“Seventh-day Adventists believe God gave us the secret to performing our best when He asked us to, “Remember the Sabbath day…”
Saturday, August 3, 2019, 11 AM
As far as I can tell, the only difference between Seventh Day Adventists and other main line denominations is the understanding of the Sabbath. Seventh Day Adventists believe it’s Saturday, not Sunday. Otherwise, their beliefs seem to be in line with most others. Although they may be technically correct, I think their stance on this subject may be keeping them from thriving.
This church building is nicely maintained and visible from the main road. There’s plenty of parking. The sanctuary is small but lovely, with wooden crossbeams lifting the vaulted ceiling. Out of the seventeen souls at worship, six were visitors, four were children, two were guest worship leaders and one was the pastor. That means only four adult members had shown up for the church service. This indicates the congregation is dying, if not already dead.
They spent an inordinate amount of time talking about an elderly man who wasn’t present–his health issues and becoming a recent church member–seemed to further indicate their insular state. The pastor recognized the visitors and asked us to state our home churches. When I said I liked to visit different churches, he asked if I had been to one he had visited about twenty years ago. He couldn’t remember the name of it.
An elderly woman played the organ, the wife guest worship leader played the piano and gave the children’s sermon. The four kids went forward to hear her story about a boy who lost his dog. Now, I try to keep an open mind, I really do. But why, oh God why, wouldn’t you use the BIBLE story? The scripture for the day was the parable of the GOOD SAMARITAN. Why would anyone tell a ho-hum story about a boy and a dog, when you can tell the far better one that Jesus told? Sorry. I’m getting preachy here. But I just don’t get it.
When her husband stood to give the sermon to the empty sanctuary, I felt sorry for him. But he didn’t seem to adjust his talk for the paltry crowd. He went ahead with his prepared speech, which touched on the parable, at least. It was only slightly more interesting than the boy and the dog. Oy vey.
By the time we stood for the dismal closing hymn, one visitor had already left. I made my exit then, too. This church is in need of serious re-evaluating. If worshipping on Saturday is critical to their faith, they could at least rent/lend the space to another church for Sundays. It seems a shame to allow this good building and location go without an active worshipping community. If the Saturday thing isn’t critical, they might consider joining forces with a similarly minded congregation and launch on Sundays, under a new name, if necessary. Although the pastor recognized the visitors in the service, there wasn’t a greeting time and no one else spoke to me. I don’t think they’re really trying to welcome guests as they have almost nothing to offer. Sadly. This church FAILED the WELCOME TEST.