With local churches overflowing with members in Papua New Guinea, Madang Manus Mission has launched a new strategy.
They’ve called it “break the church” and it involves members moving out of the big church environment and forming smaller congregations. This happened recently at Madang Town Adventist Church, with 69 of the 1000-plus members forming a new congregation in the Jomba area. The group has now grown to 200 people who worship each Sabbath under a house. This will become their place of worship until a new church is built.
On July 28, the group received church organisation status, joining the sisterhood of churches in Madang Manus Mission. It was a first-of-its-kind event for church status to be granted to a group that is not meeting in a formal church building. More than 1000 church members witnessed the occasion.
“They cannot continue to worship in a crowded church,” said Mission president Pastor Garry Laukei. “They need to have small churches so that there is an opportunity for participation and leadership.”
He told the members that although they do not have a formal church, “having a membership of 69 baptised members requires organising to continue with the good work you are doing while working on the new church building”.
“Organising a church is a sign of maturity and good leadership,” he added.
“The important thing is we organise people for service and later we can dedicate the building when it is ready.”
The growth in church membership is due to a number of evangelistic meetings being held in the area along with the launch of Bible Discovery small groups.
Newly-elected elder of the Jomba church, Neville Ben, thanked the Madang Town church and Madang district leaders for their guidance.
“Jomba organised church will work closely with other sister churches and the local Mission to fulfil the mission of the Church and will not work in isolation,” he said.