May Ford wanted to do something for Jesus. Her church was having an evangelistic series and the pastor was urging everyone to get involved. But her physical limitations and her natural shyness discouraged her from joining in any activities.
She decided to ask God to show her what she could do. Soon it occurred to her that she could pray. So she pulled out her telephone directory and chose 15 names at random and faithfully prayed every day for those people.
Three years passed, and one day she heard that her church would be having a baptism. One of the names sounded familiar—Noah Greenman. She knew that name—he was on her prayer list!
Incredibly, as the months passed, eight of the 15 people on her list were baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church!
Coincidence? Absolutely not. Could Mrs. Ford have done things differently? Maybe. But when we do something for God with a willing heart, it gives Him an avenue to bless.
Imagine for a moment what our world church would look like if God could find in each of us an avenue through which to bless others. There would be no limit to what God could do through us!
That’s why the General Conference is launching a bold new initiative called TMI—Total Member Involvement. It’s a full-scale, world-church evangelistic thrust that involves every member, church, administrative entity and every type of public outreach ministry. Jesus is coming soon, and God longs for a Spirit-filled church that can receive and pass on His blessings.
How can you and your church participate? Here are three simple steps:
Challenge your church and each member to pray for specific requests. Pray asking God to show you what He wants you to do. Pray daily for a family member, a friend or a neighbor, that they may accept Christ. Pray for wisdom in mapping out a strategy for your church.
“It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask” (Great Controversy, p. 525).
Prayer must go hand-in-hand with planning. The most effective way to accomplish total member involvement is through a calendar-driven program. Unite as a church in scheduling outreach and evangelism-driven events. Then divide in small groups for group planning. Sabbath School classes can function as Disciples in Action units, praying together and planning group outreach. The possibilities are endless—health seminars, Bible studies, youth projects, and multiple Christ-centered, prophetic evangelism events.
I recently returned from Zimbabwe, where 30,000 people were baptized! How was this accomplished? It took prayer and planning, but the members didn’t stop there. They took action. A total of 980 meetings and seminars were held throughout the country, which included a health initiative. As the people’s physical needs were met, they responded to the gospel message.
We can praise God for these results. Some may say, “But that was Zimbabwe, where things like this are possible.” That may be true, but if we don’t believe we can win a soul for Christ, we won’t win anyone. God can only bless when we are willing to be used.
I want to challenge you to plan a strategy this year for your church, your Sabbath School, your institution, and ultimately, for yourself. I know I do, because only as we reach out to others can God’s Spirit work through us, and give us the greatest blessing of all. “He who seeks to give light to others will himself be blessed” (Desire of Ages, p. 142).
Duane McKey is a special assistant to the GC President. He is also the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries director for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.