More than 1.4 million people have viewed positive messages about the Sabbath as part of an innovative social media campaign launched in the South Pacific Division (SPD) in June.
The Sabbath Gift initiative has been designed to draw attention to the benefits of the Sabbath as a time of rest and restoration, community and connection in today’s stressful, fast-paced and isolated world. And, most importantly, to share that the Sabbath is a gift from a loving God.
The promotion encourages Adventists from across the South Pacific to create and share a simple video clip on their platforms, highlighting their personal connections and experiences with the Sabbath. Participants are also encouraged to share others’ content and to pray for the promotion’s success.
Since its launch, the promotion has drawn nearly 20,000 people to the Sabbath Gift website , which serves as a central hub for engagement. On this platform people can register to participate in a four-week Sabbath Challenge, where they’re invited to try the Sabbath and experience its benefits. So far 53 people have joined the challenge.
A series of four live webinars were held throughout July. These events delved into various aspects of the Sabbath’s benefits, featuring topics such as its impact on health (featuring Dr Christiana Leimena); disconnection from daily stressors (Dr Brendan Pratt); fostering community (Moe Stiles and Nathan Brown); and its spiritual significance (Pastor Robbie Berghan).
Most recently, there has been an opportunity to partner with Adventist Schools Australia to engage school communities and help students understand the benefits that the Sabbath can bring to their lives. Students at Adventist schools are being encouraged to express their appreciation for the Sabbath through creative mediums such as artworks and sculptures. The competition will extend to schools in New Zealand and the Pacific at a later stage.
A further addition to the promotion is the launch of a Sabbath Gift sharing book authored by Dr Bruce Manners. Written in Dr Manners’ friendly and engaging style, it is designed for sharing with the general public. The book is now available for pre-orders and will be despatched to conferences and churches in November.
“The Sabbath Gift is an exciting initiative encouraging you and I to share the joy and blessings of the Sabbath,” said SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend. “We want to help people in the wider community understand the restful, transforming power of God’s Sabbath.”
The inspiration behind the promotion stemmed from a study conducted by the McCrindle research company in 2022. The research highlighted a lack of awareness about the Seventh-day Adventist Church among Australians and New Zealanders, with only 4 per cent considering the Church as relevant in the 21st century. Most people also expressed a lack of understanding about what Adventists believe and how we are different to other churches.
One of the study’s key recommendations was to clearly communicate the core beliefs and principles of the Adventist Church.
“When looking at what to communicate, the seventh-day Sabbath stood out as being positive and relevant, and something that could harness appeal in a society that is struggling with burnout, depression and isolation,” said SPD communication director Tracey Bridcutt.
“Our own research revealed that people are already asking questions on various platforms about the Sabbath—what it’s all about, what people do on the Sabbath, and how the Sabbath changed from Saturday to Sunday—so it seemed a good opportunity to raise awareness about one of our fundamental beliefs.
“We believe that the Sabbath is an amazing gift from a loving God. We hope the Sabbath Gift initiative will be the start of a journey for many people towards a happier and healthier life.”
How you can get involved:
- Create content – film a short video or take a photograph that shows what you love about the Sabbath and share it on your socials. Tag it #sabbathgift so that we can find it and add it to our Sabbath Gift wall.
- Encourage your friends, families, neighbours and colleagues to take the Sabbath Challenge and to watch the webinars.
- Order copies of the Sabbath Gift book to share with others.
- Pray for the Sabbath Gift promotion that it touches the lives of many people and brings them closer to Jesus.
The Sabbath Gift is an initiative of Adventist Media, the Ministry and Strategy team and the Communication team at the South Pacific Division.