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KUC Discipleship Training: Five Steps of Evangelism
December 16, 2019

 “Discipleship in the last days must reflect the unique mission and message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This message, entrusted by God to His remnant church and firmly established in the Bible, is the foundation of faith and practice for end-time disciples.” This is a statement made by Jim Howard in one of his lectures at the discipleship training organized by the Korean Union Conference (KUC) from July 9 to 11, 2019. There is a need to emphasize Christ-like living in the aspects of baptism, Sabbath-keeping, healthy lifestyle, stewardship, reverence, modesty, marriage and family, and in dealing with entertainment.

Jim Howard is associate director of the Sabbath School and Personal Ministries (SS/PM) department of the General Conference. He is the main contributor or author of the Discipleship Handbook, recently published for discipleship programs in local churches. Introducing the agricultural concept for evangelism, he pointed out that each of the steps of growth should take place sequentially: 1) soil preparation, 2) seed planting, 3) cultivating, 4) harvesting, 5) preserving. In most cases, many local churches have been good in seed planting and harvesting, but more intentional and strategic efforts should be made for preparing the soil, cultivating the plant, and preserving the harvest.

In fact, if there is one growth aspect that everyone should pay the most attention, it is the stage of cultivating. Practically, this refers to involvement of church members in giving Bible studies to those who are interested in studying the Bible. In fact, this is the bottleneck of evangelism because there are so many harvests, but there are only a few workers. Therefore, there is a need to do more training on how to give Bible studies.

Good cultivating will result in a great harvest and high retention rate of new members. There should not be a shortcut way in evangelism. The discipleship training held in Madalpi Youth Training Center, Korea, was attended by 120 pastors from all the local conferences in KUC. In addition to the five lectures presented by Pastor Howard, Pastor Richard Sabuin, NSD SS/PM director, also presented three lectures on strengthening the Sabbath School program, operating effective small group ministries, and making good preparation for baptism.

At the end of the training, participants learned about the guiding principles of discipleship: 1) The instruments of discipleship are people; 2) The goal of discipleship is Christlikeness; 3) The power of discipleship is from God; and 4) The process of discipleship is the growth cycle. These four principles are elaborated in the Discipleship Handbook, which covers 26 lessons used in discipleship programs in local churches.

Pastor Lee ByungJu, KUC SS/PM director, as the main coordinator of this training, has plans to conduct a similar training next year. Discipleship training like this one is very important. Everyone is to understand that the purpose of evangelism is not simply to produce church members, but to produce active Christ-like disciples.

News Article by Dr. Richard Sabuin, NSD SS/PM Director