Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/ADRA/Community Service

Community Service
General Conference
Skill Level 1
Year of Introduction: 2005

1. Read the following Bible texts and explain what they teach about the role God expects each Christian to play in meeting the needs of the poor and suffering in the community edit

a. Isaiah 58:3-12 edit

This passages of Scripture teaches the principle that God's concern and focus in the world is holistic, not limited to the spiritual or religious category. It states that God will not listen to the prayers of people who are very active in religion while at the same time ignoring issues such as poverty and social justice. During the early 20th century, a stream of thought developed among conservative, Protestant Christians that teaches that faith has nothing to do with such topics as business practices or social concerns. This passage definitely condemns such thinking and asserts that in order to be right with God believers must help to overcome poverty and stand up for the oppressed.

b. Luke 10:25-37 edit

Christ told this parable in response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?" This question came at the end of a dialog with an educated, dedicated believer about God's law in which Christ quoted Leviticus 19:18, "Love your neighbor as yourself." This concept of unselfish love for neighbors is at the heart of God's expectations for humanity and foundational for community service of any kind. In the parable, Christ points out that religious people—the Levite who was a lay leader and the Priest who was clergy—sometimes see needy people but pass by without doing anything that is helpful. While other people—who may not be acceptable to the religious people at all; the Samaritan—respond immediately with the kind of practical, compassionate and unselfish help that is needed. The real neighbor, Jesus says, is the person who shows mercy in concrete ways, and commands His followers, "Go and do likewise." This story is particularly important because Jesus choose to make the exemplary individual, the Good Samaritan, a member of an ethnic group that was despised, looked down upon and discriminated against by the religious community to which Jesus belonged. He is pointing out that following Jesus is about the content of your character, not your race, culture or gender.

c. Matthew 25:31-46 edit

This parable is the last in a series of four parables that Jesus told in Matthew 24-25 in response to questions from His disciples about end time events; "When will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3, NIV) In the previous parables Christ taught that His followers should not begin to attack and blame each other if they become weary in waiting for Him (Matthew 24:45-51); instead they should make sure they have the spiritual resources for long-term discipleship (Matthew 25:1-13) and invest their abilities in the marketplace and lead constructive lives instead of withdrawing from society (Matthew 25:14-30). In this capstone parable of the series, Jesus says that when God sits in judgment at the end of history, His concern will be primarily about how people treated the hungry, the poor, the alien, the homeless, the sick and the prisoner. In other words, the true mark of people who are really looking forward to the return of Christ is that they will be active in working against world hunger, to assure clean supplies of drinking water, to extend hospitality to aliens and refugees, to help the poor, to prevent and care for the victims of disease, and to stand up for the oppressed and imprisoned. It is interesting that when Jesus identifies Himself with the poor, the hurting and the oppressed, both groups in the story have essentially the same response. The righteous say, "When did we see you" among the poor (Matthew 25:38), unaware that their compassionate behavior had any particular religious meaning. In other words, they were not doing good works in order to be saved. And the unrighteous also say, "When did we see you" among the needy (Matthew 25:44), blind to the fact that their self-centered faith which did not see the need to become involved in dealing with hunger, poverty, disease or social injustice was unfaithful to Christ Himself.

2. Read Chapter 54 (entitled "The Good Samaritan) from The Desire of Ages by Ellen White and write a list of five key points in the chapter. edit

Most of Ellen White's writings are available online. This particular passage can be found at If combined with a role-playing re-enactment, this activity can be used to meet a requirement of the AY Ranger Class as well.

3. Explain to your instructor the following edit

a. The name of the local Adventist organization that serves the poor and suffering in your town or metropolitan area. What kinds of services does it provide? edit

Older people in the church still often refer to Adventist Community Services (ACS) as Dorcas, but that name began to be phased out in the 1960s. There are still a few local churches that have a Dorcas Society and it is one of the several ministries under the official NAD Department called Adventist Community Services. Dorcas is named for a woman in the book of Acts who had spent her life serving the poor and was raised from the dead by the apostle Peter. There may also be a group known as Adventist Youth Emergency Service Corp in your area. This program sponsored by ACS and NADYM is for teens and young adults to participate in both ACS Disaster Response and local community services.

Local ACS normally provides clothing (new and used), food, and support to local individuals and families in need. They keep records of those assisted and offer referrals to other organizations when needs are outside of the common skill available at ACS.

b. What the letters ADRA stand for. Give a brief explanation of each word represented, and explain the difference between "development" and "relief" edit


  • Relief: The humanitarian effort to relieve the suffering of those who cannot help themselves
  • Agency: ADRA is a Non-governmental agency on the U.N. NGO list operating in 120 nations world wide. [1]

4. (GC) Pack an ADRA box, using the proper procedures for contents, method of packing, and labeling of the box. edit

You contact your local ADRA office or Country Director for assistance with training in this and other services your local group can provide for ADRA projects.

5. (recommended for NAD) Pack an ACS DR box, using the proper procedures for content, method of packing, and numbering of the box, so that it is Distribution Center ready. edit

Contact your local conference ACS Disaster Response Coordinator, your Union Disaster Response Coordinator, or NAD ACS for further assistance and training in packing a Disaster Response box. As of August 2006 Pacific Union is very proactive in training and can offer material, contacts and assistance if you contact them.

6. Meet with the Adventist Community Services leader in your area and ask about projects that your Pathfinder unit or class might be able to accomplish that would help meet needs in your community. edit

This can be the ACS Director/Coordinator for you local church, county, or conference. At least one church in your area will have ACS and all conferences have an ACS Director even if part-time.

7. Plan a community service project with your Pathfinder unit or class and complete it. edit

It is a good idea to complete the Community Assessment honor before beginning the Community Service Honor. Use the information you compile during your Community Assessment Honor as a foundation for planning this project and others.

8. Complete at least 10 hours of volunteer service, including both time invested in the project mentioned in requirement number six and time donated to other community service activities. edit

This time includes planning, preparation, and execution of a project and any time spent working with ACS or other outreach ministry in your church. The typical Pathfinder Club will spend at least ten hours in a normal year performing Community Services so this requirement should not feel daunting to active members.

References edit

  • Who is My Neighbor? ADRA International, Silver Spring, Maryland (1995)
  • Ministries of Compassion by Monte Sahlin, et al., AdventSource, Lincoln, Nebraska (2nd edition, 1998)
  • Who Cares? by Linnea Torkelsen, AdventSource, Lincoln, Nebraska (1996)
  • We Are His Hands by Steve Caseand Fred Cornforth, AdventSource, Lincoln, Nebraska (1994)