Signs month: Mission is in our DNA

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I must have been about eight years old. We were collecting canned food for the needy in the neighbourhood around our church. I was paired up with an older lady, one of my Sabbath school teachers.

We had a modest haul of imperishable goods when we came to a certain house. It was unremarkable for that part of Adelaide: low wire fence and gate, path up to the front porch, brick and painted gables. We knocked and waited. 

The door opened and before we had got through our pitch, I was engulfed in a barking maelstrom of fur and teeth, saliva flying. My adult shielded me as we sprinted for the gate, while the dog’s adult tried to get it under control. It had death in its eyes. 

I can’t remember if I cried or if the fear paralysed my tear glands. Already anxious about knocking on the doors of strangers, this little encounter left me petrified. I broke down again when reunited with my parents and the story blubbered out. 

Any hesitancy we have toward sharing the gospel these days is probably not so dramatic as being eaten alive by a giant dog (I was eight, it felt like it was giant OK). Yet maybe we fear being ridiculed, rejected or just don’t know what to say. With some negativity toward Christians online and in the media, sometimes it feels like our vitally important good news won’t be well received. 

The Seventh-day Adventist Church was founded by people who were on fire for sharing the good news about Jesus and His soon return. You could say that mission is in our DNA and that it has been since the beginning. It gives us purpose. 

And since the Church first came to Australia Signs of the Times magazine has been an integral part of that outreach. Celebrating 135 years in 2021, Signs has always been the Church’s flagship evangelistic publication. We’re working really hard to make the content engaging and the language accessible to the broader community, while still communicating a Christian worldview and the values of the Adventist church. 

Research conducted by our marketing team at Adventist Media uncovered some perhaps unsurprising results—two-thirds of Adventists want to do something to share the good news about Jesus but one of the main things holding them back is that they don’t want to offend others. 

In a world that is hurting and hungry for hope, we want to see people sharing the good news of Jesus—in fact, it’s the whole purpose of our ministry here at Signs. Sharing literature is a non-confronting way to easily share the hope that you have. The magazine might sit in a waiting room, or in a home, and people have a choice to read it. If you read a good article about health or relationships in Signs, you can recommend it to your friend and they may read more of the magazine later. 

But at the end of the day, if approaching other people with a piece of literature has you a bit tentative, there are a whole stack of ministries already using Signs that need your support. 

Just before the recent round of lockdowns, I travelled to ADRA Logan and saw some of the amazing work that their volunteers are doing in the local community. I saw their Signs magazines in the reception area and they told me how much they value the magazine being available for those they serve. In fact, in June alone we had $A30,000 worth of Signs subscriptions for ministries like these needing support, in the form of donations, to continue. 

Signs is just the tool to help you share your faith that is simply and easily. You can give a copy to a friend, sponsor a rack in your area or at your local Adventist school, or you could make a donation to where it is needed most to keep a community project stocked with Signs magazines. 

August is Signs month. This month we’ll share a bit about Signs and we hope you’ll consider partnering with us to spread Jesus’ message, to live as people of faith, hope and love, and to remind the world that in the midst of current events, He wants something better for them and is coming back soon. Visit signsofthetimes/august for more information.