Tell the World initiative continues as church's outreach theme

Tell the World initiative continues as church's outreach theme

Business Meetings | Atlanta, Georgia, United States | ANN staff

Members urged to reach up, reach out, reach across

A strategic plan that has guided the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during the past five years will steer it forward, church officials said today.

Tell the World was adopted as the world church's guiding initiative at its last General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri. Designed to coordinate the church's efforts to spread its message of hope, the program is central to the church's identity and heritage, church leaders have said.

During the last day of Session in Atlanta this week, delegates and members watched a video summary of Tell the World's impact, in which former world church President Jan Paulsen called the church God's "chosen instrument" through which to speak to the world.

Without that commission, "the church has no reason to exist," Paulsen said.

In the video, Mark Finley, a world church general vice president, said the church's outreach role was established by the early church, which was "consumed" with three things: "reaching up, reaching out and reaching across."

The church is set to concentrate its efforts and resources on those three areas during the next five years. To reach up, church members are urged to galvanize their personal relationship with God through prayer and Bible study, leaders said. Reaching out means strengthening the community of members -- through nurture, fellowship and discipleship -- and reaching across is a tangible expression of the church's mission, through both evangelism and humanitarian work.

Deliberate outreach is particularly crucial in largely unreached areas, such as many countries in the 10-40 Window, a region stretching from Northern Africa to East Asia, where proselytizing is illegal in many places.

World church general Vice President Michael L. Ryan called work in such areas "a responsibility and a privilege."

After the report, delegates and other audience members accepted a challenge from world church President Ted N. C. Wilson to leave Session with a renewed commitment to share the church's message of hope.

"Will you, today, like Joshua, say, 'As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord'?

Let's Tell the World," said Wilson, who stood onstage surrounded by his family.

Audience members rose to their feet in response.