Discipleship initiatives boost Church growth in PNG

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The Discovery Bible Reading method is being widely used in PNG. (Credit: Wes Tolhurst)

Discipleship initiatives in Papua New Guinea, led by the South Pacific Division’s Discipleship Ministry Team (DMT), have coincided with significant growth for the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Over the past three years the Central Papua Conference has grown annually by 19 per cent and the Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission by 18 per cent. These are the two main areas where the DMT has been invited to conduct training in disciple making, church planting and movement building. In nearby areas where the DMT has had little or no involvement, growth rates for the Church were as low as 2 per cent.

DMT leader Pastor Leigh Rice, who presented at last week’s Division year-end meetings, said the team has been guided by three main principles: disciple making is a process not an event; relationships are key in disciple making; and new disciples do better in new, small churches. Their primary focus has been in equipping members with simple and reproducible processes for discipleship.

“Resourcing pastors and union and conference/mission ministry leaders to equip members with a set of simple skills has resulted in more members successfully engaged in disciple making and church planting,” Pastor Rice said.

“The Discovery Bible Reading method is being widely used in places where this growth is taking place. Training in how to share your story and then connect it with God’s story is a simple skill and is effective. Members are planting and leading new church plants that are growing out of branch Sabbath schools and life groups.”