God’s priority is reaching lost people with the gospel; nothing is more important to our heavenly Father. He has poured out all of heaven’s resources into the plan of salvation. Jesus—heaven’s most priceless gift—came to earth on a redemptive mission. The gospel of Luke states it in clear, unmistakable words: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). Ellen G. White adds this clarion call: “Evangelistic work, opening the scriptures to others, warning men and women what is coming upon the world, is to occupy more and still more of the time of God’s servants” (Evangelism, page 17).
When the church fails to place priority on reaching the lost, it fails in accomplishing its God-appointed mission. Any church not passionate about soul-winning has missed its calling. Soul-winning churches are alive. Evangelistic churches are vibrant, growing, living churches. Whenever a church turns inward, focusing predominantly upon its own needs, it will begin a downward spiral toward spiritual death. In the spiritual as well as in the natural world, activity is the law of life.
In 2008, Seventh-day Adventist churches throughout North America and around the world will have the unique opportunity via the Hope Channel to participate in Discoveries ‘08. Each meeting will be sent via satellite live from Orlando, Florida. The series will begin on October 24 and continue through November 29.
Discoveries ‘08 will take you on an incredible journey through the ancient past to unlock millenniums-old mysteries which speak to us in the twenty-first century. Eternal truths will leap off the pages of Scripture with a new freshness and relevance to a generation seeking answers to the deepest questions of life. Each presentation will be fully illustrated with all-new graphics, presenting Bible truth with clarity and power.
During Discoveries ’08, you will hear the best in Adventist music. Soloists and musical groups from across North America will inspire you with uplifting music. Throughout Discoveries ’08, we will feature YouTube-type questions so your church can be actively involved. Your members and guests will be able to videotape a question locally, post it on a Web page, and listen for the answer during Discoveries ’08. Questions will be selected for the following evening. Lecture outlines will be posted on the Internet so every church can download materials free of charge to be passed out locally.
Satellite evangelism has been a highly successful form of soulwinning in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The first satellite series, “Discoveries in Prophecy,” was launched in 1995, live from Chattanooga, Tennessee, with 676 churches participating. Since that time, more than 200 satellite events worldwide in more than 50 languages have resulted in over 1 million baptisms. But satellite evangelism is not a substitute for member involvement in witness; rather, it is a focal point for involvement. Some satellite series in local churches have not been successful at all. Why? The answer usually lies in a failure to prepare adequately. Someone has said it well: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Here is what you can do to be absolutely sure Discoveries ‘08 will be successful for Christ in your church:
• With your church board, develop a master plan for evangelism.
• Set aside times to pray earnestly for specific people who need to know God’s end-time message.
• Launch an active visitation program to former members and others who have expressed interest in your church.
• Organize social events, concerts, picnics, and other church activities for your guests.
• Prepare for Discoveries ‘08 just as you would if the pastor or a conference evangelist were coming to town.
• Order handbills, put up posters, place an ad in the newspaper, invite your friends, and watch the Holy Spirit work.
• Get involved. Plan something big for God. Don’t sit on the sidelines discussing why evangelism won’t work. Roll up your sleeves and go to work for God. He will do “exceedingly, abundantly, all that we ask or think” for the glory of His name.
To register for Discoveries ‘08, log on to www.acn.info or call 1-800-ACN-1119 (226-1119).
Mark Finley is a vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.