The Year of Reclamation
For the past 15 to 20 years, the Texas Conference has committed itself to the task of evangelism, outreach and harvest. God has blessed us abundantly, yet there seems to be a missing element, namely reclamation. Church statistics tell us two most disparaging story lines. Of the youth or young persons who grow up in the church, seven out of 10 of them leave the church prior to age 18. Intriguingly enough, the rate is nearly identical for those we baptize off the street as a result of public evangelism. Out of every 10 souls baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, within a years’ time, six have abandoned their place in the church. This begs the question from us as a people, and as a conference: What shall we do? We must declare 2019 a year of reclamation. I challenge the over 60,000 members of the Texas Conference to not only seek the lost, but reclaim those who once walked with us. The estimates of former Adventists in Texas are alarming. How can we rest or even worship in peace and serenity when thousands upon thousands of our former comrades are living in a world that is languishing in disbelief, discouragement and despair–without the love and support of their church families? I can’t help but think that the time is now. The moment is here. May our homes, churches, schools and hospitals strive to locate, nurture and extend the call to those who are still our sisters and brothers in Christ, despite Satan’s gallant efforts to entice and seduce them away from the kingdom of God for a season. Most assuredly, what we need more than anything else is an increase in personal, one-on-one ministry. Notice the admonition of Ellen G. White in her book Christian Service: “There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen.” As people of God, we must strive to be the salt and light to a world that has been taken captive by vice, corruption and strife. The opportunity is there for us to excel in being a true friend to those in need. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me,” says Matthew 25:40. Those are the words of the Redeemer of the world, and words for us to live by.
By Carlos Craig, President