An Avondale seminarian’s book describing the local church as the future of Seventh-day Adventism is in its second printing only two months after launching.
Mission Shift: Multiplying Disciples in Your Community by Avondale Seminary Head Dr Kayle de Waal has been well received by Adventist Church leaders, ministers and local churches. As it should be because de Waal issues this challenge to local churches: biblically reinvent or become irrelevant.
The five largest conferences of the Adventist Church in Australia have purchased bulk copies of Mission Shift to distribute to each of their ministers. And the Church in the South Pacific’s Discipleship Ministries Team, which supported the publication of the book, is distributing the book to church leaders and ministers in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.
de Waal says the initial responses he has received about Mission Shift have been positive. “Pastors are looking forward to applying a biblical methodology to their ministry context and anticipating God doing great things,” he says.
He is gratified the Church and its leaders are investing in the book to share with ministers. “Pastors are at the frontline of ministry, leading churches and growing leaders,” says de Waal. “To have them think and pray through the book is humbling—and hopefully, this will help them engage their community of faith in wholistic mission.”
One of the book’s key questions: Will the local Adventist church change its structure to resource ministries that are not just audience-centred and program-driven?
"What Kayle does is challenge the ruts, the routines that have lost meaning and significance."
de Waal is convicted: churches willing to change can thrive. It is a conviction based on teaching, ministry and evangelism experience in South Africa, South Korea and New Zealand, a missiology-based master’s thesis and a $A50,000 grant from the Church in the South Pacific to study discipleship with a multidisciplinary team of academics from Avondale.
The president of the Church in the South Pacific, Pastor Glenn Townend, is encouraging all church leaders, ministers and members to read Mission Shift. “Our lay leadership and our pastoral leadership and now others need to think about why we are doing church,” he said during the launch of the book as part of the Church in the South Pacific’s Church Planting Conference at Avondale College of Higher Education on January 31.
Mission Shift supports the Church’s vision “of making more and better disciples”. But the challenge for the Church in the South Pacific, says Townend: “in most of the places where we’ve worked, we’ve been working for more than a hundred years . . . And when you’ve been working for more than a hundred years, you can get into a rut, going through the motions of just doing church and not thinking about its purpose: to house all the new disciples coming into God’s kingdom. What Kayle does is challenge the ruts, the routines that have lost meaning and significance.”
Mission Shift: Multiplying Disciples in Your Community is now available from Adventist Book Centres in Australia and New Zealand. For more information and to download discussion questions, visit www.kayledewaal.com.