Thank you for joining us today. My name is Sal Garcia, and I’m the director of Youth Ministries at the Southern California Conference.
This year, we’ve been sharing our SCC mission, vision and values with you. Today, I will be focusing on one of our core values: Engagement.
Did you know that it’s possible to be born into a Christian family, attend a Christian school and a Christian church, and work for a Christian institution your entire life without ever having a non-Christian friend with whom you are intentional in sharing the gospel?
That may be true, but on the other hand, we discover God engaging with people all throughout Scripture. Scripture, in fact, could be described as God’s attempt to have a relationship with His creation.
The God that we serve is an engaging God. He engages humanity, and He meets them where they are. God seeks to find common ground with people.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a community of faith that is founded and grounded upon Scripture. What God says we accept; what He does we believe. As a church, we are a people that engage with our community through different ministries like food pantries, community services and youth outreach services.
Oh yes, the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a community of faith and ministry reaching people in its community.
Is this idea of engagement biblical? Is it divine? Well, in Scripture, we discover in the Old Testament God’s paradigm and invitation were: Come, come and see, come to the center of civilization, come to the Old Testament Hebrew sanctuary which taught the power and plan of salvation in a minuscule scale. The book of Hebrews says that the people failed in the Old Testament because they did not have faith in God's plan.
Now in the New Testament, and since the time of Jesus, it is no longer come, come and see, come to the temple, come to the nation of Israel to learn about the plan of salvation—but now it is an imperative. It is, “Go into all the world. Go engage, call and make disciples.”
Now we must go to where the people are. No longer will they come to God’s church, but the church must go to where the people are. We must go to our communities. We must go to where the homeless people are. We must go to where the orphans and widows live.
We must go to where people are today and engage them by finding common ground as Jesus did. Then we can begin to build relationships that will one day lead to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Yes, engaging our communities is a biblical mandate. As we must learn to engage God first, then there will be an overflow that will inspire us to begin to engage our communities and make a difference.
I am proud to be part of a church that is making a difference by engaging its community and reaching the needs of people. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Southern California is a community of faith that continues to engage and reach people with the gospel through building relationships and helping those in need.
As the director of the Youth Department of the Southern California Conference, our department participates in engaging our community by preparing an army of youth who are rightly trained, so that the message of the soon-coming Savior might go to all the world in this generation.
As a youth department, we are intentionally preparing an army of young people who can serve in the local church. We are committed to offering support to every youth in our conference and territory. After all, their victories in their communities and churches are our victories.
The youth department exists to provide resources, training and opportunities for children and youth so that they can be successful in engaging others in their churches and communities.
We believe we exist to help train our youth to make a difference by serving and lending a helping hand to those in need.
The time is now for us to fully help and support the youth and young adults in our territory so that they can participate in the mission of reaching the lost by engaging people in relationships with the everlasting gospel. It's all about Jesus. Let's join Him in engaging our families, friends and communities to see lost people come to the saving knowledge of Jesus as Savior, Lord and Friend. Let's help our youth to be equipped to finish God's work very soon.
May God bless you!