Incredible Results in Medford, OR
Pastor Dan McCulloch was the senior pastor at the Medford Seventh-day Adventist Church for a number of years. While still pastoring there we asked him how Better Life had boosted the ministry of his church.
How has Better Life affected your ministry in Medford, Oregon?
The biggest impact I’ve seen is the number of people walking into my church on a regular basis. Some of these people have never walked into a church before, let alone an Adventist church. And now they are coming to visit just because they’ve been watching Better Life. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone visit before without an invitation from a neighbor or relative.
Also, I would say that in the past 12 years Better Life has played a part in virtually all the adult baptisms at the Medford church. People will sit at home and watch not just one, but two, three, or four evangelistic series on Better Life and then when they walk in the door of my church they are already philosophically Seventh-day Adventists in their thinking, they just have not joined our church family.
We have very strong adult baptism numbers every year and of those adult baptisms I rarely have someone come along who is learning the Bible from scratch. Most all of them have Better Life in their background.
So these visitors are already well acquainted with Bible doctrines?
Yes! I’m not sitting down with someone trying to explain to them how the Sabbath was changed or any of the other doctrinal positions of the church. They already know.
In fact, I sat down with one lady who had been faithfully watching Better Life for a number of years and she wanted to be baptized. I was about to go over the basic doctrines of the church with her and she reaches down and pulls out the book, “28 Fundamental Beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists!” She already had thoroughly read it from cover to cover and had notes on practically every page!
Do you find that Better Life helps you retain these new members?
Yes, when a person comes through a standard evangelistic series they may only be able to attend 80 or 90 percent of the meetings based on their schedule. During this time they are excited about learning Bible truth, but if they don’t plug into a more consistent study program the old way of life can creep back in and they lose traction and sometimes find it difficult to carry on.
However, when someone comes to an evangelistic series, or to a regular church service and they have been watching Better Life, or begin watching Better Life, they are much more likely to be grounded in Bible truth and less likely to leave.
Are there any specific stories you can share of how Better Life has led someone to your church?
Yes, we have a young man who has recently been baptized but his story actually began up in Portland when one day he realized he just wasn’t happy. He decided he needed to get off drugs and find a better way to live. He thought to himself, “Who in this world is happy?... Christians are happy!” So he began searching the internet for information about finding happiness through Christianity.
Well, sometime after this he moved back down to Southern Oregon where his folks live and he began watching Better Life. As a result of that he became interested in visiting an Adventist church and now he is a happy baptized Christian! In fact, he wants to go back to school and do public evangelism himself!
Another lady had been watching Doug Batchelor on Better Life and she became convicted that she should pay tithe. She called the Sacramento Central Church and asked where she should send her money. They told her she should contact her local Adventist church. That’s when she got in touch with us and eventually joined our congregation. She’s been a big asset at the church working in our children’s division at one point and sometimes doing special music for us.
There is another man who was recently baptized who used to play keyboard for some famous rock bands. He also has been watching Better Life and has turned his life around.
Are these new members impacting your church outreach?
We had a lady walk into our church and the first question out of her mouth was, “How do I get baptized?” She had been watching Better Life for a while and wanted to take the step of baptism. But that’s not the end of it. She had a friend who she invited to church and this second lady became very interested in what was being taught and she too wanted to be baptized. She in turn told her mother about what she was learning and her mother wanted to get baptized. So I studied with her mom and in the end three people were baptized!
Statistics show that adult evangelism is tough work. People are so busy nowadays they just want to stay in their homes and not be disturbed. But Better Life comes right into their homes! Practically every week a Better Life viewer walks into the Medford church and that is just such a blessing!