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.

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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.

Women Build Each Other Up through Weekly Bible Study

A few weeks ago, I joined a new weekly Women’s Bible Study at the Union Gospel Mission. About six ladies come to celebrate God and unite as His daughters. We read Scripture, sing a new Scripture song, pray and tell a bit about our lives. During my first visit, one lady praised God for her new denim skirt, as her old one no longer fit her. She had prayed when she tried on her old skirt. She shuffled through used skirts on the skirts table at the Mission and there was one that fit her. Praise God!

4-womens-bible-study-photoThe following meeting, we decorated sunflower cupcakes to eat with our tea. One member, Susan, talked about how chickadees are attracted to sunflowers. She shared how these birds, though small in stature, are survivors. She brought all of us into her story by asking how we feed ourselves. We discussed the importance of learning to love and take care of ourselves first, so we can then be adaptable to those we meet; that we need to care for our bodies by eating good food; and for our well-being, we must take time to nourish our minds by such things as reading, singing, journaling and writing poetry.

Our next study focused on our hearts as gardens. In my garden heart, what must stay and what must go? How about the rocks in my garden? Some rocks I put there; others perhaps by someone else! What attitudes need changing to rid my garden of rocks? Perhaps I need to ask God to forgive those who dumped their rocks in my garden. Once the large and small rocks are gone from my garden, what do I want to plant? This will be our next Bible Study.

As women, we all need each other and the human contact and support as we share. Our Bible Study is building relationships with ladies we might not meet under usual circumstances. Reach out ladies– plant flowers not rocks!

Barbara Olson, member of Duluth 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.

Conference Officers & Directors Focus on Strategic Planning

5-conference-strategic-planning-2The weekend of October 20-23, the Minnesota Conference officers and directors visited Walker, Minn. This trip was intended to act as both a strategic planning session and a retreat for the officers,  directors and their families.

The planning sessions began with a season of prayer, asking God to provide guidance and insight as we focused on what the church in Minnesota could and should be doing to win souls for the Kingdom of heaven. The meetings were discussion based, and provided the vehicle for a birds-eye view of the Minnesota Conference and what, as a whole, we are doing well and where we could improve. While the planning sessions are far from over, the time spent as a group was precious and irreplaceable.

5-conference-strategic-planning-1The weekend also provided an opportunity for the conference office workers and their families to relax. Time was spent in nature, in reflection, and in worship as a group. Each director and officer took responsibility for a devotional or worship session, and Sabbath morning Sabbath School and church were casual affairs focused on God as love, and our commission to not only seek Christ but to declare Him to the world.

Further strategic planning will take place at the conference office in future weeks, and we ask that our members keep the Minnesota Conference in their prayers as we seek God’s guidance in strategic planning for the church in Minnesota.

Savannah B. Carlson

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.