Samoans Focus on Planting

Samoans Focus on Planting

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A dozen Assemblies of God Samoan pastors recently attended a Church Multiplication Network Launch training event in Springfield, Missouri, to ramp up efforts to reach more ethnic minorities in the U.S.

Teiano S. Mua, Northwest Samoan section presbyter in Seattle, felt inspired by CMN Director Chris Railey

“We want to be trained to take something back that will help us navigate planting healthy churches within our Samoan community,” says Mua, 56. “We want to capture the vision of Brother Railey and his group.”

The Samoan contingent consisted of six presbyters and six potential church planters.

“Increasingly, CMN events are growing in ethnic diversity,” says Scott Temple, director of the AG Office of Ethnic Relations. “These Samoan presbyters want to fully understand and support the work of church planters. The Samoan district has made an intentional determination to be more missions-minded than ever before.”

The AG Samoan District, first recognized as an official body by the U.S. Assemblies of God in 2014, is concentrated along the West Coast, as well as in Hawaii and Alaska. The language district has grown to 67 churches in the U.S., up from 46 in 2015.

Until recently, Samoan churches primarily targeted Samoan residents. That’s no longer the case.

“Our culture doesn’t try to just reach our own people,” says Mua, who also pastors Samoan Community Church of Seattle. “Churches that are healthy are reaching all lost souls for Christ.”

Alexander F. Ledoux, a Northern California section presbyter, agrees that a broader outreach is taking place among the broad people group known as Pacific Islanders.

“Our churches are changing,” says Ledoux, who pastors Samoan Christian Fellowship in Fairfield. “It’s no longer just Samoans, but people especially from Fiji and Tonga, and Guam and Palau as well. Children are marrying outside their nationality.”

Ledoux is encouraging Samoan churches to add English-language songs and sermons to complement those in the native tongue.

“If we don’t incorporate English into our services we’re going to lose our children,” says Ledoux, 57.

Ledoux is accustomed to responding to needs. The church started Mission Samoa, which initially helped the area’s homeless and poverty stricken find shelter and food. Mission Samoa has expanded to include vocational training, a soup kitchen, a food pantry, a suicide prevention program, and help for released prisoners to acclimate back into society.

“We always share the Word of God when we give food away,” says Alfred Ledoux, Alexander’s son and director of youth at Samoan Christian Fellowship. “People are broken, hurt, unemployed.”

The enthusiastic 31-year-old Alfred encourages young adults at the church to get involved in ministry.

“You don’t have to be 80 years old to be a deacon,” says Alfred, who became a credentialed AG minister in 2016.

Currently, over 43 percent of adherents in the U.S. AG are ethnic minorities. Temple expects the representation of nonwhite church planters to increase at future CMN events.

“One of the great strengths of the Assemblies of God is the burgeoning ethnic diversity in our churches,” Temple says.

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