I'm not surprised at the numbers dropping. There are several reasons - one - the emergence of numerous American style new churches with upbeat music and use of technology. The message is probably the same but if a dozen youth join, their friends tend to go also, and eventually there is a lot of young people in the new church. The Methodists don't even have a website to inform people of worship times, programs, news, social justice issues (if that's allowed) photos. Certainly one photo in Fijilive today of the delegates in Centenary Church today seems to have very few youth and very few women. There needs to be an excitement about the church, a celebration, the relevance of being a Christian in the Fiji of today... and not too much talk about leaders and....money!
The hottest topic on day one of the 3-day Methodist Church Conference today was decline in membership particularly in youths. Reverend Abel Nand from Ba Methodist told FijiLive, compared to 2011 with 201, 884 members, the number has dropped this year to 197,226. “A decrease of 4656 has been recorded and accumulating the number is the Methodists youths,” Rev Nand said. He said living in the 21st century where technology plays a major role in people’s lives, the Methodist Church of Fiji need to make changes to be able to relate better to their youth members. “This is the 21st century and everything associated in this era is with technology and every youth has a lifestyle that has been derived from westernisation, that is how the new Methodist is functioning,” Rev Nand said. “Things need to change in the Methodist Church after 20 years because the young people in this era are not only the leaders of tomorrow but the citizens of today.” Today's meeting continues till 8pm.Tomorrow, the church is expected to decide on the new levies to be paid by members, the pending appointments as well as their submission to the Constitution Commission. By Indrani Krishna
Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2012/08/membership-drop-concerns-methodists/47238.Fijilive
Copyright 2012 © Fijilive.com
And Rev Tevita will be the new Secretary, up from being Assistant and that's good news.
And the Assistant Secretary is the head of Davuilevu Theological College which is a plus.
Reverend Doctor Eperneri Vakadewavosa was this afternoon elected the new assistant general secretary of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma. The prinicipal of the Methodist Theological College in Davuilevu steps into the role of Rev Tevita Nawadra for a period of one year. The electoral process went into the third round as none of the 4 nominees were able to get majority votes, more than 51%. Rev Vakadewasosa said it was important ministers were well versed and educated on the gospel because their congregations were also well educated. He also added that educated ministers would provide a strong sense of leadership and guidance in the face of changes. Meanwhile, the election for the vice president's position will be held later this evening. The annual conference of the Methodist Church is currently in its second day in Suva. By Indrani Krishna
Read more at: http://www.fijilive.com/news/2012/08/vakadewavosa-is-new-asst-gen-secretary/47265.Fijilive
Copyright 2012 © Fijilive.com
And here's a piece from the Fiji Times and the last three points seem to me to be quite relevant.