Anew day is dawning in the Adventist Church. It is not a new day in concept, but a new day in possibilities. One of the most significant items voted at the 1979 Annual Council was a plan entitled "Harvest Time——Follow-Up/Follow-Through." The plan in its entirety is given below, but here are some of the highlights.
Exceptional emphasis is to be placed on public and personal evangelism. Along with this emphasis, there will be an unusual effort to follow up all names already found in the church's interest file. Pastors are urged to train their members to contact these people. In addition, all former and missing members are to be searched out and those not attending church regularly placed on a follow-up list.
The church is a fellowship into which new members are drawn. Through study of the Word and prayer they are made ready to re-enter the world and share their personal experience with others. Those they bring will, in turn, be trained to venture back into the world and bring additional souls into the fellowship. This is a cycle that must never end. God's work will not be finished until all the members of the church become involved in this cycle.
The follow-up part of this plan is vital, and all need to be involved. But the follow-through part is even more vital. It is one thing to bring people into the church; it is another thing to nurture them and follow through with deep personal interest in them. Let us determine that we will do all in our power to make our churches places of loving concern for every soul entrusted to our care. Let us make our churches friendly, loving, sharing places where new members are made to feel wanted and important, and where established members and even missing members are made to feel that the church just can't get along without them. The sense of belonging and of being wanted and needed is a strong impetus to fellowship and has a pulling power on those who have slipped away and who no longer attend Sabbath school or worship services.
The church must be responsible for harvesting as well as sowing. This emphasis will be supported by all the departments of the church, but in particular by the combined efforts of the Lay Activities Department and the Ministerial Association. Let us join together in this long-overdue harvest of souls. By so doing, we can help to finish the work, and our Lord can return and take us home.
Harvest Time: Follow-Up/Follow-Through
VOTED, To adopt the following plan entitled "Harvest Time—Follow-Up/Follow-Through" so that in addition to exceptional emphasis on public and personal evangelism, unusual effort be put forth to follow up all interests in our files, and to reclaim all former and missing members, as well as to work for those who are not now regularly attending the services of the church:
1. That pastors and churches, in co operation with their interest coordinators, implement existing plans to train and assign members in a followup/ follow-through ministry so as to accomplish the best possible results in contacting interested persons and former or missing members, to assure continuing concern for them, and to endeavor to develop in them a deeper interest in the church and in becoming active members of its fellowship.
2. That church interest files be kept up-to-date, and all interested persons be contacted at the earliest possible time so as to reach them with the claims and promises of our message. These names may include interests arising from:
a. Radio and television programs
b. Names provided by literature evangelists
c. Evangelistic campaigns
d. Visitors to our churches
e. Vacation Bible Schools and branch Sabbath schools
f. Community Services
g. People in our neighborhoods
h. ABC customers and paid-out customers as supplied by HHES
i. All former, missing, and delinquent members (special attention to be given to these)
j. Distribution of missionary journals
k. Five-Day Plans and other temperance and health-outreach pro grams
I. Ingathering contacts
m. All other outreach activities that produce names and interests
3. That each interested family or per son be given a copy of the special Gift Issue of Adventist Review for 1979, or some other appropriate literature such as Because of You. This special literature should be taken to the homes by trained teams who would extend a warmhearted invitation to these people to enjoy the full benefits of the church.
4. That our churches be encouraged to adopt the plan of direct mailing one of our missionary journals for three, six, or twelve months to people on all rural routes, and to box holders.
5. That our churches be encouraged to accept the challenge of providing a year's subscription to an inexpensive missionary journal to all who request it through our radio and TV programs.
6. That reaping meetings be planned for our churches where a significant interest develops, to assure a successful gathering in of the harvest.
7. That the Lay Activities Department and the Ministerial Association implement this program with the cooperation of the departments and services concerned.