Over sixty trained and graduated as disciples for Christ in EJC
Written by: Phillip E. L. Castell, Director, Communication, Public Affairs & Religious Liberty | Friday, May 25, 2018
Over sixty students graduated from the Hope in Christ Bible School & EJC School of Evangelism Class of 2018 after successfully completing the prescribed course of study which prepared them for discipleship and to be more effective workers in the Kingdom of God.
The graduation ceremony was held under the theme “Transformed for Mission: Ready to Serve” and saw Dr. Joseph Smith, Special Assistant to the President for Leadership Development and Training being the keynote speaker for the event which was held at the Half-Way Tree SDA Church on May 19, 2018.
The students were taught in four subject areas which covered (1) General principles of Bible Study, (2) Bible Counselling (3) Sabbath School Leadership and Discipleship and (4) Lay Evangelistic Peaching. The classes were held twice per week and lasted for three months.
In giving the genesis of the Hope in Christ Bible School program, Pastor Cunningham, Special Assistant to the President for Leadership Development and Training in EJC, said a burden was placed on his heart a few months ago to come to the Half Way Tree Church to share what was being done at the Conference in evangelism in a local setting.
He said that both the Half-Way Tree and Kencot District of Churches were invited to come together to join in the preparation, training and involvement in the evangelistic field work that was necessary to run a four week campaign.
Pastor Cunningham, who has been acting as principal for the EJC
School of Evangelism since its inception in 2011, also said that working in the field during the campaign was part of the practicum for the students who were taught in Bible studies and Bible counselling.
“One of the things we have tried to do in the training is to ground these folks in understanding that what we believe and teach as Seventh-day Adventists is not cult, its not just a church that came up with some doctrines. Every student had to do what we call a Bible chart which establishes the six fundamental doctrines of scripture,” Cunningham said.
“They learnt that the Bible is grounded in God, the study of God, the study of man, the study of salvation, the study of the church and of the Christian Life and of eschatology. Within the framework of that comes the twenty eight fundamental beliefs which also emerge from scripture also under those six pillars.”
According to Cunningham, the students are now experts on what they have been taught and they can now go back to their churches and teach people how to understand the Bible.
In his address to the graduates and the church, Pastor Joseph Smith said the SDA church has been focusing on the need for transformation because “we have come to discover that our greatest need is not for money, but for the need of transformation.”
“We must spend time in the Word, in fasting and prayer,” Smith said in his keynote address. “You must be transformed if you are to be effective in these last days,” said Pastor Smith.
He commended the students for taking the time and showing the interest and willingness to stay and be taught in the Word of God.
Turning to the preachers in the group the man of God gave them good advice when he said “spend time on your knees and you will be able to stand before any man.”
Pastor Joseph Smith, who has always had a passion for souls and the preaching of the Gospel said he was pleased with the fact that this batch of students were engaged in soul winning and was involved in the Hope in Christ Gospel campaign as part of their training and that 30 persons were baptized from that effort.
The veteran preacher lamented that at the recent Mid-Year meetings, it was disclosed that the figures reveal that we are declining in the number of persons we are leading to Jesus in the SDA Church. “Somewhere along the line, some of our churches have forgotten why we exist,” Smith complained.
He encouraged every member of the church to be involved in the mission of the church and said “the greatest undertaking that you will be involved in is to play a part in the salvation of someone.”
Smith encouraged the graduates to go forward into the communities and never stop marching until every street in Kingston have heard
Valedictorian for the group, Ms. Shavenie Dillon said the students had no idea what they were getting into when they started the course but decided to stick it out even after they discovered the magnitude of the courses.
“God bless Pastor Cunningham and his team for guiding us along this journey. The information as well as the practical skills will remain with us as we continue to do the Master’s business.”
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