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Mountain View Members Gain Valuable Tools at Festival of the Laity

Story by Valerie Morikone
Published 7/16/2012

Joyce Helman and Ruthie Jacobsen share from their hearts in the small prayer group time.
“When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we become His ministers. Some have been ordained but all of us have been called to the ministry,” said Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division (NAD) at the first of two Festival of the Laity meetings held in the Mountain View Conference. In his devotional talk, Jackson emphasized that the glory of the church lies in declaring God’s praises (see 1 Pet. 2:9), not in constructing bigger buildings or having the finest health and educational systems. He added that not only are Seventh-day Adventists to be people of the Book but also followers of the Book.
The festival, themed “Being Connected,” was held at the Charleston (W.Va.) church. Larry Boggess, Mountain View Conference president, said the purpose of the daylong meeting was to give attendees tools to share Jesus.
One of those integral tools was prayer. Ruthie Jacobsen, NAD’s Prayer coordinator, reminded attendees, “God can do more in five minutes than we can do in 50 years.” She also encouraged attendees to ask God, each day, to use them to place somebody’s hand in the hand of God. After sharing prayer stories that uplifted the power of God, Jacobsen challenged the audience to saturate all conference churches and all ministries in prayer. We must “be known and seen as people who care and love … [who] do things with no strings attached,” she said.
So attendees could experience the joy of prayer, Jacobsen divided the audience into groups of twos and threes and took everyone through a sample prayer time using Scripture as the basis. The groups scattered throughout the church sanctuary, humbled themselves before God in prayer as they praised Him for who He was; asked for obedient hearts; gave God permission to do anything according to His will; confessed to God and asked for His forgiveness.
Joyce Helman, a Moorefield (W.Va.) church member, said that this prayer activity brought tears to her eyes. “It gave me an awesome feeling when I heard the murmurings of the prayers while we were in our groups; it felt powerful,” Helman said. “All I could think was [that] this would have to be a small glimpse of the upper room when the apostles received the Holy Spirit—it was truly an awesome [and] wonderful feeling and sound!”

After lunch, Frank Bondurant, vice president for Ministries Development for the Columbia Union Conference, showed attendees how to develop their own ministries using friendship evangelism. He shared ideas that ranged from holding an exercise class, book club or quilting class, to opening up the church gym as a recreation center. “Evangelism has to be personal. If it is not personal it will not be effective,” Bondurant said.
Boggess closed the program with the challenge to “make ourselves available to God, then make your passion your ministry.”
Edna Pepper, a member of the Parkersburg (W.Va.) church, said just learning that God can use a multiplicity of individuals with varying interests to reach others was encouraging. “When we truly care for others [the Holy Spirit] is able to surprise us,” Pepper said. “Every person, no matter how different they may feel, with Jesus is able to reach someone that no one else could.”

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