On Sunday, Andressa Duarte goes to the local radio station and records Bible stories for children, It is the first day of a busy week for the 13 year old. She has daily evangelism tasks. Tuesday she visits nursing homes, Wednesday is for social justice, Thursday she preaches in her home, Friday she holds a small prayer group, and Sabbath she invites kids to go to church with her.
Hers was one of three inspiring video stories from Brazil that Elder Ted Wilson used to illustrate his message of Total Member Involvement (TMI) in evangelism during the worship service on Sabbath at the General Conference.
Andressa’s small group grew to 45 children, of which 17 were baptized. The parents started their own small group and the number of baptisms grew to 100. Everyone should have a small group, Andressa said. Unfortunately, her evangelism efforts were cut short when she was killed in a car crash. But her message inspired Vitoria Martins who suffers from a rare skin disease, but who decided that she also wanted to have a small group meeting of children. She got her siblings to invite the neighborhood kids to their home. There they would tell Bible stories, play games, study the lesson. They always ended their sessions with prayer. As the number of kids coming to their home grew, so did Vitoria’s energy. The activity helped her deal with her depression. She, too, became a powerful witness.
Mateus Soures’ started going door to door inviting people to church when he was 9. His was the third story. He wanted to earn stars for his crown in heaven, and he said he could visit three people a day. The church soon put him in charge of the children’s department, as well as the audio visual services. When he grows up he wants to be a pastor. He is now 15 and attending the Adventist Academy. So far, he has brought 979 people to baptism.
This Total Member Involvement is one of the three foci for President Ted Wilson’s administration in the next five years of the Seventh-day Adventist church. The other two areas of focus are Christ and his righteousness, and faithfulness to God.
In a presentation that he called a learning symposium rather than a sermon, Wilson began his consideration of these three areas with the Biblical story in Mark 4 of Jesus speaking to thousands by the Sea of Galilee. Where the people were seated they could see the sowers scattering seed on the hills beyond, so Jesus told the parable of the sower and the seeds that fall on different types of ground.
Wilson then turned to Christ Object Lessons where Ellen White says that all of us are to be involved in the harvest. We are to partner with Jesus as sowers of the Word. Many quotations from various books by Ellen White followed to reinforce the significance of all members being involved, and not expecting the pastors to do everything.
It was a positive uplifting sermon that echoed the happiness of Elder Wilson as he announced the birth of his 10th grandchild. Hannah Grace Renck, came into world Thursday, Oct. 9, bringing great joy to Wilson family. A year ago at Annual Council, Elder Wilson shared information about the severe health challenges facing two of his grandchildren, and said the devil was attaching his family personally.
Today there was no talk of the devil. Only the great news that Jesus is coming soon. The latter reign of the Holy Spirit is approaching, he said. By Christ’s strength, let’s be part of it.
Just forget the texting shorthand meaning for TMI (too much information), It now stands for Total Member Involvement in evangelism.
Bonnie Dwyer is Editor of Spectrum Magazine.
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