I am charmed by Adventism. That’s why I am an Adventist. I may be biased, but I think that Adventism is the perfect religion for Millennials. Yes, I know, Adventism is considered “that weird religion” as Whitny Braun describes in her blog post for the Huffington post. But aren’t Millennials all about being different?
Honestly, I don’t think we make the most of our authentically awesome features as Adventists. We certainly don’t do enough to let the transformative love of Jesus permeate our lives. If we did it right, Adventism would be the coolest and most attractive religion available to our generation.
1. Bullet-Point Beliefs
Something really cool about Adventism is that concise set of fundamental beliefs. It’s almost like a trendy blog post: “28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” Each one of them is well researched and biblically-based. Not only that, they are balanced and sensible. Our founding fathers and mothers came together with bits and pieces from their respective Protestant faiths. They all brought different beliefs to the table. Yet they went through a systematic way of deciding which of those beliefs to hold on to. If the believer could make a logical argument from the Bible to support the piece of theology, only then would it be kept in the collection of beliefs.
Adventist beliefs are also really great for the skeptic. We encourage you do your research going through the Bible on your own to figure out if what we are saying is true and Bible-based. Something that Millennials love. Of course one has to be convince of the verity of the Bible, but that’s an argument for another article.
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2. Tangible Rituals
Millennials love things we can touch, feel and experience. The abstract is not enough. While we keep a few of the timeless Christian traditions such as foot washing and the communion super, we also have some unique ones. My favorite is the Sabbath –an ancient almost forgotten practice. It revolves around a 24-hour space in time which we believe is sacred. It starts at sundown on Friday and extends until sundown on Saturday. We devote this time to worshiping God, connecting with family, fellowshiping with friends, and simply resting. Why resting? Because we are remembering that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. We must waiting and watch for the salvation of the Lord.
3. Deep roots
Although the organization is only a little over a 150 years old, we acknowledge our roots that go down deep past the Protestant Reformation. We are the only denomination that is still vibrantly protestant. Questioning the practices of organized religion and trading them for something more authentic and Bible-based. The Sabbath ties us to the Jewish faith –one of the oldest religions in existence.
We millennials love to ask: What’s your story? And our is rich and well recorded. Not to mention that one of our founders and resident prophet wrote it down in beautiful collection of volumes called the “Conflict of the Ages.” Of the series, the Great Controversy covers the most recent tapestry of stories in the intense conflict between good and evil. Lineage Journeys brings much of that story to life in their web series on our history loosely based on the book.
4. A worldwide citizenship
My dad used to travel a lot for work as a software developer at a large secular company. Whenever Sabbath rolled around he would stop working, spend the entire day resting and find the nearest Seventh-day Adventist Church. Oftentimes, he spent the whole Sabbath just fellowshipping with the believers. In many cases, one of the church members knew someone he knew. His coworkers were amazed.
“How do you know someone in every single country?” they asked.
I have had similar experiences in my travels. No only have I always found a Adventist church, but it immediately gives me the chance to be immersed in the culture of that land. Yet, at the same time there’s this bond of connection through our faith thereby making them also feel like family. As Millennial, I love being a part of something that is so globally interconnected.
5. Call to Action
We millennials are very purpose-driven and love to be caught up in something bigger than ourselves. As Adventists—we are! We are helping God save the world. So many people are searching for something better and we want to help them find it. It’s not about force or coercion, it’s all about sharing something beautiful that we’ve found beneficial in our own lives.
In the same way we take care of our bodies right here and now, we are obligated to take care of our planet and the people in it. Yes, our goal is to reach people for eternity; however, we also want to bring them a little piece of Heaven on Earth. Right here. Right now. That means relieving the suffering of the poor, healing the sick, educating minds and stewarding the planet. Like Jesus said “he who is faithful in little things will be faithful in big things.”
6. Whole Person
Unlike many religions, Adventism isn’t just about spirituality. We believe that our physical, mental, and emotional health have contributing factors in how we experience spirituality. That means part of our spirituality is eating healthy and moving our bodies. While we don’t believe this saves us, we do believe that it helps us experience God and serve the world better.
7. Unique picture of God
Seventh-day Adventism has a unique view of God in how He intersects with humanity. There are basically two kinds of schools of thought when it comes to what God is like: 1) The picture in which God is a overbearing tyrant, ready and eager to destroy sinners in their sin and 2) the rainbows and hearts philosophy devoid of justice which just simply turns a blind eye to injustice. In his book Why is Adventism so Weird?, Marcos Torres points out that Adventism introduces a third option. One were mercy and justice kiss. A God who pulls all the stops to save us from the cancer that is sin; yet, somehow brings about the justice this battered planet so badly needs. Making sure that injustice and evil are defeated in the end. He is a rational, yet loving being.
Then there is the picture of the Great Controversy which brings character and dimension to the story of God. Revealing the battle between good and evil. Helping us understand that it’s not just black and white, but vivid with color. We quickly see that God is making compromises while he tries to make the best decisions for the universe that he rules. The story of Job is a beautiful example of this. Herb Montgomery explores this radical view of God in his book Finding the Father.
Seventh-day Adventism has much to offer Millennials, being just as authentic and passionate as they are.