John A.G Phiri
A Unique People with a Unique Purpose:
A Reminder and Call to Seventh-day Adventists in Central Malawi Conference
Anthu Apadera a Cholinga Chapadera:
Chikumbutso ndi Mwitano kwa a Seventh-day Adventist mu Sentro Malawi Konfalesi
Follow the President
Fellow believers and friends, I am delighted to write you this note as a way of reminding you of our purpose of existence as Seventh-day Adventists and share you our vision [link to vision] and strategic plan as a Conference for the period 2016-2021.
Who are we?
As Seventh-day Adventists we consider ourselves as a prophetic movement whose purpose is to prepare the world for the soon return of our Lord and Savior. We see ourselves corporately as the embodiment of the three angels of Revelation 14 bearing a warning message to the world in crisis.
In other words, we believe that God has called us for a purpose and given us the charge to preach the three angels’ message and proclaim the faith of Jesus (Matt. 28:18-21; Rev 14:12).
Called to Preach the Gospel
That crisply defines our responsibility as a church. We are called to preach the word both “in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2, ESV); “whether it is convenient or not” (NET). And as the Apostle Paul says, “woe is unto [us], if [we] preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16, KJV).
God expects us to fulfill the Great Commission of spreading the Gospel to the entire world whether we do it voluntarily or as our dutiful response to His call. It is our stewardship responsibility to God and fellow man (1 Cor 9:17d, HCSB). It is better though if we do it cheerfully and voluntarily for as the apostle Paul says, “if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward. But if I do it unwillingly, I am entrusted with a responsibility” (1 Cor 9:17, ESV)
Called to support the Gospel
The call to proclaim the Gospel is the call to support the same in every aspect of it. In Romans 10:14-15, Paul rhetorically poses the following question: “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”(Rom 10:14-15, KJV). To Paul’s questions I would like to add “how will they be sent unless there are financial resources to send them?” The obvious answer should be: it is impossible to send preachers when we don’t have resources, especially finances. We cannot make any infrastructural development we need for the enhancement of the proclamation of the Gospel if we do not have funds.
The fact is, we need financial resources if we are to make an impact on our society by sending a stream of gospel workers or we can as well forget about the soon return of our Lord Jesus. Remember in Matthew 24:14 Jesus tied His return to the completion of the gospel proclamation on earth. In other words, if His disciples, you and I do not finish the work soon He will not return soon. But we are not ready for the delay. Are we?
Therefore, we need financial support to accomplish our mission and run the programs we have proposed in our strategic plan. We are stewards and God expects us to work and act accordingly.
How can you participate?
Your obvious question therefore could be, how could I help? How can I get involved and participate in the finishing of this noble cause in our region so that the Lord Jesus Christ should return soon? There are many ways in which you can actively participate in executing God’s agenda for this time. In our case, we have several initiatives, projects and or programs in which you may wish to participate depending on your interests. Here are some suggestions for you:
For instance, we have “Go 150” initiative which is an evangelistic outreach program targeting six districts in our Conference which we have identified as least entered districts. In this program our goal is to conduct a minimum total of 150 public evangelistic campaigns annually, 25 in each of the target districts, for the next four years. The ultimate goal is to conduct at least a total of 100 such campaigns in each of these districts. We are training evangelists who will be deployed to various identified centers for this purpose. We need financial support for this. You can participate in this by either donating for this cause or literally going out to conduct an evangelistic campaign in any of these districts. If you don’t want to directly donate your money to us, you may wish to directly sponsor a campaign at any of the centers of your choice from the list we have prepared.
At the moment (in 2016) we estimate that a minimum of MK200, 000.00 or about US$350.00 will be sufficient enough to support one public evangelistic campaign in the target areas. For more details you may contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or you may directly contact our personal Ministries department on their web page here or come in person to our offices in Area 14, off the Presidential drive.
Another way you may like to pursue in participating in the work in our Conference is by choosing from among the several projects which we have lined up for this period and donate your funds there or volunteer to provide any skilled service for free. You may for instance decide to fund any part of the projects depending on your financial ability.
Our Conference is still in its developmental stages. We need a lot of basic infrastructure to enable us operate optimally. For instance, we have a shortage of our pastors’ houses. Most of our pastors are staying in rented houses which at the end of the day are taking up a significant amount of the money which we would have otherwise used for evangelistic and other developmental purposes directly linked to our mission of preaching the Word. Our major slowing factor is lack of finances.
To address this shortage of pastors’ houses we have introduced what we are calling “Small Room Project.” This is a project aiming at constructing institutional houses for all our pastors and other members of staff. The concept is based on the Shunemite woman’s story of 2 Kings 4:8-17 where verses 9 through 10 read: “And she said to her husband, “Behold now, I know that this is a holy man of God who is continually passing our way. Let us make a small room on the roof with walls and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp, so that whenever he comes to us, he can go in there.”(ESV)
Under the “Small Room Project” you can choose to either donate your money or donations in kind towards construction of a pastor’s house, or ask to build a house for our pastors in any district of your choice where we do not have a pastor’s house at the moment within our Conference. We shall be grateful.
Lastly, we also have a Global Mission Pioneers program. Global Mission Pioneers are volunteer lay members of our church who with a minimum training are willing to go into unentered area for a minimum period of say one year with the goal of planting churches in those places. We provide these volunteers with a little stipend for their living during the period they are undertaking a project. For details regarding their current stipend you may contact us from here .
Currently, we have 20 active Global Mission Pioneers who are in various centers in our target areas. Our goal is to recruit at least 100 such volunteers so that we can quicken the work in the unentered areas. The challenge is lack of adequate funds to sustain the ministry. You may wish to join us by adopting one or more Global Mission Pioneer whom you would be sponsoring for a period of one year or as long as you are able to afford. Or you can simply donate whatever amount you can afford to our Conference for this purpose and it will be used to recruit and or support a Global Mission Pioneer.
Called for a Purpose
Wherever you are and whoever you are, you can do something to enhance God’s agenda. Remember, God wants to use you and partner with you in His effort to achieve His agenda on earth. Will you be part of the team that seeks to achieve God’s agenda on earth? You are where you are because God has a special purpose for you. He needs you. He wants you to go out and act on His behalf just like He wanted and called upon Queen Esther in her time to act on His behalf. Will you?
Just as God through Mordecai reminded and warned Esther and said, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, [then] shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for [such] a time as this?” (Esther 4: 13-14) He equally asks you today, “Who knows you have come to the kingdom for a time like this…?” In other words, God has made you what you are for a purpose. He wants to use you in advancing His cause.
An Opportunity to Serve
Here is your opportunity to demonstrate your love for you God and His cause, the Church. You can participate. That is why I invite you passionately to Come over and run with an aim. All this is offered as part of our fulfillment of Total Member Involvement, an initiative initiated by our World Church at its General Conference session of 2015.You can find a comprehensive list of the current programs and or projects our Conference is promoting and or running here .
Called to Run on God’s Agenda
God is calling us all to pursue and achieve His agenda and what makes any person unique in the sight of God is nothing but running on His agenda. Running on God’s agenda is the safest thing we can ever do. Running on God’s agenda we never go wrong. It assures us of His accompaniment and never failing presence. Jesus said, “the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 9:29, KJV).
I strongly believe and passionately so that spreading the Gospel is still God’s agenda for our generation and our church and we all need to actively participate in one way or another. As a Conference leadership, we are determined to run on God’s agenda and we are determined to see the Gospel spread quickly in our territory and even beyond.
Called to Grow from Discipleship to Apostleship
More than just being called to become disciples of Jesus, God wants us to become His apostles to the dying world in sin. The Great Commission call is our Lord’s clarion call to move His followers from discipleship to apostleship, μαθητής (mathētēs) to ἀπόστολος (apostolos) which our Lord Jesus continues to make.
For a long time the church has placed its emphasis more on discipleship than apostleship and there is nothing wrong with that. However, something of value has also been lost or compromised in the process as a majority of Christians are content to remain disciples of Jesus as long as they have all the theological knowledge their seminaries and educational institutions can afford. They are nonchalant to risk their lives like the apostles did for the Master they profess to love by going out to share and witness the truth to the dying world. This has forestalled the growth of Christianity and Adventism in particular in many parts of the world, our region inclusive.
However, when you read the New Testament you may agree that the twelve disciples of Jesus were never disciples forever. They moved on from being disciples to apostles. There is a shift somewhere from being ordinary disciples to apostles. The book of Acts reveals this very distinctively.
A disciple “refers generally to any “student,” “pupil,” “apprentice,” or “adherent,” as opposed to a “teacher.””
An apostle on the other hand is someone, whether a disciple or other who has been sent on mission by somebody.
The term ἀπόστολος (apostolos) however, “while it carries the general sense of a messenger, “has a stronger sense than the word messenger, meaning one who is entrusted with a foreign mission, with the authority of a delegate. In the Greek version of the Old Testament it occurs once, in III Kings, 14:6 (cf. ibid., 12:24 [1 Kings]). The English translation is, of course, "I am sent to you . . .” (DR) or "I have been commissioned to give you . . . (NAB)”
I think apostles more than disciples is what Jesus wants us all to become. Discipleship is not an end in itself. It is only a means to an end. God wants you and me to go out and share the good news of salvation. He has delegated His authority to us and commissioned us to prepare the world for His soon return.
I challenge you therefore, today to come over and run with an aim; join us; run on God’s agenda and witness His will accomplished in you and through you and see His Kingdom come. Stand up for Jesus and take an active role in spreading His Kingdom. Will you do that? Thank you!