This Month's Issue

Photo by domeckopol on pixabay

By Debra McKinney Banks

Visit a Seventh-day Adventist church these days, and it is no longer guaranteed that the service will start at 11 a.m. No one really knows the history of when or where the 11 o’clock Sabbath worship time began. Plausible theories from pastors and historians posit that during more agrarian times, farming families needed to tend to the livestock and finish the chores before attending church. Whatever the reason, most people don’t maintain that farming lifestyle anymore. Today some pastors have discovered that holding Sabbath services at non-traditional times—either before or after 11—are becoming more of a necessity to meet the missional needs of their flocks.

Photo by Rise-a-Mui on Pixabay

Editorial by Celeste Ryan Blyden

You aren’t alone. A recent survey of executive committee members across the Columbia Union Conference identified lack of community among church members as an issue. “The greatest challenge is lack of social connectivity between the families and members within the churches,” noted one participant. “The large majority of members limit their relationship with one another to only Sabbath School, worship service and fellowship meal time—basically once a week.” 

While Sabbath potluck remains high on the list of member favorites (Who would want to miss haystacks?), for many, the fellowship ends as soon as the last piece of dessert has been claimed. 

Steve Carlson

Story by Anna Bartlett

Collective is a student-led Friday evening worship service and fellowship meal held in homes where students and faculty of Kettering College in Dayton, Ohio, can share their stories and worship together.

As Kettering is not a residential campus, many of the students live in a very segmented world, says Steve Carlson (pictured), campus chaplain. They drive in for class and then go home, often only interacting with others within their own program.

Story by Anna Bartlett

A group of Potomac Conference churches in the Richmond area have learned the key to building community in their churches is through a ready-made small group—families. Local leaders used the families within the church to create 25 home churches in order to reach families outside the church and adopt them into the church community.

“We established the method of ‘Families that Earn Families for Jesus,’” says Rafael Soto (pictured, pastor of the Hopewell Spanish, Richmond Evangelist Center, Blackstone Spanish and the West End Spanish churches that sponsor the home churches.