An Act of Imagination
Try this experiment:
Imagine for a moment that all of your relationships with fellow Adventists were suddenly erased, leaving no residue of memory or comfort.
Imagine that no familiar smiles greeted you at church, no one spoke your name, and no one put an arm around your shoulder with affection.
Imagine that no one invited you to share a meal, or asked about your family, or laughed with you at life’s little oddities.
You are now beginning to see the church as the newly baptized sometimes see it—a formidable structure of vital truth but thin relationships, a “fellowship” organized around high ideals and even higher expectations, but one their hearts find difficult to love. Little wonder, then, that a painfully large number of those who follow Jesus into the waters of baptism are somewhere else within a year—convinced of truth, but missing the human warmth that makes church more than doctrine.
Now try this experiment.
Imagine for a moment that you are standing at the doorway of your church, standing where Jesus would stand, wrapping all whom God is calling into the warmth of His embrace.
Imagine giving your name—and your heart—to “strangers,” asking them to share a meal in your home, listening to their stories of how grace conquers pain.
Imagine introducing them to your friends, opening doors that someone once opened for you, building networks of both prayer and playfulness.
This month’s cover feature opens up one of Adventism’s most challenging dilemmas—how to welcome and hold the many whom the Spirit is moving into this end-time remnant faith. Like me, you’ll probably wince a bit as you read, for this is one place we still are falling far short of the Savior’s expectations for His people.
And if you’re one of those who didn’t find the companionship you needed on the first try, give us at least one more chance to get it right. We’ve already imagined doing a much better job of welcoming you next time we see you.