Young Seventh-day Adventists in Cook Islands have envisioned their “ideal church”.
It would be a place where members are happy and loving, work together and have strong relationships with Christ. Everyone would be accepted, regardless of what they wear or how they look. It would be a growing, active and praying church.
They shared their ideas with South Pacific Division youth director Dr Nick Kross, who recently visited the Cook Islands to conduct discipleship and youth leadership training at Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
While meeting with the youth, Dr Kross sought feedback on a series of questions, including “How does a young person in Cook Islands grow spiritually?” and, “What are the barriers to this growth?” He compiled the responses into a report and shared the findings with the wider church community during a Sabbath regional meeting in Rarotonga.
“One of the things that came through in the research was that the youth programs are very traditional; they are the same every Sabbath,” Dr Kross said.
“The young people said it would be fun if something in the worship program was different from week to week. So we talked about how they could make worship less predictable. We gave them a number of suggestions.”
Adventist leaders in Cook Islands have recently identified youth as one of their three key focuses, alongside healthy churches, and the training and mobilisation of members.
“They are a beautiful group of Adventists in the Cook Islands,” Dr Kross said. “One of their biggest needs is for Bible workers, as the pastors are based in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The other islands have elders looking after the churches.”
Dr Kross introduced the Discovery Bible Reading method to church members and visited Adventist schools. At the school in Rarotonga, he ran a Week of Prayer, which led to nine students making decisions for Bible studies and baptism.
There are four Adventist churches and two companies in Rarotonga and three churches in Aitutaki, along with a number of groups meeting on the outlying islands.