Pastor Stephen Letta
Family Ministries Director - STU
MISSION STATEMENT OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH
Our Mission—The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to call all people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, to proclaim the everlasting gospel embraced by the three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:6-12), and to prepare the world for Christ’s soon return.
Our Method—Guided by the Bible and the Holy Spirit, Seventhday Adventists pursue this mission through Christ-like living, communicating, discipling, teaching, healing, and serving.
Our Vision—In harmony with Bible revelation, Seventh-day Adventists see as the climax of God’s plan the restoration of all His creation to full harmony with His perfect will and righteousness.
IDENTITY AND MISSION IMPLEMENTATION STATEMENT
Our Identity—The Seventh-day Adventist Church sees itself as the remnant Church of end-time Bible prophecy. Members of the Church, individually and collectively, understand their special role as ambassadors of God’s kingdom and messengers of the soon return of Jesus Christ. Seventh-day Adventists have enlisted as co-workers with God in His mission of reclaiming the world from the power and presence of evil, as part of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.
Therefore, every aspect of a Church member’s life is influenced by the conviction that we live in the last days described in Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. Seventh-day Adventists are called by God to live in this world. Every action of the Christian life is done “in the name of Jesus” and to advance His kingdom.
Implementation of Our Mission—Seventh-day Adventists affirm the Bible as God’s infallible revelation of His will, accepting its authority in the life of the Church and of each believer, and its foundational role for faith and doctrine. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the Holy Spirit is the power that transforms lives and equips people with abilities to advance God’s kingdom in this world. Called by God, guided by the Bible, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, Seventh-day Adventists, wherever we live in the world, devote ourselves to:
1. Christ-Like Living—Illustrating the lordship of Jesus in our lives by moral, ethical, and social behaviors that are consistent with the teachings and example of Jesus.
2. Christ-Like Communicating—Realizing that all are called to active witness, we share through personal conversation, preaching, publishing, and the arts, the Bible’s message about God and the hope and salvation offered through the life, ministry, atoning death, resurrection, and high priestly ministry of Jesus Christ.
3. Christ-Like Discipling—Affirming the vital importance of continued spiritual growth and development among all who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, we nurture and instruct each other in righteous living, provide training for effective witness, and encourage responsive obedience to God’s will.
4. Christ-Like Teaching—Acknowledging that development of mind and character is essential to God’s redemptive plan, we promote the growth of a mature understanding of and relationship to God, His Word, and the created universe.
5. Christ-Like Healing—Affirming the biblical principles of the well-being of the whole person, we make healthful living and the healing of the sick a priority and through our ministry to the poor and oppressed, cooperate with the Creator in His compassionate work of restoration.
6. Christ-Like Serving—Following the example of Jesus we commit ourselves to humble service, ministering to individuals and populations most affected by poverty, tragedy, hopelessness, and disease.
STU FAMILY MINISTRIES DUTIES
- Strengthen relationships and empowering ministry leaders and churches in their work with families.
- Family Ministries focuses on people in relationship.
- It is a ministry that provides tools to help individuals communicate more effectively, deepen commitment in marriage, and assist in becoming better parents.
- Family Ministries helps families grow in love and live in harmony as the family of God.
- The Family Ministries Department seeks to strengthen, inspire hope, and bring healing to marriages, families and individuals through the abundant love and saving grace of Jesus Christ.
- The over-arching objective of the Department of Family Ministries is to strengthen the family as a discipling center.
- Family Ministries seeks to enable families to stretch toward divine ideals, while at the same time extending the good news of God's saving grace and the promise of growth possible through the indwelling Spirit.
- Focusing on people in family relationships, Family Ministries reinforces and encourages wholesome families as they pass through life's predictable stages and contend with unexpected changes in their lives.
- It extends hope and support to those who have been injured and hurt by abuse, family function, and broken relationships.
- The department provides growth opportunities through family life education and enrichment and encourages individuals, married couples, and families to avail themselves of professional counseling when necessary.
Building healthy families for now and eternity!
Our Mission Statement:
Since the family was established by divine creation as the fundamental human institution and is the primary setting in which values are learned and the capacity for close relationships with God and with other human beings is developed. Family Ministry of Southern Tanzania Union Mission exists to make preparation of resources and leadership development to equip pastors and lay leaders to offer services to the community in the areas of premarital guidance, strengthening marriage, and parent education, with attention also given to extended families, single parenting, step-families and the family needs of singles.
Recognizing the mutual strength and support which the church must be to the home, and the home to the church, if the mission of the church is to become a reality, the Department of Family Ministries has adopted the following objectives:
- To proclaim the reviving and restorative message of the everlasting gospel within the context of family living. Christ is and must be acknowledged as the Savior and Head of every home. In Him, family members are at peace with God and at peace with each other. As they are drawn near to Him they are drawn nearer to each other, in love, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, and renewal.
- To affirm and strengthen every Seventh-day Adventist family as a primary discipling unit. Family Ministries seeks to deepen understanding of the relational dimension of being and making disciples and to strengthen family members as disciplemakers within the family. A married couple is viewed as the primary unit of the family. The department seeks to provide couples and families with access to educational, enrichment, and counseling opportunities to enhance the development of the relational skills necessary for the effective discipling of one another and growth toward optimal Christian marriage, parent-child and extended family relationships.
- To enable parents and families to increase the likelihood of successful transference of Christian Seventh-day Adventist values to the next generation. Family Ministries develops materials and provides learning opportunities within church and family settings designed to enable parents to make biblical values winsome to their children and youth. The department encourages an atmosphere within homes and churches which promotes questions and on-going discussion regarding Christian values and tenets of faith among parents and children, young and old, leaders and members in an effort to foster the development of mature faith.
- To create a "family of God" experience in every Seventh-day Adventist church. Family Ministries fosters an atmosphere which respects and celebrates diversity within congregations and within the World Church, recognizing that unity is not found in uniformity, but in Christ, the Head of the body. Through a shared commitment to a common message and mission and a reciprocal openness, honesty, and vulnerability in relationships with one another, the oneness we have found in Christ may become a reality in experience.
- To empower families for winsome witness. Beyond the priority placed on the home as the most important mission field, Family Ministries helps families to discover and utilize their spiritual gifts in the community round them. The department encourages and enables families to relate in winsome ways with nonbelieving family members, to befriend their neighbors, to share the good news of life in Christ, and to support, through their prayers, offerings, and service, the mission outreach of the church.
A Theology of Family Ministries:
Several major assumptions drawn from biblical study and theological reflection undergird Christian family ministries.
- God is a relational being who has made human beings for relationships (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18; Eph. 1:4-6; Rev. 4:11). God often reveals Himself to us in family terms. From Him we learn of marriage (Is. 54:5) and the parent-child relationship (Deut. 1:31; John 20:17).
- The family was instituted by the Creator as His primary setting for human development and nurturance (Gen. 2:18-25; Ps. 68:5, 6). Since family is the primary place where the capacity for love and intimacy with God and other human beings is developed and where spiritual values are transmitted across generations, it is central to the disciple making process.
- The image of God is expressed in human beings as male and female. The Creator's act of bringing the two together as equals in a monogamous, heterosexual union established the pattern for marriage. This union provides for companionship, fulfillment and the perpetuation of the human family (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:18, 21-25). The relationship of the sexes in marriage has been distorted by sin (Gen. 3:16), but redeemed by Christ (Matt. 20:26, 27; Eph. 5:21-31). Christ makes a difference in the marriage of Christians. A mutuality prevails that restores the Edenic ideal. Husbands and wives are "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7).
- Despite the high biblical ideals for marriage and the divine power that is available to enable marital commitment to endure, some individuals will not survive in marriage. Some will commit adultery in taking another partner (Mark 10:11, 12). Despite the heartbreak, loss, disruption and long term consequences of divorce, within the context of redemption divorce and marriage to another that may follow are not viewed as unpardonable sins beyond which there is no spiritual life and fellowship. Through repentance, confession, and the appropriate bearing of responsibility, grace can bring assurance of pardon, healing and new beginnings (1 John 1:9; 2:1).
- While marriage is God's general plan, singleness is within the divine design as well. It may be in the best interest of certain individual Christians to live singly (1 Cor. 7:7). God's special acceptance and protection are over those who by choice or circumstances face life alone (Ps. 68:5, 6; Jas. 1:27). Friendship is a source of intimacy and of experiencing family. The fellowship of the Church, the household of God, is available to all regardless of their married state (1 John 1:3).
- Sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage (1 Cor. 7:2-6). Expression outside of marriage is contrary to the divine purpose (Gen. 2:24; Prov. 5:1-18; 1 Cor. 6:15, 16). Sexuality serves a unitive function in marriage which is distinguishable from the procreative function. Joy, pleasure and delight are intended for married sexuality (Ecc. 9:9; Prov. 5:18, 19; Song of Songs 4:16-5:1). God intends that couples have on-going sexual communion apart from that utilized for procreation (1 Cor. 7:3-5). This strengthens and protects marriage from inappropriate bonding with one other than one's spouse (Prov. 5:15-20; Song of Songs 8:6, 7).
- Bearing children is an option through which couples who are able and choose to do so participate in the blessing God intended children to be (Ps. 127:3-5). While marriages generally yield offspring (Gen. 1:28), procreation is not viewed as an obligation incumbent upon every couple in order to please God. God values children (Matt. 19:14). Children help parents understand about loving and trusting God (Ps. 103:13). They encourage the development of sympathy, caring, humility, and unselfishness in families (Ps. 127:3-5; Lk. 11:13). Parents are to provide, teach, and correct their children so they may come to know God, choose biblical values and be prepared for responsible interdependence with others (Deut. 6:6-25; Prov. 22:6).
- God's covenant love with His people is the basic principle of family life. In God's covenant we experience love, forgiveness, commitment, acceptance, intimacy, and even sacrifice, that our deepest needs might be met. As we reflect the gospel in our families, our relationships with each other are fashioned after the likeness of the divine relationship with humanity. Christian family members are called to love, to serve one another, and to forgive just as He loves, serves and forgives us. Strength and grace from God are promised to accomplish that to which God calls us (Jer. 31:31-34; Matt. 20:26-28; Eph. 4:32; Heb. 8:10-12; 1 John 3:16).
- Broken relationships with God and with fellow humans were the tragic outcome of the Fall (Is. 59:2). Jesus' mission restored agape-love relationships (Matt. 22:37-40; John 13:35; 15:12). His Church is an ongoing extension of His work in restoring broken relationships. The Church will incorporate into its evangelistic mission the sound of God's healing voice in the midst of human tragedy and brokenness (John 10:10; 20:21; Gal. 6:2; James 5:15).