Nothing quite gets it or captures the cadence of being a disciple of Jesus and disciple making like the challenge of the apostle Paul, “Follow me, As I follow Christ,”. When we follow Jesus as His faithful disciple, disciple making becomes a personal one on one event of befriending people and helping them become more and more like Jesus.
At the Christchurch Fijian Adventist Church, we fully get the definition of being a disciple however it is a challenge to be a disciple maker. As a communal people, I believe that not only discipleship is a one on one event, but it can also be a group process in the context of a local church. Our local church this past year has embraced relationship building amongst the members, and is continually creating a place where disciples can use their creative talents for the Lord.
In John 13:35, people will know we are Jesus Disciples by our love for each other. In building this love for one another, we take the time visit each other in various homes. The church has also made time at 2.30pm every Sabbath as a time of intentional prayers. There have been answers to prayers and we have experienced the importance of this time together. Building relationships has also allowed us to have social times together in church picnics, organised social games or simply sharing a meal at someone’s house on Wednesday night prayer meetings. We aim to encourage more gathering together, because it matters to God. Gathering together not only encourages our love for each other, It also matures us as disciples for Christ.
A visible answer to our prayer as a church, is our new place of worship. The place of worship and its presentation is important in disciple making. With the new 300-seater church, located at 140 Springfield, we have seen increase in attendance and visitors to church. Our members have the confidence to invite friends and non-church goers to this wonderful facility. This change has also propelled leaders to find ways of maximising the use of the space for ministry and to get everyone involved. We have a lot of growing to do as a church, and we are praying for God’s preferred future for our congregation.
The youths of our church, have been the forefront of our growing church. Truly, this bunch of people can move the church with their energy and talents. The youth bible study groups have built a network of friends, that in return bring other friends. The youths have been involved in community outreaches (0800 Hungry Ministry, City 2 Surf Marathon, Neighbourly help), championing health in collaboration with Christchurch Tutupu Healthy churches and leadership in church roles. This year’s nominating committee is comprised of 70% young people. Our leadership team for 2018 has more youths in leading roles for the church. We thank our elders and church members who believe that youths are an integral part of the church.
My vision for my church is for the word of God to take root in the lives of our members personally, that what is heard and taught is tested and lived out in their daily lives. We read about disciples in the bible, and yet how does that look like in our lives today? After returning from gym session, an acquaintance commented, ‘You do look like a Christian.’ I replied, ‘Yes I am.’ I further pointed out that I also serve as a Pastor. He looked at me and said, ‘No, you are too young to be a Pastor, you cannot be a Pastor, but you do look like a Christian.’ I was happy with his comment, because looking like a follower of Christ is all that matters. Let us faithfully follow Christ and influence others to follow Him.
-Pr Jesel Royokada, Fijian Seventh-day Adventist Church