The following article was written by Pastor Kenny Deveaux as the lead article in the Logos for Sabbath,April 14, 2018
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, being a global church, is always looking for ways to encourage unity among its 81,552 churches worldwide. One such way is the Adventist Church's Calendar of Special Emphasis Days and Events. Not only is this calendar an attempt to bring unity among its sisterhood of churches, but it also helps to raise awareness of key issues, such as abuse prevention, family and religious freedom, Safety Sabbath, Global Youth Day, as well as Friends of Hope Day, which we know as Visitor’s Sabbath.
Sabbath, April 14, 2018, has been set aside by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a time for every local church to open its doors to members of the local community. The stated aim is to offer the local congregation an opportunity to share its hospitality and, through that, to engage visitors in what it means to be a part of God’s family.
William T. Ham answers a question from our 2018 first quarter’s Sabbath School quarterly that asks the question, “Can a Christian be selfish?” He states, “There are many things which a person can do alone, but being a Christian is not one of them. As the Christian life is, above all things, a state of union with Christ, and of union of his followers with one another, love of the brethren is inseparable from love of God. Resentment toward any human being cannot exist in the same heart with love to God. The personal relationship to Christ can only be realized when one has ‘come to himself’ as a member of His Body, the Christian fellowship.”
While Visitor’s Day or Friends of Hope Day is a Sabbath that should be celebrated in our churches, I caution that adequate training of the Sabbath School personnel from greeters, ushers, superintendents, teachers and members must take place. Unfortunately, there are numerous stories of visitors and missing members who finally accepted an invitation to join us for Visitor’s Day or Friends of Hope Day to be confronted with a “miss spoken word”, which drives them away forever. There is an abundance of training materials available from the Sabbath School Department at every level or structure of the church.
The hope that today will be better than yesterday gets us out of bed in the morning and keeps us going through another day. Hope is an amazing commodity. It allows prisoners to endure a sentence of many years because they believe that some miracle will eventually let them experience freedom and allow them to reunite with their families. Hope allows someone with a terminal illness to believe that a cure lies just around the corner, that if they survive just a little longer, doctors may come up with a treatment that will give them an opportunity to enjoy the blessings of good health. Who knows? The prayers of family and friends may result in some kind of miracle. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? That’s why we hope.
Therefore, let us plan, train and prepare for Friends of Hope Day. If your local church does not have it on the Calendar, speak with the Pastor, Elders or Sabbath School Superintendent and encourage them to plan a day to encourage your community to visit and see the hospitality of your church.
Pastor Kenny Deveaux, Bethany Seventh-day Adventist Church