No Time to be Spectators
hrist’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior 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 White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
When a church shuts itself off from its community, it also closes its doors on an essential aspect of mission. Too easily we can get caught up in catering to our own spiritual needs, our own comfort, and forget that each local church is in a specific place—in a specific neighborhood—for a purpose. To make a difference.
At the heart of the Tell the World initiative is the concept of “involvement”; of a faith that is active, not passive. A faith that compels us to live what we believe, not merely talk about it; a faith that leads us out of our churches and into our communities.
Now is not the time to be a spectator. Now is not the time to get too comfortable in our church pews. This is a time for every member of the body of Christ—layperson, young person, pastor, and church administrator—to step fully onto the stage, and take up their role as Christ’s hands, Christ’s voice, in a world that needs to hear Him and feel Him.
Many of us believe we can make an impact in our neighborhood only through an organized project. But sometimes the best way is simply to be a friend, taking the time to be with people not of our faith. Often we will find those who are lonely or unsure, who feel their future is fragile.
Have you been touched by Christ’s healing? Then share it with someone! Do you find comfort in the assurance of salvation? Well, don’t keep it to yourself! Have you experienced joy and security in being a part of God’s family? It would be the ultimate selfishness to hoard it away.
Are we ready to do this?
What we value most as believers displays itself best in interaction with other people; it creates hope, joy, security, a sense of purpose, and the promise of an eternal future.
It has been said: “The greatest discovery anyone can make is that somebody loves you!” Well, Christ does, and He wants us to tell others. But words alone will not do.
is president of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Serving Like Jesus
ore than 3,500 Romanian young people have made a commitment to “serve like Jesus did” through a project called YouServe. Teams of young people go into different towns and villages—usually where there are no Seventh-day Adventists, or the church is not well known—and undertake a number of community projects. These can range from painting the town hall, building a house for a needy family, cleaning parks, chopping firewood for the winter, or repairing a school or public building. They visit nearby hospitals and run errands for elderly people in town. In each place they also organize a Kid’s Club, which provides recreation and activities for the children of the town.
The goal of YouServe, say organizers, is to model an approach to service for young people based on the ministry of Jesus.
Wherever they go, the young people attract attention—from both the town leaders and the general community. Comments from townspeople include: “I can’t believe you are doing all this for free”; “I didn’t believe there were young people like you”; and “Jesus has come to our village.”
A Christmas Gift
welve years ago husband and wife Sérgio and Marli Azevedo felt called to do something about the problem of poverty in Brazil. Out of this conviction, the Mutirão de Natal project was born. Starting with a Christmas food collection effort in Botafago Adventist Church, Rio de Janeiro, the project has grown to embrace hundreds of Adventist congregations across South America, involve more than 80,000 volunteers, and touch an estimated 1 million people.
The effort culminates each year in a Christmas pageant that is broadcast live by satellite from Canada to Argentina.
The goal of Mutirão de Natal is not just to collect food and clothing to distribute to the poor, but to involve Adventist laypeople in personally touching the lives of people in their communities.