Editorial

Spotlight on Worldwide Church Unity

Unity composes a prominent element of this month’s articles.

Willie Hucks is the Associate Editor of Ministry.

Growing up as an Adventist, my parents exposed me to aspects of church life they felt were in my best interest: our church schools, Pathfinders, and Sabbath School, to name a few. I eventually graduated from two of our schools, and my children are also products of Adventist educa­tion. Although I didn’t remain in Pathfinders for very long, regular Sabbath School attendance was ingrained in me.

I enjoyed Sabbath School as a child for two reasons: it allowed for an in-depth exploration of Scripture, which fortified me to face my ever-increasing challenges; and, through mission stories and Mission Spotlight, I was able to travel to far­away lands and experience cultures different from my own. While my imagination carried me to many countries each week, it seemed that as soon as the mission story ended I was back in my local setting—with my world being no larger than the small church my parents and I attended on a weekly basis.

Spotlight on the world

In 2007, my colleague Nikolaus Satelmajer and I decided to take pastors and other ministers on a similar tour—an excursion to see that Seventh-day Adventism around the globe has many similarities that transcend linguistic and cultural differences. We felt it was important to do so because we, as ministers, need to remember how big both our church and the world are. We can fall into the trap of managing the day-to-day operations of our institution without realizing the needs of individuals in our com­munities, and of people elsewhere throughout the world, who are dying both physically and spiritually.

We started in October 2007 by featuring writers from and topics relating to the African continent. In the following years, we did the same with the Caribbean islands and Central and South America (2008), Pacific Rim countries and territories (2009), and India, Pakistan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh (2010). While the differences that distinguish one part of the world from another are as vast as the miles that separate them, the similarities bring them together—contributing to the tapes­try that is the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Throughout the world field exists a dedicated core of volunteer laborers who faithfully fulfill the Great Commission—elders, Sabbath School teachers, youth directors, and countless others. Men and women engaged in community ministry, following Christ’s example as stated by Ellen G. White,1 to bring God’s love to people who need assurance of an eternal hope. And pastors, administrators, and other clergy stand committed to the call of Christ, spending time with Him before going forth to serve (cf. Mark 3:14).

Spotlight on Europe

As stated earlier, Ministry has spotlighted almost every region of the world field. Only two remain. In October 2012, we will focus on North America.2 But, in this issue, the focus is on the European continent and other fields that have been administratively attached to headquarters based in Europe. While the official membership of the three divisions featured this month seems small in comparison to other parts of the world field, the territories in question encompass half of the world’s time zones.

Unity composes a prominent element of this month’s articles. Bernhard Oestreich addresses the unity that existed in the first century Christian church—in spite of the vast territory and diversity within those many countries and cultures; Humphrey Walters con-temporizes the topic a bit more, showing how such can transpire in Europe and elsewhere today. Radisa Antic, through a study of Psalm 23, displays how God unites us with Him in His house forever. Galina Stele shares a fascinating historical survey of how pioneers brought the Advent message to the Russian Empire more than a century ago. Dowell Chow tells the story of how Adventist World Radio has brought divine light to the Ukraine. And, as always, the editors of Ministry interview the presidents of the divisions being spotlighted.

When I see such remarkable unity worldwide within my church, I am proud to be a Seventh-day Adventist in general and an Adventist minister in particular.

 

Notes:

1. “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow me.’ ” Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1942), 143.

2. The North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church includes Bermuda, Canada, and the United States.


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Willie Hucks is the Associate Editor of Ministry.

October 2011

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More Articles In This Issue

Preserving Church Unity: Lessons from the Jerusalem Church

What is the strategy behind Luke’s way of depicting the early church in both unity and strife?

Lessons of God’s providence: 125 years of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Euro-Asia Division

A church historian and missiologist tells the story of Christianity’s survival in Europe through the exile, imprisonment, and torture of Christians.

British Adventism: A Journey Toward Unity in Diversity in Christ

Six principles that have helped churches in Britain find the unity in diversity so essential to their witness.

The Basic Pictures of God in Psalm 23

What makes this psalm one of the most beloved passages of scripture?

The Ukraine Touched by the Voice of Hope

Stories of the influence from Adventist World Radio throughout the Ukraine.

God’s Ambassadors: A History of the Christian Clergy in America

E. Brooks Holifield examines in detail the history of clergy—both Protestant and Catholic—within American religious history.

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