There are people in every community surrounding our Adventist churches who hold in their hearts the truths of God’s Word, but who have become disconnected from the church or discouraged in their walk with God. It is possible some of these non-
attending members are not even sure what they believe anymore, but they were once—maybe not that long ago—part of a community of faith called the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The reasons for their disconnection could fill an old-time dictionary volume, but what they hold in common is that they are absent from our congregations.
Acting out the purpose of Sabbath school
The Bible University Sabbath school class at Campion Church has decided this situation is not acceptable. Taking a hint from the Church Manual (which points out that while the purpose of a Sabbath school class is, of course, to study the Bible, it is also to create community and do outreach) the Bible University Sabbath school class has decided to reach out to the members who are no longer attending.
Last fall, class members stayed after fellowship lunch to hand write notes of encouragement to every non-attending member on the church books.
Class member Dick Stenbakken said, “We’ve been able to see members who haven’t been attending come back and worship with us again. We’ve established connections and friendships with a wide variety of people.”
This is not something that can be done once and moved on from, though. “We plan to continue doing this as it’s very rewarding,” said Stenbakken.
In preparation for this past Easter, they again met. This time they met before Sabbath school to address, stamp and stuff envelopes, all with the goal of extending an extra invitation to this same non-attending group. The class invited them to come to the church’s interactive Journey to the Cross and Beyond Easter celebration.
The invitations will continue, and other Campion Sabbath schools are beginning to join in as well. Best of all, a few of those absent members have started to poke their heads back in.
—Michael Goetz is senior pastor at the Campion Church in Loveland, Colorado.