South Pacific Division youth director Nick Kross speaks to children at a Seventh-day Adventist school on the Cook Islands. [Photo: Adventist Record]

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Cook Islands Adventist Youth Envision Their ‘Ideal Church’

Young members open up about what they like and dislike about their congregations.

Young Seventh-day Adventists in the Cook Islands recently had an opportunity to envision what their “ideal church” would look like. They said it would be a place where members are happy and loving, work together, and have strong relationships with Christ. Everyone would be accepted, regardless of what they wear or how they look. It would be a growing, active, and praying church.

Young church members in the Cook Islands shared their ideas with South Pacific Division (SPD) youth director Nick Kross, who recently visited that island nation to conduct discipleship and youth leadership training at Rarotonga and Aitutaki.

  • Children sing a welcoming song at a Seventh-day Adventist school in the Cook Islands. [Photo: Adventist Record]

  • Young people in the Cook Islands discuss what their ideal church would look like. [Photo: Adventist Record]

  • Church members in the Cook Islands were introduced to the Discovery Bible Reading method, which fosters Bible reading and has been successful in other island nations across the South Pacific region. [Photo: Adventist Record]

While meeting with the youth, Kross sought feedback on a series of questions, including “How does a young person in the Cook Islands grow spiritually?” and “What are the barriers to this growth?” He compiled the responses into a report and shared the findings with the wider church community during a Sabbath (Saturday) regional meeting in Rarotonga.

Make Worship Less Predictable

“One of the things that came through in the research was that the youth programs are very traditional; they are the same every Sabbath,” Kross said.

“Young people said it would be fun if something in the worship program were different from week to week. So we talked about how they could make worship less predictable. We gave them several suggestions,” Kross said.

Seventh-day Adventist leaders in the Cook Islands have recently identified youth as one of their three key foci, alongside healthy churches and the training and mobilization of church members.

“They are a beautiful group of Adventists in the Cook Islands,” Kross said. “One of their biggest needs is for Bible workers, as the pastors are based in Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The other islands have elders looking after the churches.”

Kross introduced the Discovery Bible Reading method to church members and visited Adventist schools. At the school in Rarotonga he ran a Week of Prayer, which led to nine students making decisions for Bible studies and baptism.

Four Adventist churches and two companies meet in Rarotonga and three churches in Aitutaki, along with several groups meeting in the outlying islands.


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