Vitality


My Life is a Gift to be Valued

When the Creator breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of Earth’s first parents, the act of giving human life was the culmination of a larger scope of work. An environment was first created that would stimulate all of the human senses. Each day we encounter sights, sounds, tastes and smells, we discover that repeated encounters don’t exhaust their wonder.

Human minds from the greatest to the most simple are constantly stretched in the attempt to understand our universe. Creation provided an abundance of food. Our nutritional needs were not merely supplied, but eating would form the context for joy and fellowship.

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Relationships of love and mutual respect have always been a part of our Creators plan for us as well. In the harmonious balance between a healthy mind, a strong body and meaningful relationships that result in a joyful spirit, Seventh-day Adventists see vitality at its best.

Of course we live in a world that has broken away from fully reflecting the Creator’s original design. The gap between where we were meant to be and where we find our world and ourselves is what we call sin.

The good news is that the same power that created our world created a solution to the problem of sin: Jesus. He is the one who said, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

Seventh-day Adventists believe that while we live in a broken world we can still have lives that reflect vitality.

You are invited to learn more about what we understand to be the purpose of a healthy body, an enlightened mind and a joyful spirit that is reflected in healthy relationships.

CHILDREN

Building a whole life from the beginning

Jesus made a profound statement about children when He told His disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs”

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Building a Whole Life From the Beginning

Jesus made a profound statement about children when He told His disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs” (Luke 18:16, NRSV). While the disciples feared that the children might bother Jesus, the Savior embraced them and affirmed their value.

Wise King Solomon said, “Children are a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3, NASB). Seventh-day Adventists agree, creating a culture that encourages child development with youth clubs, summer camps and other outdoor events, international youth gatherings, weekly Sabbath school programs, mission trips, Vacation Bible Schools and a quality educational system from elementary to university level.

Solomon also offered this parenting advice: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it” (Proverbs 22:6, NLT). The church supports parents through programs and publications, emphasizing the importance of early childhood training. The Seventh-day Adventist approach to child-rearing focuses on spiritual growth. But it also emphasizes healthy lifestyle choices and intellectual learning that leads to useful service in the community and in the world.

Children are a gift to be returned to God. As Ellen White, a co-founder of the church, said: “Fathers and mothers should look upon their children as younger members of the Lord’s family, committed to them to educate for heaven.” (“The Desire of Ages,” p. 515)

YOUTH

Remember your Creator

The Seventh-day Adventist Church began like a Silicon Valley start-up—led by young people with vision and passion for a cause.

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Remember Your Creator

The Seventh-day Adventist Church began like a Silicon Valley start-up—led by young people with vision and passion for a cause. People such as Ellen White, John Loughborough, J. N. Andrews, Uriah Smith and John Harvey Kellogg made a significant impact on the developing Seventh-day Adventist Church while still teenagers and young adults.

Today youth continue to impact and energize the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In fact, more than half of Adventists worldwide are between the ages of 16 and 40.

The church nurtures and empowers its young members, not only at the local level but through the worldwide Youth Ministries department, which oversees ministries to specific age groups. Adventurers is a club for children ages 6 to 9, with 1 million members worldwide. Pathfinders, with 2 million members, is for young people ages 10 to 15. The Ambassador Group strives to meet the spiritual, social and lifestyle needs of those from 16 into their 20s. The Adventist Youth Society—created by youth for youth more than 125 years ago—now links 10 million youth on every continent of the globe.

The Youth Ministries department mission statement reflects its emphasis on service and its confidence in the abilities of the younger generation: “To lead young people into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ and help them embrace His call to discipleship.”

The Seventh-day Adventist Church focuses on youth because it is indebted to them for its beginnings and it depends on them for its future.

WOMEN

In the image of God

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He valued the contributions of women and elevated their status.

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In the image of God

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He valued the contributions of women and elevated their status.

For instance, He initiated a deep conversation with a Samaritan (outcast) woman—who subsequently evangelized her whole town (John 4). He protected the woman caught in adultery and challenged her to begin a new life (John 8).

He defended the mothers who brought their children to Him (Mark 10). During His last moments on the cross, He made arrangements for His own mother’s care (John 19).

When a sinful woman poured expensive perfume on His feet, He stopped the onlookers’ criticism and declared: “Wherever this Good News is preached in all the world, this woman will be remembered for what she has done” (Matthew 26:13, NLV). Indeed, He was correct.

The Adventist Church follows Christ’s example by reaching out to women all over the world and offering love, support and enrichment. Adventists minister to women by establishing a support system for hurting women and creating a forum to address topics and issues that affect women in and out of the church.

The church also promotes programs to mentor young women and support their academic achievements through a scholarship program. The six primary areas of concern that guide the church’s outreach to women are health, abuse, poverty, women’s workloads, lack of leadership training, education and illiteracy.

These issues affect women of all cultures, social standings and countries. The Adventist Church strives to nurture women in the church and in the community while empowering them to become stronger women of God in the areas of Bible study, prayer, personal growth and outreach in the community.

Christ’s ministry lifted women up, and in turn, the church empowers women to lift Him up.

FAMILY

God’s love illustrated

Throughout history families have formed the basic unit of society. Seventh-day Adventist author and church co-founder Ellen White wrote: “The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth.”

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God’s love illustrated

In the Garden of Eden, God established the first family. After creating Adam, He said: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner” (Genesis 2:18). Beginning with a rib from Adam, God formed Eve. Then He told them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Children would enhance their union and ensure the future of the human race.

Throughout history families have formed the basic unit of society. Ellen White wrote: “The family tie is the closest, the most tender and sacred, of any on earth” (The Adventist Home, p. 18). Yet throughout history Satan has attacked families—through polygamy, adultery, sibling rivalry, homosexuality, pornography. As families fracture, so do the individuals involved.

Thankfully, God’s work focuses on preserving and restoring families. The Bible provides numerous examples of God’s restorative power, such as the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11) and the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Furthermore, God uses family relationships as symbols of His relationship with us. Jesus repeatedly referred to God as “Our Father” and Himself as “the Bridegroom.”

He wanted to communicate that God, like a good father, feels forever connected to us and desires to bless and save us. And Jesus, like a loving husband, treats us with forgiveness and devotion. The book of Hosea ends with the words of the Lord to His people: “I will take you for my wife forever; I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy” (Hosea 2:19).

 

EDUCATION

Teaching a whole life for a lifetime

When it comes to learning, our multifaceted lives require a multifaceted approach, and Adventists aim to provide the complete package. Education is not only about learning for the sake of intellectual growth.

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Teaching a whole life for a lifetime

Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” For Seventh-day Adventists, education extends even further—it reaches the soul.

When it comes to learning, our multifaceted lives require a multifaceted approach, and Adventists aim to provide the complete package. Education is not only about learning for the sake of intellectual growth. Adventists believe in developing physically, empathetically, socially and spiritually, too. Ideally, education should change and cultivate every aspect of our lives, bringing us that much closer to what God originally planned for us to have and to be.

Educational consultant Joe Harkin said, “Education systems reflect the nature of the society in which they exist . . . In answering [the question on what constitutes a ‘good’ society] we cast light on what we would take to be a ‘good’ education.'” [1]

The Adventist education system reflects the heavenly “society” God intended for us. It gives us tools and resources to become wiser and healthier. It provides us opportunities to look beyond ourselves and to serve others. It connects us as friends, as partners and as a community. Most importantly, it helps us fulfill our potential of being “good” citizens, eagerly anticipating an eternity with the God who created us.

Adventist education is about teaching a whole and complete life, for a lifetime.


[1] Joe Harkin, “Participative education: An incomplete project of modernity” in Educational research in Europe: Yearbook 2000.

HEALTH

Living a healthful life

Seventh-day Adventists believe God calls us to care for our bodies, treating them with the respect a divine creation deserves.

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Living a healthful life

The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes the autonomy of each individual and his or her God-given power of choice. Rather than mandating standards of behavior, Adventists call upon one another to live as positive examples of God’s love and care.

Part of that example includes taking care of our health—we believe God calls us to care for our bodies, treating them with the respect a divine creation deserves. Gluttony and excess, even of something good, can be detrimental to our health.

Adventists believe the key to wellness lies in a life of balance and temperance. Nature creates a wealth of good things that lead to vibrant health. Pure water, fresh air and sunlight—when used appropriately—promote clean, healthy lives.

Exercise and avoidance of harmful substances such as tobacco, alcohol and mind-altering substances lead to clear minds and wise choices. A well-balanced vegetarian diet that avoids the consumption of meat coupled with intake of legumes, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, along with a source of vitamin B12, will promote vigorous health.

Such health is a gift from a loving God who wants us to live life in its abundance. When we benefit from such love, we feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation toward our creator.

Because of this, Adventists choose to praise God with joyful living.