July 31, 2015

A Conspiracy in North America

, associate ministerial director, North American Division

What if our Adventist Churches across North America began a conspiracy?

What if we decided in harmony with all the other churches across Bermuda, Canada, United States and the islands of Guam and Micronesia that we are going to love our cities like Jesus did?

What do you think would happen if we ventured outside the walls of our churches, asked people about their needs, and did something transformational for individuals and communities?

What if our local churches conspired together to do the following

1. Respond to disasters in the community (fires, earthquakes, storms, tornados).

2. Feed the hungry.

3. Clothe the naked.

4. Mentor children after school.

5. Minister to prisoners, and also minister to their families.

6. Visit and pray for the sick in the community regularly.

7. Offer free marital counseling (married couples) and free pre-marital counseling (engaged couples).

8. Offer free parenting classes for parents.

9. Donate space, free of charge, for community events and celebrations that are not inconsistent with Adventist faith and practice.

10. Advertise the services of the local Adventist pastor to conduct weddings, dedications of babies, and funerals, free of charge for the church’s community where doing so is in harmony with the church’s policies for pastoral care.

11. Provide manicures and pedicures for battered women.

12. Celebrate communion with the homeless and bring them in when it is cold.

13. Lead toy drives during Christmas.

14. Stand against modern slavery and the abuse of women, children, and the elderly (not a silent church).

15. Teach free financial management classes (How to budget? How to buy a house? How to become debt-free? Financial freedom, income taxes).

16. Hold free fitness classes.

17. Connect with governmental leaders and work with them to support good causes regardless of their party affiliation.

18. Hold a reception for community business owners and pray for their success.

19. Promote and facilitate the adoption of children.

20. Co-sponsor and organize concerts with well-known musicians in some of our very beautiful, historic, landmark buildings rather than having these buildings closed to the public most of the time.

21. Organize and sponsor celebrations during special days and recognized holidays such as: New Year’s, Super Bowl, Valentine’s, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and others.

22. Partner with the city and other organizations to serve as volunteers in events such as marathons, fairs, and festivals.

What would happen with our churches if we would venture to open our doors more often than just Saturdays for a few hours and Wednesdays for an hour? After all some other churches who don’t have our beautiful and powerful message keep their doors open all the time.

What if we dared to distribute flyers in our communities, not just those with beasts on the cover, but offering the few services mentioned above and many others? What if we did this, not just for a day, or for a season right before the evangelistic meetings, but on a regular basis as a lifestyle? What do you think would happen?

1. A relevant church is never empty. Jesus was surrounded by people constantly, He did not preach to empty pews, there is a reason why He always had a crowd.

2. A relevant church reaches and reclaims its community. Jesus did that on a regular basis. He went to the synagogue, sat and read, and then went out to reach and reclaim His community.

3. A relevant church retains its members. When a community of people are active and happy doing something good, which they enjoy, they don’t leave; the total opposite happens, more people come, youth, young adults, adults, and children, believe me it can be viral. Jesus went viral, and that’s why our church is here today because of what He did.

It’s time for a conspiracy of compassion in our Adventist churches in North America!

Jose Cortes Jr. leads evangelism for the Adventist Church in North America. A version of this article appeared on the NAD Ministerial Department website.