As a prophetic movement, Adventists believe that Daniel 8:14 and Revelation 14:6-12 speak of two important events—one in heaven, one on earth—that would take place at the end of the 2,300-year prophecy of Daniel 8:14. That prophecy brings us to October 22, 1844. The event in heaven, we believe, is a reference to a new phase in the heavenly ministry of Christ our High Priest— what we Adventists call the beginning of the investigative judgment. On earth, God would raise a remnant to proclaim to the world the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6-12) with a final judgment emphasis.
According to Revelation 14:6 the remnant are a people with a purpose. "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language, and people" (Rev. 14:6, emphasis added).* We often tend to ignore the preposition to. Yet, it is this word that defines the reason for our existence as God's remnant people in the last days. Adventists appeared in the historic-prophetic time frame of 1844 to fulfill a specific purpose in God's redemptive plan. The purpose was to preach the eternal gospel, in the context of judgment: "He said in a loud voice, 'Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.'" (Rev. 14:7).
The remnant have the eternal gospel, not only to tell it, study it, analyze it, or hear it, but to preach it. Peter understood this concept of proclamation clearly: "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God." That's what we are, but for what? "That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light" (1 Peter 2:9).
"The church of Christ on earth was organized for missionary purposes, and the Lord desires to see the entire church devising ways and means whereby high and low, rich and poor, may hear the message of truth." 1
The whole church in proclamation
God calls for the whole church to be about the task of accomplishing its mission. The whole church means everybody: great and small, leaders and followers, men and women, institutions and departments. "If Christians were to act in concert, moving for ward as one, under the direction of one Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world."2
How can the whole church move as one person? Paul gives us a clue: "The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ" (1 Cor. 12:12).
Imagine a person crossing a very busy road that has no stop light. Each member of the person's body fulfills its specific function, but each function helps the person fulfill the central purpose of crossing the road. The eyes do not look at the birds in the sky, but at both sides of the road. The legs help cross the road as quickly as possible, without lingering or meandering along. The ears are alert for the noise of other vehicles coming.
What would happen if the eyes, ears, and legs did not conceitedly concentrate on the primary function of the moment, choosing instead to go their own way? The objective of crossing the road could not be fulfilled, and the person's life would be in danger.
So it is with the church. The church can function as one only when every one that makes up the church is united to fulfill the purpose for which the church exists.
Let's apply this principle to the institutions and departments of the church. These have two purposes. First, a specific one, related to the function of the institution or the department. Second, a general one, related to the mission of the church.
This means that a literature evangelist is not expected to be involved in healing; nor a physician to sell books, but both must do what they can to fulfill the primary gospel mission of the church. While each department and Institution should fulfill its specific function, the fulfillment of this function should be related to the mission and purpose of the existence of the church—the proclamation of the gospel. When such cooperation in mission governs all the constituent parts of the church, integrated evangelism takes place.
Integrated evangelism: A South American model
How does integrated evangelism work in the South American Division?
"The secret of our success in the work of God will be found in the harmonious working of our people. There must be concentrated action. Every member of the body of Christ must act his part in the cause of God, according to the ability that God has given him."3
Harmonious work and concentrated action are significant to the success of any evangelistic endeavor. That's what we try to do when we organize an evangelistic campaign in South America. Here's an expression of the model we follow:
1. Twelve months before the campaign: ADRA launches a project of social service in the city chosen for the campaign. The Publishing Department sends a team of colporteurs to distribute books and magazines with our message. The Stewardship Department promotes revival campaigns and weeks of prayer in all Adventist churches in the city, encouraging the members to give to God their time, talents, and financial resources.
2. Eight months before the campaign: The Personal Ministries Department offers training courses and organizes the church in small groups with missionary pairs. These Bible instructors and volunteer evangelists prepare the soil for the campaign and the harvest.
3. Six months before the campaign: The Health Department con ducts courses on how to stop smoking and how to deal with stress, and leads out in other health-related projects. The Communication Department visits with the media in the city and establishes contact with city authorities, making them aware of the impending evangelistic campaign, and creating goodwill in the community.
The Youth Department conducts youth camps and blood donation campaigns. The young people visit the hospitals taking "one rose with love" to the patients. On Mother's Day, they visit the mothers of the city singing and giving a card in honor of them. The Education Department establishes Bible classes in each school for parents and students who do not belong to the church.
4. Three months before the campaign: The Women's Ministries Department offers training courses for receptionists who will be helping during the campaign. They also mobilize the women of the church to be involved in the evangelistic campaign.
Finally the evangelist leads the evangelistic campaign with the active participation of all churches and different institutions and departments.
When the campaign ends, nobody can say the work was just that of the evangelist. It has been a harmonious work, because all did what they knew. At the same time it has been a concentrated, concerted action because everybody had the same goal. In other words, the body fulfilled its purpose with the participation of each member.
*All Scripture passages in this article are fivm the New International Version.
1 Ellen G. White, Christian Service (Washington, D.C. Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1947).
2 Italics mine.
3 Ibid., 75.