Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

'Back to the Altar'

Editorial by Gary Gibbs

I knew I was listening to an exciting answer to prayer as I heard the speaker describe an inspiring initiative called “Back to the Altar.” I had been earnestly seeking God for strategic initiatives for our conference’s new quinquennium, which began after the constituency session in October 2023.

Our team identified several key ideas we felt God was leading us to as conference staff, and pastors met for prayer and planning. We determined that a renewed focus on a personal relationship with Jesus would be one of the more important initiatives. We long for each member to experience a deepening of love for Him and to grow in the qualities of being Jesus’ fully committed disciple.

Consequently, my prayer over the past month had been for God to reveal how we would do this—enter “Back to the Altar.” As I listened to the speaker describe this General Conference initiative, I was deeply moved by the realization that God had already inspired other like-minded church leaders and members around the world.

God is birthing a movement.

“Back to the Altar” is an invitation to renew our commitment to spend time with God in personal and family worship. If we are honest, most of us have allowed technology and other things to squeeze time with God from our lives. We are left poorer for it. Through “Back to the Altar,” we intend to unite as a conference church family to encourage and inspire each other to rebuild the altar of daily worship in our personal lives and homes. I believe that as we do this, God will reveal Himself to us in precious and powerful ways.

Visit our website for more information on how you can be part of this global movement of God, and experience Him in new and inspiring ways. We are encouraging churches and families to unite with members around the world for 10 Days of Prayer, Jan. 10–20, 2024. We’ve made “Back to the Altar” materials available in several languages at

Gary Gibbs serves as president of the Pennsylvania Conference.

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