Faithful Over Few, Ruler Over Many

One of the biggest challenges today is that churches are pastor-dependent. In New Testament times they didn’t have church pastors, but had lay leadership instead. The pastor-led churches of our time is a departure from the Biblical model. Does it really matter?

What is the result of a church being pastor-dependent? “So long as church members make no effort to give to others the help given them, great spiritual feebleness must result.” (Testimonies For The Church, vol. 7 p. 18) In spite of the fact that here at Central we have a strong core group of about 75 people that maintain the operations and ministries of our church, it does seem that there is “spiritual feebleness” among us in some way, doesn’t it? After all, we have several hundred more members beyond that core group.

What will help people to grow and overcome a feeble experience? “The greatest help that can be given our people is to teach them to work for God, and to depend on Him, not on the ministers.” (Testimonies For The Church, vol. 7, p. 19)

What if church members would rather the pastor take care of everything? “They should be taught that unless they can stand alone, without a minister, they need to be converted anew, and baptized anew. They need to be born again.” Evangelism, p. 381)

We know that in the final events the work will finish on the New Testament model because the pastors and the church buildings will be removed by the early stages of persecution. Isn’t it imperative that churches start learning how to be New Testament churches before that time? Pastor-dependent churches could collapse when they lose their pastor and their building.

Both pastors and members need a new perspective. Training and equipping of members is necessary for many to gain confidence. That’s one of the reasons for small groups. People need to decide to get involved in the various training opportunities.

Another vital point is this, if we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, it is necessary that we put a new emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that the gifts are given so that the church can do the work? To Ellen White, spiritual gifts are a key factor for churches to function without pastors. “The greatest cause of our spiritual feebleness as a people is the lack of real faith in Spiritual Gifts. If they all received this…in full faith, they would put from them those things which displease God, and would everywhere stand in union and in strength. And three-fourths of the ministerial labor now expended to help the churches could then be spared to the work of raising up churches in new fields." (Review & Herald, January 14, 1868)

If we want to be ready for the final events and for the return of Jesus, we need to use our skills, talents, and spiritual gifts in God’s service. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, the man that hid his one talent lost it. That is a warning for all of us. When the final days come, a person will not just be able to turn on a spiritual gift or talent if it hasn’t been discovered or developed by practice. If you don’t use it, you lose it!

On the other hand, the man with two talents put out efforts and actually increased them to four. “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy lord” Matthew 25:23. The man with five talents ended up with ten. Think about it. How many spiritual gifts did Paul have? It seems like he had nearly all of them! Why? He used every thing God gave him in God’s service. His abilities multiplied. He was a ruler over many things.

Jesus is coming soon. Some things need to change. We need to be preparing. To return to the New Testament model, each church member must search his or her heart. “Lord, show me what I can do. What spiritual gifts have You given me? Help me to apply my spiritual gifts in your service.” There are many possibilities. What type of ministry or service fits you and would inspire you? What can you do to minister to others? “God has set in the church different gifts. These are precious in their proper places, and all may act a part in the work of preparing a people for Christ’s soon coming.” (Gospel Workers, p. 481)

Pastor Fred Dana


Join Us For Amazing Prophecies!

Friday to Monday, August 10-13 @ 7 PM each night. Topics include: "The Curse of the Forbidden Prophecy," "False Religions, Cults & Counterfeits," "King of the North Rises," and "When Michael Stands Up." See you there!


We are looking for someone to fill the church office Administrative Assistant position. Hours include: Mon.-Thur. 8:30AM to 3PM; Fri. 9AM to Noon. Resumes are currently being accepted at office@saccentral.org until August 10, 2018. Please visit our website to review the job description.


Click on the Calendar to find out what else is happening at Central this month - from Sabbath speakers, to events, plus much, much more!



Watch Us On Television!

Enjoy viewing Central’s flagship program, Central Study Hour, every Friday night at 7 PM and Sabbath morning at 6 AM (PST) on 3ABN Proclaim! It can also be viewed on our website, www.saccentral.org.


Central Happenings is published by the Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 6045 Camellia Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95819 www.saccentral.org

Sacramento Central Ministry Team: Chris Buttery, Lead Pastor; Mike Thompson, Associate; Fred Dana, Associate; Michael Butler, Youth/Young Adult; JeAnn Davis, Bible Instructor

Central Happenings: Chris Buttery, Editor; Chrystal White, Copy Editor/Distributor