In the wake of negative news and media, social isolation measures and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it is unsurprising that many people are experiencing anxiety and questioning the future. In response to these concerns, a number of Adventist Bible studies on the topic of Revelation have emerged in recent weeks to curb anxiety and reassure church members and seekers during this time of crisis.
Pastor Lloyd Grolimund, New Hope Church
Pastor Lloyd Grolimund from New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney)—known by many as the “Aussie Pastor”, thanks to his television series of the same name—has been releasing Bible studies on the book of Revelation on Facebook, YouTube and via their website.
The videos, averaging half an hour in length, feature Pastor Grolimund and his behind-the-scenes media producer Andrew Hunt, exploring one chapter of Revelation per video. The laid-back conversational tone helps to simplify Revelation’s complex symbolism and bring new insight to the text for both Adventists and seekers alike.
“Revelation is a love letter from Jesus to His end time church and people,” explained Pastor Grolimund. “[It] shows us what is ahead of us, and who is going to get us through—Jesus. It is an email sent to us 2000 years ago that is waiting in your inbox for you, [and] it needs to be opened, read and understood. That’s why I chose Revelation.”
Across online platforms, the videos have accumulated more than 200,000 views.
“The response has been mostly positive,” he explained. “I guess thousands are watching it so that is a good thing.”
In the videos, Pastor Grolimund urges viewers to begin a relationship with Jesus or to return to Him in preparation for the end times, and provides reassurance in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty.
“No matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter what’s burdening you today, you should come to Jesus and give your heart and life to him and trust him and say, ‘I don’t deserve this I am unworthy but save me!’ And He will save you, He promised.”
Pastor David Riley, Reedy Creek Church
Pastor David Riley from Reedy Creek Seventh-day Adventist Church on the Gold Coast made the decision to produce “Revelation Webinars” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and as a resource for new church contacts.
“[It] all happened quite quickly. We were in the middle of some outreach ‘Prophetica’ programs at our church when we had to close them up. In the mad rush to run our regular church programs I also had to think what we would do to ensure we stay connected with these community contacts we had through Prophetica. And so the ‘Revelation Webinars’ was hastily born,” Pastor Riley explained.
The sessions run three times per week, with an option for either morning or evening sessions, and more than 100 people are tuning into the programs from across Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Norway and Portugal.
Using Zoom technology, Pastor Riley has adapted more than 10 years of study presentations and programs he has hosted on Revelation in the past to the online space. He is approaching Revelation as a chapter-by-chapter study through the entire book, often taking 2-3 sessions to get through a single chapter.
“How do I help make Revelation relatable and understandable when it’s such a dense book? Well I prayerfully take it slowly, chapter-by-chapter. That’s why each of our three sessions per week only go for twenty-five minutes plus a few minutes of questions and feedback,” he explained. “I’ve had some great feedback with that strategy, and the fact that participants can join us from their lounge rooms and offices for short bursts means they keep coming back for more.”
To join Pastor Riley’s Bible studies, please visit www.revelationofhope.info.
Youth Leadership Team, Greater Sydney Conference
Youth directors Pastor Simon Gigliotti and Pastor Phil Yates from the Greater Sydney Conference have started a Wednesday night Bible study called “Revelation with the Youth Directors”.
“We decided to go with Revelation because it’s one of those interesting books that often goes untouched,” explained Pastor Gigliotti. “The symbology, the Old Testament background that brings rich meaning to the text, and the eschatological nature (last day events) makes for an exciting read. Most importantly, it is the Revelation of Jesus, the same Jesus we read about in the Gospels so we know there will be an encouraging message in there.”
Meeting at 6:30pm for a social chat via Zoom, they then dive into a chapter of Revelation with the youth each week at 7pm. Attendance is averaging between 30-50 people each session.
When asked about the engagement with Revelation from young people, Pastor Gigliotti said, “I think young people in our time want four main things from those who teach the Bible: an acknowledgement that we don’t have all the answers, to know why we believe what we believe about the Bible, to be true to the text of scripture and not read our ideas and ‘traditions’ into the text if they aren’t there, and an application for life . . . [when we do this] young people want to tune in.”
“Revelation with the Youth Directors” focuses on providing young people with a fresh—and perhaps unexpected—picture of Jesus, and courage and resilience for the future.
“Revelation is really a book about Jesus, His saving grace, and His sovereign hand over all—especially the things that lie before us. At the end of the day, in these uncertain times, we have nothing to fear except losing our connection with Jesus,” concluded Pastor Gigliotti.
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