“Christ for the World,”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 370
“Small Groups, Big Growth”
Ask kindergarten and primary children to sing one or more of the songs they have learned this quarter as the offering is taken.
“Far and Near the Fields Are Teeming,”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 358
Participants: Two (or more) speakers and several volunteers seated in the audience. Choose participants who will practice their parts and present them clearly. While participants do not have to memorize their parts, they should be familiar enough with the content that they can present the material with confidence.
If the program will follow the Sabbath School lesson study, ask several members to slip out of their class and sit alone in the sanctuary or stand in the foyer or outside the church. If the program precedes the Sabbath School lesson study, urge members to sit with their class members in groups in the sanctuary except for those you’ve chosen to sit or stand apart.
Speaker 1: The South American Division is growing rapidly and currently has a membership of more than 2 million people. The secret to this rapid growth is small groups.
Churches in South America encourage members to become part of a small group that meets outside of regular church hours, usually in someone’s home. The group studies the Bible together, shares prayer requests, and invites friends to join them. Small groups help strengthen believers while they enlarge the circle of friends. When the group grows to more than a certain number, they divide and continue to grow.
Speaker 2: Let’s experience the joy of inviting someone to join our small groups. Your Sabbath School class—or the group you’re sitting closest to—is your small group. Look around and find someone who is not a part of a small group. Get up and find someone to invite to join you. Convince them that your group wouldn’t be complete without them. [Allow two minutes to complete this activity.]
Speaker 1: How did you feel when someone accepted your invitation to join you? Imagine each member inviting someone to join your small group this coming week. Soon there wouldn’t be room to contain everyone. Would you stop growing so that everyone fits? Or would you divide into two or three groups that meet at different times and locations so everyone can take part and be fed spiritually? That’s how small groups in South America grow the church—by inviting, nurturing, and dividing.
Hundreds of small groups in South America are growing into churches. Let’s visit one and see what it’s like.
Speaker 2: Araguanã [ah-rah-gwah-nao] is a small town in central Brazil. Most of the people who live there work as manual laborers or fish the nearby river to provide for their families. It’s not easy.
Two years ago only one Adventist woman, Itelvina [ee-tehl-VEE-nah], lived in the town. Because there was no church in town, she rode the bus 16 miles [26 kilometers] to attend a church. When the local mission realized Itelvina was the only Adventist in town and had been sharing her faith with her neighbors, they held evangelistic meetings. A group of about 15 believers began meeting in a small rented hall. But with little income, the group found it difficult to pay the rent. Eventually they decided to worship in a member’s garage. The group continues to grow through small group meetings.
They now have land on which to build a simple church and enough funds to lay the foundation. They’re excited about reaching more people for Christ, but they don’t have the money to build the church. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide a church for the believers in Araguanã.
Speaker 2: Two Adventist academies, one in central Brazil and one in northern Peru, share a common problem. While their school enrollment continues to grow, they have no church in which to worship. Students must meet in small groups in dormitory chapels, in lecture halls, and even under a grove of trees. A church will help these schools train the young people while they provide a place of worship for academy staff and the community. Part of today’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help provide churches for these campuses.
Speaker 1: Children are the heart of the church in both Brazil and Peru. They have their own small groups. But the children of Peru lack materials they can use to lead their small groups. Children around the world are giving today to help the children of Peru learn to lead their own small groups.
Speaker 2: Our offering today can help grow the church in central Brazil and northern Peru. Let’s give in thankfulness to God for every heart that turns to Him.
Next quarter the South American Division will be featured. Special projects include churches in Brazil and Peru. First quarter 2013 will feature the South Pacific Division. Special projects include medical clinics in isolated regions of Papua New Guinea, Bibles and Bible lessons for children in Papua New Guinea, and audio Bible players for several island nations of the South Pacific.