All About Adventist Evangelism

Evangelism is simply sharing the truths of the Bible with someone else. And Adventists are all into it.

This post will show you why Adventists take Evangelism so seriously. It also covers the role that evangelism played in the formation of the denomination, and its significance in the development of the church today.

You’ll get to explore the many ways that Adventists are evangelizing the world today. Ways such as:

But first, let’s start with the “why” of all their evangelistic efforts.

Why is Evangelism Important to Adventists?

Girl sitting on the terrace looking at the signboard which says Jesus Saves showing how Adventists value evangelismAdventists value evangelism because it forms the very backbone of their mission. Their mission to share the everlasting Gospel with a world that needs to hear it.

And this mission is based on God’s word.

It’s based on obedience to Christ’s last words to His disciples:

“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, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

You might have come across this Bible text before in Christian circles. It’s often referred to as the Great Commission.

It inspires Adventists to go to any length to preach the good news of love, hope, and healing through Christ to the farthest frontiers of the world.

And if you ask Adventists why they keep going, they’ll tell you it’s because they’ve tasted the goodness of God’s love. And knowing how good it is, they can’t help but share it with others. Like when you taste some food so delicious that you can’t wait to share it with those you love.

They even take it farther and see it as a responsibility—a responsibility they have toward those who haven’t known or experienced God’s love. Since God’s love is so great and free, no one needs to miss out on it.

So, Adventists go out, and talk about this love whenever the opportunity presents itself. And when there seems to be no opportunity, they get creative and craft one.

Who can participate in these efforts?

Adventists have evangelistic programs for anyone: young or old, rich or poor. No matter what country or race you are from, there’s an area of service that you can fit in and take part in the Great Commission.

There are programs that can be done by one person in a one-on-one interaction with another. And those tailored for groups that can minister to one person or even a whole neighborhood at a time.

Even new believers can share with others their experience with Jesus. Like the Samaritan woman or the demon-possessed man who evangelized their hometowns. They went out as evangelists soon after experiencing Jesus’ love. (Mark 5:18-20; John 4:28-30, 39-42).

And this has been Adventists’ practice from the very beginning of the denomination.

But how did the Adventist church begin? And what role did evangelism play in that process?

The Role of Evangelism in the Rise of Adventism

The Adventist emphasis on evangelism comes from their involvement in the Millerite movement.

Between 1831 and 1844, the Millerites rapidly spread the message of Jesus’ Second Coming across America.

And they did a remarkable job.

Almost all early Adventists went through this experience of sharing the message God had given them rapidly and extensively.

In the early days after 1844, they believed their mission was to share the truths they were learning with fellow Millerites only. So they only shared the new truths they were discovering among themselves

But that didn’t last very long.Earth lighted up by the Evangelistic efforts of the Adventist Church as Adventism reached almost every continent of the globe

They soon realized their mission extended even to non-millerites. With guidance from their leaders, they focused on evangelizing the entire United States, since many nations had come to America.

Finally, several converts in America began sharing the message with those back at home in their countries of origin in the 1870s. From these, the General Conference started receiving calls to send workers to Europe.

In the end, they sent J.N. Andrews to Europe. He was the first official missionary of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to go overseas.

That move laid the groundwork for the rapid expansion of the church over the next couple decades. By the turn of the century in 1900, Adventism had reached almost every continent of the globe.

And the understanding of their mission had taken deep root in the very fabric of Adventism.

One of their pioneers was named Ellen White. She urged them on in the firm belief that “everyone who has received the divine illumination is to brighten the pathway of those who know not the Light of life.” The Desire of Ages, 152.

She emphasized the need for each member of the church to get involved in evangelism. She wrote that:

“Every true disciple is born into the kingdom of God as a missionary. He who drinks of the living water becomes a fountain of life. The receiver becomes a giver. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert. It wells up to refresh all, and makes those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.” The Desire of Ages, 195.

So each aspect of the church’s organization was centered on promoting evangelism. And this has not changed much through the years.

Adventist Evangelism Today

The Adventist Church has come up with a myriad of ways to evangelize the 21st century world; ways that are practical and relevant in today’s age.

And what’s amazing about that is they’ve remained authentic in their ideals. These ideals are the ones that make them unique as individual evangelists and as a church.

Let’s explore the different ways—the programs, organizations, events and all.

  1. Training Disciples
  2. Evangelistic Meetings
  3. Health and Wellness Outreach
  4. Literature Evangelism
  5. International Services
  6. Adventist Media Ministries
  7. Adventist Community Services
  8. Sharing Christ in the Marketplace

1. Training Disciples

The Great Commission is all about making disciples for Christ.

You make disciples by teaching them God’s love and truth. And then you show them how to develop a relationship with Jesus.

As simple as this may sound, it’s a training process that takes time and patient instruction.

It takes structure and consistency in the context of relationships, and then helps them to apply biblical principles in their daily lives with God.

But the good news is that Jesus Himself promised His disciples that He would be with them through it all (Matthew 28:20).

In other words, the work of making disciples is a partnership between Christ and anyone who engages in it.

Here are some ways through which disciples are trained.

  • Worship and Bible Study
  • Adventist Education
  • Training Evangelists

Worship and Study

If you walk into an Adventist Church on Sabbath morning, you’ll find the entire church family involved in the worship service.

There is Sabbath school, where members study the Bible based on their age groups. And then there’s the main worship service for everyone together.

They learn practical ways to apply the principles of the Bible in their everyday lives.

As a result their lifestyle becomes a tool for evangelism to their friends, family, and those around them through friendship evangelism—friends witnessing to friends (Matthew 5:16).

Adventist Education

Students in an Adventist operated educational institute which emphasizes the Evangelistic approach of the Church in educationThe Adventist Church operates several thousand educational institutions around the world. These institutions range from elementary schools to universities and graduate schools.

And these schools welcome students from both Adventist and non-Adventist backgrounds.

If you visit an Adventist school, you’ll notice that the focus is on more than academics.

Teachers are intentional in their focus on the spiritual well being of the students.

In fact, their philosophy places education in the context of the plan of redemption. Since the curriculum integrates biblical principles in all aspects of education, their educational methods have a very evangelistic approach.

Students get grounded in Adventist beliefs, which includes the idea that proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages is the end goal of their training.

So when students finish their studies, they also have a solid foundation for their faith in Jesus.

And beyond the spiritual benefits to themselves, they go out as witnesses for Jesus. They become evangelists at work, at other schools, at home, or in the mission field.

Training Evangelists

Training of Adventist pastors and Bible workers with evangelism at its core as they gather in an auditoriumThe training of Adventist pastors and Bible workers has evangelism at its core. They receive training at specialized programs. Here, they emphasize evangelism as vital for any church worker.

Such programs include:

The duration and level of the training at these institutes vary. But their purpose and motivation remains the same. They exist to train evangelists who can teach, serve, and give Bible studies.

2. Evangelistic Meetings

Biblical Book of the prophet Daniel as Adventist Evangelist delivers his sermon in an Evangelistic series on Bible prophecyTraditionally, evangelistic meetings were events where a tent was set up in an open or public place. Then for a week or two, one or several preachers would give a series of talks from the Bible.

These aren’t unique to Adventists. Other Protestant and evangelical churches use this method too.

But it’s easy to distinguish one conducted by Adventists based on the sermons. The sermons are usually on Bible prophecy found in the books of Daniel and Revelation.

The preacher takes the listeners on a step by step journey through the prophecies in these books. He then ties them to other portions of the Bible. He also helps them make a practical application of the teachings to their lives.

They also tackle topics like healthy living and family life. And there are children’s programs too.

Again, this form of evangelism began with Adventist pioneers. Here is why this method has stuck with them to date:

“In the summer of 1854, Seventh-day Adventists first began to use large tents in which to hold meetings. It was a rare thing in those days to see tents used for such a purpose; consequently, crowds of people came to the tent meetings. This increased interest in the message called for ministers who could devote their whole time to gospel work. This they could not do without some means of support besides their own hand labor.” John Loughborough, The Church: Its Organization, Order and Discipline, p. 103.

This is what evangelism was when the Adventist Church began.

Today, some still have these evangelistic meetings in tents.

But many have them in churches. And others have them in convention centers, hotels, or even stadiums. It all depends on the number of people they expect to reach.

And in our digital age, it’s become possible to host entire evangelistic series online. Using digital marketing strategies, churches and ministries can engage unlimited audiences through the internet. Social media platforms like YouTube have been instrumental in proclaiming the Gospel in the digital space

That’s why we have ministries like the Center for Online Evangelism. They specialize in training Adventists to evangelize the online mission field.

3. Health & Wellness Outreach

Adventist Doctor as he follows the example of Jesus by ministering to the health needs of peopleAdventists follow the example of Jesus by ministering to the health needs of people.

Jesus often healed the sick. And after getting healed, they expressed their love and faith in Him. And at this point, He welcomed their trust and asked them to follow Him.

In the same way, Adventists reach out to people in their sickness, hoping to point them to Jesus as their healer.

They do so through:

These are places where patients receive more than physical care.

Many of them have testified that their sessions were more of a spiritual retreat than anything.

Ellen White underscores the efficiency of this model when she says:

“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with people as one who desired their good. He showed sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He invited them, ‘Follow Me.’” ( Ellen White, Ministry of Healing, p. 73.4)

4. Literature Evangelism

Adventist colporteur as he distributes free books on the Bible, healthy living, Christian family life, and relationshipsThis is where Adventists sell or distribute free books from door to door. Books on the Bible, healthy living, Christian family life, and relationships.

This is an effective method of evangelism as it brings the gospel to people’s homes. People who might never hear it unless someone knocked on their door. People who’d never go to a church, evangelistic meeting, or any Adventist institution.

The literature evangelists could get to pray with the recipients of the books.

And if they read and desire to learn more, they get connected to local SDA churches. Then Bible workers can study the Bible with them upon request.

Literature evangelism is conducted by:

  • High school and college students as part of their outreach and scholarship programs.
  • Private individuals, especially young people who do it as their work, side work, or ministry.
  • Adventist Book Centers in partnership with Adventist publishing houses.

5. International Services

The Seventh-day Adventist Church coordinates evangelistic and mission endeavors around the world.
It does so through organizations such as:

  • Adventist Frontier Missions/Adventist Volunteer Services. It helps members to serve as missionaries in foreign countries. Some go as families while others go as individuals.They make an impact through church planting and other missionary initiatives.
  • Adventist World Radio evangelizes in areas where missionaries cannot go in person. This could be due to government restrictions or other barriers.They use various radio networks to broadcast Christ-centered messages and songs. They even have pre-loaded, solar audio players.
  • Adventist World Aviation offers support to isolated communities around the world.They help transport missionaries, food and medical supplies etc.
  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) provides humanitarian relief to disaster stricken areas. They also provide development help to those affected by disaster.

These are a few ways that the Adventist church employs Christ’s method to draw people to Jesus and His love.

6. Adventist Media Ministries

Adventist Media anchor as he broadcasts Christ-centered radio and television programming around the worldThese involve Christ-centered radio broadcasts and Adventist television programming around the world.

Such include:

And with the digital age, all these are now branching into online ministry.

 

7. Adventist Community Services

This is the humanitarian wing of the Adventist Church.

Adventist Community Services reaches out to local communities to offer any kind of practical help to people in need who may be facing difficult or unexpected circumstances and challenges.

Adventist Community Services volunteers reach out to local communities to offer practical help to people in needThese may scale from individuals, families, to whole neighborhoods.

Such services include:

  • Partnering with other humanitarian agencies like ADRA, to provide aid when disasters strike.
  • Community development to promote self sufficiency.
  • Providing spiritual and emotional care to members of the community during stressful times.
  • Tutoring and mentoring students and youth to develop and strengthen basic life skills.
  • Addressing the needs of the elderly and their caregivers within the community.v

Again, all these efforts tend to draw people’s hearts and minds to Jesus. As they see Christ’s followers help them when in need, they get interested in learning more about the one whom they claim as the Lord of their lives.

8. Sharing Christ in the Marketplace

Adventist professional engages in evangelism with prayer & Bible study at their secular place of employmentThis is where Adventist professionals engage in evangelism at their secular places of employment.

Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) brings such members together. It’s an organization of ministries, businesses and professionals. Together, they explore ways to share Christ’s love and truth in the workplace.

They learn to weave spiritual conversations into regular interactions with workmates and clients.

With all these ways to evangelize, each Adventist can take his part in the Great commission.

They have resources, tools, and methods to be a blessing to almost anyone they may encounter.

And standing on such vantage ground, they stop at nothing in their zeal—zeal to share the love and truth that has transformed their own lives. This love and truth fires up a desire in them to help everyone find the joy of salvation and of knowing Christ.

If you know of this joy, then you understand this kind of zeal that Adventists have for evangelism. And you may want to look again at the various ways they evangelize today and make your pick!

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