The Cabramatta Fijian Adventist youth group (Sydney) has more than doubled attendance this year as a result of Bible study, prayer and lots of volleyball.
The youth are on fire for Jesus—they have reconnected with friends no longer attending church and are reaching out to youth in their local community.
Youth elder Semi Ramatai said the group’s ideas may be considered a little unorthodox but they have resulted in more young people attending church.
“We discussed it as a leadership group and realised that we need to give the young people the space to do ministry their way,” he said.
“It’s amazing the sort of ideas that these young people can come up with to do things differently—and it works.”
Bible study and prayer have been central to their activities. In March, Litiana Turner from the South Pacific Division’s Discipleship Ministries Team provided training in the Discovery Bible Reading (DBR) method. They are using DBR for their small groups and have found that it has encouraged more and more young people to engage with the Bible.
At the same time, they have been focusing on outreach—organising volleyball games at a local park. It has been hugely popular and has enabled the youth to make connections with young people in the community who stop by after work to join in. Games are held every afternoon except Fridays and Saturdays, and on Wednesdays they sit around afterwards for conversation, worship and a meal.
A buddy program has also been established where a member of the group is paired with a non-Adventist youth. They may meet up through the week for a chat or communicate via text: it’s all about building relationships, which can then lead to discussions on spiritual matters.
“It’s actually the young people who come up with the ideas on how best they can reach their friends,” Mr Ramatai said. “As elders we say, ‘you know what is best for you, you know to reach out to your friends.’ Our elders team is just there to give advice and to work with them and to encourage them.”
The youth have worked collaboratively with an attitude of acceptance and inclusivity. They recently ran a revival program that packed out the church. They hold prayer breakfasts before Sabbath School and are excited to see the ways in which God is answering their prayers. They have been overjoyed to see friends who had left the Church now coming back and joining in the activities.
“It has been a great year for us at Cabramatta Fijian church,” Mr Ramatai said. “We have seen the growth and the commitment [of the youth] and how they have come together and it has been great.”