Adapted from Anglican Communion News Service
By the Rev. John Kafwanka
“In order to guarantee the survival of the Church of the next generation we need to teach our people how to evangelize and be able to articulate their faith in word and action. That requires training disciple makers to guarantee a multiplier effect,” said the Rt. Rev. Moon Hing Ng, Bishop of West Malaysia, in his welcoming message to the delegates of a Discipleship Seminar in Kuala Lumpur.
Bishop Moon Hing further highlighted the three things that he believes matter for the church’s relevance and wellbeing: evangelism, church-planting, and discipleship. He said no church could survive and be healthy enough to carry out its mission without them.
In 1989 Bishop Moon Hing embarked on a vision to train and release lay people for ministry in the diocese, and since 2009 the diocese has partnered with SaRang Church, a branch of the Presbyterian Church in South Korea, to train leaders in discipleship.
This discipleship seminar, “Invest to Invite the Next Generation of Disciple Makers,” taking place at the Council of Churches of Malaysia, is for clergy and laity who have been selected as pioneers in making disciples. The group of about 30 includes is mostly from the ecumenical family within Malaysia, plus one delegate from Hong Kong.
Bishop Moon Hing, an experienced missioner and church-planter, wants to develop a church full of Christians able to live out their faith in every sphere of life and influence as disciples of Jesus.
He said that Christians who have not been taught and trained in understanding what it means to be a disciple of Jesus see themselves as spectators instead of participants. “Because they have little to do,” he said, “they make themselves busy by complaining, criticizing, condemning and finding fault in everything.”
Through discipleship training, Bishop Moon Hing expects to see minds change. “When everyone is in the field and are busy, there is no time for complacency and complaining,” he said.
Bishop Moon Hing compared discipleship to a mango: “The fruit of a mango tree is not just a mango fruit, but another mango tree, and even better a plantation of mango trees.”
Image (from left): Pastor Isak You, Bishop Moon Hing, the Rev. John Kafwanka, and Pastor Sam Ko • Photo courtesy John Kafwana