Imagine a room full of 30 presidents who lead and shepherd the Church in their particular area. They all have their own scriptural convictions and ideas of how best to create with Jesus a movement of disciple-making church members. Presidents stand up for what they believe and they know how to persuade people to their point of view. But when they have to persuade their peers—well, that’s a real challenge.
For nearly three hours at Fulton College (Fiji) in the first week of February the presidents of the South Pacific Division met to discuss the main strategic focus—discipleship. It seemed to me the Holy Spirit guided the very open and robust discussion. How do we involve as many people as possible in making more and better disciples? What biblical principles will work across the cultures of the South Pacific? Can we be united on purpose and strategy?
Jesus sees us as we can become—each seed can produce 30, 60 or even 100 times more than what is planted.
In the end we agreed to focus on discipleship as the key issue and work together to define what a disciple of Jesus is, and to use common language and framework in becoming a discipleship movement. One of the strategic frameworks is outlined by the gardening parables in the Gospel of Mark (chapter 4). Just as there is a clear ongoing process to multiply a harvest, so too there is a consistent method in creating disciple-making disciples. First the soil of the heart has to be prepared and opened; then the seed of the Word of God planted; then that seed needs to be cultivated as it sprouts and grows—people need to be cared for and guided in their spiritual journey; then people are asked to join with Jesus and His church or harvested but they must also be challenged to go and make more and better disciples. Jesus sees us as we can become—each seed can produce 30, 60 or even 100 times more than what is planted.
We will hear more about disciple-making disciples from all our leaders in the weeks and years to come. Each president has their own challenges and is highly committed to Jesus and gifted by the Spirit. I‘m blessed to work with such leaders.
Pastor Glenn Townend is president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific.