The Short Version – The Most Important Theme First
From time to time, I have the privilege of giving seminars that stress the importance of planting churches in places where there has never been an Adventist church. While traveling, at times I have been asked what I talk about in my seminars. When there is not enough time for a full explanation, there is a short version I give that shares the essential point. Because you and I are probably not acquainted with each other, and I do not know your level of interest, how much time you have, or if you will even finish reading this book, I want you to have the same type of short answer first before reading the rest of the book. I want you to have the short version first.
The one thing that we all do wrong.
Almost all Christians, including Seventh-day Adventists, are doing one thing entirely wrong. Christians of all faiths say that their common goal is to enlighten the world about salvation in Jesus. They want to save lost sinners as fast as possible. Unfortunately, most churches demand that ministers, the ones who are specifically called by God to enlighten the world with the gospel, spend their time every weekend preaching to church members who already know Jesus. Ministers are also expected to lead many other kinds of assemblies, social events, celebrations, deliberations, mediations, and meetings. They conduct the church and school boards; and regularly visit church members who already have a relationship with Jesus. The list of expectations for ministers is a very long list.
Meanwhile, millions around the globe never hear that Jesus died to take away their sins and go to their graves without salvation. Christianity no longer focuses its resources primarily on Jesus’ mission. The church, in some areas the world, is becoming a mission unto itself, devoting only a small percentage of time every year to saving the lost. Church members, in some situations, are becoming the object of their own tithes and offerings. Although the members return their tithes and offerings with the desire that it be used to enlighten the ignorant, they do not realize that the demands which they place upon the minister are preventing that from happening. They do not understand that by consuming the minister’s time, they are making the minister serve themselves, while the lost continue to remain lost.
Now that you have read the short version first, I pray that you will continue to read the rest of the book. I want you to know the history of how we got into this problem, what God wants us to do about it, and how we can accomplish His mission more effectively. By working in harmony with God’s will and with power from the Holy Spirit, we can hasten the Second Coming of Jesus.
Questions for Consideration
- How important is Jesus’ mission to me?
- What am I doing to help spread the gospel (Matthew 24:14)?
- What do I expect from my pastor?
- How can my spiritual needs be met by relying on God instead of relying on my pastor?