On 20th and 21st October 2023, Manchester hosted the Lay Evangelist Training weekend with guest speaker Dr Kayle De-Waal of the Trans-European Division. Dr De-Waal serves as a director focusing on education, disciple-making, and prayer ministry.
The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to bring the love of God to those who have not yet encountered it. Taking inspiration from the disciples and apostles, who preached the gospel and impacted their communities, this training weekend aimed to equip the attendees for this very purpose.
The weekend started on Friday evening with the program discussing the need for a radical return to the methods and practices of Jesus. The sessions were organised into thematic topics, one of which was 'Becoming a Disciple Maker: A Kingdom Paradigm.' During one session, Dr De-Waal challenged the attendees to question why, despite their religious convictions, we often fail to disciple our own communities.
Interactive sessions allowed attendees to exchange ideas and current outreach efforts, both within churches and their broader communities. Dr De-Waal shed light on the British Union Conference's evangelistic strategy, 'Reflecting Hope,' which he broke down into three steps: Following Jesus, Making Disciples, and Fishing for Others.
Dr De-Waal's sermon centred on the story of blind Bartimaeus, highlighting the necessity for a deep-rooted desire for Jesus as we go forth and disciple others. "Disciple-making is about investing in others through prayer, engagement, support, and equipping," he noted.
One key takeaway was the acronym BELLS—Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, Send—as a guide for fostering growth within discipleship groups and, eventually, within the communities we serve.
Titus Iudean launched the final day with a lesson summary, emphasising that God's love and transformative power compel us to share His message. "The gospel isn't about getting into heaven but about heaven getting into us," remarked one attendee, capturing the essence of the discussion. The weekend concluded on a high note, urging attendees to reflect on Jesus' mission as one of 'sentness' (being sent). As stated in John 20:21, "As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you."