Q: How do I remain a relevant Adventist when religion — especially in Europe — is dwindling? How can I show Christ to atheists and agnostics who don’t want to hear about God? — Tinashe, from United Kingdom
Tinashe, you are not alone in asking this question. Many people wonder if they — or Adventism — are relevant in today’s increasingly secularized society. Be assured that both you, and the Adventist message are relevant and timely! God knew you before you were born. He loves you and He has a very important purpose for you today — to share with others the hope that He has given to you.
In a world reeling with disasters, violence, sorrow and uncertainty, what could be more relevant than the hope we have in the soon coming of Jesus Christ? When we see good and evil playing out on the world stage as well as in private lives, what could be clearer and more relevant than the great controversy? When 38 million people are dying every year from non-communicable diseases such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, what could be more relevant than our God-given Adventist health message?
So, how to share your faith with others? In your daily actions, show people that you genuinely care about them. Build friendships and do what you can to meet their needs. Pray for opportunities to share “a reason for the hope that is within you … with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV), and be sensitive to the guiding of the Holy Spirit.
Although written more than a century ago, the following passage rings out with relevance and clarity in 2015:
“Everywhere there are hearts crying out for something which they have not. They long for a power that will give them mastery over sin, a power that will deliver them from the bondage of evil, a power that will give health and life and peace. Many who once knew the power of God’s word have dwelt where there is no recognition of God, and they long for the divine presence.
“The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago — a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.
“Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’
“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. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit” (“Ministry of Healing,” pp. 142-143).