Shepherds Initiative – A New Ministry to Reach Missing Members
Seventh-day Adventists are concerned for their children who are not walking with God. We discuss friends who move, but never transfer their membership. We talk about classmates who just never connected with the Seventh-day Adventist Church after graduating. Seventh-day Adventists care about people.
If a person who is not currently connected to the Seventh-day Adventist Church lives down the street, you can go visit them and pray with them. The difficulty comes when a friend or family member lives in a different part of the state or even the country.
Have you ever wondered if there is something you can do to help a fellow Seventh-day Adventist, who now lives in another part of the country, connect with God? You may be that person’s strongest connection to God and His Church.
I am honored to introduce you to a new website ministry I have developed entitled Shepherds Initiative. You can find us at shepherdsinitiative.com. We exist to connect people with God and His Church.
Some time ago while I was praying during my devotional time I became very convicted that we need a website that helps our churches connect with missing members who don’t live close to their church anymore. I had no idea how to make this conviction a reality. After a lot of prayer I teamed up with Josue Peralta, a young adult from Milwaukee with a passion for God, to build the website, as well as a donor from a church I used to pastor in the Washington Conference. The Wisconsin Academy Church, which I currently pastor, also believes in this personal ministry that God has laid on my heart and has been very supportive of me stepping out in faith to help connect people with churches.
In today’s world jobs, school, family and preferences indicate that, on average, a person will move 11.7 times during their life. An individual may be very connected to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but every time they move they must re-engage with church. The gospel and connection with church is contextual. A person may easily connect with people in one church, move to another place and not even know where to find the church. Because situations change, at one point in a person’s life they may connect to church primarily because of friends and family while at other points in their life it may be for other reasons. Research indicates that a person needs five friends in church in order to feel like they are part of the group.
I encourage you to check out our website, shepherdsinitiative.com and prayerfully consider three things. First, consider partnering with us via entering names and information of people that you know. Once receiving this information, I will contact a local pastor or elder at a Seventh-day Adventist Church close to where they have relocated. I will ask them to identify the person in their local church they think may be able to build a friendship with your friend or family member. I will keep the name and information for your friend or family member as confidential as possible while still building the connection. I will commit to praying at least weekly for your friend or family member. Second, consider telling others in your church about the website so they can enter names. Third, pray for our ministry. I have no way of knowing whether one name will be entered or thousands of names. I am committed to treating each name entered as a valuable individual that God loves.
Jonathan Fetrick, Pastor of Wisconsin Academy Seventh-day Adventist Church