Regional Discipleship Coordinator's Report (October, 2018)
Friends of this Regional Advisory Council of the Asia-Pacific Region, Church of the Nazarene, I greet you… ”Grace and peace to you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank God every time I remember you. I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” I really do mean those words from Paul to you today.
I am indebted to my regional family for your prayers and friendships. I am extremely blessed! I thank each of you for your prayers as we have journeyed together.
I bring my 2nd annual report as the discipleship coordinator of this great region. As I prepare for this report, I am reminded that the purpose for reporting at this annual meeting each year is to hold myself accountable to the mission of God’s kingdom, as well as to celebrate His presence and movement, in making Christlike disciples, in our region, fields, districts, churches and communities.
Over the past year I’ve traveled South Africa in February and the Philippines in May, for attending the global SDMI council meeting in February and the regional SDMI council meeting in May. I have been blessed by those gatherings with global leaders and regional leaders of SDMI. Through these privileges, my love for our denomination and my passion for making Christlike disciples in the nations grow and grow.
It was my first time attending the global SDMI council meeting. (The next council meeting will be held in South Korea in December this year. I had to accept the request of hosting the meeting since the Asia-Pacific region is the only region that has not hosted the global SDMI council in the previous years, according to the council members.) I heard many good works and learned from the other regional discipleship coordinators and it very quickly became clear to me that the task before me was far greater than my talent, intellect, or ability. You are well aware that, geographically, the Asia-Pacific Region is spread over nations, southward from Japan's northernmost island to New Zealand's southernmost island, and eastward from Myanmar's western border to Samoa, the Cook islands and Tahiti. Asia-Pacific Region is home to 40% of earth's people. Much of the region lies within the "10/40 Window" that encompasses many of earth's un-evangelized and under-evangelized people groups. Within the region are earth's most populous nation, its most Muslim nation, and its most Buddhist nation.
I have been praying to God for granting me the wisdom and strength from the Heaven so that I can carry the great responsibility as the regional discipleship coordinator, on this immense and diverse region. God answers my prayer as He prepared great and unsearchable things I did not know. God prepared those who have wisdom and strength! I am very thankful for our FSCs to choose the awesome members of regional discipleship council from their field. They have a heart for God and discipleship. I thank God for them and their dedication to the field and the region. They have been a blessing to me.
Our Regional Discipleship council, a very talented and resourceful group, includes the following:
• Mrs. Aggie Muaror from Fiji (MSP Field)
• Dr. Dick Eugenio from the Philippines (PHM Field)
• Rev. Jubilee Thanga from Myanmar (SEA Field)
• Rev. Jun Kadota from Japan (Japan National District)
• Dr. R. (Creative access Field)
• Rev. Natanael Harinoto from Indonesia (Sealands Field)
• Dr. Rob Fringer from Australia (ANZ Field)
It has been a distinct privilege to work with these members, the best on any region I am confident.
With these members, we had our very first council meeting in May 2, 3 and 4, 2018, on the campus of Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary, Philippines. The goal of the meeting was to enable the field discipleship coordinators to understand the objects of the SDMI and their responsibility to fulfill them, and to set goals on the region to make Christlike disciples of children, youth and adults through various means. I was looking forward to seeing the outcomes at the end of the council meeting that (1) the field discipleship coordinators will be better equipped to support district and local church endeavours to intentionally make Christlike disciples through viable, effective and sustainable SDMI by providing advice, guidance, training and encouragement as needed, that (2) the field discipleship coordinators will be inspiring districts to strive for each local church to have viable, effective and sustainable SDMI, that (3) the field discipleship coordinators will communicate each other as a team to find better ways to make Christlike disciples in our regional context, and that (4) the field discipleship coordinators will begin the process of building discipleship system for our region and of producing / adapting resources into the system.
Thankfully, after the first regional council meeting, the field discipleship coordinators began to work diligently. Followings are God working through us:
(1) Rev. Jubilee Thanga, SEA Field Discipleship Coordinator, facilitated workshops for training SDMI leaders in Northern Thailand district in May, and in Thailand district in June.
(2) Mrs. Aggie Muaror, Melanesia & South Pacific Field Discipleship Coordinator, traveled to Solomon Island in June, as she was invited to speak at the annual women's conference and she used that opportunity to introduce discipleship ministry.
(3) Dr. Dick Eugenio, Philippines & Micronesia Field Discipleship Coordinator, organized Discipleship Summit in order to equip Nazarenes to be disciple-makers in their schools, office and work places, and among their neighbors, The first Nazarene Discipleship Summit was held at Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary on 16 June 2018. The Summit invited delegates from three districts: Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, and Bicol. There were 346 who pre-registered, but because of the bad weather on the day of the Summit, only 278 delegates were present. The emphasis of the Summit was on starting small groups.
Because of the success of the Summit in June, Discipleship Summits in the remaining 8 districts in the Philippines are being organized. Currently, four other Summits are already scheduled in the Visayas islands in October, 2018.
(4) Dr. Rob Fringer, Australia & New Zealand Field Discipleship Coordinator, has worked to bring the various district SDMI presidents together. They have met by video 5 times to discuss ideas, strategies, and struggles, and to find ways to collaborate. These conversations led to begin sharing resources and ideas, and they are in the initial stages of a proposal to create a database of video teaching resources. Personally, Rob has been overseeing a discipleship writing project through Global Nazarene Publications called the Frameworks for Lay Leadership Series. They are currently publishing the 5th volume with only 1 additional volume to be completed. These books will be a resource for discipleship and training lay leaders in the ANZ Field, the AP Region, and hopefully in other Regions.
To God be the glory!
Let’s continue now to look to the future!
1. Building the regional disciple-making system
When I was appointed as the regional discipleship coordinator, my priority was to organize the regional discipleship council and to build the regional disciple-making system. Since the regional discipleship council is organized, my focus moves to the building of the disciple-making system.
Our mission is to make Christlike disciples in the nations. Many times we've heard of this denominational mission statement. It’s our identity not just a slogan, it is a lifestyle. That’s easier said than done, however, because we do not know what and how. What are the Christlike disciples? How can we make the Christike disciples in our community? These questions have led me to think of the building and providing the basic Biblical disciple-making system which can be developed by local churches in their own context.
The first step for it was to creat a sub-committee, for drafting up a system. which will meet from Oct. 22 to 24 in South Korea. The sub-committee members are one theologian and one Biblical scholar among the council members. Dr. Dick Eugenio and Dr. Rob Fringer will meet with me to creat on drafts which will be submitted and evaluated on the next regional discipleship council meeting which will be held in May, 2019. The evaluated draft will be reported to RD and then presented to the participants of the Regional Conference scheduled in October, 2019 and, after applying the comments and thoughts suggested by the participants into the system, it will be finalized.
2. Devotional Book for LENT, 2019
40 days of Lent are very appropriate times for meditating Jesus. The stories among our people in the region can help our people to focus on Jesus during Lent. 5 stories each from 8 areas/fields on our region will be collected and edited by the general editor, Dr. Sherry Shmidt. It can be done by November 30. Special thanks goes to the field discipleship coordinators who have collected stories and Dr. Sherry Shmidt. There will be a story, a short reflection, and a prayer focus for the particular field where the story came from, for each day.
The Lent meditation book, "Following Jesus to the Cross" will be printed or the stories will be uploaded on website for our Nazarene family.
3. Yearly SDMI Award
Sometimes recognition is needed to encourage disciple makers. The Achievement Award is for an increase in discipleship ministries and that award goes to only one of districts on each field. Each field can select the criteria for presenting an award to one district for their work in discipleship ministry. Specific emphasis for each year are set: children for year 1, youth for year 2, adults for year 3 and overall for year 4.
We need to develop materials, relevant to our context, that can be used in local churches. Furthermore, they need to be shared among us. For this reason, the website, www.vision441.org. is created. So far, the site already has several good lession series, mostly uploaded by Dr. Dick Eugenio. It can be a tool of sharing our resources available in our ministry fields.
5. Bible quizzing ministry
Bible Quizzing is about "guiding our youth and children into God's Word and the Word into their lives."
The Bible quizzing program launched as a ministry of the Church of the Nazarene during the 1964 General Nazarene Youth People’s Convention. The quizzing ministry is a unique and exciting ministry for youth and children that combines Bible study, mentoring, competition, fellowship, discipleship, and mission. Merging all of these elements into a program attractive to teenagers and children, quizzing has become a successful, worthwhile, and worldwide ministry. I believe that the quizzing ministry is one of the best tools for discipling our next generation, so it is highly recommended to introduce this ministry in our region to make our next generation Christlike disciples.
It is Deuteronomy 31:12-13 saying "Assemble the people--men, women and children, and the aliens (strangers) living in your towns--so they can listen and learn to fear the LORD your God and follow carefully all the words of this law.
Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the LORD your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess." (NIV)
Moses instructed his leaders to assemble the people, teach the Word of God, and pass it on to others, strangers and the children. He told them to do something!
We do not have time to sit around and hope. We must be busy praying and believing God's best for our region, and doing a new and miraculous work this year, something that when we look back on it we have to say with joyous heart - only God could have done that in our region.
Someone once said “The enemy of ‘the best’ is not ‘the worst.’ The enemy of ‘the best’ is ‘just fine.’” Too many times we accept just fine as good enough. Discipleship ministry should be much more than just fine or good enough. Discipleship ministry should be the channel God uses to reach the souls of His people, strangers and their children, to make them Christlike disciples who make Christlike disciples.
I am thinking of the butterfly effect theory, while I am writing this report, which is the idea that small causes may have large effects in general. We are doing something small here and now but, I believe, God will make it large effects, greater than what we thought.
Every Church does need the discipleship ministries to influence the members. It is a contagious movement - if one person is committed to growing as close to Jesus as possible, others will be infected, and if a church is transformed, the community will be changed.
I have been captivated by Dr. Martin Luther King's use of the phrase “I Have a Dream.”
So, I borrow from that speech today and close my report with the phrase.
I HAVE A DREAM…that someday, during my tenure as regional discipleship coordinator, the Asia-Pacific Region will embrace the power of the Holy Spirit and His ability to make us true disciple makers.
Words of gratitude and praise to our gracious Heavenly Father and to you are not adequate to share what is in my heart for you.
I am His servant and yours.
Rev. JOHN EUN YUP KIM
Regional Discipleship Coordinator
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