Fighting Dissent from the Inside Out

“…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:20-23 [NIV]

As president of the Minnesota Conference, I often find myself reflecting on what it means to be a leader. I find this question, for which I could supply a list of prosaic responses, is not so easy to answer within the context of ministry.

It follows, logically, that if one is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church, one would believe in the doctrines and the message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If one is a member, one is a follower of Christ. And if one is a follower of Christ, one must believe that it is our duty – no, our mandate – to make disciples of Christ. Unfortunately, we are living in a sinful world, and it is our sinful natures that encourage discord and distrust of one another and our leaders.

It is true that leaders in every field are continually bombarded with ideas, requests, reprimands, praises, contempt, disgust, and more. Yet, consider how much more difficult this is in the context of spirituality. Not only are these bombardments against the role of the person, they are also attacks against the innermost beliefs that we individually hold dear. These challenges create fissures that can spread if not treated appropriately.

In light of the changes and difficulties our country is facing – mass shootings, terrorist attacks, bombings, political and socioeconomic unrest – it is ever more important that we, as a church family, draw together and lift each other up. As Jesus prayed in John 17:22-23, “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (NIV)

Satan wants to create enmity between us and the people we sit next to in the pew each Sabbath. He wishes to stir up strife between congregations, conferences and world divisions of the Church. He wants to create distractions to keep us from our mission. The enemy wants us to forget who Jesus is and why we became members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the first place.

Our solitary defense is to rely upon Christ and trust in God’s word. It is only through this effort that we may be in Him, and He in us. This is the key for unity within the church. If we are truly dependent on Jesus, and allow Him, by His Holy Spirit, to become master of our lives, there is no way for Satan to crack the Church. He cannot break us down, or break us apart. This brings us back to my question.

What does it mean to be a leader? Any leader may focus on raising profits, rallying a team, or climbing the corporate ladder. Being a Christian leader means influencing others towards Christ and helping create unity. We must draw closer to Jesus, and to each other, if we are to follow Christ’s mandate: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matt. 28:19-20 (NIV)].

Let us focus on Christ, and be unified in Him. Then, let’s make disciples. When we are making disciples, we won’t have the time to argue: we will be winning souls for eternity. As we keep our EYES on Eternity, we cannot fail. Praise God!

Justin Lyons

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Maranatha School Open House

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow!”

Thursday evening, October 13, the parents, students, teachers, and constituents of the Dodge Center SDA Church were truly praising God for the generous blessing of a new school plant for Maranatha Adventist Christian School.

3-maranatha-school-open-house-wish-treeUpon entering the school, guests were greeted by eighth grader, Adeline Martin, who pointed out creative student artwork on the north wall and the wishing tree adorned with many items still needed to assist in optimum learning at Maranatha.  Guests could pick an item on the tree to purchase or donate funds.

As guests continued their tour of the building, other upper-grade students stationed throughout the plant extolled the functions and benefits of each room.  3-maranatha-school-open-house-gymSchool guests admired the expansive gymnasium, which is very much appreciated by students.  Since Maranatha’s student census continues to increase, a bigger gym has not only been more comfortable for play, but provides a safer environment.   Fewer body crashes have resulted from having ample floor space.

Students also showed off the spacious and beautiful kitchen, where guests discovered six brand-new microwaves! The microwaves have been the perfect asset in alleviating long heat-up lines during lunch periods.

3-maranatha-school-open-house-libraryNot to be forgotten during the tour were the wonderful, five-stall bathrooms featuring automatic lighting and automatic faucets! Two classrooms, a library, music room, storage room, a small bathroom by the lower-grade classroom, and workroom completed the list of must-see spaces.

After the tour, all twenty-two students treated guests to a short choir concert, directed and accompanied by Mrs. Martin, that included “The Coloring Song”, “Emmanuel”, and “The Windows of Heaven Are Open.”

3-maranatha-school-open-house-treatsNext, guests indulged in an abundant buffet table of luscious foods in the kitchen.  The open house was so well attended that even the large kitchen was jam-packed.

The crowning events were a readers’ theater based on the book of Job, performed excellently by the first through fourth graders, and the heart-felt dedication of the school building presented by Pastor Jim Martin.

Truly God’s blessings are being experienced at Maranatha School.

Trudy Smith, Maranatha Adventist Christian School Teacher

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Photography Class Shoots International Reality Show Audition Demo

6-stone-ridge-christian-school-photography-class-16-stone-ridge-christian-school-photography-class-26-stone-ridge-christian-school-photography-class-3

When a church member approached Stone Ridge SDA Christian School lead teacher, Rudy Carlson, about shooting an audition demo for the reality show “Alt for Norge” The Great Norway Adventure, filmed in Norway, Mr. Carlson suggested she speak with the school’s communications officer. The communications officer thought this would be a great opportunity for the school’s photography/cinematography students to have some real-world experience. As such, she met with the three top photographers in the school’s photography/cinematography class and invited them to help shoot the two to four-minute audition.

The photography/cinematography class is taken by all first grade through eighth grade students at Stone Ridge. On the day of the big shoot, first grader, Grace Cheeseman, third grader, Triniti Cheeseman, and eighth grader, Teigan Bauer, all clamored into the van, along with cameras, lenses and ancillary camera equipment.

The group visited four different shooting locations: Enger Park, Lief Erikson Park, The Union Gospel Mission and the church member’s place of business. They were working on a tight schedule, and the weatherman was calling for rain, and those of you who’ve shoot video or take pictures know how hard it can be to get what you want when you’re pressed for time. There’s always the possibility it will take multiple shots before you get it right!

That day was absolutely a gift. Everything fell into place and each of the kids got their segments right the first time! The communications officer edited the footage and the entire project was completed by that evening.

Technology is important in our society, and giving the kids get a chance to do a “real world” shoot was exciting. The fact that the school could help a church member was such a bonus. The school hopes to lay a practical foundation for expressing love for those around us, and a media competency for sharing the Gospel in this post-modern culture.

Collene Klick, Stone Ridge SDA School Volunteer

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Letting Your Light Shine

1-letting-your-light-shine-photo-provided-by-trudy-smithLetting our light shine for Jesus is a very important part of Christian influence and ministry in the community. From July 26 to 31 of this year, the Rochester Seventh-day Adventist Church members did just that at by volunteering at an Olmsted County Fair Booth.

Members volunteered their time to do blood pressure checks, give computer surveys for health age screening, counsel people who wanted to stop smoking, and signed them up for a Breathe Free stop smoking seminar. People stopping by the booth were invited to an upcoming Taste Extravaganza food fair in September, where they could sample 20 different vegetarian foods. A sign was also posted inviting visitors to ask Bible questions and receive a free book if they could stump the Church volunteers. Through this method, many mini Bible studies were given on the spot. And finally, a drawing was held in which seven Bible story books from the Children’s Century Classics series were given away to those who signed up.

The fair booth ministry was directed by Art Meyer and Pastor Bradley Booth. The Church performed more than 100 health screenings and signed approximately 20 people up for the Breathe Free clinic and food fair. More than 1000 books and magazines were handed out, and scores of people were invited to the evangelistic series on Revelation being presented in October.

The community is blessed when God’s people reach out and touch someone, as the Rochester Church did this past July. Thank you again to everyone who let their light shine at the Olmsted County Fair Booth.

Pastor Bradley Booth of Rochester SDA Church

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Potential for Greater Growth in Minnesota Conference

2-growth-in-minnesotaFor the year 2015, the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists was the fastest growing conference in the North American Division.

“We’ve been met with unique challenges in the Minnesota Conference,” says President Justin Lyons. “We are the fastest growing conference in the North American Division, and that is exciting, because we are seeing God moving among us.” Seeing membership numbers grow is a symptom of a conference doing many things well. Pastors and churches are getting into the communities they serve and showing people who Jesus is. This is happening through literature evangelism, Project Steps to Christ interest cards, meeting people on the street, traditional evangelism series, health seminars, enrolling non-Adventist children in our schools, sponsoring booths at community events, praying with a community in times of tribulation, and so much more.

Growth is an important factor when it comes to measuring the health of the church, but it is only one snapshot of church health. For example, growth is a delayed result of the actions taken in previous months or years. Last fall, the Minnesota conference, in cooperation with other conferences and churches in the region, hosted Revelation Speaks Peace, an evangelistic series held in downtown St. Paul. Minnesota growth in 2016 is directly related to the number of people whose lives were influenced during that series. Just as planting in the Spring leads to a harvest in the Fall, evangelistic outreach now means increasing numbers in later years.

Another thing to keep in mind about growth is that the raw numbers don’t necessarily reflect members who stick around after their profession of faith or baptism. The true measure of church health is the number of people who remain and become active in the life of the church, and must account for those who are apathetic or fall away. This sliver of our church population – those who fail to become active members – is where our greatest opportunity, and yes, threat, lies. To paraphrase Vice President for Administration, Brian Mungandi, the question must not be “how quickly are we growing?” The question must be, “how are we retaining that growth?”

Our mandate fell from the lips of Jesus, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28:18-20).”

We must not only teach people about salvation; we must empower them to grow in Christ and grow relationally with others both in and out of the church. Yes, we have a mandate from Jesus to share the gospel. That alone should create a desire in us to spread the word. But when Jesus is truly in us, we don’t spread the gospel just because of His command: we are energized, enthralled, empowered and excited by the prospect of sharing Jesus with others. That moment when we first ask Jesus into our hearts – when we finally get it – brings the most beautiful, freeing breath we ever take. That moment is what motivates us to understand and learn who Jesus is, and it empowers us to share that incredible light with others.

In the end, we measure our growth, our tithe and our attendance because these numbers show us that there is work being done. Unfortunately, there is no quantitative way to measure the depth of our relationships with new church members. But there is something we can do about creating those critical relationships, and it is simple.

Start by saying, “Hello.”

We must smile and acknowledge one another. This is how we start, and we follow it up with genuine friendship. This is how we change our culture. Begin by saying hello, and watch as God builds a network of fellow believers around us. If our churches are woven in relationships and established on the cross, retention becomes a nonissue. It becomes second nature to reach out to the new believer with a smile and a hello. And with that simple act, we can reach that sliver of our church population heading out the door before it becomes something measurable. We create a lifetime believer who, in turn, will create disciples as Jesus has not only commanded, but empowered, excited, enthralled and energized us to do.

Fast growth is exciting, but this percentage decreases as we lose, rather than retain, our new members. The people we bring to freedom in Christ Jesus have a need, a need to allow Him to carry them, along with us, up the crooked, sinful road we live on until the clouds part on that glorious day. So please, help make numeric growth into real growth by turning new people into friends.

Start simply.

Say hello.

Savannah B. Carlson, Communications Director

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.

Retired Pastor Finds Unique Opportunity with the Minnesota Conference

3-pastor-reuben-roundtree-team-photoThe Minnesota Conference is pleased to announce the hiring of Pastor Reuben Roundtree, Jr., who will be working as a church planter in St. Paul. Pastor Roundtree retired from the Central States Conference on August 13 of this year, after 35 years of service. Pastor Roundtree received his Master of Divinity in 1986, and has been living in Minnesota since January, 2006. He and his wife Shirley are blessed with two adult children, and two grandchildren. Their daughter, Shirleetra, is a board-certified Art Therapy Counselor, and resides in Kansas City, Mo. Their son, Reuben III is a Sgt. First Class for the US Army, and is stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. Reuben III has a son and daughter of his own.

Pastor Roundtree shared his thoughts on this opportunity to plant churches for the Minnesota Conference.

“My invitation to make a presentation September 26, 2016 before the Minnesota Conference Planting Committee regarding the establishment of the first Black American church plant in the Minnesota Conference provided a unique opportunity.  I could now renew what I had been doing for the first 25 years of my 35-year career in pastoral ministry.  The choice plant, a Black American church in St. Paul, Minn., required a demographic justification and a strategic plan of implementation.  The latter 10 years of my 35-year tenure has been focused on pastoring a predominately Caribbean church and helping to facilitate the planting of diverse other companies and churches in Minnesota’s Twin Cities area.  To be called upon to perform this renewal initiative is indeed a unique opportunity.  The Minnesota Conference Planting Committee, under the direction of the President and Vice President for Administration, inspired me with their comprehensive vision to challenge the gospel commission. Minnesota, in my view, is the immigration state of the Mid-America Union. I was impressed to note that just as Minnesota houses an international mall, the Minnesota Conference houses an international mission (multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-national, multi-lingual, and if there is such a term, multi-diversity-sensitive). No people group is to be left behind, and I am honored to be a planter for my people group. I claim this unique opportunity as the Esther/Mordecai scenario of Esther 3:14b “who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom [Minnesota] for such a time as this.” “

It is our privilege to welcome Pastor Roundtree to the Minnesota Conference, and ask for your continued prayers for the Minnesota Conference, and specifically for Pastor Roundtree, as he works to create more disciples for Christ.

Savannah B. Carlson, Communication Director

e-TNL Staff: Savannah B. Carlson, Director; Melisa Mauk, Website-editor

E-mail: mnsdanewsletter@gmail.com Website: www.mnsdanewsletter.wordpress.com

e-TNL is an informational bulletin issued by the Communications Department of the Minnesota Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. You are free to re-print any portion of the bulletin without need for special permission. However, we kindly request that you identify e-TNL whenever you publish these materials.