Transcending Talk with Tithe: An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
Dear Fellow Leader,
Again I have been impressed by the strong and succinct conviction of Elder Jan Paulsen (2009) as he articulated in the October 2009 edition of Adventist World, “We must give young adults meaningful roles within the church (p.10).”
And notably, Elder Paulsen has re-initiated the Let’s Talk series that he has been conducting around the world for over half a decade (Lechleitner, 2009). Even though I support these fine and admirable verbal gestures, I feel we fail new generations if we only offer another round of conversations and compelling articles.
So I share this open letter with you leader—whether you offer volunteer leadership in your local church or campus or serve as a ministry professional, educator or administrator. Leader, I implore you to move beyond conversations about youth and young adults to conspicuous and calculated action.
Although I admire the outspoken positions our leaders have taken on this issue (Martin, 2009), I want to invite you and every leader in the Seventh-day Adventist Church to transcend talk with tangible action. Specifically I’m asking you to tithe. Tithe one or more of the following beginning today: (a) Travel, (b) Time, (c) Timothys, (d) Telecasts, (e) Talents.
Tithe Your Travel
Divert one of your travel appointments, and instead sponsor a young adult to attend a leadership conference. Instead of taking on that tenth speaking appointment or attending another committee meeting, invest that trip’s budget into the leadership development of a young adult. Go to https://ignitionblog.wordpress.com for the latest details on these young adult training opportunities.
Tithe Your Time
Offer a tenth of your time each week to mentoring a young adult. If you average a 40-hour workweek, then set aside four hours this week and each week to nurture, apprentice, and encourage a young adult. Begin to pour yourself into the next generation. If you are working a 60-hour workweek and are saying to yourself, “There is no way I can offer six hours each week to mentor a young adult,” it may be that you need to change your work habits/schedule.
Tithe Your Timothys
Empower a tenth of your young leadership to develop new generations. You may be in the situation where you have a large team of young ministry leaders [i.e., a campus ministry or student association for an Adventist college or university]. Ask your team to train, mentor, and nurture the young people that follow them in age. Set aside a tenth of the resources and efforts you give to minister to your campus/church and invest it in the next generation of leaders.
Tithe Your Telecasts
Dedicate a tenth of your broadcast time to intentionally disciple young adults. Knowing the integral role media plays in young lives, invest in nurturing their spiritual growth through music, television, film, drama, comedy, photography, literature, art, production, etc. Overtly involve young adults in the production, creative, and technical aspects of the tithed endeavor.
For some of you, the pulpit is where you broadcast the Gospel. Afford at least a tenth of the worships in your church to involve young people. If you don’t have any youth in your church, more radical tithing may be in order.
Tithe Your Talents
Begin today to let a young person take your place. The classic parable admonishes us to multiply our talents, not bury them in the sand. Although often referring to talents as money, I would offer here a hybrid application, noting that your skills, abilities, giftedness, and wisdom need to be invested in the next generation. Allow “up and coming” young adults to take roles you might have easily and competently taken. Give them the opportunity to take your place—at least begin with a tenth of your place.
Do one or more or all of the above. Dear colleague, I am personally appealing to you to instigate this “tithing” conspiracy today. If you or someone else calls you a “Seventh-day Adventist leader,” this talk-transcending-tithing request is for you. Whether travel, time, Timothys, telecasts, or talents, I ask that you put your tithing into motion today.
Thank you for your kind consideration, and in advance I share my gratefulness for your immediate action. I believe that leaders best represent the Christ who relentlessly pursues new generations by transcending talk with tangible transformational relationships. May the GOD young adults seek be found living among those who love Him with all their heart (Martin, Bailey, & LaMountain, 2009). May Jesus be found in and through…you.Lead, Love, Live, A. Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE Associate Professor of Discipleship & Family Ministry Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Andrews University
Lechleitner, E. (2009, October 22). Young professionals talk change with GC President. Adventist Review, 186(30), 10-11.
Martin, A. A. (2009, Winter). Burst the bystander effect: Making a discipling difference with young adults. The Journal of Applied Christian Leadership, 3(1), 46-53.
Martin, A. A., Bailey, S., & LaMountain, L. (2009). GODencounters: Pursuing a 24/7 experience of Jesus. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing.
Paulsen, J. (2009, October). Why do they walk away: Keeping youth and young adults engaged in the church must be one of our highest priorities. Adventist World: NAD Edition, 5(10), 8-10.