Saved 2 Serve |DR. R. CLIFFORD JONES

R. Clifford Jones

Happy New Year! The officers of the Lake Region Conference (LRC) are happy to join me in extending warm wishes for a healthy and Spirit-filled year to each of you. We wish that 2018 will be a year of growth and gains for you and those you love and cherish.

The Lake Region Conference has declared that 2018 will be the Year of Adventist Youth and Young Adults. Why? Because our youth and young adults are a treasured resource the Seventh-day Adventist Church cannot afford to lose. Today, when a large percentage of youth and young adults view organized religion with suspicion, the admonition of the apostle Paul is needed. “Let no one despise thy youth” (1 Tim. 4:12). The words of my favorite Christian writer are also needed. “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come. . . (Education, p. 271).

Saved 2 Serve is the theme chosen for the Year of Youth and Young Adults. The theme neatly captures and powerfully conveys two central concepts—salvation and service—that form and shape the life of the Christian. Saved by grace through faith, Christians view a life of service as the natural outgrowth of an encounter with Jesus Christ. Engendering change and enriching communities are the byproducts of an encounter with Christ.

Elder Jason North, Director of Youth and Young Adults Ministries for the Lake Region Conference, believes that in 2018 our young people will, like Esther, realize that they have come to the kingdom for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). He is optimistic that our youth will “fulfill their God-given mission of service to Christ, for Christ, and in Christ.” Further, Pastor North believes that the youth and young adults of the Lake Region Conference are a wonderful group passionate about Jesus Christ and anxious to engage in mission and ministry for Him.

Did you know that one of the last visions Adventist pioneer Ellen White had was about young people? In it, she wished that the young would understand the true meaning of justification by faith, and she admonished adults “to encourage the young ever to keep the preciousness and grace of God highly exalted.” White longed for the day when the minds of the youth would be “impressed and molded by the sanctifying truth of God,” a desire that LRC leaders have and that aligns well with the aim of our Strategic Plan—Christ Alone!

We are committed to doing all we can to see our youth and young adults experience a deepening of their spirituality and growth in their discipleship. Reaching, Reclaiming and Restoring youth are priorities for us. We long to see our young people play a central role in advancing the kingdom of God in our communities, and will redouble our efforts to that end in 2018. We intend to show our youth that they are valued partners in mission and ministry.

R. Clifford Jones