November 19, 2012

No one can tell what is lost by attempting to preach without the unction of the Holy Spirit. In every congregation there are souls who are hesitating, almost decided to be wholly for God. Decisions are being made; but too often the minister has not the spirit and power of the message, and no direct appeals are made to those who are trembling in the balance.  GW 151

Editorial: Answering the Ultimate Question
Everybody Wants to Hear from You!!!
NY13: International Field School of Evangelism
NETS - back to where it all began.
Powerful Evangelistic Resource for Kids
Lake Union Youth Evangelism
Tools of the Trade
Editorial: Rules for the Digital Road
Many hail social media as the next great frontier for outreach, and perhaps they're right. Twitter and Facebook, after all, provide the ability to touch peoples' lives immediately, constantly and personally, from anywhere on the planet. Can you witness on Facebook? Yes, you can ... but there are some important keys to remember.

1. It's a social network. People use the network as part of (or sometimes, in lieu of) their social lives. Advertisers have learned, the hard way, that people don't use Facebook for shopping. They're mostly looking for real contact with real people, and aren't likely to pay much attention to those who are forever posting announcements or ads, even if they are for church events. 
2. Don't abuse tagging. Tagging is used to let someone (or their friends) know when he or she appears in a photo. Christians are sometimes tempted to take things a little further, unfortunately: they'll make a religious statement with a picture - say a graphic that promotes their favorite theological hobby horse - and then tag people in that picture in an effort to get them to look at it. Or, worse yet, fearing that their own friend list is too short for the picture to garner much attention, they'll tag people with longer friend lists in order to broaden their exposure. It's the modern day digital equivalent of stuffing religious tracts into the pockets of clothing in a store - a form of theft, because it takes something that belongs to someone else (be it shelf space or personal reputation) to promote your own views. 
Don't assume people will be excited by the same things you are. If you tag them, and they don't see it for weeks, it'll only create resentment, and instead of serving as a witness, it'll get you unfriended.

3. Don't hijack threads. When you insert a thought into a discussion that is unrelated to the topic at hand, you're hijacking a thread. It's considered rude, and looks especially distasteful when you post links to websites that promote your political or religious views. The same holds true for peoples' walls: someone else's wall is not free advertising space for you. It's his or her wall, and the place for you to advertise is on your wall. Using someone else's is the digital equivalent of telemarketing. Annoying, right?

4. Don't preach. I will never forget the day I posted that I had just discovered, to my delight, that Oreos are vegan. In the space of about twenty minutes, I had received more than eighty replies warning me of the dangers of sugar. I had eaten a single Oreo. One. The previous day, I had posted that we had baptized hundreds of people in a recent evangelistic effort - and that garnered eleven responses. Fortunately, I know the Adventist community and its obsession with checking peoples' plates, so it didn't strike me quite as negatively as if I had been an outsider, but it still resulted in a few people getting booted off my friend list. Yes, we're all about health - but pouncing on someone's statements and/or activities, especially in a public forum, is not likely to score you points. A casual statement that my wife had enjoyed something Lucille Ball had said scored me a couple of mini sermons about the entertainment industry, too. It's not witnessing, it's uninvited meddling. And invited is a key concept in evangelism. Before you post, picture a street corner preacher shouting people down as they pass by: "you're on your way to hell!!!" Then remember that, believe it or not, it's actually easier to come across that way online.

Don't forget: it's a social network, and to succeed, you have to avoid being anti-social. Go ahead and treat your own Facebook account like a pulpit (let me know how it turns out), but never, ever use someone else's.

5. Don't add people to groups without asking. This is an offense related to thread hijacking and intrepid tagging. Facebook has now made it possible to add people to groups without first asking them, which means that someone could make a group that called "Charlie Manson is a True Prophet," and add you to it without your permission. You might not discover your participation for weeks, or months. What's that? Your group isn't offensive? You need to extend the courtesy of letting your invitees make that decision. Don't forget: just because Facebook lets you do something, it doesn't mean you should.

6. Protect a person's right to privacy. There is a generation that now assumes that everything is for public consumption. They video every event and put it in cyberspace for all time. They hang their private lives out in front of the world every day, scarcely remembering that once it's on the web, you will never likely be able to retract it. Before commenting on something, ask yourself if it might not be better to send the message privately. If Sarah, a very close friend who confides in you frequently, posts, "having a tough day," the place to ask, "is that because you're still fighting with your mother-in-law?" is her private message box, not her wall. I know: in that instance, it seems obvious, but we ought to ask every single time we reply to a post whether our comments ought to be public.

Most people instinctively known how to behave online, but alas, there is an alarming percentage of our church membership that doesn't have netiquette - so much so that I've taken to keeping my non-Adventist friends in a separate account to be sure that the "witness" they experience is positive. Perhaps it's time for churches to include netiquette in soul-winning workshops.

As long as you're thinking about using social media in your outreach efforts, here's an article written by Phil Cooke on Twitter etiquette for non-profits that you might find interesting.
Tell us what's working!


Every so often, it happens - that one simple idea that really expands your evangelistic ministry overnight.  If it works for you, it might just work for someone else.  Have you found a way to attract large audiences inexpensively?  A way to streamline evangelistic visitation?  A way to involve more church members?  
Please share!  We can all learn from the way that God is blessing your outreach and leadership!


Please consider writing a short article for Best Practices for Adventist Evangelism ... someone out there could really benefit from what you've learned.  


Find out how to contribute to the discussion here.


NY13: International Field School of Evangelism
Evangelists from around the world - every Division - will be gathering in New York City June 7-29 for a first-ever world field school of evangelism.  Don't have three weeks to spare?  There will also be an intensive version of the school running from June 23-29 (you'd need to arrive on the 20th).  Participants in the three-week version will attend class in the mornings and preach (if assigned to a site) in the evenings. The deadline for registering is December 31, 2012.  Find out more about this unique opportunity here.  
NETS: Back to Where it All Began
Kevin Sears
NETS (Northeast Evangelism Training School), an initiative by Donald King, Atlantic Union Conference president; Mark Finley, international speaker; and the Atlantic Union Conference working in collaboration with the leadership of the General Conference will bring an evangelism training school to the Atlantic Union. Under the direction of veteran evangelist and trainer Eric Flickinger, NETS will provide traditional evangelistic and health missionary training for those on the Eastern seaboard of the United States and beyond. 

You can read more about it here.
Evangelistic Resources for Kids: My Place with Jesus
Jean Boonstra

Perhaps you've been in this situation: a young family is studying the truths of God's Word. They are eager to study, to learn and to follow what they're learning of Christ. But as you're studying with Mom and Dad, what about the children


It Is Written has created a fun, full-message, easily accessible series of Bible studies for children, entirely online and interactive: My Place With Jesus. The good news is that they are free and accessible from any computer, anywhere you have an Internet connection.   Read more about it here.  

Lake Union Youth Evangelism Congress
The Lake Union Conference Youth Evangelism Congress is a delegate-based event in which 500+ Senior Youth & Young Adult delegates (ages 16-35) from the LUC churches will gather to be empowered and to be resourced with practical evangelism tools they can take and implement in their local churches.  There are currently 100 seats available for the following conferences: Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Lake Regional.  Pastors in LUC: please be sure to select and support at least 2 senior youth/young adult delegates to attend this Congress.


Facebook Event Page: 
Register Today at AdventSource:
For more information, contact Justin Yang.

Tools of the Trade: Presentation Remote Pro


Remote controls - the modern evangelist needs a good one.  Gone are the days when you simply handed everyone a Bible and asked them to follow along by turning the pages, although in a power outage, it's a phenomenal back-up plan.  Thanks to pioneers like Henry Feyerabend, who first took to the stage armed with a Commodore Amiga and a garage door opener linked to a backstage light (which would alert an assistant when it was time to advance the slide), evangelists today almost never preach without PowerPoint, Keynote or Scala.  

A good remote is a must - it can't be so large that it's distracting, but it needs to be reliable and have a range of at least 100 feet in order to work in larger venues.  I've been through a lot of different remotes of varying quality, and these days, my go-to presentation remote is the Presentation Remote Pro from Keyspan.  The USB receiver, as with many other units, tucks neatly into the remote itself when not being used.  There's a cursor control (think the "eraser" mouse in an IBM Thinkpad), mouse buttons, function keys, laser pointer, volume control, page-up and page down buttons - everything you'd ever want from a remote, and it hides neatly in the presenter's hand.  
It has a 2.4 Ghz signal that easily works through walls and crowds, with a range of 100 feet.  It'll work right out of the box (as with most remotes now), and it features an on/off switch which means you can throw it in a suitcase or computer bag without accidentally pushing buttons and draining the battery.  
So far, so good: it's never, ever let me down.  (Of course, now that I've said that publicly....) Among other places, you can find it at Amazon.   








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Please be descriptive in your submission and follow the guidelines posted in this article.



Best Practices for Adventist Ministry is published by NAD Ministerial. Editor: Shawn Boonstra; Managing Editor:  Dave Gemmell. Copyright 2012 North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists. v(301) 680-6418