What Is ARISE Trying To Accomplish - David Asscherick

What is ARISE Trying to Accomplish?

by David Asscherick  |  September 17, 2012

Someone told me that someone had a friend who was told by someone else that, “ARISE Bibleworkers don’t get results.” Sure, a rumor is a rumor, but the alleged statement does actually raise an important question, one that I’ve been asking for more than a decade: What is ARISE trying to accomplish? 

The answer starts with a little history.

ARISE began in 2002 when Pastor Nathan Renner and myself partnered with the Michigan Conference and the Troy Seventh-day Adventist church to start “an evangelism school.” Our first class had 28 students who attended the 16-week program. We did our best, but I do cringe a bit when I think of some of the things we said and did in that inaugural session. Compared to the quality of ARISE’s current programs, in both content and presentation, those early sessions aren’t even in the same league. We did our best, yes, but our best has gotten better. This is to be expected.

Going back further still, in 1997, as fresh-faced converts, Nathan and I both graduated from a similar program, a 16-week “mission college.” The emphasis of that program was evangelism––the what, how to, how not to, when, and where. The goal was to graduate “soulwinners” many of whom, it was understood, would go on to become “Bibleworkers.” As a recent believer, all of this language was new to me. The program was a solid program, and was just what I needed in those nascent months.

Being a dutiful graduate, I went straight from the program into Biblework and evangelism, a position I would occupy for five years. Nathan had a similar experience. In 2002, I accepted a call to pastor the Troy, Michigan Seventh-day Adventist Church. Nathan had already accepted a call to pastor in Michigan the year before.

Then we were given the opportunity of a lifetime by Michigan Conference leadership: start a school of evangelism ourselves. We jumped at the opportunity.

Predictably, we taught a combination of what we’d been taught five years earlier and what we ourselves had gleaned in the intervening decade of combined ministry. In that first program we worked ourselves to the bone with the help of others, one Mary Bernt (cook-administrator-secretary-mentor-health educator-mom) in particular.

We were gearing much of our instruction to those who wanted to become Bibleworkers, but most didn’t want to become Bibleworkers.

ARISE’s acronym, A Resource-Institute for Soulwinning and Evangelism, aptly communicated what we were all about. We were in the business, largely, of training Bibleworkers for the Michigan Conference. Some of those Bibleworkers faired really well. Others struggled.

A note on Biblework is now in order. First, Biblework––finding, giving, facilitating, and managing community Bible studies––is hard, hard work. I know from both experience and observation. It is not easy to be a Bibleworker, particularly in a dead or dying church, and more particularly still if the Bibleworker is working alone, without a team. Very often, the pay is low and the expectations are high. Some are placed in good situations and prosper, while others are placed in less than ideal situations and languish. Not all Bibleworkers are created equal and neither are all situations in which they can be placed. Thus, not all “results” are the same.

I’ll return to this momentarily, but, for now, back to ARISE.

After we had a few programs under our belt, Nathan and I began to realize that most of those who were attending ARISE had no desire or ambition to enter full-time ministry, either as a Bibleworker or a pastor. Many, perhaps most, already knew what they wanted to do professionally or academically. Nurses, teachers, doctors, tradesmen, social workers, students and more made up the majority of those who who were attending ARISE. To put a number on it, 30% or less of any given class had any developed or intentional interest in full-time ministry.

So we had a problem.

We were gearing much of our instruction to those who wanted to become Bibleworkers, but most didn’t want to become Bibleworkers.

This realization did not happen in a moment, but, like the dawning day, became clearer and clearer over time. So what did we do? Naturally, we shifted the program’s focus. That shift involved a movement away from a Biblework and full-time ministry preparation, and toward personal conversion and discipleship. Now we were scratching where everybody was itching, those with full-time ministry ambitions and those without them.

Over time the “Biblework” language and emphasis began to fade from ARISE’s vernacular and focus. It’s not that Biblework isn’t important, or that it isn’t a noble pursuit to run a program designed around that end. ARISE had just evolved. (Yes, I just wrote that sentence.)

So what about “results”?

This is, in my view, a wrongheaded and ultimately ambiguous concept without a meaningful metric.

Here at ARISE we’re not trying to produce Bibleworkers.

As someone who has spent years in Biblework and has conducted dozens of evangelistic campaigns, I can say with certainty that the whole concept of “results” in an evangelistic context is slippery and inexact. I’ve seen evangelists and Bibleworkers artificially inflate their ever-important “numbers” to impress an employer, church, or colleague. I’ve held meetings where hundreds have been baptized, and I’ve held meetings where, despite my biblical preaching and impassioned pleas, no one was baptized.

“Results” are tricky. Consider Jesus‘ ministry. Was His ministry successful? Certainly. Was it “successful” in a way that could’ve been easily apprehended by some kind of “results” metric? Certainly not.

Examples could be multiplied.

So, has ARISE, over the last decade, trained and mentored many astoundingly “successful” full-time ministers, including Bibleworkers, pastors, evangelists, and even conference officers? Yes, it has.

Has ARISE, over the last decade, trained and mentored some less “successful” ministry workers? Yes it has. But why weren’t the “results” there? The answer is rarely easy. It could be a hundred things. And one of those things is this: the “results” may actually be there, unseen to our human eyes, but evident and beautiful to the eyes of Him who sees all things as they actually are.

Here at ARISE we’re not trying to produce Bibleworkers. We haven’t been for years now.

So then, What is ARISE trying to accomplish?

That’s an easy one.

We’re laboring––in mind, body, soul, and example––to lift up Jesus Christ in the context of the Three Angels’ Messages and to teach our students how to do the same. Our consistent and insistent refrain is the personal conversion and discipleship of our students.

Some will become Bibleworkers and pastors.

Most will not.

And ultimately God alone will measure all of their “results”, which, really, are His “results” anyway.

David Asscherick Speaker
Light Bearers
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  • Mark Taylor

    Thank you for this article. If ARISE has anchored one student to Christ, it has accomplished something in cooperating with the Spirit. May you continue as long as God can use you.

  • Seun Asekunowo

    I believe the focus of ARISE is a good one, because it is when one has established a true relationship with the Father through personal conversion that one can go about doing the Father’s work in whatever capacity/work they find themselves.

  • Jeffrey Stidham

    I would love to go to arise how much does it cost I believe God is calling me to spread his word and I need more teaching

  • Deborah Ibarra

    The focus is always Jesus Christ, sometimes we want to spread the gospel fast enough to closen the Coming of Jesus Christ, but always remember to Pray more often,, or even that make a group of prayer special for ARISE program… You will see even more results, watch what God can do… God Bless You my brother in Christ..

  • Noemi Roman

    Thanks David,
    Arise was a HUGE blessing to me, I love bible work and loved the entire program. One day I would like my husband to experience the same. Hugs to you all and miss you all. Blessings.

  • Brian Simmons

    Love it!

  • Mark W. Higgins

    Bravo friend. Living in Troy for a short time while you were opperating ARISE there has been one of the true blessings in my life. You trained wonderful men and women who in turn shared their training with those around. Keep doing the good work brother.

  • Diana Lara

    I gave my life to Jesus for the first time while at ARISE. The program shines Jesus and has helped me grow closer with my Saviour. The Holy Spirit is very present through the program and by God’s grace I have been able to share the good news with many family/ friends due to the training I received at ARISE. It ignited a love, passion and fire for Jesus that I believe/pray will never die. So in my life (and so many others) ARISE mission has been accomplished!

  • Mark Witas


    I appreciate the history and the Jesus centered emphasis of your blog and program. My church is sending two your way this year. I know their experience will be one that will produce “results” for the kingdom. Thank you for being willing to run with the Gospel.


  • Erastus Oganga

    The success or failure in an evangelistic mission cannot be measured by human standards. It needs a Divine eye and mind to see and comprehend it. Any effort geared towards soul-winning under the influence of the Holy Spirit must be greatly rewarded. It is not a one-man job, some must do the planting, some weeding and others, harvesting.
    I thank ARISE for the good job they are doing, may God continue guiding you in your efforts of winning souls and training soul-winners.

  • Dan Garza

    I wholeheartedly believe that this indispensable focus will result in one of a kind students that will experience Christ unlike ever before. Thus, they will be used by God unlike ever before. I’m excited!

  • Rene Diaz

    Thank you all at ARISE for not giving up! Hopefully my brother and I can attend next year for your “15 or 16 week” program. God bless!

  • Haggai Mapondera

    What an insight! Brings into sharp focus the concept of “results”.

  • Fortune

    interesting perspective there David! Love it

  • Jasmin Kukolja

    On the Island of Iona, Columba set up a school and in this school students were taught how to spread the word of God within their profession. Some were tailors, some merchants, some bakers.. whatever they did they were taught how to approach people anywhere anytime and how to introduce the word of God. This happened during the dark ages when it was forbidden to have scripture, parts were painstakingly copied and this was done at the peril of their lives. Today we need to do the same because if we don’t it will be at the peril of our lives. Thanks for this article..we all need to do something.

  • Jed Genson

    Well said David, My wife and I for many years have been focusing on Christ Method of Evangelism and teaching others: Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.” MH. 143 God Bless you All! 🙂

  • Mike

    If all of our institutions make conversion their focus, It becomes Christ who produces the “results”, and receives all of the glory. This is the great need of the world, and what will ultimately bring it to an end. Looking forward to it…

  • Debbie Cox

    Good article. Every new convert and every young person who gives their heart to God needs to be thoroughly trained to work for Him.
    Reading this I realized that my conversion, like many other’s, are much of the time the combined results of many different people’s work: my parents, Sunday School teachers, a cooking class instructor, SDA Christian friends, an evangelist, and the man whom became my husband. I actually never took formal Bible studies.
    I went to two or three evangelistic meetings, which helped me greatly. But the evangelist never knew the results of his preaching to a young believer in new age mysticism, whose mind was set straight on the state of the dead and who started considering more seriously the Word of God. Heaven alone will reveal true success.

  • Virna Santos

    ARISE…was part of the newness of my walk with Jesus…my paradigm shift from self to others!

  • Virna Santos

    ARISE…was a vital component in my paradigm shift from ‘self-centered’ to OTHER-centered. ARISE was significant or I would even say a critical foundation required for me to begin a truer more dedicated walk with Jesus.

    ARISE belongs to God and so do the results!

    Thank you David! You and the entire ARISE team mean so much to me!

  • Christina Harris

    I was in that inaugural class–didn’t turn out to be a full-time Bible worker either, but God had other plans. I’m thankful for my time at ARISE and the growth that I experienced (spiritual, relational, and knowledge)–God knew it was what I needed. May He bless in your continued ministry.


    I attended ARISE CrossTraining and I would say my preaching became more Holy Spirit focused, my bible studies more targeted to the heart of the individuals desires to learn about Christ, and my calls to repentance and submission to the Lord have vastly improved!

    I praise God I was able to go… am I giving 3-5 bible studies a week, pounding on doors, or a Pastor? No but when the Lord provides an opportunity I listen and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit… If anyone is considering attending ARISE I would say its an experience well spent the relationship forged and Christ centered focus is exactly what you need!

  • Eugene Visser

    Pastor D, we sent you a young man all the way from South Africa, and you taught him to preach long – whats up with that? (Just kidding) He is doing great work as a Bible worker, albeit unsupported by the conference! I am about to graduate from another SDA institution and I wish they would read your mission statement… I am very discouraged with the direction we’ve taken… Our focus should be personal conversion first and foremost and in this you have hit the nail squarely on the head! Keep up the good work – you know what a blessing it is…

  • Vlasta Hybl

    Yeah, conversion is what everybody needs today and ever was. I think we ought to look more after sowing than just harvesting. More cultivating than just waiting. God sees and leads the invisible progress of His mission. I am sure ARISE is part of that wast movement. GB

  • I want to be a part of ARISE for the reasons you gave here! I’ve found exactly what my mind, heart and soul have been yearning. I will make this a matter of prayer so that if it’s the LORD’s will that I do the ARISE training, He will make it possible and will choose the time of when that will be as well. May GOD continue to bless!

  • Jenny from CA

    The team at ARISE were amazing – one could see Jesus JOY shining through them. Enjoyed the organized and simple format of each bible study. Enjoyed meeting many of the students and hearing how God was working in their lives. For me it was 2 weeks with my 75 year old mom who also attended where Jesus changed our hearts and our minds. PTL:) After leaving bible boot camp my mom and i claimed a promise in Psalms for my brother to give his life back to Jesus. 3 months later my brother announced he started listening to 3 abn and gave his life to Jesus. My mom and i cried while he shared his testimony. My brother is on “fire” for our awesome Savior. He shares books, tracs, and bibles with his neighbors, friends, co-workers, and anyone who wants to study the bible. My mom is on the evangelism team at her church. For me my job would no longer be. I talked with my boss and asked for 6 months more to work and he said “yes”. Those 6 months with God at my side i walked with integrity and several co-workers could not understand why i was at peace. I started having bible studies with people who had questions. Never would i have thought i could or would lead a bible study. I kept leaning on trusting the Lord and on the last month of my work God opened the door for my part time job. What a blessing to have Jesus and His peace to go through storms of life and be changed. Thank you David and thank you Jesus for answering our prayer for changing my heart and my brother’s.

  • B. Agatha Blue

    Thanks David. I live in Jamaica and my company is making a decision this week whether to keep me on or send me home, however, God has laid a burden for souls on my heart a few months ago and I feel no fear about what may happen with my job. God lead me to this article as I had called my Conference just this afternoon to find out whether they had a School of Evangelism. I felt real joy when they said “yes” as I have been praying to the Lord to lead in my life. I am now very confident that He wants me to go into some area of ministry after reading your article..

    What a wonderful blessing and the comments are all inspiring. Truly God is amazing.

    Thank you my brother may God continue to bless your ministry.