Penn Valley, CA
“Thank you! Just thank you!” was her response.
In January, the pastor of the Penn Valley SDA Church and I decided to try something a little different.
I arrived for a weekend seminar where our only focus was to have those who attended encounter the Gospel through our Adventist message. The goal was to invite as many members of the community as we could, get them excited, and then come back in three weeks to hold a longer evangelistic seminar where the people who had attended the previous weekend seminar could invite their friends. I don’t know if that worked, but what I do know is that I had the privilege of meeting two very special people. They are not members of the Adventist church, but they are part of the body of Christ. Each night I watched as the wheels began to turn inside. I watch lights turn on, and new ideas dawn as my dear new friends encountered truth after truth.
Then we come to the presentation where we cover the Gospel as revealed through the truth of God’s seventh day Sabbath. I always approach this subject with great delicacy and prayer as I am fully aware how contrary it is to modern traditional Christianity. Yet when we were three-quarters of the way through the presentation, the more vocal of the two of my new friends exclaimed, “Thank you, thank you. Just thank you! I have wrestled with this for over a year now and I could not find a satisfactory answer, and to see its relation to the Gospel is even more amazing!”
At the end of the series, we had four folks interested in following up the truths they had encountered in that series. I know very well that there are many well-meaning folks who are used to hearing large numbers who would say, “Four? Only four as a result of a ten-day series?” I would answer yes. When trying innovative methods of marketing you have to try new things even when those methods may not produce the desired outcome. In order to find “something better” than the current model you have to be willing to risk trying something that may turn out to be worse. You learn as you go, on the run so to speak. You pick up things that work, you leave behind things that don’t, but at least you try to reach the masses that our current approach grossly neglects.
But let me add, I would not say “only” four attendees. Having spent time with each attendee, and gotten to know each of them personally, was well worth it. I have rarely met such sincerity, honesty, and openness as I encountered in these four precious souls. In my book, this series was my most successful effort in the last ten years of ministry. I so look forward to seeing God’s leading in my new friends’ lives over the next few months.
If you happen to be reading this, my dear friends, prove all things, don’t stop searching, God is daily “ordaining” certain events in your life, drawing you, in hopes that you “might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). Our meeting was not chance. God is calling you to join His last movements in this age. He is about to return, but before He does, “the mystery of God will be finished” (Revelation 10:7).