How can my church share the good news with our Buddhist community? What are the best ways to share Christ’s love with my Hindu neighbor? How can I explain the hope of the Second Coming to my atheist co-worker? How do I help my Muslim friend understand what we believe?
Every day Adventists around the world struggle with these difficult questions, and if we’re going to take Christ’s commission seriously to “make disciples of all nations,” we need relevant answers.
As a church we’ve been very successful at sharing the special truths of scripture with other Christians. But we’ve been reluctant to share the good news with people from non-Christian backgrounds, often because we just don’t know where to start.
Global Mission has much to offer Seventh-day Adventists who want to share their faith and friendship with people from non-Christian backgrounds.
When Global Mission was established in 1990, it focused on three major shifts in how our Church traditionally thought about mission: 1) from the idea of reaching every nation to reaching every nation, tribe, language and people group 2) from where the growth was easiest to where it’s the hardest 3) from reaching mainly Christians to reaching people from other religious traditions.
These shifts in focus resulted in two new approaches to mission. The first was to launch the Global Mission pioneer program. This program starts new groups of Adventist believers through the ministry of local church planters who are familiar with the language and culture of the area. Since 1990 these Global Mission pioneers have started more than 13,000 congregations with a presence in nearly every country of the world.
The second new approach was the establishment of Global Mission Religious Study Centers. Their ministry helps Adventists understand the major world religions and their adherents and provides a more holistic approach to sharing the gospel with them. They also offer training for leaders, pastors, and members; produce outreach materials; and foster church planting in new areas.
There are five Global Mission Religious Study Centers that help the Church share Christ intentionally with people from the major world religions and faith backgrounds.
The Center for East Asian Religions and Traditions focuses on the Buddhist world and the culture that surrounds it. It’s located in Thailand, a strong center for Buddhism globally.
The Center for Secular and Post-Modern Studies focuses on two important current realities—the secular world and postmodern thinking.
The Hindu Study Center is directly focused on how to share the good news in the Hindu world, including South Asia.
The Global Center for Adventist-Muslim Relations has been working to nurture understanding and relationships between Adventists and Muslims in order to foster a positive witness.
The World Jewish-Adventist Friendship Center has worked to dismantle prejudice and build a friendship base in Jewish communities worldwide.
Each of the Global Mission Study Centers is committed to helping the Church and its members share the message of salvation with a world that does not know much about Seventh-day Adventists.
Rather than presenting a message in terms that only Christians would understand, there is a desperate need to share the Bible message in ways that meet people where they are. The express purpose of the study centers is to develop a witness that fosters communication that can be understood.
Over the coming months Frontline will feature some of the work of the study centers. As you read about them, please pray for your non-Christian friends and neighbors. The articles, along with material on our Web site about the religious study centers, will give you many ideas on ways to model Christ’s love and share His words of life.
Let’s take a look at some of the challenging areas that have been selected for wholistic outreach.
Mission 360° features inspiring stories about mission work.
One day while Rajah was holding a Bible study, a mob approached his house, brandishing sticks and swords.