Revelation 12 clearly teaches that God has a remnant church at the end time—that church is uniquely identified as a group of people who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
So the first identifying sign of the remnant church is their loyalty to God’s commandments—all of them. We often just focus on the Ten Commandments, but I would like to place emphasis on the great gospel commission given in Matthew 28:19,20, which is to proclaim the gospel message.
To proclaim that message to the “uttermost part of the earth”, as the Lord had summoned the apostles (and ourselves) to do, we should be prayerfully pleading like Jabez did, for God to “bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory”.
We have tried to engage everyone at TPUM with the great commission by involving them in the farming cycle-based discipleship model, which entails preparation, sowing, nurturing and harvesting, and multiplying the harvest. It was thus thrilling to see members use their spiritual gifts in preparing the hearts of people, sowing the seeds and nurturing them along the way.
"We certainly made a loud noise about and for Jesus that was heard right across the Pacific . . ."
Our harvesting program, which started in July and is ongoing, has had 4753 baptisms so far. We praise the Lord for these new souls and our churches are continuing their nurturing and following up of interests. However, the emphasis was not on the number of baptisms, but on getting everyone involved, being obedient to the great gospel commission.
So how many local churches actually ran their own harvesting programs? There were 705. This is a big number of sites in which to conduct evangelism all at once. We praise the Lord for their commitment. However, we have 1226 churches throughout our Union, so these 705 sites represented just 57 per cent of our local churches. What about the other 43 per cent?
I may add that in the Trans Pacific Union we have a membership of 120,445. The ideal is for one church member leading one person towards baptism. With 4853 baptisms, we have just under 4 per cent of our members represented. Many people were involved with programs but less than 4 per cent of our membership were able to see someone through to the harvest.
However, this combined harvesting program certainly brought about an exciting synergy within our Union. People everywhere in the Pacific were aware that the Adventists were doing something, saying things like, “the Adventists are everywhere running something”. This synergy extended to social media. Pictures of the harvesting were everywhere on Facebook and other digital platforms. We certainly made a loud noise about and for Jesus that was heard right across the Pacific, creating great excitement for advancing the Lord’s work.
I actually saw a glimpse of what our vision looks like, of a “Vibrant Adventist movement living their hope in Jesus and transforming the Pacific”.
If we attribute the recent baptisms to the efforts of 57 per cent of our churches and only 4 per cent of our members, then what would Total Membership Involvement look like? Or what if our youth slogan was actually put into practice: “Each One, Reach One”? Imagine the impact that would bring! Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2). We are praying for the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into the harvest field, just as we often sing that “Far and Near the Fields Are Teeming”!
The first identity of the remnant church is being loyal in keeping His commandments. Our Church has been very careful to keep His Ten Commandments, which is excellent. But what about the great gospel commission commandment? Is there anyone who you love and are praying for that his or her soul be won for Jesus?
Next year, our women will lead out during our Union-wide evangelism and our young people will be at the forefront the following year. We are praying that everyone in our Union will be the worker who God sends out to the teeming harvest fields.
What about you?
Pastor Maveni Kaufononga is president of the Trans Pacific Union Mission.