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Volume 15 Issue 5

Ideas, Inspiration & Opportunities for Adventist Church Leaders in the Northwest & Beyond.

From Leader to Leader – Can You Roll with the Punches?

by César De León PhD LMFT, Ministerial Director for the North Pacific Union Conference

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, the Covid-19 virus hit all of us like a train.  Last year my wife and I spent one-hundred and fifty-two nights sleeping in hotel rooms and had decided to slow down our travel appointments a bit so we could focus on some backburner projects. So, when the pandemic experts mandated social isolation and we were sent home, we thought, perfect, we will finally have some time to get some long-awaited writing done.  So much for that great idea.  We quickly found ourselves knee deep in the abyss of Zoom.  Administrative meetings began, requests for sermons and seminars followed; invitations to speak to youth, women and men’s groups, then ministry crisis counseling sessions were added; and what first appeared to be a possible respite of a few peaceful days offering the possibility of catching our breath, just never materialized. 

No one actually knew what to expect when the pandemic crashed into our lives, nor could we begin to imagine the immediate personal, family and professional adjustments we would need to make to meet the demands to adjust, reinvent, accommodate and to continue to serve our respective communities while rapidly adapting to our changing life rhythms.  One thing is for sure, this pandemic has introduced a cascade of difficult situations for many. There is a sense of impending doom that many are experiencing as they face the possibilities of losing an income or the ability to pay the rent or mortgage. People are afraid of not being able to secure food and other essentials for their families, or worse, of falling prey to the virus and not being able to recover. Stress levels have skyrocketed and many now are dealing with mental health issues such as high levels of anxiety, depression, loneliness, and a vast sense of loss; others are even experiencing suicidal thinking.  We are hoping and praying that this pandemic and its residual consequences will soon pass, and that we will soon return to our “new normal”; but until that happens, we need to find ways to strengthen our spirits, fortify our bodies and boost our mental attitudes.  

Resiliency is the capacity to “roll with the punches” and adapt or adjust to unexpected circumstances in order to turn a difficult situation into a growth experience. It is turning all this negativity and adversity into Continue Reading...

Covid-19 Related Articles You May Have Missed

The pandemic is affecting us in so many different ways and there are many things to be aware of and continue learning about. Here are several articles you may have missed.

From Beyond the Pulpit – Why I Would Consider Pastoring for a Career

by Dr. Stan Hudson, who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference

Were I wearing a younger man’s clothes, pastoring as a career choice would appeal to me in many ways.  I will list those ways in two categories:  practical reasons and emotional/spiritual reasons.  First, the practical ones….

Pastoring is one of the very few “generalist” careers left in the world.  By that I mean the world has evolved into specialism.  In medicine the country doctor used to do most any kind of medical procedure, including delivering babies.  Now those areas are largely left up to specialists.  But a pastor must be at least adequate (and preferably good) at various kinds of counseling, finance, public speaking, teaching, understanding theology, displaying leadership skills, short- and long-term planning and much more, all the while demonstrating positive people skills. Every day will be different.  There will be crises and there will be victories.  It is totally cool.  And you might even be able to develop spiritual interests or specialties that can contribute to the larger work, a very fulfilling possibility.

And then there are the emotional/spiritual reasons why choosing a career in pastoring is an appealing one.  You get to be a combat officer in the Great Controversy.  You are on the front lines, where Jesus is most connected with people.  You are in the center of where it’s really happening in this universe (not Hollywood, not politics, not sports, all which cause angels to stifle yawns!).  There is no higher calling on this planet.  You are present where angels tred.  When people invite you into a hospital room where life’s greatest pains are faced, you stand on ground as sacred as the ground Moses stood on at the burning bush. 

You must like people for this career to work for you…and I don’t just mean “love” them.  You have to show up front a natural interest in people.  A rule I’ve tried to follow is to find that most interesting and positive characteristic of a person and keep that in mind when you think of or interact with them.  People always respond positively to anyone appearing to be genuinely interested in them.  If you don’t like people, don’t waste your time and theirs trying to pastor them.

After these 40-plus years of ministry, I can see a bonus I never had thought of when I was choosing this career.  If you are like me, one who is sometimes caught up in the attractions of this world, pastoring can (if you don’t hinder it) lead you into a much, much deeper relationship with the Lord.  There are times where I feel like saying “the Lord called me into ministry in order to save me!”

What recruiting officer can offer such attractive reasons for signing up?  When I heard like Isaiah the words “who will go for us, whom can I send,” I had to say “here I am.  Send me!”  And in this life I have already received a rich reward.

Do any of you young people out there hear that call, too?

Changed Lives – Miguel

by Vidal Mendoza, Pastor of the Federal Way Hispanic Adventist Church

Miguel has lived very strong experiences where he has questioned the presence of God in his life. For many years he was addicted to alcohol and drugs, he was hopeless and his life had no meaning. Many times he asked himself what his reason for living was.

One year ago he had the first encounter with brothers of our church and they introduced him to Jesus and the hope that we have in him. Miguel was invited to join a small group and he attended all meetings for four months. He had many questions about the care and protection of God in his life, but what worried him the most was if God could still forgive him. When we showed him the word of God in 1 John 1: 9 that says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” he started to cry. It was there that he experienced the great love of our God.

Since that day, 1 John 1:9 is his favorite Bible verse. He continued studying the Bible and when we had our evangelistic meetings he asked to be baptized and leave his whole bad life behind. And when we baptized him, he told us that he had never felt so much peace and purity in his life as that day.

Today is a faithful brother in Christ and, before the lockdown, was in training to be a deacon for the honor and glory of God. We are so thankful to know that WE are the church and will continue doing God’s work faithfully, but are also anxiously awaiting the reopening of our church building.

Resources – 4 Steps for Reopening Churches Webinar

If you are considering reopening your church soon, don’t miss “4 Steps to Reopening Churches,” a free webinar presented tomorrow by Adventist Risk Management, Inc. and the North American Division.

Thursday, May 28, at 4:00 pm Eastern Time

Each webinar is limited to 500 attendees. Register today at http://adventistrisk.org/webinars-videos.

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