Ignite Your Experience with God
Presented by Jerry & Janet Page
23 August 2012, Rogaška Slatina, Slovenia [Victor Hulbert, tedNEWS] One theme seemed to flow through Thursday evening. That theme was community and involvement.
It came with Dr Philip Brown, principal of Newbold College, sharing how Northern Europe's premiere Adventist learning facility would offer more intensive summer courses to help ministers and laity improve skills and witness. To improve the student experience he also shared how buildings were being renovated and improved.
It came with Miroslav Pujic sharing how the General Conference 'Great Hope Project' was being developed within a European context. In a world with insecurity, Miroslav insisted, "Jesus Christ is the only Hope".
It came excitedly with Paul Tompkins explanation of the Relay Project. This European Institute of Youth Evangelism travels to different countries teaching youth how to witness. The most recent project at Splitz in Croatia, included an Adventist café with free pancakes that brought 150 people off the street to share conversations with Adventist youth.
Music – Agape from Croatia Close Harmony choir sang their hearts out in “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now.”
How could it get more exciting? Simon Martin, a pastor from Dunstable, just north of London, England, had the answer: Football! "Sport is an incredibly huge part of world culture and local culture," he said. "We do football, a badminton club. Recently at the Olympics we ran a big sports day with 300 people."
Simon, with his committed Adventist team works in a very deprived area. "When we are playing football," he said, "the police tell us they have 10% fewer call outs." He believes that one of the best expressions of love is time. "When they know I care and spend time with them then they are approachable." This is the key to their witness. Adventists are now so respected by the local council that they have been given the keys to take over the community centre 24/7.
In Slovenia, Zmago Gordina, the Adventist president shared how working with students was proving really positive. It started off with a group of young people who like to sing. It then led to skills classes: how to develop your CV or even how to a cook a simple meal. Add to this recreational activities, Zmago says, "and it is easy to move to the spiritual parts as we pray, talk and sing together."
Some places are more difficult. In North Norway, a church with 20 members in a population of 10,000 recognized that church needed to change. Small windows changed to large – but that was just a sign of a larger heart. Tom Angelov, conference president told how the local minister, Arne Kristian Andersson, believes he is the minister not just of the Adventist church, but of the whole town.
Ministers are not known for their wealth, but they are known for giving. Community became personal as Thursday was the time they dug in their pockets and gave an offering to help improve the home for a struggling family in Rogaška Slatina. Between them they raised over 3,300 Euros.
Jerry and Janet Page are a ministerial couple, but since 2010 have been caring for the Ministerial Association at Adventist World Church Headquarters. They take seriously the words of Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
Using anecdote and personal experience they shared how God has changed and led their lives – and thus the lives of the ministers in this hall. His struggle with drugs and a rebellious lifestyle, and hers with depression and a radically reduced faith, were balanced by the power of prayer and the love of church communities.
By the close, near 10 pm, the community was complete as the congregation prayed silently, then corporately. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Miroslav Pujic, director; Deana Stojkovic, editor; Dragana Selakovic-Duval; Frederic Duval & Tor Tjeransen, photographers
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