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Retention Topic at the TAC Theological Forum
June 12, 2017

 During the first-ever theological forum organized by Taiwan Adventist College (TAC) from April 25 to 26, 2017, retention and reclamation was one of the presented topics. TAC chose “From New Testament Church Growth to 21st Century Urban Ministry” as the theme of the forum. The inclusion of retention and reclamation in the forum sends a message that church growth is not just about adding members but also about retaining the current members and reclaiming the missing ones.

In his presentation, Pastor Richard Sabuin, director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries (SS/PM) of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), emphasized that the book of Acts of the Apostles does not simply talk about the increase of the disciples of Christ. It also talks about the importance of keeping the flock to remain true to the truth. For example, to the elders of the Ephesian church, Paul says: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock” (Acts 20:28, 29). After Paul worked for about three years in Ephesus, the church grew. He wanted to make sure that the church would keep all the members to remain in the church.

Another example, after Paul’s missionary journey to South Galatian churches, he urges Barnabas: “Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing” (Acts 15:36). Visitation is one way to strengthen the new members to remain faithful to the Lord. Also, when the church in Antioch was growing, the leaders in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch. In there, Barnabas “encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:23).

Other aspects of church growth were also presented at the forum. Dr. Ron Clouzet, Dr. Michael Campbell, and Dr. Terry Tsui presented topics, such as “Growth Factors in the Book of Acts,” “Ellen White and Urban Evangelism,” and “Leadership and Church Growth.” About 40 TAC students and faculty attended the forum. We congratulate Dr. Chen, TAC president, and her administrative team for initiating this program.

Richard Sabuin, NSD SS/PM Director