Together Again Newsletter, past issues
Volume 5, Number 1; February 1998
Editor: Gary Russell
|The medical and educational organizations|
|ADRA and other relief programs|
|The zeal and energy of Adventist youth|
|Being able to go anywhere and find other Adventists|
|Friday night vespers|
|Saturday night socials|
|Vacation Bible School|
|Sabbath school discussions|
|The Student Missionary program|
|Maranatha/Mission Impact Trips|
|Inner-city programs like the van ministry in New York City|
|Friends made in the church|
|Our heritage young visionaries starting the church|
|Spiritual programs at our colleges|
|Jose Rojas (NAD youth director)
|Debating proper dress in church|
|The blue and pink sidewalks|
|No "amens" during a sermon|
|Being afraid to invite unchurched friends|
|People who are judgmental|
|Bickering and the lost energy that comes with it|
|Prejudice, racism, hate|
|Segregated youth conferences|
|Seeing exteriors, not interiors|
|How people use Ellen White to condemn others|
|Beast slides at evangelistic meetings|
|Alarm systems in academy dorms|
|Long, boring sermons|
|Pastors who think they're psychologists|
|Altar calls based on guilt|
|Emotional appeals to reject emotionalism|
|Repeated pitches for money|
|Cold water at Communion
(Reprinted from the Adventist Review, March 20, 1997)
A Little Church with a Big Heart
by Myrna Earles and Marjorie Snyder
"In the Ecorse (Michigan) Church, Alberta Drew has worked hard to communicate God's love in her church and out of it," reports Carolyn Palmer, Lake Region women's ministries coordinator. "Alberta keeps the women in her church busy with Project Reclaim through writing 'pop-up' letters."
Muriel Smith came to the Lake Region Campmeeting to explain the process of letter writing by the women of the Ecorse Church.
"Our church is targeting missing members, and we have had great success with our letter writing. We contacted 30 members by letter, asking them to 'pop into church.' We have had 19 of them come back, and most of them are now attending church again," Smith said. "Since we have been taking an interest in our missing members, we are known as the little church with the big heart."
TOGETHER AGAIN ROUNDTABLE
A Bible Study on Safety
Is your church safe? We're talking about the relational, spiritual and emotional safety there, not how the building's structure might be. Scripture has a lot of encouragement to offer for creating a place of safety at your church. What are those biblical stories and verses of promise? Be with Paul Richardson and Mike Aufderhar and their guests as they explore meaningful ways to be safe people with those who have quit coming to church. As usual, plenty of time will be available for your calls to 1.800.676.5446. Participate with us around a growing electronic round table to discuss this insightful topic on safety.
4-6 p.m. Eastern
Galaxy 9, Channel 1
A Workshop for Friends Reaching Friends Who Quit Church
Most missing members are looking for a safe place to come back to church. This eight-part workshop helps churches and members build safe places through relational bridges. Materials in the kit include: Leader's Guide, Participant's Guide, Overhead Transparency Masters, Training Videos.
TogetherAgain Video Seminar on Reclaiming Missing Members
Quarterly TogetherAgain broadcasts are mad eon reaching former members. These two-hour videos can be used in training events for your congregation or missing members ministry. Ask for the "TogetherAgain Uplink/Reclaiming Roundtable" video tape by event date.
Welcome Home Kit
Mailing materials and Guidebook for a Reclaiming Ministry
A 24-page Guide Book to help you set up a Reclaiming Ministry in your church. Also included is a Homecoming Kit of artwork on a CD-ROM disc to be customized for use on a reclaiming Sabbath of your choice (including letters, response cards, refrigerator notes, posters, bulletin inserts, etc.).
I have enjoyed reading your newsletter. However, the real purpose of the publication is not being met [in my church]. It seems unfair to continue receiving this great newsletter while not exercising its potential. All the copies I have received are in my file and [I] will contact you when our church decides to become active in this area.
Thank you and God bless your continued work in this much needed area.
AP, British Columbia, via e-mail
I hope you will receive this letter in the spirit in which it is written. I, too, want to see everyone possible reclaimed from the land of the enemy. But, when they come back I want them to understand and love God's truth and His church.
I just read the latest newsletter and the article "I WAS GOOD." It seems to run the same direction too many are running in recent years in the Adventist Church. The young man starts out with a wrong view of what it means to be a true Seventh-day Adventist Christian and so he overthrows that because it was, and should be, unsatisfying. Then he is introduced to a false gospel, which Ellen White called "presumption," and falls for it. He then starts again attending the Adventist Church, only because "It's the closest to the truth." Did not anyone truly witness to him the "real gospel" and the "real truth" that God has a church and in the Bible it is called "the Remnant?"
I wish you would not encourage others to take the same route by publishing such poor examples of a journey away from God and an unsatisfactory "return." Please, give us stories of people who have returned to Jesus and His whole truth. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
By the way, I feel sorry for the young man who said he could have "spent 40 years in the church and never met Him." I met Jesus as a young man, raised in another church, but also found him in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, God's remnant, nearly forty years ago. Jesus was found in this church then and is still here now even though He may be harder to find amidst all the "winds of doctrine" blowing today. Here's to the truth and nothing but the truth because Jesus is the "whole truth."
Yours for a clearer vision,
Thanks for the Dialogue
Communication is a two-way streetlet's keep it going
Last Sabbath (November 8, 1997) I preached in one of the smaller congregations in the Southern California Conference. I spoke in Tehachapi, California, up in the high desert. Now, I have to tell you, I'm not much for deserts. People tell me all the time how beautiful they are and that if I'd just get to know and understand them, I'd really learn to appreciate them. That may be true, but right now I'm just not interested in getting that close! But I must tell you, I really enjoyed Tehachapi! Not the desert part, but the church part.
Usually when I preach, there's not much interaction between the congregation and myself. We each just do what we're "supposed" to do. I preach. They listen. And, having heard a fair number of other preachers, that appears to be the way it's supposed to be.
But not in Tehachapi! These people were into the service! There were "amens" and "praise the Lord's." If what I said was funny, they laughed. If a point hit home, I could tell it registered by the looks on their faces. There was communication going on! It wasn't a one-way street like most sermons I've heard or preached. And when it was over, at least one person wished there had been time scheduled to continue the dialogue. What a great idea!
Sometimes when editing TogetherAgain, I feel like I'm preaching a one-way sermonlike it's a one-way conversation. But that is changing. With this issue we've decided to print some of the letters we receive from you.
I hope it starts a trend and we begin hearing from more of you. Let us know what you find helpful and what you don't. Share with us what you're doing that works and what doesn't. Tell us your storiesof friends who came back and those who left. Ask us questions. Challenge us. Write for us.
We've been doing the talking long enough. The dialogue has begun. Let's keep it going!
Gary E. Russell