Are You and Your Church In? – Part One

by Rob Appel Executive Director   For over 300 years in North America, Seventh Day Baptists have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to use their gifts and resources to share His gospel. Today, we continue to advance His mission in a unique way. There are benefits of having a Conference of churches! We can reach further and do more when we have a larger pot of spiritual gifts, experiences, perspectives, and resources for Kingdom work and when we are part of a family larger than just our local congregation. Through this there are shared aspects of SDB life that all of our churches experience. Pooling our experience yields a broader array of choices and options when we’re looking to do something new or do something better. Our churches can connect, identify, and participate with the international community in the global mission through our shared channels of communication. There is a strong identity component — we are “part of something bigger” when we work together. Our Churches can learn more if we have the “iron” of the larger body to speak into our lives and sharpen our beliefs through contact with believers that hold the same fundamental tenants, but may have approached others from a different background or perspective. There’s a family/relational component in our churches —our churches, at least at their best, work and relate as a family. Those relationships can be deep and lasting, above and beyond “the work” we cooperate to do together. Several years ago we had a monthly mailer that went out called the “Leadline.” The name was changed to “Vision 2020” in 2005 and was dropped about ten years ago. In the Leadline/Vision 2020 there was a listing of the SDB churches and their contributions, year-to-date, to the work of the entire Conference of Churches. This was very enlightening to see where the support came from for the work of the whole. I state this history to inform you that as of this date we have 32 member churches that have not supported the work of the Conference in 2017. This does not mean that the Conference does not provide services to these churches who have not contributed. But...

Thankfulness Should Move Us To Action

    Rob Appel Executive Director In 2015 the General Council shared with us the SDB Vision Map. In this we had our MISSION, FOCUS, CORE VALUES, and KINGDOM CULTURE laid out for us. The FOCUS, or what we do, states this: “We must develop and support new and existing leaders who will work through healthy local churches. Leaders include pastors, as well as people who have served, are serving, or desire to serve in local churches.” In the KINGDOM CULTURE one of the areas detailed is Volunteer Focused. It states, “Volunteers are encouraged, empowered and mobilized to serve. Many ministries are successfully supported by passionate volunteers. (Through these opportunities, leaders are identified and developed.)” The reason I lead with these two areas of the SDB Vision Map is for this reason: God’s Purpose is for us to Be Productive! In Ephesians chapter two, verse 10 Paul says, “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to DO GOOD WORKS which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Once we are in CHRIST we are compelled to do good works. Not that these good works do anything for us in the way of salvation, but rather because of what Christ has done for you personally, there will be a sense of thankfulness that moves you to action. You just want to do good works and to be a fruitful and productive Christ follower. God has work for us to do! And why does He have work for us to do? Well, in Ephesians 4:12 it says, “To prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up.” And in Colossians 1:10 it says, “And we pray this that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way bearing fruit in every good work growing in the knowledge of God.” There are opportunities for you to serve in a Seventh Day Baptist Ministry! We have sub-committees that work on various areas of ministry. These sub-committees are made up of volunteers. They work and collaborate on work that is given to them by one of the Directors. Then they report...

A Partnership in Ministry

by Rob Appel Executive Director     “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” — 1 Peter 4:10   When we think about the Great Commission, many of us feel overwhelmed. We might think to ourselves, “What can I do?” Do you ever feel like that — like giving up; like quitting before you even get started?   Maybe a better question than, “What can I do?” would be, “What can WE do?”   “We work together as partners who belong to God.” —1 Corinthians 3:9a God created each of us for a purpose. God gifted us with certain abilities, unique to us alone. And we can, and should, use these gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ. God is all sufficient and He doesn’t need us for His fulfillment— but God does want us to become His partner in ministry! God gives gifts to all Christ followers. God does not measure our success in life by our titles or positions or accomplishments, but by how well we use the gifts He has gifted us with. We need to give permission and encouragement to people so they use their God given gifts in ministry. Whatever your gift is, don’t bury it. Jesus told the parable of the talents to illustrate the importance of using what God has given you. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus told about a Master giving three of his servants money to invest for him while he was gone on a trip. He gave one servant five talents, the second two talents, and the third one talent. The servant with five talents doubled the money, the servant with two talents doubled the money, but the third dug a hole in the ground and buried his talent. When the master returned he praised the five-talent and two-talent servants for being good and faithful. The one-talent servant who buried his talent was condemned as being lazy and gave his one talent to the servant who had doubled his five talents to ten. As Christ followers we each have a choice to make. We either choose to live a...

Things You Need To Know About the SDB Conference

by Rob Appel Executive Director   Retrospect – ret•ro•spect – noun – a survey or review of a past course of events or period of time. It is hard to believe, but I have had the honor of serving and representing Seventh Day Baptists for over thirteen years! Time flies when you are having a good time! This causes me to look back over the years to see what we have done together, and the first thing I came across was this: The Challenge. Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Back in November 2004, I wrote in the Sabbath Recorder about a challenge that we all needed to embrace. That challenge was to have a new vision about our churches. I wrote, “The challenge was made to all Seventh Day Baptists to look to a new vision to work together to establish twenty new churches and increase in another twenty of our established churches over the next fifteen years; Vision 2020!” So, how have we done in less than 13 years? We have added exactly fourteen churches. 2005 — SDB Church of Ft. Lauderdale — Ft. Lauderdale, FL 2007 — SDB Church of Southeast Atlanta — McDonough, GA 2007 — SDB Christian Church – Silver Spring, MD 2007 — All Nations Church — Grand Rapids, MI 2007 — Central Washington SDB Church — Yakima, WA 2009 — Agape SDB Church of Christ — St. Albans, NY 2009 — Faith SDB Church – Bronx, NY 2013 — Maranatha Community — Colton, CA 2014 — Bradenton (now Union Station at Dunedin) — Dunedin, FL 2014 — German SDB Church – New Enterprise, PA 2015 — Agape SDB of the South — Orlando, FL 2015 — SDB Church of West Palm Beach — West Palm Beach, FL 2015 — Full Gospel SDB Church — Cumberland, MD 2015 — Remembrance SDB Church – Fort Worth, TX And we have three joining this year! Redemption Evangelical Fellowship Church — Riverside, CA Edgewater SDB Church – Oak Hill, FL Agape Ministry Iglesia Bautista del Septimo Dia — San Sebastian, Puerto Rico That makes a total of...

Things You Need To Know About Conference 2017

by Rob Appel, Executive Director Conference 2017 is but a few months away! Over the past few years, many people have said, “When are we going to have Conference in Southern California again?” Well here it is! However, there are some things that you need to know before you attend. It has not been easy in finding a suitable location for Conference in Southern California. I looked at a number of locations: one university was too high in cost; another college did not have the dates that we needed; and another location was having too many other events going on simultaneously with our event. At first Azusa Pacific University (APU) was not an option due to the dates. They were off my radar. But I emailed them a few months later and something had changed. I am not sure exactly what, but the dates we wanted were available. God works in great ways! Now having said this, you need to know that things are more expensive here in California. Our taxes are higher, our gas is higher, minimum wage is higher — therefore, everything costs a little bit more. So, Conference will be more this year because of that. Sorry — but it cannot be helped if we are going to hold our event here. Even with the costs being higher than most years, please understand that the people we (host committee and myself) worked with were very helpful in trying to keep costs down. I will not mention any names (Tim and Chad J), but our contacts tried their best to accommodate us and our needs. But back to the costs, you have options to keep them down. First of all let’s start with the cost of a bed. All adults who stay in a dorm room have to pay the full cost. But, each child under 11 years of age can sleep on the floor for free (with a paying adult in the same room). You have a choice of hotels in the area. A family of four can stay in a room and have breakfast included in the cost. Stardust Hotel 0.7 Mile away from APU — (626) 334-0251 Garden Inn...

Life Lessons I’ve Learned (Part 2)

by Rob Appel Executive Director Last month I wrote the top ten things I learned while in my current position. I’ve been in this job now for the past twelve and a half years. So, what have I learned? Please check out 11-22. 11. We are in this world, but not a part of it. Too many of our churches are starting to behave in ways that reflect this world, the society they are in, and the culture around them. This disturbs me. Rather than reflect a God that doesn’t change and is compassionate, we are acting like our politicians, talking trash to people we love, forgetting to forgive but rather planning on how we are going to retaliate, posting pictures on social media that show us in situations that we wouldn’t want our mothers to see. This has got to stop! We are to reflect Christ! 12. Don’t compare yourself or try to be someone else. I came into this job not knowing what it entailed, or even why God would put me here. After all, I am not a pastor, and except K.D. Hurley (a man I admired a lot) there had been a string of them in this position. There’s always someone out there who is smarter, who has better relationships, who has more influence. Comparing yourself or trying to be someone else is a game you’ll never win. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” 13. If you’re passionate, you’ll prioritize. I am watching our younger Directors taking on more and more ministry opportunities. Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you want something done, ask a busy man.” This is absolutely true! These passionate Directors are making things happen! Maybe too fast for some of you, but things are getting done! 14. When is something really an issue? People like to talk. People like to vent. Sometimes people just need someone to really listen to them. They are not looking for a fix. They don’t want you to solve their problem. They just want you to listen and care — and then you need to let it go. If it is a real issue you should deal with,...