As I write this editorial, I am in the midst of the Christ 2004 evangelistic series. It is an experiment—a multicultural experience. Anglo and Hispanic churches in the Forest Grove and Hillsboro, Oregon, areas have teamed together to share Christ in the context of our unique apocalyptic message.
Preaching a series of meetings is not a part of my usual job description. The facts are that not too many years ago I was rather cynical about church leaders taking time off from their “regular jobs” to do evangelism. But then I got involved in our annual NPUC short-term mission trips. I decided if we spent as much time and energy doing evangelism in the U.S., we might get some results here, too.
And so with a great team of lay members, pastors, Bible workers, Mission College students, and conference and union leaders we began planning, working, and praying for success.
We won’t see thousands baptized, but we are experiencing baptisms. Hundreds of guests have attended. Many are stepping inside an Adventist church for the first time, and they are making eternal decisions.
I wish you could have seen one of our members as she excitedly shook my hand after the sermon about baptism. She said that her (adult) daughter had taken her stand that night. A few nights after the Sabbath sermon, the same member told me that her sister had raised her hand on that particular night. Her joy was obvious.
Additionally, there is a significant impact on all of us who know this message and sometimes take it for granted. As one long-time member told me last night, these meetings have “made Jesus real to me.”
As I’ve thought about that comment, I’ve realized again how Christ-centered, biblically based, and logical our beliefs are. It’s good to periodically revisit them over a short period of time. This way, we see that there is indeed a “golden thread” that runs through all of them, as Ellen G. White once said. One cannot merely choose a belief from a set of separate and distinct doctrines; they are all interdependent, woven through with the salvation earned for us by Jesus Christ.
Yes, we don’t see huge numbers responding in America, but I can testify, as will hundreds of my new friends, that there is power in the last-day message God has given this church—whatever language it’s preached in, including Spanish—and even English.