“I think we’ve been so focused on issues that only pertain to Adventism that we have allowed neighborhoods and people to suffer while we stick to ourselves. We still have to find the balance between making Adventism better while showing the heart and hands of Jesus to those who are outside of our walls. We won’t be perfect, and trying to upkeep the image of perfection will draw people further from us.”
“Any ideas on how you can change that as a pastor?”
“One, speaking to the real issues people are dealing with in my congregation alone, and helping them to understand the heart healing that Christ can bring. Two, leading them out to invest more in the community, joining alongside organizations that are already making a difference, so we don’t convince ourselves that our way is the only way and best way. That way we’ll help from a pure and humble heart, rather than for show, and actually help with the hope to develop real relationships with those we’re helping.
The most effective evangelistic tool I’ve used has been friendship. It requires time, patience, empathy, and genuine love. You welcome people for who they are and desire to get to know them- not for what you can get or give, but for who they are as a person. You meet them where they are. You don’t drag them to you, you love them, you care for them and war for them even when they can’t see it. It means still being there, for real for real, even if after the first month, year, 10 years, nothing happens. It’s not up to us to make a seed grow, it’s simply our job to plant it. Friendship means being loving, which requires honesty, learning about the things people do and sharing the things you do, and talking to them about things other than church. Friendship requires being real, being you and letting Jesus work with that, and not with who we imagine ourselves to be.”