Resource Center Subscribe Now ArchivesSubscribe Now
Best Practices
December 14, 2011
NIght Owl

 The Night Owl Café returns to the Adventist Ministry Convention!  


Three years ago we had a great time at the Night Owl Café, an evening conversational get-together of pastors and Best Practices readers to talk about creative ministry. We're reprising that again at the ministries convention next month at the NAD Adventist Ministries Convention. (Jan 15, 2012 - Jan 18, 2012, Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, 36750 US Highway 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684. To register, contact

Night Owl Café times:  

Sunday, January 15- 9:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Monday, January 16-7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, January 17-7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.


 See you there!  



Ministry: The Pedilavium Problem
Media: Christmas resources
Reading: Why is Christmas in December?
Quotes: "Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment."
News & ideas: The 86 year Bible-reading plan
Events: NAD Adventist Ministries Convention
The Pedilavium Problem
by Loren Seibold, editor, Best Practices for Adventist Ministry

In my churches the Lord's Supper is reserved for the last month of each quarter. As I've been conducting it this month, I noticed again the number of people who choose to not participate in the foot-washing service. Even in a church that I'd describe as fairly traditional, there were more people in the sanctuary than in the rooms set aside for the service - and after the foot-washing, it was clear just looking at the pews that quite a few had used the "break" to slip away from church.

So I did an informal survey. "Why didn't you go to the foot-washing service today?"
  • "I didn't know this was communion day, so I wasn't prepared for it."
  • "I can't get down to the floor to do it."
  • "It just disrupts everything for me to get up and walk to another place, and I lose the mood of the Lord's Supper."
  • "I'd have to take off my hose."
  • "I've got some really gross toenails, and it embarrasses me."
  • "I just don't like it. Very uncomfortable for me. Have to talk with and touch someone I don't know that well."
  • "We're visitors here. We don't know anyone."
  • "I hate looking for a partner."
What to do with the foot-washing service? One of my church leaders said, "We need to push people to do it." (Not easy to do. In my way of thinking, it's a very personal thing.) Someone in the foot-washing room said, "Maybe people don't understand what it means." (If they don't, it's not for lack of explanations.) Someone asked, "If a person doesn't do foot-washing, are they allowed to take the Lord's Supper?" (I couldn't find an official answer, but I've never stopped anyone.) As for finding a partner, I'm not inclined to blame unfriendliness: those in the men's foot-washing service, at least, tried to make sure everyone was served.

The foot-washing service is explained in our Fundamental Beliefs as a "renewed cleansing," "willingness to serve one another," and "unit[ing] our hearts in love" - all areas where every Christian and congregation could use help. The Church Manual explains the preparation for and importance of the ordinance, but it doesn't talk about what we should do when people don't participate in it.

Is there waning interest in the foot-washing service? How important is it to your church? What have you done to address it?
Discuss this on our Facebook page. Like us on Facebook
Christmas Resources


Greatest Gift Slide Courtesy of SermonView 

The Greatest Gift of All The Greatest Gift is a graphics package available as a courtesy download from SermonView.  This image set comes complete with the primary image plus pre-built composition slides for easy customization. You'll receive both a PowerPoint file and jpg files for easy use with any worship software.  







Let it Be Let it Be From PDVD1


It's hard to imagine how God actually became a flesh and blood human being. This graphics package entitled Let it Be portrays the incarnation in the form of a sonogram. The complete package contains a short movie, a slide package and a scriptural reading. The graphics package was first featured on Pastor's DVD Volume One but is out of print. If you don't have a copy of PDVD1 I will send you the complete package via email.  Just contact me at


--Dave Gemmell 

Reading for Pastors 
Still telling people that Christmas is in December because the papacy piggybacked on to pagan winter solstice celebrations? That was the Cromwellian explanation, but it may not be wholly true, according to some scholars.

Have you experienced a bad pastoral search committee process? You're not alone. Here are some great suggestions for search committees that should be required reading for every search committee member. Send this to the church that's interviewing you!

Are we way too pessimistic? Is the world really that bad? Bradley Wright doesn't think so. Great piece to contemplate with your outreach committee as you think about how you approach evangelism. Quote: "You'll find that contrary to popular opinion, life is improving in many ways (though certainly not all), and this improvement is nothing short of remarkable."

I love this emphasis on "externally focused ministry":Alvin Plantinga is still sticking up for God, in spite of being one of the world's most recognized philosophers. Quote: "Mr. Plantinga readily admits that he has no proof that God exists. But he also thinks that doesn't matter. Belief in God, he argues, is what philosophers call a basic belief: It is no more in need of proof than the belief that the past exists, or that other people have minds, or that one plus one equals two."

Always proud of our government when I hear of our leaders working to protect basic religious freedoms.

From the "you didn't think of that when you did it?" department: Laser tattoo removal is big, and at least some of it has to do with people's faith.
To the Point
Quotations by American humorist Robert Benchley: 

A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.

An ardent supporter of the hometown team should go to a game prepared to take offense, no matter what happens.

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.

As for me, except for an occasional heart attack, I feel as young as I ever did.

Defining and analyzing humor is a pastime of humorless people.

Drawing on my fine command of the English language, I said nothing.

Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it's compounding a felony.

I can't bring myself to say, 'Well, I guess I'll be toddling along.' It isn't that I can't toddle. It's just that I can't guess I'll toddle.

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.

The surest way to make a monkey of a man is to quote him.

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who believe there are two kinds of people in the world and those who don't.

News, Ideas & Reminders
Got a tool, resource, site, article, idea or seminar that you like a lot? Share it with us at  
Upcoming NAD Events
Do you have an event you'd like to invite NAD pastors to? Send details to

Lake Region Conference Evangelism Summit. Jan 7, 2012 - Jan 8, 2012, Detroit Metro Area. Revival and Reformation Bible Institute "The Harvest is Ready." Friday evening 6:30pm: Detroit Conant Gardens SDA Church, 18801 Joseph Campau Street, Detroit, MI 48234. Saturday afternoon 3:00pm: Detroit City Temple SDA Church, 8816 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, MI 48204. The Summit will energize, educate, equip and empower members in the ministry of Bible Work and Lifestyle Evangelism. Contact Pastor Leon Bryant at 313-715-2957. For more information, email:

NAD Day of Prayer. Jan 7, 2012, Division Wide via Hope Channel & Church Channel. Tune My Heart. Plan now for a special, life-changing day of prayer for your church. Options: * Begin on Friday evening, January 6, 2012. * Add the valuable discipline of some form of fasting. For the last 16 years Seventh-day Adventist churches across North America have joined hearts on the first Sabbath of each new year praying for our countries, our communities, our churches, and our own needy hearts. Join with your family across the Division at this crucial time in our history. For more information, email:

Worldwide Day for Prayer and Fasting.
Jan 7, 2012, Worldwide. First Sabbath of each quarter has been designated as days of prayer and fasting for the world church. Families and individuals are encouraged to establish the first day of each month and one day a week as normal or partial fast days. Support information and helps are being developed by the Prayer and Fasting Subcommittee.

NAD Pre-Convention Prayer Summit.
Jan 12, 2012 - Jan 15, 2012, Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, 26750 U. S. Highway 19 North, Innisbrook, FL 34684. "Revolution on Our Knees". Featured Speakers: Dan Jackson, President, North American Division; José Rojas; Director, Volunteer Ministries, North American Division; Jonathon Henderson, Pastor, Northern California Conference; Jim Moon, Pastor, Rocky Mountain Conference; Pavel Goia, Pastor, Kentucky-Tennessee Conference. For more information, email:

NAD Adventist Ministries Convention.
Jan 15, 2012 - Jan 18, 2012, Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, 36750 US Highway 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684. The NAD Adventist Ministries Convention (AMC) features keynote speakers, guest musicans, ministry advisories and a menu of training seminars for Seventh-day Adventist Ministry facilitators and leaders throughout North America. It is an opportunity for ministry professionals to re-think, re-evaluate, re-tool, and re-discover. Phone: 301-680-6429. For more information, email:

Religious Liberty Week.
Jan 15, 2012 - Jan 21, 2012, North American Division. Religious Liberty offering will be taken January 21, 2011. Resource materials are being mailed to each pastor and religious liberty leader. For more information, email:

NAD Health Summit Orlando 2012.
Jan 27, 2012 - Feb 5, 2012, Orlando Mariott Lake Mary, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary, FL 32746. "Equipping Health Leaders to Reach Out." For a list of seminars, click here. Phone: 407-252-6554 (after 5:30pm EST) For more information,

 2012 West Coast Worship Conference, February 2-4, Simi Valley, Adventist Media Center. Will feaure Elizabeth Talbot, Ryan Bolger, Ray Beeson, others.

The ACS Outreach Leadership Conference is sponsored by the Adventist Community Services - Washington, the North Pacific Union Conference and NAD Adventist Community Services.  It will be held at the Washington Conference Office in Federal Way, Washington on March 2-4, 2012.  Participants will hear challenging speakers and choose from 30 training seminars.  For registration and more information:

Best Practices is a Vervent publication of NAD CHURCH RESOURCE CENTER. Editor: Loren Seibold, Ohio Conference. E-mail: Best Practices. You are free to republish pieces from Best Practices in your own newsletter or blog, with attribution to the Best Practices newsletter and the author of the piece.