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Viewpoint from Pastor Victor Hulbert for 6th July 2012

Victor Hulbert Communication Director

Seventh-day Adventist Church Headquarters, UK & Ireland

Stanborough Park, Watford

 
All this exercise is getting to me! All those people rowing down the Thames in the Royal Pageant. Now the Olympic torch traveRoadfordLake0001rsing the length and breadth of the country. Euro 2012 and, in just a short time, the Olympic Games. As this is happening my doctor is telling me I need to modify my diet, do more exercise myself, and reduce my cholesterol level. It's not that my diet is bad. I generally eat quite healthfully. But as I want to lower the cholesterol with diet and exercise rather than pills, I've now made a choice to cut out dairy products as much as possible, make cake a very rare treat, totally avoid fast food, and have porridge, soya milk and fresh fruit for breakfast. So far it has lasted a week – but it does take some willpower!
 
The exercise is easier. I've never been great at sport. At school I was always the last to be chosen for the football team. 'Left back in the changing room' as they say. However, I do like the outdoors and while many of my school friends have increased in width as their days of football and sport have passed, my twice daily dog walks, regular longer hikes and the occasional shoving of the kayak out into the water has kept me fairly trim. All my doctor is saying is, "that's good. Do more of it and always try and get yourself slightly out of breath."
 
I'm trying. But once I've done the exercise I do like to curl up with a good book. Looking for something light to read I went into my daughter's bedroom. Her room is like a library. Books floor to ceiling! Sitting on top of one pile was 'The hunger games'. It is young adult fiction and now a box office hit – a dystopia world wDove righthere 24 youth, aged 12-18, are forced into a reality TV world where, for the entertainment of the masses, they are forced to kill each other. It is a gripping read – and all the running, the adrenaline levels and the tension are part of why the exercise is getting to me. What really comes through in this riveting read, however, is the emotions behind the actions. A 16-year-old girl volunteering in the place of her 12-year-old little sister. A boy that puts himself at risk to protect a girl he loves, and the battling of the system, showing that human dignity, is more important than the battle itself.
 
Battling the system is something I am having to do with my body at the moment. It is also something I find myself doing in church. Whatever religious background we come from we tend to fall into habits. Traditional forms of worship, orders of service, who should be on the platform, what kind of songs we sing.One of my roles is to go into churches and stir them up. I come as a visitor and ask, "If I was not a member of your congregation what would make me walk through your door? What would then make me stay? What would make me run away, never to return?" The answers are often interesting. You might like to try it in your congregation. But the answers only make a difference if put into action. Like my personal lifestyle changes that takes effort – but the results can be remarkable.
 
A sample 'Local Church Communication Audit' can be found online at http://www.adventistinfo.org.uk/departments/communication/Local_Church_Communication_Audit.pdf.