Papua New Guinea: District Superintendents and Clergies from 17 districts, together with the Heads of Nazarene College of Nursing, Melanesia Nazarene Bible College, and Melanesia Nazarene Teachers’ College, held their second Leadership Conference on 19-23 September 2023 with the theme “Do not forsake your first love,” found in Revelation 2:4.
The emphasis of this gathering revolved around staying in love with their first love and being the vessel of God’s love for their neighbors. This emphasis also manifested through all the sessions during the event. The first session contextualized six different leadership styles to PNG’s context. Even if there are different styles, they must remain connected to the proper leadership and guidance of the Holy Spirit regardless of culture and experience. Church growth and maturity in spiritual growth are associated with the discipleship ministry, where the speaker highlighted the Emmaus Model linked to the context, culture, character, and content of the spiritual formation.
Rev. Kafoa Muaror, the Field Strategy Coordinator for MSP, highlighted the way forward for PNG churches, given the majority of them cast their Districts’ Vision, Mission, Objective, Strategies, and Tactics (VMOST) from 2021-2025. This year is the midterm review and the year to restrategize to ensure they achieve their goals by 2025.
One of the fundamental capacities needed for the Melanesia-South Pacific Field is financial accountability and reporting from the institutions down the district and church levels. The leaders were reminded of their roles and duties in the Church District Advisory Board, with some of the board’s best practices and how to chair meetings. Again, abide by the regulations and procedures in the Manual.
Amongst the clergies and DS who presented their sessions and held devotions, the highlights were when a medical practitioner, Dr. Ben Radcliff, interpreted the English-speaking presenters into Tok Pisin, the commonly spoken and understood language in PNG. It was accurate and relevant as most participants are PNG locals. He was given the topic of “Sabbatical and Burnout,” which he did a good sermon on connecting to Luke 10:38-42, about the story of Martha, Mary, and Jesus. “Jesus longs for our attention and affection. He desires us to stay connected to Him” -Dr. Radcliff said. “We cannot lead if empty or disconnected from the source. We can be so busy and preoccupied and realize we achieve nothing at the end of the day as we become too tired or burnt out to achieve anything,” he added.
Rev. DS Peter Kui of Bromley District led the morning devotion. He shared Galatians 2:11-15 about when Paul openly rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy through confrontation. Apostle Peter, being a senior, humbles himself and accepts the criticism and correction from Paul, a newcomer. The leaders were reminded to do what Peter also did: to be humble and accept corrections. They were also challenged not to focus on other’s weaknesses and failures but to work on the areas of their lives that need spiritual healing and growth.
Rev. Kafoa Muaror put it this way, “Let’s be honest in our service for the Lord and take time to correct one another when appropriate. We all needed this. Especially as we rely on others like the laity for their skills and support. Therefore, segregation of duties must be maintained between the leaders and the finance personnel. To protect ourselves and maintain integrity as clergy and a servant of God”.
Group discussion and personal interviews on the six leadership principles indicated that more awareness of these leadership styles is needed. According to the leaders, they use two or three leadership principles in their daily operations, but not all, as the context is a church setting, and the manual guides most of the operations of the Church of the Nazarene. Yet some leadership traits come naturally and are applicable in any given situation, depending on the context and timing. Nonetheless, it was an eye-opener for most of the participants, and they hoped that these trainings be provided as an orientation for new leaders and/or a refresher course for older leaders. onducted as orientation and or refresher course.