This spring, the British Union Conference will launch a new evangelistic initiative to engage members and churches to work for our Lord Jesus Christ. Think of reflecting Christ attractively, faithful to our call, and relevant today. Think of Reflecting Hope.
The Reflecting Hope initiative has been presented to the AdCom and the ExeCom of the British Union Conference (BUC), as well as at events such as the South England Conference (SEC) Evangelism Expo or the North England Conference (NEC) Personal Ministry Training.
Last weekend Reflecting Hope made its debut with a training session. From 18 to 21 January, inspiring guest speakers covered many important dimensions of missionary outreach as they presented to BUC directors, Conference and Missions presidents, Evangelism directors, pastors and key members of selected churches/districts involved in the pilot efforts for 2023.
Louis Torres, a well-known evangelist, presented topics of working with the Holy Spirit and understanding the process of (people) taking decisions for Christ. A key challenge he placed to all was a simple question: How many harvests are there? If you think of one, think again. And read John 4. Some may wait for months to come, looking at that harvest. Others may learn from Jesus that the fields are ripe now.
Gideon Pelser, from Adventist World Radio (AWR), had a session of training for cellphone (smartphone) evangelism. Along with Michael Garkov, the ASI Europe treasurer, they introduced the Digital Missionary (DM) app and showed how it works in real-time. It is a tool that will be available to all our members. The DM app (iOS / Android) will help one interact with interests, offer prayer and support, and lead to resources such as books and Bible studies (from the Stanborough Press or the Adventist Discovery Centre). All within the comfort zone of using a smartphone. Smart.
Neuroscientist Jan Cabungcal, PhD and Adventist evangelist, shared with participants three lectures on excellence, brain performance and brain plasticity. Why is this important? If you are tired of the "same old, same old" (teachings, approaches, even biases such as "evangelism doesn't work"), know that our minds are continually capable of growing and improving. And so are the minds of those we will need to reach. We are talking about the renewal of minds!
Kayle de Waal, Trans-European Division (TED) Director for Disciple Making and Correspondence Bible Schools, appealed to the attendees to "be ye filled with the Holy Spirit." Did you know that where a diversity of people are (multicultural, ethnic, languages, religions), that's where – exactly there – the Holy Spirit is more actively influencing both the evangelists and the people to be reached out to. Rereading the book of Acts, think of our Union!
Anthony WagenerSmith, TED Evangelism and Mission Director, not only engaged with the Friday evening worship but also related his own faith journey with his neighbour and his engagement using "Christ's method alone…" (pg. 143, Ministry of Healing). He encouraged the attendees to engage more meaningfully with their neighbours, friends and family.
Ganoune Diop, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty, shared his department's work and insights into the art of approaching people and institutions of diverse backgrounds. A brief view of that can be seen in this rich five-part document.
Each day started with devotionals inspired by the book of Nehemiah. If you remember this quote from Prophets and Kings, that may be the well-driven nail to make you take part in the Reflecting Hope project:
"Nehemiah's whole soul was in the enterprise he had undertaken. His hope, energy, enthusiasm, and determination were contagious, inspiring others with the same high courage and lofty purpose. Each man became a Nehemiah in his turn and helped to make strong the heart and hand of his neighbour." (Ellen G White, Prophets and Kings, pg. 638.)
Reflecting Hope is reflecting Christ; sharing Christ is sharing hope. As it is written, "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).
Reflecting Hope will be launched as a pilot this year – February 2023 – in several regions across the BUC territory. During 2024/2025, we will endeavour to roll out the complete programme to all congregations. All entities within the BUC territory will organise specific events in the following months culminating with an evangelistic proclamation of the gospel during the last two weeks of May. For more information about Reflecting Hope in your region, please get in touch with your Conference Evangelism director (Michael Mbui [SEC], Daniel Ebenezer [NEC]) or the presidents of the three Missions (Dan Serb [Ireland], Jimmy Botha [Scotland], Graham Allcock [Wales]).
We solicit your prayers for this project, and more information will be given as Reflecting Hope progresses.