Special Offerings Seeks to Help Overcome Shortage of Pastors in PNG

Unprecedented Adventist Church growth has brought unprecedented challenges, leaders said.

Juliana Muniz, Adventist Record, and Adventist Review
Special Offerings Seeks to Help Overcome Shortage of Pastors in PNG
The funds raised across the Southern Pacific Division will specifically support the urgent need for more trained ministers and other resources in Papua New Guinea, regional church leaders said. [Photo: Adventist Record]

An afternoon mission program held at the Tasmanian Conference camp meeting in Australia in January raised more than $A4,000 (US$2,600) in cash, plus many pledges for the 2024 Camp Mission Offering, which is dedicated this year to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Church Growth Crisis appeal.

“Many children ran around amongst the adults present, holding out their collection cups and irresistible smiles,” said Julian Archer, stewardship director of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SPD). “Some children had already been collecting money in their piggybanks at home or during their Sabbath School classes.”

With a AU$400,000 (US$260,000) goal, this year’s Camp Mission Offering — collected at camp meetings around Australia and New Zealand — will assist with the challenges caused by the exponential growth the Seventh-day Adventist Church is experiencing in PNG.

Driven by discipleship programs, house churches established during COVID-19 lockdowns, and small-group Bible studies, the unprecedented growth has led to an explosion of new church attendees and more than 6,000 new branch churches, causing a shortage of trained pastors, leaders, and resources for retaining new members.

Afi Tuaoi carries the offering wheelbarrow at the recent Tasmanian camp meeting in the Tasmanian Conference, Australia. [Photo: Adventist Record]

“And on top of all that, this year the church is running PNG for Christ 2024 — a series of evangelistic reaping campaigns running simultaneously nationwide in up to 2,000 venues,” Archer said.

The funds raised will support the urgent need for more trained pastors and leaders and essential resources for retaining new members and effectively managing the vast number of new church attendees.

“The Papua New Guinea church growth crisis is unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed,”  PNG Union Mission president Malachi Yani said. “We’re asking church members in Australia and New Zealand to please donate whatever you can to support this work. Your donations will be used here on the frontlines of mission to win and keep souls for God’s kingdom.”

Australian Union Conference stewardship director Lyndelle Peterson also encouraged members to give “not just because of the need but also because of the blessings of being a part of God’s worldwide mission.”

Papua New Guinea for Christ

PNG for Christ, dubbed “A mission experience of a lifetime,” is an evangelistic campaign set to take place in PNG in late April and May. Leaders have called PNG for Christ “a unique opportunity to bring people closer to Jesus.” Several leaders from the Adventist Church’s General Conference (GC) and other world church divisions are expected to participate as venue speakers, leaders said, including GC president Ted N. C. Wilson.

For two weeks, from April 26 to May 12, nightly meetings will be conducted to engage and inspire individuals in their spiritual journey, regional church leaders reported.

“Our primary goal is to bring people to the Lord — that is what PNG for Christ is all about,” Gary Webster, director of the Institute of Public Evangelism at the SPD, said. “We need at least three hundred preachers from across Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands. It’s going to be an extraordinary and uplifting experience, and I would encourage anyone interested to embrace this opportunity.”

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.

Juliana Muniz, Adventist Record, and Adventist Review