Jiwan Moon often tells young people that they face three important days in their lives: the day they were born, the day they realize why they were born, and the day they start to live their God-given mission.
Moon hopes that this coming weekend will provide one of those important days for a least one Adventist university student or young professional somewhere in the world.
“We are hoping to create a venue through which we can bring back at least one lost soul,” said Moon, director of the Seventh-day Adventist world church’s public campus ministries, which supports Adventist students at public universities and colleges.
The three-day weekend envisages thousands of young people doing good deeds on their campuses on Friday, worshipping and fellowshipping on Sabbath, and reaching out to their communities on Sunday as part of the Adventist Church’s first Global Public Campus Ministries (PCM) Weekend.
For those who don’t have a local Adventist church nearby or who would like to meet with friends for an inspiring Sabbath afternoon activity, public campus ministries has opened a new website, pcm.adventist.org, that will live-stream youth-oriented content from 7 p.m. Friday to 7:30 p.m. Saturday Eastern Time.
“Our God-given mission is not to live in the biggest house or have the fanciest car, but to live a life of sacrifice and service,” Moon said. “Global PCM Weekend is a time when we become like Christ. We become like His followers and impact the world by empathizing, engaging, and being empowered rather than being entertained.”
Moon spoke with sadness about statistics that indicate the Adventist Church is losing more than half of its young people before they reach adulthood. In some developed countries the figure is closer to 70 percent.
Moon said the way to retain young people is to mentor them, kindle their missionary spirit, and then send them out into the world to serve as Jesus’ hands and feet.
“I often wonder why so many of our young people are leaving the church,” he said. “I believe that they want to be empowered rather than entertained. I believe this generation needs to be mentored. I think our approach has been to give them what they want and not really allow them to give themselves for Christ. Our young people should be fed, but we may have forgotten that they are able to feed other people as well.”
Global PCM Weekend, he said, is created for all Adventist students on public and Adventist campuses, as well as for young professionals. The church has designated the third weekend of October for this event every year, a date that falls exactly six months from Global Youth Day, an annual outreach event organized by the world church’s Youth Ministries department on a Sabbath in March.
“The reason is we want to give young people the opportunity to engage in outreach activities not just once but at least twice a year,” Moon said.
Moon — who worked closely with young people at the church that he pastored in Canada before moving to the Adventist world church headquarters in the U.S. state of Maryland in 2014 — sat down in his office with the Adventist Review to elaborate about this weekend’s program and to extend an invitation to young people to get involved. He appealed to young people who need mentoring and have few options to call his office — and said he was ready to take the call on his own cell phone if needed.
The following interview has been edited for clarity and style.
Q: Why did you decided to organize this event?
A: We don’t believe in events, but we believe in this process. Global PCM Weekend is not an event. It is the start of a movement to change the culture in the church so our young people will be trained for useful service instead of being entertained.
Adventist students and young professionals will be encouraged to make a difference in the three C’s of public campus ministries: campus, church, and community. We want them to impact the world around us during this weekend.
On Friday, the emphasis will be on campus. Reach in with God. Students will reach in to fellow students, professors, and staff members. We will show our care for others on campus.
On Sabbath, we will invite those who have neglected worship to reengage with their local Adventist churches. Young people can use the Sabbath afternoon to visit neighbors and share the gospel. This day is to be set apart for holy communication, worship, and fellowship. We will reach up to God.
On Sunday, we will reach out to the community. Empower for service.
We are using this weekend to highlight public campus ministries, which seeks to transform Seventh-day Adventist young people into missionaries for Christ.
The 12 disciples of Jesus are believed to have been young people, mostly teenagers. Think about how they put their lives on pause to become messengers of the cross. Today, about 2,000 years later, the movement started with those 12 disciples is saving lives and changing the world.
Our motto at public campus ministries is: follow Jesus, embrace His mission, change the world.
We want our young people to be agents of change in the world.
Q: Could you share more details about what will happen this weekend?
On Friday, Adventist students will find ways to let students and faculty know that we care. They could beautify campuses. They could organize “meet and greet” or “let’s be friends” gatherings where fellow students meet one another. They could invite fellow students to Sabbath worship services.
Students also could set a booths offering useful information about campus resources or Adventist campus ministries. Students could operate a “Water for the Soul” booth that provides bottles of free water and healthful living tips. If they have musical talents, they could organize a “Music for the Soul” concert.
I especially hope that many students will participate in a thank-you campaign where they write notes of appreciation to teachers, staff members, and even custodians.
On Sabbath, we are excited at the prospect of students getting involved in worship services, whether it is by giving a prayer or testimony, serving as an usher, or preaching the sermon.
This special Sabbath will give churches an opportunity to introduce new students to their congregations and welcome them to a new home away from home. Churches could prepare a nice potluck for students. Students are always hungry. Church members could adopt a student. They could serve as mentors. Wouldn’t it be nice if each of us would adopt an Adventist student who is away from home?
We are appealing to professionals to get involved as well, including those from ASI and Adventist Professionals Networks. We want to give them an opportunity to mentor the next generation. We would like to create a culture where the older person leads, mentors, and disciples young people.
Q: How are young people reacting to the planned weekend?
Interest is high in the live broadcasting.
Students are organizing gatherings, the largest of which may be in the U.S. state of Michigan. We expect statewide participation, and some people are even coming from Canada. On Sabbath afternoon, they are thinking about conducting outreach activities at the University of Michigan. They plan to wear T-shirts saying “iFollow” on the front and the words: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” from 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV) on the back. This is our key text.
I am excited that all the church’s world divisions will participate in our first-ever weekend. We only started promoting this about six months ago. I am thrilled that students will gather on Sabbath on all continents except Antarctica.
Students in South Africa, Kenya, and Ivory Coast have plans to participate on Friday, too. Four sites will join us in Israel.
4. Why should I watch the online broadcast?
We are featuring seven Sabbath worship services from seven locations, starting in Melbourne, Australia, and then from Manila, the Philippines; Nairobi, Kenya; London; and sites in Brazil, Michigan; Colombia; and South Korea.
You will be able to worship with young people, participate in singing, and hear young professionals talk about their experiences. We will discuss relevant topics that our university students and young professionals are struggling with. We will also have a special musical concert where you will hear blind pianist Josiah the Trinidad, the Golden Angels group from South Korea, and the group Prisma Brasil.
The sermon in Michigan will be preached by Cassandra McNulty, a victim of sexual assault who found Christ and healing through Him.
Medical student Dimitar Kolav will share how he overcame many struggles and now mentors high school students. He will tell how he has participated in mission work every summer for the past eight years. He also will sing.
Dr. Sven Ostring, a pastor and Christian apologist from Australia, will talk with a group of students about how the Creation account is more scientific than evolution theory.
Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson will give a special speech.
The worship services and Pastor Wilson’s address will take place from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sabbath Eastern Time.
Most of the programming will be in English, although some songs will be sung in other languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, and Korean with English subtitles.
The full schedule will be available on our new website on Friday.
Q: If a young person wants to reconnect with the church but feels isolated, who should he or she contact?
The website has information about how to sign up for our newsletter. It also has a collection of resources and contact information about whom to e-mail or call. We welcome anyone to call our office. If no one answers the office phone, the call is automatically redirected to my cell phone no matter where I am in the world.
Q: How many young people will participate this weekend?
We’re estimating that thousands of young people will be involved.
We don’t want this to be the end. We hope this will provide an opportunity for someone who is watching our website in their dorm room to say, “Hey, I need to reconnect. I need to reengage.” We don’t want anyone to have the excuse that “No one cared for me” or “No one reached out to me.”
We are not going to stop until we reach out to everyone.