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Living in the middle of a pandemic is no laughing matter.
Dictionary.com defines a pandemic as: “(of a disease) prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world.” While the memory of 2020 includes dark moments for most of us, good things also emerged from the presence of COVID-19. For many, it was an opportunity to slow down, enjoy more family time, and an occasion to take stock of where we were in our relationship with God. Still, for millions around the world, it meant higher levels of family abuse, being infected with this horrible virus causing excruciating pain and despair, including the agonizing sorrow of the death of more than a million people at the writing of this piece.
As horrible calamities filled 2020, a dreadful and appalling tragedy took place on May 25 when George Floyd, a Black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Derek Chauvin, a White police officer. With Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for 7 minutes, 46 seconds, while he pleaded and gasped for air, a 17-year-old passerby—Darnella Frazier—recorded the ghastly scene including three words uttered by the dying man—I can’t breathe. These words became the collective catchphrase for angry protesters of all ethnicities around the globe, assembling in large numbers to call for justice against police brutality in the USA aimed principally at Black Americans.
In the midst of these incredibly distressing and harrowing realities, the people of God are even now being called to share the good news of salvation with a dying world in need of a Savior. Yet, an integral part of the call is to show concern for the temporal needs of those we serve. The obligation to weigh-in against injustice, inequality, and oppression of people groups—because of their race, social class, caste, tribe, or gender—not only in society but also in church institutions where we live, work, and worship.
The Family Ministries Planbook is an annual resource organized by the General Conference Family Ministries department with input from the world field to supply local churches around the world with resources for the special family emphases weeks and Sabbaths.
Christian Home and
Christian Marriage Day
on Sabbath, February 13.
Christian Home Day
on Sabbath, February 20.
Family Togetherness Week
Day of prayer
(for Marriages, Families and Relationships) on Sabbath, September 11.
To profess to be disciples of Jesus and to attempt to speak for Him without a distinct understanding of the requirement to show care, compassion and concern in our daily lives is to receive the indictment of Matthew 25:42-45 that testifies:
“For I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying,’ ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, You did not do it to Me.’”
To diminish the malaise of this kind of reality in the Church, Ellen White offers a road map for effective ministry to people—modeled after the behavior of Jesus—when she says: “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’” (Ministry of Healing, p. 143).
To follow Jesus, then—to be His heart, hands, and feet to a world perishing in despair—we must live by the words of Isaiah 1:17 that insist: “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.”
When our hearts are filled with love for humanity because we are saturated with the Spirit of Jesus, we will be able to hear the voice of Jesus clearly and embrace the call to discipleship like Isaiah did when he declared: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me’” (Isaiah 6:8).
With unequivocal confidence, Isaiah responds to God’s call by declaring with an assurance only possible when filled with God’s Spirit: “I Will Go!”
The Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Strategic Focus for the 2020-2025 quinquennium is “I Will Go!” The theme for the 2021 newly rebranded Family Ministries Resource Book is “I Will Go with My Family”, which is also Adventist Family Ministries’ emphasis for the 2020-2025 quinquennium. It is our hope that the contents of this manuscript will bring pastors, church members, and leaders in Family Ministries to sense a new calling from God on your lives. And, that this calling will include your family and their involvement in the primary mission of the Church of being light and salt to those who are in darkness, in desperate need of the Savior; while also being mindful of people’s need for food, clothing, shelter, security, friendship and a sense of wellbeing.
May the signs of the times help us sense the urgency of the hour and, like Isaiah be able to also declare with conviction, “I WILL GO!!!”
Willie and Elaine Oliver, Directors
Adventist Family Ministries
Seventh-day Adventist Church