One of the signs we’re witnessing is increased lawlessness, with the love of many growing colder (Matt. 24:12), especially in recent years.
It is at such a time as this that God has called us to be a bright light to the emerging darkness we’re witnessing in the world today. Our Lord has called us to a specific mission (Matt. 24:14), with a specific message (Rev. 14:6–12) at the end of earth’s history. We are very thankful and appreciative to have the Lake Union support us in this endeavor.
We are grateful and humbled to see how the Lord has blessed us over the past five years. Our churches witnessed 3,381 baptisms or professions of faith, with a year-end membership of 26,679 in 2021.
Public evangelism and personal Bible studies and outreach are important to Seventh-day Adventists, and that certainly has been a focal point. Over the last quinquennium, 400+ public evangelistic series were held, many of them taking place during statewide evangelism initiatives.
Personal Bible studies were equally a part of Michigan’s DNA, especially with the enhanced development of BibleStudyOffer. com, a Bible study witnessing tool. As a result, more than 7,000 individuals requested Bible studies in Michigan, and an additional 3,000 signed up for Bible studies outside the state for a total of 10,000 requested Bible studies. We praise God for technology- enhancing witnessing tools!
The powerful evangelistic witness of literature ministries also carved its way into homes, businesses and communities. Over the span of five years, 454 students participated in the summer canvassing program, distributing 175,047 books and receiving $1,411,142 in donations. Students were awarded $917,242 in scholarships, 500,000 doors were knocked on and over four million GLOW tracts distributed. Michigan has one of the largest literature ministries programs within the North American Division.
Acts of kindness and ministering to the physical and felt needs of the community are also vital components of ministry. Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth and to manifest His character of altruistic love to a world in need.
Through the work and ministry of Fieldwork—an initiative of the Youth Department, 350 beds were built and delivered to kids without beds within our communities. Over 50 homes were remodeled through the ministry of Fieldwork. Five hundred church members representing 30+ churches volunteered to make these endeavors a reality, and many will tell you that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
We served the community in additional ways through Adventist Community Services (ACS). From the onset of the pandemic, six additional churches opened their doors to serve their communities. Through the combined efforts and sponsorship of the North American Division, ADRA and the Lake Union, we were able to provide over 1.2 million pounds of food to struggling communities, along with 150,000 clothing items, and 2,000 personal care kits that included diapers, bedding, furniture, and other necessities to struggling areas within Michigan.
Altogether, Michigan ACS has grown to 65 active community centers that are prepared to serve when duty calls. During periods of the ongoing Flint water crisis, we distributed bottled water, filters and filter replacements to areas struggling with tainted water.
The team at Camp Au Sable also developed innovative ways for reaching their immediate community with their refreshed camp store, which now includes a café with food items, baked goods and pastries. It is quickly becoming a go-to spot for many in the region. They also have been reaching out to and connecting with their community by participating in their local farmer’s market and providing healthy and tasty options. The creative food staff has successfully made a digital impact through their online cooking show with Chef Miguel Larcher and his ministry-minded team.
These are some of the exciting ways God has been working through the Michigan Conference, but it’s important to note that we’re not finished yet! As we see final events approaching, we acknowledge that there’s so much more to be done. May God provide us with the wisdom, resources and the sacrifice necessary to complete the work that’s been entrusted to us. This is our continued goal as we approach the soon return of Jesus in the clouds of glory.
Jim Micheff is the Michigan Conference president.