A Short Quiz

A Short Quiz

What do the Hillsdale, Tecumseh, Farmington, Detroit Oakwood, Grand Rapids, Owosso, Belgreen, Houghton, Ann Arbor, Cadillac, Warren, Kalamazoo, South Flint, Saint Johns, Alma, Mt Pleasant, Jackson, Wyoming, Riverside, Big Rapids, Gobles, Otter Lake, Saginaw, Waterford, Lansing, and Holland churches all have in common?  They all had people sign up for Bible studies with Bible Study Offer last month! Besides those in Michigan, spiritually curious people in North Carolina, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, Montana, Kentucky, Indiana, Idaho, Arkansas, Illinois, Georgia, Oregon, and California also registered with BibleStudyOffer.com—and all just in the month of August!

Some of those new interests were invited to take studies by someone when they attended a local church. Others responded to an advertisement in the mail, and still others signed up through Facebook or Twitter. But regardless of how they heard about it, they all expressed interest in learning more about the Bible.

Now that they’ve done their part it’s time to do ours. The greatest need in Bible study ministry today isn’t more learners, it’s more leaders. To the same degree that we praise the Lord for hearts moved to study the Bible we need to pray to the Lord for eager hearts willing to help people on their journey with God. Some 2,000 years ago Jesus said it this way: “The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Luke 10:2)

If you are willing to be a laborer in harvest field of your community, speak with your pastor, Personal Ministries leader, or Bible school coordinator in your local church to see how you can help lead those interested in spiritual things to the truth they need in Jesus.  

Time is Almost Up!

Time is Almost Up!

Believe it or not, we’re only three short weeks away from Discovering Revelation! As you’re reading this, literally thousands of people are seeing Discovering Revelation ads on their social media feeds and clicking on the Discovering Revelation registration website. Right now, billboards are popping up in strategic locations across the state followed by hundreds of thousands of handbills arriving in mailboxes on the final days before the campaign begins. But the most important advertising won’t be on social media, highway road signs, or even in people’s mailboxes—it will be done by you!

While we may assume people attend evangelistic meetings because they saw a billboard or received a handbill in the mail, the reality is that most people choose to come to a series of meetings as the result of a confluence of several factors. For example, in the past few days someone may have briefly glanced at a Discovering Revelation ad on their Facebook feed and thought little about it. That small seed of thought, however, will be watered by the corresponding billboard they see on their way to work. In another week or so, a Discovering Revelation handbill with more details about the topics that will be covered and the location the meetings will be held will “just happen” to arrive in their mailbox. Now they are genuinely curious and will either go ahead and register right then or at least be open to discussing it if someone were to bring it up in conversation. That’s where you come in. When after all that preparation, you approach your friend, co-worker, neighbor, or Adventist-curious family member to personally invite them to attend the meetings with you, their odds of being receptive to your appeal will be far greater! And when they do show up on opening night and they fill in their card at the registration table, they’ll most likely check “someone invited me” as the reason they came, without itemizing the subtle yet invaluable inroads made by the advertising ahead of that personal invitation.

The point is, our best results in terms of attendance will occur when we harness the preparation of public advertising by mustering the spiritual courage to step out and invite people, many of whom may indeed just be waiting for your personal appeal. Your personal efforts during these last few weeks are vital! So please pray for, look for, and by God’s grace initiate those divine appointments where you can invite someone to Discovering Revelation!

Operation: Andrew

Operation: Andrew

Discovering Revelation begins Monday, October 2—only weeks away now! While public advertising like billboards, social media, and direct mail handbills certainly has its place, evangelistic success rests to a great degree on our personal effort to invite people to hear the Gospel message. That’s why this is the perfect time for Operation: Andrew!

Operation: Andrew is a special initiative designed to encourage every church member to pray for and personally invite specific friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors to the upcoming evangelistic series. “But wait,” you may protest, “I’m happy to pray for people, but I’m really not an outgoing person—someone else should do the inviting!” To address this concern, let’s talk a little about the project’s namesake, Andrew.

We really don’t find much about Andrew in the Bible. His far more well-known and outgoing brother, Peter, gets most of the attention.  In fact, on the few occasions Andrew’s name is mentioned, nearly every time it is followed by the phrase, “Simon Peter’s brother.” And when you read the Gospel record, we’re only really told two things about Andrew—he was Simon Peter’s brother and, more importantly, he was always bringing someone to Jesus.

In The Desire of Ages, p. 141 we read this striking inspired commentary: John directed two of his disciples to Christ. Then one of these, Andrew, found his brother, and called him to the Saviour… These examples should teach us the importance of personal effort, of making direct appeals to our kindred, friends, and neighbors. There are those who for a lifetime have professed to be acquainted with Christ, yet who have never made a personal effort to bring even one soul to the Saviour. They leave all the work for the minister. He may be well qualified for his calling, but he cannot do that which God has left for the members of the church.

     There are many who need the ministration of loving Christian hearts. Many have gone down to ruin who might have been saved if their neighbors, common men and women, had put forth personal effort for them. Many are waiting to be personally addressed. In the very family, the neighborhood, the town, where we live, there is work for us to do as missionaries for Christ. If we are Christians, this work will be our delight. No sooner is one converted than there is born within him a desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus. The saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. 

So, while not everyone can be an Apostle Peter, we can each be his brother, Andrew. To that end, we’re encouraging every church that is participating in Discovering Revelation to launch their own Operation: Andrew initiative on or around August 19. Distribute these Operation: Andrew cards and make a special appeal during the Personal Ministries time of the worship service to appeal to everyone to take up the challenge. Who is the Lord impressing you to pray for and invite to Discovering Revelation? Ask Him today and see who He will put on your heart.

A Vital Missing Ministry

A Vital Missing Ministry

Many churches are missing a vital element in their work that can literally make or break their evangelism success. All the wonderful outreach activities a church conducts may be highly organized, strongly supported, and even well attended, yet still fall short of their soul-winning potential.  Why? Because the spiritual interests these activities develop are not diligently followed up. What’s missing is the vital work of the Interest Coordinator!

When outlining the leadership positions of a local church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual first mentions those responsible for the administration of the entire church body like elder, deacon/deaconess, clerk, and treasurer. After those, it lists leaders of “departments and other organizations” that manage specific areas of church life such as children’s ministries, education, health ministries, and Sabbath School.[1]

It might surprise you to learn that on that first list of church-wide leaders is the Interest Coordinator. It may also surprise you to know that the only local church officer specifically mentioned in the work of the church board is the interest coordinator.[2] Though many have never heard of, much less served as an interest coordinator, apparently this is a vital position in the local church. So, what in the world is an interest coordinator and why is it this job so important?

To answer these questions, let’s turn to the source.

An interest coordinator should be elected to make sure that interests developed through the church’s missionary outreach are cared for promptly. This person is a member of the board and the personal ministries council and works directly with the pastor and chairperson of that council.

Duties of this office include:

1. Keeping an organized list of all interests received by the church.
2. Assisting the pastor and chairperson of the personal ministries

council in enlisting and recruiting qualified members for follow-up service.

3. Presenting to the board a monthly report on the number of interests received and followed up. When an interest is sufficiently developed, it should be shared with the pastor.[3]

Apparently, every department of the local church is expected to develop “interests”—spiritually curious non-Adventists—and share those names with the Interest Coordinator. The Interest Coordinator is then responsible to “make sure [those interests] are cared for promptly.” The three subsequent duties of this position simply explain how the Interest Coordinator makes sure follow-up ministry happens: keep an organized interest list, recruit members for follow-up service, and report interest progress with the board each month.

This may sound like a basic or even minor task but take a moment to consider how such a focus on intentionally seeking out and following up with new interests could radically alter your local church. Every department would plan activities and initiatives specifically aimed at discovering spiritually interested people in your area. Members would be enlisted to promptly follow up those interests with Bible studies or personal invitations to other spiritually enriching activities. Board meetings would prioritize discussions of how to minister to these new interests and coordinate plans for finding still more in the future. The culture of the church would shift from merely planning events to truly seeking and saving the lost!

Now imagine an entire conference filled with local churches that made finding and following up new spiritual interests one of its highest priorities! The soul winning potential is almost incalculable but certainly not impossible.

Visit with your church’s Interest Coordinator this week to see how you can help follow up with the spiritually interested souls in your area. If you don’t currently have an Interest Coordinator in your church, talk with your pastor or elder to find out what can be done to move in that direction. 

[1] Seventh-day Adventist Church Manual, 2022 ed., Ch. 9

[2] Ibid, p. 137, 138

[3] Ibid., p. 91

BSO Update

BSO Update

In our last edition of the MICHionary, we were looking forward to the July 23 re-launch of BibleStudyOffer.com. However, as the anticipated date approached, a few significant hang-ups still needed to be resolved so we had to postpone the launch until those issues could be addressed. While we still don’t have a specific launch date to share, we can let you know a little of what’s going on behind the scenes right now. 

Issue #1: Print Materials 

As you know, BibleStudyOffer.com involves corresponding print materials ranging from Bible study guides to advertising items like business cards, sharing tracts, and public display cards. Recent supply chain uncertainties made it unlikely that the new print materials would be ready in time for launch—and we didn’t want to go live with a beautiful, engaging website only to have the corresponding resources be unavailable.

Praise the Lord, we’ve received word that the key resources have all been printed and are now in stock! So, you’ll be able to order the all-new resources the minute the new site goes live. 

Issue #2: Website Refinements 

We’re incredibly excited about the new look and study options the public will experience when they visit BibleStudyOffer.com. There are still some functional and structural adjustments, however, that need to be made to the back end (where all the BSO coordinators and study leaders will interface with the site) before the site is fully ready to go live. So, we’re taking some extra time and expense to make sure your experience with BSO is as clear and intuitive as possible. 

We still fully expect the all-new BibleStudyOffer.com to be up and running in the very near future, with the delay being only a matter of weeks and not months! We would just greatly prefer a good launch a little late than a bad launch right on time.

In the meantime, here’s a link to a PowerPoint presentation you can use to promote BSO’s updated look and improved features with you church family. If you have an event or program coming up before new supplies are ready, please email slhoward@misda.org or call (517) 316-1511 and we will see if there is a way we can help.

Finally, please remember that BSO is merely a tool to extended and enhance your personal labor for souls. As good as the branding, website, and print materials will be—and they will be very good!—none of it matters if individual church members aren’t actively engaged in personally seeking the lost. The single most important feature of BibleStudyOffer.com is you! 

Thank you for your patience and understanding and for your commitment to Christ and His cause.