Our Eternal Mission

July 01, 2011 | Max Torkelsen

A few simple words from Ellen White are embedded in the very fabric of our Adventist philosophy of education: " ... the work of education and the work of redemption are one." (Education, p. 30) This holistic view of mankind is a defining characteristic of our church. The physical, mental and spiritual cannot be separated. Each influences the other.

And so, from our earliest days, we have desired to have church schools linked with churches as an integral part of our ministry. It takes the combined efforts of home, school and church to prepare young people not only for a meaningful life of service in this world but also for their heavenly home.

The Cognitive Genesis studies conducted recently through the education department of La Sierra University are a tremendous affirmation of the Adventist advantage in education. Adventist students scored above average in all subjects for all grade levels for all school sizes, regardless of ability levels. The more years students spent in Adventist schools, the higher they scored in achievement and ability.

But it's not just about academics. Higher achievement is associated with spiritually harmonious homes rich with good reading material, positive family communication, active involvement in the school, consistent discipline and high expectations.

Yes, this active involvement with our children ideally begins at home when they are very young. In the April 28, 1909, edition of our very own North Pacific Union Conference GLEANER, Ellen White encouraged Adventist parents to give their little ones a healthy start. "Mothers, let the little ones play in the open air; let them listen to the songs of the birds, and learn the love of God as expressed in His beautiful works."

Yet, when reality says children will otherwise go without 24/7 training from the home, it's an opportunity for our church to step into the gap and do something powerfully redemptive.

And so, new cultural realities are prompting our church toward an increased emphasis on early childhood education care. In this fast-paced society, with two-income families and single parents struggling to meet their children's needs, we have an opportunity to make an impression that will last beyond a lifetime into eternity.

The present affects the future. We must not let our Adventist children fall through the cracks, especially at a young and tender age. And the opportunities to minister to the little lambs in our communities are enormous. It's an evangelistic mission field not to be missed.

We want to put the idea in these young minds and hearts, as early as possible, that they are children of the King — now and forever.

That's a mission I am praying for, and you can too.