A. Our Challenge
Seventh-day Adventists believe the focus of the church's mission is the same today that it has always been: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:19,20) While we should engage in numerous activities as we respond to human need as Jesus did, our principal task is to "make disciples." In the secular culture of post-modern Britain, our challenge is to use every possible means - both traditional and innovative - to meet people where they are with the good news about Jesus.
B. Our Rationale
According to I Corinthians 12:27, "you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." The church is not primarily a building, an institution or an organisation, but a fellowship of Christians living in inter-dependent community with each other and with Jesus. Consequently our effectiveness in making disciples as a church is related to the spiritual health and involvement of every member according to the spiritual gifts given to him or her for ministry. As Jesus prayed: "May they be one, that the world may believe..." (John 17:21) The commission Jesus gave to the church is therefore given to every believer. In summary:
1. Every believer is a minister. "'Laity' is a word derived from the Greek word for 'people' and it means all the people of God. It is a term of incredible honour. In Christ all the laity become ministering persons. The laity are the ministers. They are the means by which Jesus continues to minister in the world in the power of the Spirit." Paul Stevens
2. Every true disciple is a disciple-maker "In the trust given to the first disciples, believers in every age have shared. Every one who has received the Gospel has been given sacred truth to impart to the world. God's faithful people have always been aggressive missionaries, consecrating their resources to the honour of His name, and wisely using their talents in His service." (Acts of the Apostles, page 109)
3. Discipleship includes a life-long process of personal growth. As disciples of Christ, we are apprentices - and the discipleship journey of learning, changing and growing lasts a lifetime. An important part of "personal ministries" therefore is that we help one another and the church as a body to grow (1 Thessalonians 5:11,1 Corinthians 14:12, 26). Edification (building up) is as much a part of discipleship as evangelism.
C. Our Function
The department of "Personal Ministries" in the local church exists to encourage and empower its lay members to respond to the Gospel commission within their local church and community. The department exists at the BUC to co-operate with it's Conference and Mission leaders to:
1. identify and develop resources and training events that will assist pastors to "build up" the local church and develop each congregation into a Biblically authentic community
2. assist pastors in training, equipping and resourcing every member in soul-winning service for God
3. encourage local congregations to serve their communities in practical ways, and to promote and organise, in partnership with ADRA, the annual Ingathering campaign for the relief of human suffering abroad