Leaders hope declaration may clearly communicate what Adventists stand for.
Seventh-day Adventist world leaders hope a recently-adopted “brand promise” may deliver a clear message about what the Adventist movement stands for and leave a lasting impression on the general public.
A “brand promise,” a term used by branding experts, is a value or experience which clearly explains what an organization offers to customers, constituents, and the general public. It is something that helps position an organization and explain the tangible benefits it offers to people, church communication experts said.
In the case of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, leaders hope the “Adventist Promise,” as the church’s brand promise has been named, may set a clear expectation about what the public can expect from all Adventist entities and members.
The Adventist Promise, which was approved by the General Conference Administrative Committee earlier this year, reads, “We can help you understand the Bible to find freedom, healing and hope in Jesus.”
Church communication leaders explained that the Promise is deliberately short and shines a spotlight on people’s needs rather than on a long description of the Church, its institutions, and history. “It positions members of the public as the focus, with the Church serving a mentor role in helping people understand the Scriptures,” they explained.
Bible Study is Essential
The context of the Adventist Promise development highlights the importance of Bible study. Adventist Church president Ted N. C. Wilson has often emphasized how essential personal Bible study is to grow spiritually. “The Bible is the foundation of our understanding of God. It is His Holy Word. It is the written Word that points us to the Living Word, Jesus Christ,” he said. “If you wish to know God’s will for your life, you must read His Word, understand His Word, and fulfill His Word.”
It is something that Jesus Himself endorsed, Wilson explained. “Jesus said in John 17:17, ‘Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.’ That’s why it is so important that we individually study and understand the Bible for ourselves,” he said.
Development of the Adventist Promise
The Adventist Promise is the product of conversations among church leaders and members worldwide. The goal, church communicators explained, is to communicate what the Adventist Church does in a way that cuts through the crowded, noisy, modern media landscape.
“It is easy to speak up but it has never been harder to be heard,” acknowledged Adventist Church Communication associate director Sam Neves as he stressed the importance of having a clear message that defines the church. “We only have a few seconds to leave a lasting impression of how we can serve them.”
How to Apply It
Church communication leaders explained that Adventists can help their friends and neighbors understand the Bible for themselves by going beyond a mere intellectual study of the Bible. “It is something that can be achieved by inviting people to join members in their homes and churches, to help them experience a sense of Christian community as they study the Bible,” they said.
Church members around the world are being called to help deliver on the Adventist Promise by actively helping people understand the Bible. Neves warned, however, that the public will lose trust in the Adventist Church if leaders, institutions, and members are perceived as not living up to the statement. “To deliver on the Adventist Promise it is important to keep the focus on other people rather than the church,” he said. “It is about them. Our Promise is not a promise to ourselves, it is a promise to them. We are not the hero.”
He also made a fundamental distinction. “It is not the role of the Church to bring freedom, healing, and hope,” Neves said. “On the contrary, the Adventist Promise is about helping people understand the Bible so that they get to know Jesus for themselves and through Him, find the hope they have been craving.”
The Adventist Promise was presented to the members of the Executive Committee during the Annual Council in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States, in October 2018, and it is expected it will become the core message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church website.
Leaders are encouraging all church organizations and media outlets to adopt the brand promise. “Every church media outlet is urged to communicate it as the core brand promise of the Adventist Church,” they said.