It is a step forward as the church tries to meet the needs of new members, leaders say.
A group of 54 pastors were ordained this past week in Rwanda following a national three-day ministerial convention held in the city of Nyamata.
After the baptism of more than 100,000 new members last year, one of the challenges the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rwanda has faced is a lack of ordained ministers to carry out the mission and take care of new members.
On June 3, thousands of church members gathered from across the region under white tents to witness the unprecedented event. Pastoral couples in their Sabbath best marched down a carpeted aisle for this very special occasion.
“It was a grand celebration!” said Blasious Ruguri, president of the Adventist Church in the East-Central Africa church region and keynote speaker for the event. “God has provided an answer to the challenges in Rwanda at the right time.” He added that “the ordination was another testimony of the incredible church growth of the church in Rwanda.”
Family members attend the ordination of newly-ordained pastors in Rwanda. [Photo: East-Central Africa Division]
One of the 54 newly-ordained pastors, right, shows his ordination certificate as he greets Blasiours Ruguri, president of the Adventist Church in the East-Central Africa Division, a church region that includes Rwanda. [Photo: East-Central Africa Division]
Ruguri charged the newly ordained ministers to follow the steps of Jesus and the example of the apostles as they work to fulfill the mission of the church. He reminded the pastors’ wives that they have now become mothers twice—first, of their children; and second, of all the children in the church.
Ruguri also addressed ministerial couples. “Ministry is not a shortcut to wealth but a gateway to servanthood and selfless service for the Savior,” he said.
Alain Coralie, executive secretary of the Adventist Church in the East-Central Africa church region, highlighted the importance of prayer for ministers. “The best gift ordained ministers need nowadays is genuine prayer,” he said, as he prayed for their success in mission and the power of the Holy Spirit to assist them in their service.
Many of the 54 ordained ministers were veterans who have served the church for many years and baptized thousands of people. Church members expressed their appreciation for their service as ministers came forward to be ordained.
President of the Adventist Church in Rwanda Hesron Byilingiro also showed his joy. “We are happy and thankful for the dynamic growth of the church in the country,” he said.
The ordination ceremony capped three days of a ministerial convention, which brought together more than 400 pastors and church leaders to be equipped and trained for excellence in ministry.
Church leaders said most of the pastors had been so busy energizing and reviving church members that they never had their time to discuss the various missional challenges in their territory. Participants shared they were excited and grateful for the opportunity of sharing their experiences with other pastors, build fellowship, and find common solutions.
As part of the event, Coralie gave a special presentation on prayer ministry. “There are many Adventists who read the word and teach it, but they don’t pray enough,” he said. “As a result, they can’t witness God’s miracles.”
There are more than 800,000 Seventh-day Adventist members in Rwanda, in a country with a population of over 12,000,000.