There’s something different about going to church at Namadi Heights Baptist in Fiji.
“Some preachers, they preach what people want to hear,” says Mere Tara, a woman who goes to Namadi Heights. It’s not like that at her church. Sermons are “true to the text, going from that to how it applies to our lives,” Mere says. “And boy, almost every preaching, it applies to my life.”
The church is pastored by Pio Nakesu, who goes by Tukana, which means Junior in Fijian. Tukana leads Langham’s preaching movement in the small South Pacific island nation. The movement began in 2018, starting with Tukana and a handful of other leaders who long to reach more people with faithful teaching of God’s word.
The prosperity gospel problem
Christianity is part of the fabric of Fijian culture, but people respect it because of that, not necessarily because of who Jesus is. That shows in the preaching people hear on Sundays. Many pastors have never had any formal training and are teaching some form of the prosperity gospel.
Tukana has seen the consequences of the prosperity gospel firsthand. His father, who’s also a pastor, has preached that message from his own pulpit for years.
“I watched my dad give everything, and we became poorer and poorer and poorer,” Tukana says. “Somehow he still believes that things are only going to get better if you keep giving more money that you don’t have or keep on fasting. … It’s all about what you do for God, and God will be obligated to give you [something] back.”
How faithful preaching makes an impact
Because of this, Tukana has a heart to give pastors the tools they need to boldly proclaim the true gospel.
“Prosperity teaching is so prevalent because we are not speaking into that area,” he said. “We’d rather shy away. My hope is that we will raise preachers that will speak, not arrogantly and proudly … but lovingly and courageously challenging issues in our context from God’s word.”
Through Tukana and other leaders, Langham’s preaching program is already making a difference. On college campuses, the training is equipping the next generation of believers. Ateca Rabukawaqa, who works in college ministry, says she has seen it transform her students’ relationships with God. “I know it’s going to go and touch every church here in Fiji,” she says.
In churches, it’s changing the way pastors approach the Word. “You could see an improvement in the teaching,” says John Simpson, an elder of a church that has gone through Langham’s training. Pastors “began to expose the Scriptures in such a way that the congregation, they were just gripped by it, and the church began to grow and get much bigger.”
That’s the transformative power of the faithful preaching.
The Impact of Langham Preaching
Last year, Langham trained 9,813 pastors to clearly, faithfully and relevantly preach God’s Word. The training is practical and multipliable: It works with simple skills practiced and modeled repeatedly so that they can be easily transferable, without requiring many resources. Learn more.