Ministry today is profoundly different than it was a hundred years—or even just a decade or two—ago. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the changes in the way church is done even more dramatically, forcing church leaders to look for innovative responses to meet the needs of those who still need Jesus and Christian community. This is in keeping with the advice of Ellen White, who wrote, “Whatever may have been your former practice, it is not necessary to repeat it again and again in the same way. God would have new and untried methods followed. Break in upon the people—surprise them” (Evangelism, p.125).
Church Support Services (CSS) focuses on just this—developing innovative ideas, resources, and people to help the church navigate an ever-changing world. The rapid pace of change all but guarantees that ministries and churches that are content with maintaining the status quo will cease to be relevant. Unconventional methodologies for nurture and outreach are necessary to allow Seventh-day Adventist churches to share Jesus with diverse communities and individuals. Within this scope, our mission is to develop curated contextualized content that informs and inspires pastors, church leaders, and members to use their best gifts to share the hope of a better life with their world.
One of the best ways to inspire, inform, and engage people is through storytelling. The power of a good story can be life changing. And there are scores of inspiring stories that need to be heard and shared. CSS produces short videos on a channel called Stories of Faith that show how God is using individual members and churches to build up His kingdom. “One story that stands out in my mind is about an effort that was made by Adventist Health, the local Adventist churches, and a couple out of Chico, California—Nancy and Nick Matthews, who taught cooking” said Rich DuBose, director of CSS. “Because in losing their homes the fire victims had lost their ability to cook nutritious meals, the idea emerged that people could be taught how to use Instapots to prepare quality meals without a lot of effort or space. Classes were scheduled and a supply of Instapots were secured that were then given to those who registered. It turned into a highly popular class that was repeated several times, and many families were blessed with tasty, yet healthy meals during an extremely difficult time.”
In addition to producing videos, CSS also distributes content through electronic newsletters, websites, and social media. These resources are available on the Church Support Services website (https://churchsupportservices.org), which serves as an online resource center with a library of short articles, videos, and tips for nurture and outreach ministry. Direct links are also provided, along with a brief description of each resource, below:
1. When People are Kind: A web resource promoting compassion as a primary approach to bringing Christ to the world and encouraging Adventist members and churches to embrace compassion as their defining character trait. Visit https://whenpeoplearekind.org.
2. Answers for Me: A website offering practical support for everyday life, including family issues, health, first-person stories, resources for spiritual growth (including 16 interactive Bible study guides), a section called “Corona Diaries,” vegetarian recipes, and more. Visit https://answersforme.org.
3. Adventist Society for the Arts (ASA): An initiative (originally known as inSpire) that promotes using the creative arts to bring good to life within our churches and communities. Visit https://adventistsocietyforthearts.org.
4. TechApplied: A Facebook group for those involved with implementing media technologies in their local churches, sharing tips and offering networking opportunities. Visit https://www.churchsupportservices.org/category/tech-applied/.
5. SpiritRenew: A free iPhone/Android smartphone app that provides devotional content as well as resources for family life, health, and more. Visit https://answersforme.org/free-app/.
Richard DuBose is the director of Church Support Services.