May 8, 2008

Resources to "Tool" Us for Ministry

Time to Start Planning Summer Ministries
Summertime can be the doldrums for a congregation. Active families move away. People go on vacation or spend weekends at the beach or in the mountains. Many churches are not air-conditioned, which discourages some members from staying around for the afternoon.
2008 1514 page28Summer, however, can be one of the most important seasons for outreach, evangelism, and church growth. More children from nonmember families attend Vacation Bible Schools than all the nonmembers who attend public evangelistic meetings throughout the year. The largest numbers of new families arrive at church during the summer months. Many people move into various communities looking for a church to attend.
Are you going to take advantage of the summer opportunities, or is your church going to turn down the energy and go on hiatus this summer? If you would like to have an aggressive summer program, you need to get a copy of Summer Ministries: How to Revolutionize Your Town With Targeted, Project Evangelism by Stuart Tyner, Bailey Gillespie, and David Wood. This practical book grew out of the actual experiences of Adventist churches and youth groups. It has both innovative and more traditional possibilities.
At least you owe it to yourself—not to mention our Lord Jesus Christ—to take a look at the possibilities. You can get a copy from AdventSource or (800) 328-0525.
Winning Ways to Witness
What is your personal witnessing style? Don’t tell me you don’t do it, because if you are a follower of Jesus Christ then you are inevitably also a witness. Remember Peter warming himself at the fire outside Christ’s trial? He didn’t want to be involved in witnessing, but reality caught up with him. The same is true for you, whether you like it or not. So maybe you ought to think about your personal witnessing style.
2008 1514 page28In this four-session video seminar David Hartman describes seven personal witnessing styles that he found in his research for his Doctor of Ministry degree at Andrews University. These are intercession (praying for the lost), friendship (building relationships), service (helping the suffering and needy; getting involved in the larger community), testimony (telling the story of your walk with Christ), invitation (introducing people to Jesus), conversation (informal questions and answers about faith and beliefs), and proclamation (structured Bible studies). He has developed and tested an instrument used in the first session of the video seminar to help people identify the areas where they are strong and weak, and then follow where their spiritual gifts lead them.
Each video lecture is about an hour in length, and the production values are OK, but not the highest. The PowerPoint files, however, are also on the disc, so a pastor or elder could develop their own presentation if they don’t feel comfortable just showing the videos. The handouts—including the Witnessing Styles Questionnaire—are also on the discs, ready to print. The best thing about this package is that it is brand-new, fresh from field testing at the Highland Seventh-day Adventist Church in Portland, Tennessee.
You can purchase this resource from AdventSource. Or you can communicate with Hartman directly by e-mail at [email protected].
Sometimes I Don’t Feel Like Praying!
If you are looking for something different in the form of inspirational material, I highly recommend this new book by Mike Jones, which will be released by the Pacific Press Publishing Association this spring. In his earlier years, Jones was a successful Adventist pastor who later served as editor of Insight. Then the devil got a grip on him. He spent many years outside the church, and he says he’s been through it all. But somehow God brought him back, and he now feels a special calling to reach out to former church members. Currently, he is a retired businessman living in Portland, Oregon.
2008 1514 page28This book is honest, practical, and spiritual. It deals with all the issues—divorce, dancing, boring churches, finding grace, depression, addictions, forgiveness, panic attacks, churches that don’t seem to want new people to feel comfortable, and lots of others. You may find yourself portrayed in this book. You will certainly find someone you really care about and have been praying for throughout the years.
I don’t know whether Jones would agree, but I feel safe giving this book to some former members. Of course, not everyone has had an experience like his. Some are quite different.

You can order a copy through your local Adventist Book Center, or call (800) 765-6955.
Monte Sahlin is director of research and special projects for the Ohio Conference. He also serves as chair of a team that is developing a comprehensive discipleship curriculum for NAD Church Resources. You can suggest resources to him at [email protected] or (800) 272-4664.