adventist church. She found this one online and was baptized three months ago.
    • The Sabbath School lesson is led by Martin & Teresa. They’ve been Adventists all their lives but recently moved to the area and decided to help start a new church even though they have never done that before.
    • In the Children’s and Youth Sabbath School (the “cradle-teen division”!) are children aged 1 to 17, none of whom were Adventists a year ago.
    • During the Praise singing six ladies lead out, including two that recently moved to the area and three who were baptized in the last seven months.
    • For the offering testimony Shawn, who is not yet a member, tells how God impressed him 18 months ago to start returning tithe regularly and what a blessing it has been.
    • The sermon is a testimony shared by 19 year old Ernest who was baptized three years ago as the first Seventh-day Adventist in his family. Recently his sister and his mom were baptized at another Seventh-day Adventist Church.
    • Stacy helps set up tables for the fellowship dinner. A year ago she was praying that God would send good people into her life when a Bible worker knocked on her door asking if she was interested in Bible studies. She and her fiance are preparing for baptism.
    • The pastor isn’t here this morning because he is at another group he is helping plant. He is usually at Benbrook church one Sabbath a month, one evening a week, and meets with key lay leaders each month to guide the group in its mission.
  • God will provide a place. After looking at nine potential locations we finally settled on a Sunday church. Because we’re small we offered $500 a month for rent. They considered our offer then counter-offered $100 a week! Come to find out the senior pastor had rented from Seventh-day Adventists in Louisiana forty years ago when he planted his first church!

What if we hadn’t taken the Adventist message to Benbrook a year ago? There would be fewer answered prayers, fewer Adventists, fewer workers in the harvest and fewer people ready for Jesus to return!

If you would like to take the Adventist message to one of the unentered communities where you live then pray, get together with your friends and go for it! Here’s more info about Advance Teams and Church Planting in Texas.

Blessings to you,

Dan Serns

_______________________

Inspired Insights

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:14.

  • Annex the world! – Churches are to be organized and plans laid for work to be done by the members of the newly organized churches. This gospel missionary work is to keep reaching out and annexing new territory, enlarging the cultivated portions of the vineyard. The circle is to extend until it belts the world. {Evangelism 19.2}
  • Make more appeals for volunteers. More decided calls should be made for volunteers to enter the whitening fields. Unless there is more done than has been done for the cities of America, church members will have a heavy account to meet for neglected duties. We pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). We profess to believe that the commission given to the first disciples includes the followers of Christ in 1907. But what are we doing? I pray that the Holy Spirit may move upon human hearts, that many way go forth as did the early disciples, making their way to homes and to churches, where men and women are waiting for a knowledge of present truth. {8Manuscript Releases 206.3}
  • No special training or age required. In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be occupied; and, more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor for Him. {Education 269.3}
  • New work wherever possible. – Let forces be set at work to clear new ground, to establish new centers of influence wherever an opening can be found. {Evangelism 60.2}
  • Can target your own unentered area. If in one place there are only two or three who know the truth, let them form themselves into a band of workers.” {Testimonies, 7, p. 22}
  • New targets cultivate missionary spirit. It will cultivate a missionary spirit to work in new localities. Selfishness in respect to keeping large companies together is not the Lord’s plan. Enter every new place possible and begin the work of educating in vicinities that have not heard the truth. {Evangelism 47.1}
  • What if there is no funding? There are among our church members faithful souls who feel a burden for those who know not the truth for this time. But one will say to such, The conference will not support you if you go here or there. To such souls I would say, “Pray to God for guidance as to where you shall go; follow the directions of the Holy Spirit, and go, whether the conference will pay your expenses or not. “Go work today in My vineyard,” Christ commands. When you have done your work in one place, go to another. Angels of God will go with you, if you follow the leadings of the Spirit. {8Manuscript Releases 206.4}
  • New converts will help finance. – Our church members should feel a deep interest in home and foreign missions. Great blessings will come to them as they make self-sacrificing efforts to plant the standard of truth in new territory. The money invested in this work will bring rich returns. New converts, rejoicing in the light received from the Word, will in their turn give of their means to carry the light of truth to others. {Christian Service 184.2}
  • Revive existing churches first? No! – Should all the labor that has been expended on the churches during the past twenty years be again expended upon them, it would fail, as it has failed in the past, of making the members self-denying, cross-bearing followers of Christ. Many have been overfed with spiritual food, while in the world thousands are perishing for the bread of life. Church members must work; they must educate themselves, striving to reach the high standard set before them. This the Lord will help them to reach if they will co-operate with Him. If they keep their own souls in the love of the truth they will not hold the ministers back from presenting the truth in new fields. {9Testimonies 140.2}
  • Lack of Advance Teams results in more consuming churches than producing churches. – The lack of effort to plant the standard of truth in the cities of America has brought about a condition of things in which the consuming is larger than the producing; and how the work shall now be carried forward is a difficult problem. {Ministry to the Cities 151.1}
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