21 April 2016 | St Albans, UK [Victor Hulbert] Would you give money to leather-clad bikers? Would you pay for a van that travels through communities offering a café-like atmosphere to share faith? Could you see value in a clinic that offers dental care in the day and evangelistic programmes in the evening? How about a toddlers garden outside a church building? These are just a few of the 12 projects that that Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be financially supporting over the next year.
The grand-sounding ‘Combined Ministries and Services Advisory Committee and Mission Board’ voted US$40,000 at a meeting on Tuesday, 19 April to support innovative projects that may fall outside the scope of ‘normal’ evangelistic activity.
Dr Daniel Duda, is Adventist Mission, Education director and Field Secretary for the Trans-European Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Overseeing the process, he expressed both delight and surprise at the 32 applications for funding support. That clearly means that members are intentional about outreach. Which was his favourite? That may be a difficult answer, but in a tedNEWS video interview following the committee he confessed that he really liked a two year Interactive Bible Exhibition being developed as part of Wroclaw, Poland, being the European City of culture, a Book capital, a host to world games in 2017 and also home to two universities.
The exhibition aims to inspire people to study the Bible as they experience its stories around an artificial campfire, admire the 10 commandments carved in stone, gaze at a reproduction of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue in Daniel chapter 2, see the scrolls of Jesus time, or even carve out the commandments for themselves.
“Generally we are looking for something that has not been tried before,” Duda states. “but also what we are looking for is something that nobody will finance as it’s so creative, so out of the box, it’s so risky that it may fly or it may not.” If a project succeeds then, Duda hopes, it will be an inspiration elsewhere.
The “Three Angels” motorcycle club is one example of that. What Church entity would finance bikers to attend club meetings, organise rallies, and spend time with a section of society that is sometimes scorned or feared? However, in Ovca, Serbia, there may be a chance for ‘hells angels’ to meet the ‘three angels’. What difference might that make?
With 12 projects now voted for 2016, Duda is still open to project ideas that will be funded in 2017. “Talk to your local Adventist Mission Co-ordinator,” he says. That can start a process – and perhaps your quirky, but possibly effective idea, may be given the funding to be an evangelistic success.
It is a strange phenomenon of TED life, that directors actually enjoy a committee! Perhaps it is the joy of voting money to seed positive projects, but it is also working together across departments to support each other. This month it was the turn of Karen Holford and the Family Ministries department.
On the family front, she shared with the entire TED staff some ideas on growing healthy relationships within a family context. Based on a firm biblical context she demonstrated the importance of feeling accepted and being welcomed unconditionally — even when I’ve made a big mistake. She went on to talk about affection in practice, more than just a word; appreciation, approval, attention, comfort and encouragement. All of these and more are important for a successful family life – but are equally important in Church life.
The next two hours were then spent on Church life, as directors moved to various stations in the room to discuss vital issues in making worship and church life relevant for all parts of the family. The suggestions, mapped out on large sheets of paper, will help guide the Family Ministries department as they finalise their strategic plan.
So far this year the Communication, Family, Health and Ministerial departments have had this open opportunity to share their vision and listen carefully to thoughts from their colleagues. This is a process that will continue each month with more ‘Super Tuesdays’. [tedNEWS]
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, director; Esti Pujic, editor
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