Quit Talking and Start Doing Something!
Years ago, one of our Adventist magazines published a parable about a dreadful swamp. As people passed along the path going through it, they were often overcome and fell in. Their dying cries could be heard all through the nearby village. It was terrible.
The people held a village council. In fact, they held many village councils. Various theories and papers were presented analyzing the cause and sometimes even proposing solutions.
But nothing was ever done except to continue meeting and talking. Over the years, the discussions continued. People wrote dissertations on the topic. Guest lecturers were brought in. Yard sales were held to raise money so that meals could be provided to those who sacrificed so many hours sitting in these meetings. Eventually, money was raised to build a soundproof meeting room so that the cries of the lost and dying would not disrupt the ongoing discussions. But nobody did anything to help those who were in trouble. And nobody did anything to try to stop more people from being lost in the swamp. They just talked.
The church as a whole and your Sabbath School class in particular don’t want to be like the people in that village. We love our time together to pray, think, share, and discuss. But we long to go beyond this and actually do something for and with those around us. We want to make a difference in our communities and around the world. We want the work to be finished, and we want Jesus to return.
This quarter’s Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide is designed to focus attention on getting out there and doing something. We will examine many wonderful Bible stories. We will read about exciting experiences and illustrations. We will learn about available resources to assist us in reaching out to our neighbors (especially to those who have no Christian background). But those will just be ways of illustrating and motivating us. The real focus, the real heart of each lesson, is what will be shared on Thursday each week—a challenge to get out and, actually, do something.
We will share theological insights and provide tools and ideas for you to work with. And each Thursday’s portion of the lesson will issue a careful progression of challenges. It will begin easy. And as the quarter goes along, there will be subtle (and not so subtle) increases in the challenge. The goal is for each of us to take the challenge, pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us, and then spend a few minutes in the next week discussing how it went. This isn’t to be a time of boasting, but a time of sharing—both about what went well and what didn’t. As we share, the group will generate ideas. Prayer lists will grow (personal and collective).
In the end, it is our desire that this quarter be remembered not for memorable thoughts, engaging stories, or deep theological concepts. These may be there—lots of them. But it is our desire that we will all look back on this quarter as the time when the Holy Spirit took our humble efforts and worked mission miracles for the honor and glory of His name.
The Global Mission Centers were first established by the General Conference in 1980. They operate under the direction of the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. There are currently six centers. Their purpose is to help the church more effectively start new groups of believers among the major non-Christian people groups of the world.
At the time of this writing, the directors of these centers (Petras Bahadur, Richard Elofer, Kleber Gonçalves, Clifmond Shameerudeen, Doug Venn, Amy Whitsett, Greg Whitsett), assisted by Homer Trecartin (Global Mission Centers director), and Jeff Scoggins (Global Mission Planning director), collectively authored this Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide. For more information, please go to www.GlobalMissionCenters[dot]org