Bring the mission

Bring the mission to your Sabbath service

Without a weekly report to the local church of missionary activities both local and around the world, many of our new members and the younger generation do not catch the vision of a worldwide movement and a God who is at work all around us in the lives of the members.

Dan Serns, B.A., is ministerial secretary of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Vancouver, Washington, United States.

For a long time in the history of our church, Sabbath School programs had a world mission emphasis. Fortunately, many of our churches still have this in some form. We have also had another emphasis, variedly called home missionary, lay activities, or personal ministries, usually tucked in between Sabbath School and the worship service.

Somehow, in recent times, both these vital segments have gotten crowded out in many of our churches. Without these weekly reminders of what God is doing through His church locally and around the world, many of our new members and the younger generation do not catch the vision of a worldwide movement and a God who is at work all around us in the lives of the members.

Why not talk with your church board about adding a 15–20 minute segment between Sabbath School and the worship service? Each Sabbath there could be 5–10 minutes of local missions focus and another 5–10 minutes of global missions focus. The personal ministries leader could assist in coordinating the local missions time, and the Sabbath School superintendent could assist in coordinating the global missions time.

Local missions time

What would the local missions time look like? Here are some suggestions:

• Interview a newly baptized person or provide them time for a personal testimony.

• Interview a ministry leader, such as Pathfinder, Adventurers, Community Services, Bible study coordinator, men’s or women’s ministry, greeters’ ministry, as to what God does through that ministry to change lives.

• Interview a family who has recently joined your church. If they are new to the faith, ask them how they found the truth.

If they are transferring members, let them testify to their faith experience.

• Interview someone who gives Bible studies or leads a Bible study group.

• Show a video clip or photos of one of your ministries.

• Have a brief stewardship testimony about how God has been faithful when His gifts are managed the way He has instructed.

• Interview someone about how they learned about the Sabbath, and what a blessing it has been in their lives.

• Interview someone about how God helped them deal with a tragic loss.

• Present an award to a community leader who has made a valuable contribution to the good of society, and have several church leaders pray for the leader’s service to God and humankind.

• Talk about upcoming witnessing and evangelism plans in the district.

• Give an update about the literature distribution effort, churchwide outreach for the last week, or the various Bible studies that are going on currently.

• Invite the congregation to be involved in intercessory prayer with specific objectives.

• Invite worshipers to share what God has done in their lives during the past week or two.

• Involve the church school staff and students in sharing how God has worked in their lives during the week.

Global missions time

What would the global missions time look like? Here are some suggestions:

• Show a segment from the Adventist Mission DVD. Each DVD has 6–10 segments, ranging in length from 1–10 minutes, sufficient for 6 Sabbaths.1

• Have a good storyteller tell a mission story from a book, such as Singer on the Sand, Taught by a Tiger, Nyla and the White Crocodile, Jungle Thorn, Fire on the Mountain, Clever Queen, or any of the other great mission storybooks found in most Adventist church libraries.2

• Interview a visiting, returned, or student missionary. Ask them to show pictures for a vespers program later in the day.

• Have a slide or video show of a recent mission trip someone in the church made.

• Use an item from the Adventist Mission Web site, www.AdventistMission.org, which has lots of resources regarding the global mission of the church.

• Pray for God’s work in specific countries. The adult Bible study guide carries mission stories and the back page has maps of specific projects for each quarter. Invite the congregation to pray in groups of twos or threes for one of these mission needs.

• Send literature to a mission field. From time to time the Adventist Review3 lists requests for literature from around the world.4 Invite members to bring the items needed so they can be prayed for and sent out the coming week.

• Have a dedication prayer for those going on a mission trip. Do you have someone who is going on a short-term mission trip or a student missionary assignment? Why not invite them to the front to share what special requests they have and ask several church leaders to pray for them?

What will we accomplish?

What do we hope to accomplish by having a regular local and global mission time each Sabbath morning? To inspire the members of our congregations to actively participate in sharing the Advent message in their neighborhoods, communities, cities, and around the world.

The message of the third angel is a world-wide message. It is to go to foreign lands; it is to be preached in the home field. Into cities and towns and villages, into the highways and hedges, the light of truth is to be carried. In all these places there are those whose minds are receptive, and whose hearts are ready to respond to the appeals of the Spirit of God. These will welcome the truth if they have opportunity to hear. God is waiting for His people to bear to them the message of Him who died—the just for the unjust. He desires to work through men and women who, losing sight of self in Christ, are content to say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”5

Once you integrate a local and global mission time into your Sabbath morning service you will wonder how you ever got along without it. People will look forward to hearing and sharing what God is doing in their lives and around the world. Children will be inspired to work for God now and decide to be missionaries when they grow up. Guests will witness God at work in your congregation and recognize that even a small church is part of a worldwide movement. As the bolder ones in the congregation share, those who are more shy will find courage to tell what God is doing in their lives too. And God’s work will be enlarged because of the continued focus on missions— foreign and home—that your church offers.

1. The DVD is also available for free download at  http://adventistmission.org/article.php?id=32.

2. Many of these books are also available at http://www.adventistbookcenter.com/ or elsewhere online.

3. See http://www.adventistreview.org/.

4. See, for example, http://www.adventistreview.org/2004-
1539/literature.html
.

5. Ellen G. White, “A Spiritual Awakening,” (Australasian)
Union Conference Record, April 15, 1912, par. 4.

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Dan Serns, B.A., is ministerial secretary of the North Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Vancouver, Washington, United States.

December 2009

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