In Melbourne there are fewer Seventh-day Adventists per capita than in any other city in the South Pacific. There is one member to every 585 people. The numbers rise dramatically if you go to Western Melbourne. Reaching the people in this part of Melbourne is what the “Mission to the Cities” focus is all about. The cities of Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Auckland and Brisbane are the biggest challenge to the mission of the Church. How are we going to reach these people? Will big corporate programs do it? Will funding that the South Pacific Division has set aside do it?
I have been reading It’s Time: Voices from the Front Lines of Urban Mission, a book edited by Bettina Krause and published by the General Conference Mission to the Cities Committee. The way to reach the cities from the reports and stories contained is simple: God places an idea or burden on the heart of an individual or group of people to do a certain ministry to reach a particular group of people and the Church (local churches, conference, union and division) supports them.
. . . God places an idea or burden on the heart of an individual or group of people to do a certain ministry to reach a particular group of people and the Church supports them.
Giuseppe, from Bergamo, Italy, had a vision to use Sabbath School groups as the basis for mission through prayer and kindness activities. The Church got behind this layman and the local church grew and has started other churches. Pastor Reylourd Reyes and young professionals in Manilla (Philippines) started Simply Missions. They meet in a café in a business district and have a ministry called Café Life. Secular young professionals come and eat, socialise and discuss family, finding love, emotional health and a healthy lifestyle. Each “Mission to the City” was started by someone called by God and had an intentional way to meet the needs of a particular group in the city. From that beginning disciples have been made and churches grown. I’m sure there are people in the cities of the South Pacific who have God given ideas to do the same thing. The Church is waiting to hear from you.
Pastor Glenn Townend is president of the South Pacific Division.