“Seeking the Lost”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 373
“The Talents God Gave You”
Ask kindergarten and primary children to sing one or more of the songs they have learned this quarter as the offering is taken.
“We Have This Hope”
The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, no. 214
Participants and Props:
Participants: Six to 10 young adults, college-age students, or high school students, and a narrator. [Note: participants do not need to memorize their parts, but they should be familiar enough with the material that they do not have to read everything from the script. Practice so that participants can feel comfortable adding inflection where appropriate.]
Props: A map of the Inter-European Division. (Download the mission map from www.AdventistMission.org or scan the one on the back of the mission quarterly. Project it onto a screen or draw the map onto a large piece of paper.) Set up a couch and enough chairs to form a semicircle on one side of the stage.
Scene: Three or four young people walk onstage, chatting informally. They take seats on the couch and chairs and settle down.
Youth 1: OK, can we start with prayer? Father, we are here to talk about how we can use our talents to lead others to Jesus. Help us to make a difference in the lives of others we meet day by day. Amen.
That was a pretty exciting challenge the pastor threw out this week when he said that everyone has talents and spiritual gifts that God wants us to use to lead others to Jesus.
Youth 2: Yes, it was. It made me realize that I’m not using my spiritual gifts as I should. It’s just so easy to go through life doing what I need to do and not thinking about those around me who need a comforting word and hope in Jesus.
Youth 3: I was pretty impressed with the mission story we had a couple weeks ago about the immigrant ministry near Lisbon, Portugal. Just think, the Adventist immigrants are helping others in their community by distributing food and clothes and household goods to those who don’t have work or can’t earn enough in their jobs to feed their families. So often immigrants are overlooked, but they need help getting on their feet, understanding their new homeland and new language so they can fit in as productive citizens. I understand that the Adventist church in that town is growing well.
Youth 2: Yes, I remember that. I was impressed with another story about that church. A woman who’d never been to church before had gone after being invited many times. Then she moved to another country and was so lonely she wanted to find a church. She searched all over Paris until she found a church. She would never have looked for an Adventist church if the members back home in Portugal hadn’t shown her God’s love through their actions.
[Youth 5 and perhaps another youth enter and sit down, apologizing for being late.]
Youth 1: So what can we do to be God’s hands and use His gifts to reach others for Jesus?
Youth 4: I attend a public school, and it’s really hard to get people interested in coming to church. Sometimes kids tease me and call me “God boy [or God girl].” Most of the kids I’ve invited to church are not interested in spending Sabbath in church. I wish we had a more active youth group that would interest kids who don’t go to church.
Youth 5: Wait! I was late because I was preparing next week’s mission report, and it’s about a group in Czech Republic that is doing just that—forming youth groups to minister to high school and university students. [Pulls mission report from pocket or book bag and opens it.] They meet every evening of the week for one outreach or another. And it’s not all religious stuff. Sometimes they have study groups or practice speaking English together. Other times they meet to study the Bible or discuss a subject of interest to young people in the light of God’s Word.
The best part is that it’s working! Young people can invite their friends to come to one of the weekly meetings just to meet friendly people, have a hot drink, and talk. No one preaches, no offering is taken, and no one judges anyone else. It’s a warm and welcoming place. I wish our young people could do something like this in our church!
Youth 3: Can we ask the youth pastor to help us start something like this here? If we could invite our friends to the church for a non-churchy meeting, something that they would enjoy, maybe they’d be more willing to learn more about who we are and why we worship as we do.
[Young people continue talking quietly and with animation as narrator steps to the podium.]
Narrator: God is honored when we seek to win others to Jesus using our talents and spiritual gifts. This quarter we’ve heard how the immigrant church members outside of Lisbon, Portugal, is reaching out to the community, are giving to their community not only physical help, but spiritual encouragement. Because of their love, the church there is growing. The members need space to store the food, clothes, and household goods they receive for distribution to those in need, a community services center. They need classrooms where they can teach stress relief and stop-smoking classes, where they can teach young people how to live full and responsible lives. They need a worship hall of their own, where their worship won’t disturb neighbors in the apartment building they now rent.
We’ve also heard about the strong and growing Adventist Romani community in Bulgaria. The congregation in western Bulgaria worships in an apartment that is packed with chairs. There is hardly room to move around, and standing room only means standing in the hallway to listen to the services. They meet several times every week, and the church is filled each time. They, too, must worship quietly, for their neighbors don’t appreciate being disturbed by their singing on Friday evenings, Sabbath mornings, or midweek meetings.
Finally, we’ve rejoiced to hear reports of INRI [IN-ree] Road, a ministry to reclaim Adventist young people and bring other youth into the Adventist family in Czech Republic. Friendship has proved to be a strong motivator. Adventist young people have come back to the church, and other young people have discovered the church because of this ministry.
Today we have an opportunity to strengthen our brothers and sisters in these Inter-European countries as they seek to be God’s hands to those who need help, His heart to the hopeless, His love to the unloved. Let’s give a generous Thirteenth Sabbath Offering today so that their work can grow. And then let’s follow their lead and use our own talents and gifts to bring others into our community of faith as well.
Next quarter will feature the Trans-European Division. Special projects include a dormitory at Newbold College, England; an evangelistic center in Athens, Greece; Bible 3D evangelistic integration program throughout division; an evangelistic/youth/training center in Ohrid, Macedonia.
The children’s project (left) is an outreach program geared for unchurched families and focusing on children from birth through early teens throughout the division.