In the month of October 2003, the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church organized the “First International Seminar on Adventists in the Community”

Seventh-day Adventists need to be far more involved in the community-that's the message coming from the conference on the subject held at the General Conference (GC) headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 14-16.

The following are segments from the introductory presentations by the church leaders:

"We're known for a very active program that serves the community-education, health, ADRA," said GC president Jan Paulsen in his opening address to participants. "But it has to be more than this." Individually, "we need to remind ourselves that we have to make a positive contribution to society."

"While we are a spiritual community, we cannot afford to become preoccupied with the world to come, and lose interest in the world where we are currently placed," Paulsen added. "On the cross Jesus confirmed the value He places on humanity. We must make sure our mission is large enough to embrace Christ's care for suffering humanity. We are humanity; we are part of the world. This is where we live, this is where we work. God has placed us here for a purpose. We are expected by God to be instruments in His hands to reach into the community."

This brand-new venture affirmed the vital importance of community involvement by Adventists. "The recent world survey showed that among all church activities, community involvement is the lowest rated-less than 30 percent of members being involved," says Eugene Hsu, GC general vice president and chairman of the conference planning committee. "We need a paradigm shift-service is service, and the focus should be on the people. After all, the church is part of the community, and we should help people feel that our presence in the community makes a difference to their welfare."