Silver Spring, Maryland — Walking into the Friday evening worship service that marked the beginning of Annual Council, the 300-plus members of the Executive Committee of the Seventh-day Adventist Church received a packet of resource materials about prayer.
After introducing highlights from the materials, Ministerial Association Secretary Jerry Page asked, “Is it resources that produce revival? Hardly,” he answered. “But we hope to help encourage the prayers that will bring about revival.”
To me the most inspiring story of the evening came from a Global Mission video about China’s largest church (and at 7,000 members probably one of the largest churches in the denomination). It has assisted with 120 church plants. When its female pastor was asked for the key to their success, she responded that the members meet every morning at five am to pray.
The Ministerial Association is collecting prayer stories from around the world to film and share. North American Division President Dan Jackson told an incredible story from a revival meeting in San Jose, California, where people continued praying for a man for six hours after he had been declared dead. He came back to life and was in church the following week.
There were also inspiring stories from student colporteurs who told how doing ministry brought back to life their spiritual experience.
An artistic video short introduced the importance of Bible study. With a jazz piano playing in the background, the thin red ribbon from a Bible was dramatically shown slipping down steps, curling around corners, flowing into a bedroom where it tied itself around the finger of a sleeping man. When he awoke and saw the ribbon he followed it to the Bible and the screen closed with “Seek Ye the Lord While He May Be Found.”
Then Mark Finley took the stage to talk about the three elements that are crucial to revival—prayer, Bible study, and witnessing. Emphasis on only one of the three will lead to fanaticism, he said.
There is concern at the General Conference about the daily personal Bible study habits of church members, because their research has shown that less than 50% of the church’s 17 million members read the Bible daily. The Revival and Reformation Committee has been challenged to come up with some way to address this situation—“not that we believe committees bring about revival,” he noted. “But the committee has been charged with figuring out a way to move 17 million people to study their Bible regularly.
In a three page document titled “Revived by His Word” it is proposed “to encourage church members worldwide to unite in reading or listening to one chapter of the Bible each day, beginning April 17, 2012 (Spring Council), and concluding at the General Conference Session in 2015.” Denomination President Ted N. C. Wilson closed the meeting by inviting those present to personally recommit to being a “People of the Book.”
Ted Wilson is due to preach during the Sabbath worship service scheduled to begin at 10:40 am (EDT). It will be streamed by the Hope Channel and was embedded for viewing on Spectrum. Business sessions will start Sunday morning. Here is an ANN article listing some possible Annual Council topics.
Image: 2009 Annual Council by Rajmund Dabrowski/ANN
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/3451