September 2, 2023

Sabbath Gift Initiative Reaches 1.4 Million Views

Resource seeks to draw attention to the benefits of Sabbath-keeping.

Adventist Record
Short videos share the benefits of the Sabbath. The videos are available for viewing at [Photo: Adventist Record]

More than 1.4 million people have viewed positive messages about the seventh-day Sabbath as part of an innovative social media campaign launched in the South Pacific Division (SPD) of the Adventist Church in June.

The Sabbath Gift initiative has been designed to draw attention to the benefits of the Sabbath as a time of rest and restoration, community, and connection in today’s stressful, fast-paced, and isolated world. And, most importantly, it is intended to share that the Sabbath is a gift from a loving God.

The promotion encourages Adventists from across the South Pacific to create and share a simple video clip on their platforms, highlighting their personal connections and experiences with the Sabbath. Participants are also encouraged to share others’ content and to pray for the promotion’s success.

Since its launch, the promotion has drawn nearly 20,000 people to the Sabbath Gift website, which serves as a central hub for engagement. On this platform people can register to participate in a four-week Sabbath Challenge, where they’re invited to try the Sabbath and experience its benefits. So far, 53 people have joined the challenge.

A series of four live webinars was held in July. These events delved into various aspects of the Sabbath’s benefits, featuring topics such as its impact on health (featuring Christiana Leimena); disconnection from daily stressors (Brendan Pratt); fostering community (Moe Stiles and Nathan Brown); and its spiritual significance (Robbie Berghan).

Most recently, there has been an opportunity to partner with Adventist Schools Australia to engage school communities and help students understand the benefits that the Sabbath can bring to their lives. Students at Adventist schools are being encouraged to express their appreciation for the Sabbath through creative media such as artworks. The competition will extend to schools in New Zealand and the Pacific at a later stage.

A further addition to the promotion is the launch of a Sabbath Gift sharing book authored by Bruce Manners. Written in the author’s friendly and engaging style, it is designed for sharing with the general public. The book is now available for pre-orders and will be dispatched to conferences and churches in November.

“The Sabbath Gift is an exciting initiative encouraging you and I to share the joy and blessings of the Sabbath,” SPD president Glenn Townend said. “We want to help people in the wider community understand the restful, transforming power of God’s Sabbath.”

The inspiration behind the promotion stemmed from a study conducted by the McCrindle research company in 2022. The research highlighted a lack of awareness about the Seventh-day Adventist Church among Australians and New Zealanders, with only 4 percent considering the church as relevant in the 21st century. Most people also expressed a lack of understanding about what Adventists believe and how it is different from other churches.

One of the study’s key recommendations was to clearly communicate the core beliefs and principles of the Adventist Church.

“When looking at what to communicate, the seventh-day Sabbath stood out as being positive and relevant, and something that could harness appeal in a society that is struggling with burnout, depression, and isolation,” SPD communication director Tracey Bridcutt said.

“Our own research revealed that people are already asking questions on various platforms about the Sabbath — what it’s all about, what people do on the Sabbath, and how the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday. So it seemed a good opportunity to raise awareness about one of our fundamental beliefs.

“We believe that the Sabbath is an amazing gift from a loving God. We hope the Sabbath Gift initiative will be the start of a journey for many people towards a happier and healthier life,” Bridcutt said.

The Sabbath Gift is an initiative of Adventist Media, the Ministry and Strategy team and the Communication team at the South Pacific Division. The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.