Our international team flew to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG) to meet up with Joshua Harber (GTP country representative in PNG) with two aims in view. Firstly, do GTP events in PNG to talk about ministry accountability in collaboration with CMASC (Australia), CCTA (Philippines), and ICCSA (Indonesia). We report on the impact of these events below.
Secondly, we (Joshua, Naomi, Anjji, and Steve) met together as a team to discern the next steps for PNG and if appropriate, to begin the initial steps to form a peer accountability group (PAG) in the country. This would require God to move in hearts to stir interest and a willingness to serve to set up standards for churches and ministries in PNG. Read on to see what transpired.
Talking about Ministry Accountability
We held a “Ministry Accountability in PNG” event on 16 June 2022, Thursday at the Port Moresby Hilton attended by 53 invited guests. Anjji offered a biblical perspective that prompted rich discussion. Steve explained what a PAG is, and how it can build trust and honour God. Naomi concluded by sharing her story about setting up a PAG in Indonesia to reverse the trend of corruption.
The audience engaged with the topics in discussion. Their comments demonstrated deep and passionate interest. They communicated that accountability, transparency, and good governance were needed in churches and ministries in PNG. It seemed evident to all that the time was ripe to explore forming a PAG for PNG. But who would lead the charge?
We gave each attendee a comment card on which we asked them to nominate people to serve on a working committee to take the next steps to form a PAG and report back to the wider group. The response encouraged us.
On 17 June 2022, Joshua arranged for Anjji, Naomi, and Steve to meet with the Christian Professional Network (CPN) at a lunch seminar and speak on the topic, “Stewardship – Ministry versus Business.” We had lively conversations with attendees and the CPN board members. Some had attended the ministry accountability event and others had heard about it and were on fire with the need to form a PAG.
Discerning Next Steps for PNG
After the Thursday event, we prayed and invited six people nominated on comment cards, brothers and sisters in Christ who serve as lawyers, accountants, networkers, and business people, to dinner on Friday, 17 June 2022. God knit our hearts together over dinner. We had shared and discussed many questions and answers related to forming a PAG in their PNG local context. In the end, these six each raised their hands to commit to forming a working committee to steer the formation of a PAG for PNG. Praise the Lord!
After more discussion with the working committee and at the suggestion of a prominent PNG giver whom we had met, Joshua, Anjji, and a working committee member met with the Secretary of the PNG Council of Churches on 19 June 2022 for lunch. He was unable to attend the Thursday event, so we shared about it and he agreed to join the working committee. God added a key addition to the working committee, as he has very strong connections with the established church denominations in PNG.
Starting a PAG in PNG
It is difficult to capture in words the mood and enthusiasm of those we met. We didn’t know what to expect for the main event on Thursday. As the doors opened, the room filled with people with hearts shredded in pieces by the effect of the lack of accountability in the Christian community, and the dark shadow of corruption cast over the country that has grieved Christians for so long.
But the doors to their hearts weren’t shut. As soon as Joshua opened the event and the presentations from Anjji, Naomi, and Steve were shared with the group, we were amazed to witness the hunger for transformation. We saw painful smiles turn into gleaming eyes. Our global stories and the word of God gave them renewed hope and a hunger for revival. They feel empowered to form a PAG in PNG, a beacon of hope in the Melanesian region.
The working committee has already formed a WhatsApp group and is setting a time for their first meeting. We have made it clear that GTP and each of us who attended remain committed to supporting them with Teaching, Training, Teamwork, and Toolbox resources, and we left the “How to Start a PAG” infographic as a starting point to think about how they will proceed.
God blessed us on this trip. We felt the Spirit moving. Despite some logistical challenges, God enabled us to sow seeds in PNG which, with time, nurturing, and His grace, will result in the formal incorporation of a PAG for PNG. As the prevailing culture in PNG is not conducive to accountability and as much work needs to be done, please join us in prayer for these committed Christian servants who have the vision to make a difference for their country for God’s glory.