By José Cortes, Jr.

We cannot begin 2016 without renewing our commitment to be people of hope, compassion, and wholeness to our families, neighborhoods, cities, and nation. This year can be a turning point in North America if we Adventists intentionally collaborate and invest in loving people in our communities across the United States, Canada, Bermuda, and the islands of Guam and Micronesia.

The following initiatives are the result of collaboration with our North American Division (NAD) leadership team, union conferences, conferences, and pastors, under the direction of the NAD president, Dan Jackson. The objective is to help our churches in North America work together in the mission, involving all our members.

These two initiatives are not meant to replace the plans local churches already have in place. They can be the plan, or help enhance the plans that are already in place. We pray they will be a launching pad to a paradigm shift in Adventist culture and lifestyle. As one member of the NAD ministry collaboration team said: “It’s time to lead, follow, collaborate, and venture into 2016 as an active part of the church that proclaims the hope for a better future by blessing people in the present.”

The first initiative is Compassion 10 Million (#compassion10m). It calls for Adventists across North America to invest 10 million hours blessing our communities with intentional, repetitive, and relevant acts of love and service. While preaching and teaching are acts of compassion, there are additional ways all members can reach out compassionately to others.

Compassion Weekends are scheduled for the second weekend of every month, starting January 9-10, 2016. The goal is to create momentum, establish unity, and produce a greater effect by encouraging each church to set aside the second weekend of each month, making it a special time for intentional local community outreach. Imagine 6,277 congregations taking time every second Sabbath after the worship service, and every second Sunday, to go into their communities to show the love and compassion of Jesus in practical ways!

The second initiative, The Day of Hope and Compassion (#dayofhope #compassion10m), will be held April 16-17, 2016. This division-wide Sabbath event will give members a specific opportunity to focus on community service through special worship services, literature distribution, a social media “blitz,” and more. The goal is to reinforce the image of Adventists as people of hope and compassion.

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