December 17, 2012

The truths of the third angel's message has been presented by some as a dry theory; but in this message is to be presented Christ the LIving One.  He is to be revealed as the first and the last, as the I AM, the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star. Through this message the character of God in Christ is to be manifested to the world.  The call is to be sounded: "O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Juday, Behold your God!"   6 Testimonies, p. 20

Sandy-Style Witness
A Gift for Pastors
Great Idea: Evangelistic Advent Calendar
YouthNET Report
New People Matter
Evangelism Offering
Everybody Wants to Hear from You!!!
Tools of the Trade
Editorial: Sandy-style Witness

As the winds toppled neighborhood trees, ripped weaker limbs from the forest behind our house, and succeeded in tearing a window screen away from a downstairs bedroom, the lights inside the house merely flickered four or five times.  We were surprised that our power remained throughout the night; a lesser windstorm this past summer managed to knock out our electricity for five days.  This time, we were ready: propane stove, gas-powered generator, and plenty of food and water.  

We didn't need it.  Or neighbors to the north, however, suffered an unimaginable blow. The ocean came rushing into neighborhoods, and the power went out for weeks.  So you can imagine the frustration of people who toughed it out, day after day, with no power, in freezing temperatures ... only to get a larger-than-expected electric bill from Long Island Power Authority.  Because the company bills on estimated usage from month to month, invoices went out as usual - to people whose properties have been uninhabitable and powerless for weeks.  The amount due section at the bottom of the invoice did not reflect the failure to provide service, or mention refunds.

Customers were, of course, incensed.

Some years ago, a woman visited my office and proudly told me of her endeavors to win her neighbor to Christ.  "He was in the back yard, trimming the hedges, so I leaned over the hedge and said, 'Hey! Did you know that the judgment began in 1844, and that you need to get right with God right away?"  

She seemed quite pleased with her report, so I asked her: "So how did that go?"

"Not as well as I hoped," she admitted.

"How well do you know him?" I asked.

"Not well," she said.  "He just moved in a few weeks back."

"Well, that's the problem," I replied.  "You didn't have permission to discuss a topic like that.  At all."

What she had done was deliver a bill where a bill was not expected - or welcome.  Did the judgment begin in 1844?  I am absolutely convinced that it did.  It was a true statement.  Does her neighbor need to get right with God?  No question about it; we all have that need.  

But if you're going to deliver news like that to a stranger, you're highly unlikely to meet with receptivity.  You simply have no credibility.  If an individual comes to church or an evangelistic meeting and hears such statements, they came voluntarily and will have an opportunity for the Spirit to help them process that information on a personal level  If they read it in a book, they voluntarily picked up the literature and read it.  If they come across the information on the radio or the internet, so be it ... they discovered it for themselves.  But if you lean over the hedge to pronounce judgment, you have invaded their personal universe in a most unwelcome way.  You might as well invoice them for something you didn't provide and they didn't buy.  At least with the power company, people were asking for the product.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't warning our neighbors.  We absolutely should.  But when it comes to one-on-one witness, there's a key concept that shouldn't be overlooked: permission.  You have to earn the right to discuss deeply personal topics with people.  

That's why siccing the pastor on an unbelieving spouse or child doesn't work.  If you have a family member who doesn't believe in God, or actually dislikes Him, inviting the pastor over to set him or her straight is usually going to make your life tougher, not better.  Why?  People aren't stupid: they know why the pastor has come, and while they may be polite (prayerfully) during the visit, they will feel violated.  The pastor needs permission to become personal, just like anybody else.  In fact, you need permission to bring the pastor into someone's life, too.  

Permission is not hard to obtain.  Good friends give it out quite willingly.  What's that?  He or she is not a good friend?  That's easy to fix, too. 
A Gift for You from NAD MInisterial
We know you work hard, often without thanks.  We know it because we have all pastored, and we understand the kinds of sacrifices that pastors make as they care for the church and grow the kingdom.  As our way of thanking you for the contribution you make to the church, we have a gift for you: a PowerPoint/Keynote template we created just for you to use in your preaching.  You won't find this one in an online graphics resource, and nobody else in your congregation will have it, because we developed it for you as a small way of returning thanks for your faithfulness.  

It's also a reminder that we're busy creating new resources for pastors to use as they carry out their God-given responsibilities.  We're creating a user-modifiable set of Bible studies to use in your Pastor's Bible class - classic Adventist studies that you can edit to suit your needs and then print out in a professional-looking format.  We're also working on new, user-friendly evangelistic graphics developed just for pastors - that won't break the bank.  

You can pick up your gift by clicking on this link: presentation template.  

Thank you for answering the call, and we're praying for you in 2013.

Your NAD MInisterial Team.  

Great Ideas: Evangelism Advent Calendar
I wish I'd stumbled across this earlier.  It's already the 17th of December (maybe later if you - gasp! - didn't open your Best Practices newsletter right away), so it's a bit late to try and emulate this great Evangelism Advent Calendar from the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College - but take a moment to look at it anyway.  It gives believers a new outreach idea for each day of the Advent season.  Take a moment to look through them.  You might find a few ideas that you could use to inspire your church members this Sabbath.  They'll still have a few days left before Christmas to try them!
Changed: a Huge Win for Young Preachers
Sandra Juarez

Hundreds of decisions for baptism across the NAD territory have been made through the recent YouthNET, and the reports are still coming in.  The Latino YouthNET "Changed" has certainly been Evangelism thinking outside the box and was strongly supported by the North American Division Administration.


You can read the incredible report of how God blessed the efforts of young preachers here.  

New People Matter
Roger Hernandez
Roger Hernandez.
No one believes they have an anti-visitor church. Very few people describe their congregation as cold. I can't imagine that church members purposefully want to send an anti-social message to newcomers. Yet it happens all the time.  Here are 3 things you can do, to become a visitor friendly church.
Mark Your Calendar: NAD Evangelism Offering
We really need your help.  Really.  The NAD is specifically focusing on six strategic building blocks in the coming months, and one of those building blocks is evangelism.  We're developing new resources for pastors.  We're examining the way we use new media to reach the public.  We're helping churches reach their dreams for the kingdom.  
December 29 marks the day that church members across the Division will be asked to consider giving for evangelism.  Every one of us is part of the church because of outreach - choose any church member, and you won't have to go back many generations (if any at all) to discover someone who came into the movement because of a deliberate outreach initiative.  
Would you do us a favor and help us point out how important evangelism is with your congregation?  If you click here, you will find some sample bulletin announcements that you can run both on December 22 and December 29.  And if you didn't use this summer's evangelism offering video (or you'd like to use it again), please click here to download a copy to share with your church.  Scroll to the bottom of the page to find links to the video and instructions on how to download it.  
If you still have the DVD kicking around your study somewhere, please consider using it again.  (Sorry, but we're completely out of them here at the office.  The above link gives you access to everything on the DVD, though.)  It might even be more effective to show it on December 22 to give people time to prepare for the 29th.   There may be a quick reference to June 30 here or there in the materials (I don't think there is), but it seems like a shame to use it just once.  
Your help will make a HUGE difference, and will help us put more resources into your hands.  
Pretty please?  
Mentors needed - for the whole Division!

 You've been working on the front line for quite a while, and you have first-hand experience with soul-winning.  Some ideas you tried didn't work very well.  Others produced average results. But some ideas were home runs.  God blessed them beyond your wildest expectations.  

We'd love to hear about it.  Many of your coworkers could really benefit if you chose to share it.  Please consider writing a short article for Best Practices for Adventist Evangelism - say four to six paragraphs - to help us make this a truly Division-wide periodical.  
You know how often you've picked up an idea from someone else.  Please consider letting someone pick up a few of yours!


Find out how to contribute to the discussion here.

Please write as if you are writing for an audience.  We're happy to do some light editing, but if you address it personally to the editors or submit it in the form of bullet points, it's not nearly as useful. 

Tools of the Trade: Dumb Little Man


It's nearly time to make resolutions for the new year, and if you're lacking ideas for self improvement, try visiting Dumb Little Man, a blog dedicated to the subject.  Not every blog submission is worthy of note; in fact, many of them seem to be written by people who appear to be too young and/or inexperienced to really know the subject material. It's well worth following, however, for the cream that rises to the surface. 
According to the website, it publishes a weekly postings that "provide a handful of tips that will save you money, increase your productivity, or simply keep you sane."  On top of that, some of the articles are just downright entertaining and/or thought provoking.
Try sampling this article on The Lost Art of Encouragement. It's not the finest piece of writing you'll ever stumble across, but it has great ideas that could easily be incorporated into pastoral ministry or public evangelism.     







Send your evangelistic ideas and descriptions of your best ministry tools to  

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