“I don’t like tomatoes! I do like ketchup and pizza and spaghetti, but not tomatoes!”
“And I love hikes that end in waterfalls! And baptisms! And taking the Adventist message to new people and places so that it goes to all the world in this generation!”
Starting with these two statements about himself, Dan Serns, the then president-elect of the Central California Conference (CCC), took time over three days in late August to become acquainted with the conference office staff and pastors. Serving most recently as the evangelism director of the Texas Conference, Pastor Dan, as he prefers to be called, also explained that he is serious about every member becoming actively involved in spreading the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14 in this generation. He wants each of us to do our part in every city, town, and rural area in this conference—and beyond—so Jesus can come.
With enthusiasm but also with heartfelt seriousness, Serns laid out some exciting ideas of what he hopes God can accomplish using a dedicated team who wants to work together. As he explained it, “With a team, great things can happen as we rely on each other’s strengths. If we work alone, it is so easy to see each other’s weaknesses.”
Serns feels we need to get into every community where there are no Adventists—planting a church in a chosen “least-worked area” each year both within the conference and at a selected site somewhere in the world. He wants every CCC church, twice a year, to fill the baptistry in their church (or identify a spot in a river, lake, ocean, or even a “tarp in the back of a pickup” if no baptistry is available). The first fill date is scheduled for Dec. 11 of this year. Until then, each church member is encouraged to develop a prayer list of 10 people they would like to see baptized. Then, it is time to the clean out the baptistry, check the plumbing, and fill it with water—even if there is no one to baptize. (Although, that would be a good time to ask why).
Because of the importance of Adventist education, Serns hopes that churches will identify children not attending one of our schools (“at least three students at each church”). The essential task will then be to work out a solution so they can have the benefit of a classroom where every teacher, as an educational evangelist, will bring children to Jesus.
Serns’ official start date as CCC president was Sept. 20, but there will be a period of transition from his position in the Texas Conference until he and his wife, Lois, can fully move and get settled in November. Especially for Lois, there were previously planned evangelistic commitments in Texas during October, and both have a Global Mission trip to Egypt and the Sudan. Nevertheless, when Serns begins, he is calling for “40 Days of Listening” from Sept. 21 through Oct. 31. He hopes that church members will take the time to not only listen to God’s voice but also to earnestly connect with family and friends in the church and community. If you were at one of the “Listening Events” held in each area of the conference, you heard his three challenges: be healthy, do home visits of church members, and fill the baptistry.
Sern’s welcome letter to our members is in the Central Acts newsletter, which is inserted in this issue for CCC members. In it, you will learn more about both him and his family. It also has information about his book, True Stories of Changed Lives, which can be ordered at ClovisABC.com.
As the new CCC president, Serns is eagerly looking forward to meeting and greeting each member of his new CCC family. We are happy to welcome him and his wife, and we rejoice that they are joining us in ministry. As Ellen White would remind us, “By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God” (The Desire of Ages, p. 633). Please, Pastor Dan, keep us focused to that end!
By Deloris Trujillo