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Interview with Dan Serns: Reflecting on 2023 and Envisioning 2024's Goals



 

How have you seen God guiding you?

I’ve had to pray a lot more, and that's a good thing. One night last year during prayer time I asked God what I should focus on, and He gave me three things.

  1. I need to remember what the prophet Samuel said to King Saul. When Saul was small in his own eyes, God used him. I always want to be humble and teachable. I want to be a servant.

  2. The Lord impressed me that when we work in a team people notice our strengths. When we work alone, they notice our weaknesses. Build teams, help others build teams, and connect people with each other.

  3. Always remember that the reason we do everything is to give the Adventist message to all of the Central California and the world in this generation. We ask ourselves, Will what we're talking about multiply that or will it cripple it?

 

What are some highlights of 2023?

We had two Fill Every Baptistry Sabbaths where we asked every church to fill their baptistry and pray about who should be baptized. We encouraged churches to have a week of meetings leading up to those sabbaths. In 2022, we trained 150 men to preach a series in the spring and we trained 50 women to do that in the fall. In 2023, we trained 50 young people to preach in the spring and 50 children to preach in the fall.

 

Another highlight was that we reopened our Soquel Camp meeting, which is about eleven days long. Thousands of people come in on the weekends. We baptized 51 people at our camp meeting, and there were 52 more who made decisions to be baptized when they got back to their homes.

 

We also reopened Camp Wawona and had several staff and campers baptized. I believe in baptism. It means people are really making a public testimony of their commitment to the Lord for the rest of their life, and the church is committing to help mentor them in their spiritual walk and help them lead other people to the Lord.

 

One more thing is that we launched our digital evangelism project. This is amazing! In the first phase we picked six churches in our conference to be pilot churches, then did advertisements around their churches on social media. We ran prayer ads and people began to click and ask for prayer. These went immediately to people who began praying with them. Now we have over 1,746 people receiving online pastoral care at least once a week around those eleven churches. We have yet to officially reach the stage of inviting them to join a service project, but 35 people have already come for in-person worship. And we had our first baptism in August in Silicon Valley.

 

What are the goals for 2024?

Our mission is to give the Adventist message to all of Central California and the world in this generation. That is why we are here and that is why we do what we do. The two overriding goals are:

  1. Start 1,000 new groups (and when we say groups it means three or more people on a mission for Jesus in his final movement). These groups could be Sabbath School groups, Adventurer clubs, Pathfinder clubs, home-based groups, Bible study groups, recreational groups, hobby groups—but with at least three people and a mission for Jesus in His final movement. And we want each group to win at least one person every six months.

  2. Baptize 1,000 new Adventists. We had about 640 who were added as new Adventists in 2023, and we think 1,000 is realistic for 2024, especially if we can start the small groups. We believe that discipleship takes place better in groups than in large gatherings or programs—it takes place better in circles than in rows.

 

How can a reader become involved?

Number one: start with your time with God and your own family. And number two: start a group. All you need to do is find a couple of friends, brainstorm ideas, then go to work for Jesus and find people. Leave it to Him and His final movement and God will give you ideas. Any hobby, any interest, any spiritual thing you’d like to do more of, we will help and your local church will help. I see more spiritual awakening and more willingness and desire to see churches grow and start something in new communities where we haven't been.

 

Where can a reader learn more?

A great place to learn more about what is happening is at www.cccadventist.org. Our online digital academy is a place you can learn more about outreach and receive training.

 

Everyone can also become a neighborhood pastor for the neighborhood where they live.

 



 

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