The dates were selected, the speaker from a national ministry was chosen, the funds were in place, and it was time for the church board to take a final vote, sign the contract, arrange for the public mailing, and proceed with a six week evangelistic outreach series at the Chippewa Valley Seventh Day Adventist Church in Altoona, WI.
But the board just happened to be blessed with an enthusiastic, energetic, well-prepared pastor with a penchant for thinking “outside the box”. With 20+ years of experience in recovery ministry, and with a street-smart view of how people with different backgrounds and outlooks can better connect with each other, Pastor Kevin Kuehmichel presented the board with a plan for “evangelism, done different.”
Pastor would be the speaker. We would meet once a week for (yes) 32 weeks. We would start the series in September and go into the month of May 2022. The meetings would be in the gym. Child care would be provided. We would sit at round tables, listen to an hour (or so) teaching on the Book of Revelation, follow-up with a bit of social time (home made snacks provided), and include discussion and prayer at each table before leaving.
So “Hope in the Apocalypse: Removing Fear from the Book of Revelation” began on September 9th, 2021. What are people saying about the class? Two attendees mentioned they were coming because their friends who they love and respect invited them, while a newly-baptized member wanted to remove some of the fearful uncertainly about the book that she had learned of in the past. Another long-time church member said she had just never had the time to attend a Revelation Seminar before, while other church members commented they were attending to deepen their previous understanding of the book.
How is the series proceeding? After over 3 months of weekly meetings, attendance is holding strong in the middle 50’s. About one third of the attendees are guests/non-members. Pastor Kuehmichel began the series with general teaching about language and the chiastic structure used by Bible authors. He took the class through the importance and centrality of seeing Jesus in the sanctuary, and introduced us to general outlooks of how different scholars have approached studying the Book of Revelation. The handouts accompanying the lessons (many of which were prepared by the pastor just for this series) have given general outlines, comparisons, and supplemental details.
Currently the class completed lessons on the seven churches, and is totally ready and looking forward to move into an understanding of the seven seals. When the series concludes in May, 2022, the class will have been taught about all of our church’s basic Biblical beliefs – just by studying through the Book of Revelation. Praise God!
Marcia Harycki, Assistant Communication Director for the Chippewa Valley Church