Celebration Center: Two Years Hence

Speaker: Categories: Feb 08, 1992


[1hr, 15min, 44sec / 45min, 49sec]


Celebration, the very word, causes some Seventh-day Adventists to experience "righteous indignation," a vehemently strong emotional response to real or alleged changes in the tried-and-true traditional worship assumed to be "right," even God ordained!

Why all the stress, the tension, the charges, the articles, the video and audio cassettes? Why the pastor bashing, the allegations of "signs of the last days," the certainty that changes in the traditional format for an Adventist worship service are yet but another of "Satan's devices" to deceive "the very elect"?

On the other hand, why the unprecedented growth in attendance and membership at such churches? Why the enthusiasm of the attenders? Why the curiosity, often veiled, of even the most ardent critics? Why the recent incorporation of celebration-like activities in even traditional services?

In September, 1989, Pastor Simpson addressed the San Di ego Chapter in a presentation, "On Spawning a New Church." At that time Celebration Center was in its fledgling stages. For Dan Simpson it was the fulfilling of a long cherished dream of what a community of believers could become, what a worship service might be.

It is this writer's opinion that since then virtually all Adventists, at least in the North American Division, have heard of celebration-type churches. A barrage of articles has been circulated. Video tapes, presumably shot on the spot and purporting accurately to represent what takes place in celebration services, have been sold and distributed. Conference administrators have spoken out -- some for, some against these changes in the format and structure of Adventist worship.

Pastor Simpson has noted that a review of church history confirms that reformers who have proposed changes in theology, such as Martin Luther, have suffered less opposition, less hostility, than those pioneers who have proposed changes in the way things are done within the church service, i.e., the format of worship. If that's so, it would appear that Christians are and have been less agitated by changes in doctrine than by changes in what they have come to accept as the "right" way of doing things!

One of the unique features of worship at the Celebration Center is the portion of the service devoted to drama. Elder Steve Bottroff, who directs this phase of ministry, will discuss reasons for including visual imagery in worship. He and some of his colleagues will demonstrate how this is actually done and sample audience responses to its effect.


Dan Simpson, founder of Celebration Center, is a graduate of Union College with a degree in religion. Prior to coming to the Southeastern California Conference in 1985, he pastored in Minnesota. During his ministry at Azure Hills, 1987-89, he realized that the Adventist worship experience could be made more meaningful, more aesthetic, and a much more powerful force in effecting spiritual growth in attenders. After experimenting with a variety of alternative worship styles, sufficient interest in a more dynamic church service was evidenced and Celebration Center was spawned!

Steve Bottroff, who holds degrees in both religion and theater, was Dan's colleague in ministry at Azure Hills during these alternative worship style experiments. Steve, while teaching at La Sierra University (then college), had founded a drama group known as SODA, Society of Dramatic Arts. As Director of Creative Ministries at Celebration Center, he also serves as church administrator.

The close association between Dan and Steve and their shared vision of worship have been at the heart of the Celebration success story.

Donate to SDAF


San Diego Adventist Forum
PO Box 421320
San Diego, CA 92142

We invite and appreciate your feedback regarding any of our programs or services.

Shopping cart

There are no products in your shopping cart.

0 Items $0.00