Pitch It and They Will Come
Over 2,000 unique visitors recently made the pilgrimage to Pleasant Hill church to experience a life-sized replica of the tabernacle. People of all ages were treated to a re-creation of the Israelites’ wilderness temple, complete with an outer court, altar, tent, temple furniture, and a replica of the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place. Visitors remarked that it was beautiful to see the actual size and scope of the tabernacle.
Mitch Williams, senior pastor, explained, “Our goal was to have an attractive and thought-provoking event to create tangible leads for our ministry teams. We were very proactive with our invitations, heavily relying on social media, where we filmed and posted videos promoting the attraction. We even sent personal invitations to other churches and synagogues within a 30-mile radius; we cast a big net.”
Many guests returned comment cards requesting more information about the church’s ministries, including personal finance classes, Bible studies, and cooking classes. Church members are calling each person interested in learning more about an abundant life in Jesus. Williams was excited that a new student would be attending Pleasant Hill Adventist Academy because of this event.
“This event was epic for gaining traction in such a busy community,” Williams said. “We are so pleased with how many people were on our church grounds and the interactions we were able to have with them. God magnified the social media success and invitations and blessed our event. Now the real discipleship work begins.”
Decade of Discipleship
Ken Eastburn was baptized at the Redwood Area Camp Meeting. Committing to Christ before his church family was a solemn and extraordinary event. He is a gentle giant with a big heart, topped off by a dyed purple mohawk. “Everybody at Redwood knows Ken!” exclaimed Dan Freedman, district pastor of Miranda and Fortuna churches. According to Eastburn, most campers know him as the “porta-potty guy,” a position that has become his perennial mission—and a job that takes a servant’s heart!
Over ten years ago, Ken was invited by local members to work at Redwood camp meeting. He explained, “I became kind of a night watchman that first year.” From friends made at camp and attendance at the Ukiah church, he learned the gospel message. Ken expressed a notable level of admiration toward the manner in which Adventism involves families in their schools and Pathfinder clubs.
Through a decade of discipleship, Ken made the decision to be baptized. “The Holy Spirit kept impressing me to go deeper in my relationship with God,” he said. “So I told Pastor Freedman that he’d be baptizing me down at Redwood this year.”
The Public Face of Our Ministries
Northern churches were busy this summer! A quick look around the social media accounts of several churches revealed how the telling of stories is an essential part of modern ministry and community relevance.
The Auburn church reported holding its first VBS in 15 years, stating it was a blessing to their volunteers and the 35 children who attended. Across the valley, Pleasant Hill church finished a week of hosting “Messiah’s Mansion,” a life-size replica of the Israelite tabernacle that featured hosts explaining the tabernacle service and its relevance. LIFE church in Berkeley posted a story about inviting neighbors to help plan activities for “National Night Out,” a nationwide event that encourages and promotes police-community relationships, neighborly activities, and safety. Redwood camp meeting chronicled the steps that volunteers go through assembling and then packing away gear each summer.
All these stories are testaments to a mission-minded territory. In some cases, these churches and ministries have 1,500 to 3,500 followers who can interact with each story. What a fantastic opportunity and tool to spread the gospel, tell the stories, and reach online viewers—connecting them to an abundant life in Jesus Christ and preparing them for His soon return!
Laurie Trujillo, NCC director of communication and development, stated, “Online tools such as websites, Facebook, and Instagram are essential communication tools for our churches. When it comes to reaching the community, our members are only the tip of the iceberg of those we can reach. With social media, we can tell the stories of our ministries, post sermons, and invite communities into our churches. It is the public face of our territory.”
5,700 NAD Teachers Unite in Phoenix
On August 8 through 10, NAD educators convened in Phoenix, Arizona. The triple-digit heat didn’t deter 5,700 teachers, administrators, and conference personnel from reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, and committing to Adventist education’s vital work.
The four-day event happens every five years and combines a camp meeting component while providing continuing education classes, educational guest speakers, breakout sessions, and a vendor convention. One teacher stated, “I love this event because it reinforces a unity between teachers, and I love being connected to a cause bigger than myself.”
Albert Miller, NCC education superintendent, remarked, “This event is not only for teachers to learn, unwind, and renew friendships. It’s also a venue to recruit new teachers to the NCC. We could meet with dozens of potential teachers for our territory. It’s an important event to keep our schools filled with quality educators.”
Coreen Hicks, NCC associate superintendent, stated, “To be among other Adventist educators was a reminder that our NCC teachers are just a small part of a greater team, one that spans coast-to-coast, preparing for 180 days of evangelism, teaching, and connecting our students to an abundant life in Jesus.”