A new discipleship initiative from the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC) will empower local church elders to baptise twice a year.
The initiative, which has received support from the South Pacific Division and General Conference, is the first time local church elders will participate in such a program.
“We’ve been working on this program for more than a year,” said AUC president Pastor Jorge Munoz. “The initiative has been tried successfully in the Inter-American Division, and the AUC is excited about trialling it as a discipleship tool here in Australia.”
AUC personal ministries director, Pastor Cristian Copaceanu, said the new initiative empowered local church elders to function according to their high spiritual calling.
“Biblically, elders were the cornerstone of the local church for both pastoral care and discipleship,” he said. “Throughout the world today wherever church elders function at their biblical calling we see rapid kingdom growth.”
Currently, the Church Manual allows elders to baptise potential new members subject to the approval of the conference where the baptism is in a remote location. Under the new system, local church elders who have completed a training program will be able to baptise on the last Sabbaths in July and November.
"Biblically, elders were the cornerstone of the local church for both pastoral care and discipleship. Throughout the world today wherever church elders function at their biblical calling we see rapid kingdom growth."
“Many times we hear that elders feel that they are not adequately trained in order to teach, give Bible studies or follow up interests,” said Pastor Munoz.
“This program will allow them not only to do all those things, but also to have the blessing to baptise those with whom they study.”
To participate in the program, elders must register for training with their local church pastors. The training will then be completed either online or locally with their church pastor. The program will launch in the next few months.