The first copies of Following Jesus by Dr Peter Roennfeldt were presented to his Buddhist neighbours after the book’s dedication as part of the worship service at Lilydale Adventist Church on March 4. “This is what it is about,” he says, “—sharing Jesus with our neighbours, communities and work colleagues. We have great neighbours, and we eat, pray and share with them, following the simple steps Jesus taught. So they all know I have been writing Following Jesus. Because the launch was on the other side of the city—almost two hours away—I didn’t invite them, but our Buddhist neighbours insisted on coming and I was able to present the first two books to them.”
“I felt very blessed to be present with my father and mother, and to receive Following Jesus,” said Dr Roennfeldt’s neighbour Shaun Perera. His wife, Gishani, could not be present because of work commitments but told Dr Roennfeldt that they have started reading the book. “We are very blessed,” she said. “Your prayers are very powerful for us!”
The launch of Following Jesus: Disciple-making and Movement-building was part of the annual seminar for Adventist Book Centre managers from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji. An in-depth study of the life and ministry of Jesus, Following Jesus features 50 study guides that draw from a close reading of the gospels, direct readers to relevant chapters in Messiah and The Desire of Ages, and offer key questions for exploration, reflection and application.
“Jesus is not only the message, He is also our example—or method—for disciple-making,” urges Dr Roennfeldt, an experienced pastor, evangelist and church planter, who continues to teach these principles around the world, from eastern Africa to central Asia, the Middle East to western Europe. “The practical methods of Jesus work in all cultures. An earlier version of this book was translated into Finnish where it is being used in groups to share faith, as well as in equipping leadership teams. It is also used extensively by the South England Conference Adventist Mission office, which has produced the accompanying on-site complementary video clips.”
Dr Roennfeldt has been working with church leaders and pastors in the Trans-Pacific Union Mission in support of their “Pacific Reach” initiative and Following Jesus will be used extensively by the South Pacific Division’s Discipleship Ministries Team, which has supported the publication of the book.
“Disciple-making, church planting and preparing people for God’s kingdom is a major focus for many Christians today,” adds Dr Roennfeldt. “So I also have the privilege of sharing with many other Christian leaders. Distinctive Adventist insights arise naturally as we walk through the gospels. The feedback has been very positive, with many leaders wanting to share Following Jesus with their networks.”
While Dr Roennefldt is excited about Following Jesus and its potential to be used by churches and in communities around the world, his ministry begins at home, as evidenced by his neighbours’ enthusiasm for his new book. “With all the travelling and teaching I do, I cannot afford to miss the joy of introducing my neighbours to Jesus,” he says.
Following Jesus is available from Adventist Book Centres in Australian and New Zealand. Visit www.following-Jesus.com for more information and to access the “Following Jesus” video clips that support the study guides in the book.