FGB Gatekeepers’ 40th Anniversary Dinner

Beautifully laid table in Fullerton Hotel ballroom
Beautifully laid table in Fullerton Hotel ballroom
Wonderful gathering of people many of whom have served side by side with each other in FGBMF Spore
Wonderful gathering of people many of whom have served side by side with each other in FGBMF Spore
Celebrations began appropriately with songs that harked back to the heydays of FGBMF Spore.
Celebrations began appropriately with songs that harked back to the heydays of FGBMF Spore.

The new face of FGBMF Singapore
Full Gospel Business Gatekeepers Singapore: this is the new name of what was once the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship Singapore ( FGBMF Spore). They were celebrating their 40th anniversary together with the launch of a book titled: UNFOLDING HIS STORY. The dinner celebration on 2nd September was well attended at Fullerton Hotel with most receptionist and volunteers manning the tables under 40 and most people attending the event over 50 years of age. On the stage that night the old and young represented the future of this middle-aged organization injected with a new zip in its movements. This partnership of young and old, hand in hand, is the new face of a miraculous but God-supervised transformation (or as businessmen would term re-invention) of the mid-lifer that was FGBMF Spore.
From dry bones to mighty army
The FGBMF Spore was at one point dehydrated and lacking vitality, if not moribund and breathing its last breath: words I dared not use if the organization was still like that today. It was like an organization that had lost its way. They had done their God-given mission so well that the churches they touched were so strong they did not need the organization’s help any more. Their heydays  were in the 1970s and 1980s. They were the bearer of the transformative experience called the baptism in the Holy Spirit. As people touched by the Lord returned to bless and strengthen their own churches, the role of FGBMF Spore became like the remains of a charcoal pit, covered with glorious ash, but needing some stoking for the fire to be reset. They needed a new purpose and that was found in the outworking of the theology of the kingdom of God in the world, the marketplace. Once a valley of dry bones, it’s now an inter-generational army infused with a clear mission and strategy. Thus they have changed their name to Full Gospel Business Gatekeepers Singapore to reflect the new mission. Some FGBMF national organizations in other countries are coming to Singapore to catch this fire too.

THE UNFOLDING STORY about to be unveiled and launched with prayer
THE UNFOLDING STORY about to be unveiled and launched with prayer
The book with photographs of the newspaper stories of speaking in tongues among students and several WRPF photos is inside
The book contains valuable photographs of the ST aritcle headings of speaking in tongues among students and several WRPF photos
Pictures of my predecessors: Pastor Johney and Bro A.M. Mathew (seated L-R)
Pictures of my predecessors: Rev Dr Johney and founder pastor Rev A.M. Mathew (seated L-R)

Unfolding His Story: new book
The highlight of the celebration was the launch of an interesting book titled UNFOLDING HIS STORY, written by a father and son team, Georgie and Galven Lee. It is the story of the charismatic movement in Singapore with a special eye on the contribution of the Anglican Church and FGBMF Singapore. Even though the writing team directly involved was father and son, it was a pleasure to see the whole Lee family, including the mother and daughter, involved in the production of this book.

With Galven who did a
With Galven Lee who did his NUS research on the charismatic movement in Singapore and was conferred a first class honours for his work. Unfolding His Story used the extensive, thorough research of his dissertation.

I remember being interviewed by Galven Lee, one of the authors. He was then a NUS history research student with a voice recorder and notebook. I shared with him what I knew of our story in the meta-narrative of the charismatic revival of the 1970s. It had to do with many students of many schools being filled with the Spirit. Our little story started with the Holy Spirit pouring out his power upon a group of students behind the science labs of the lowly Dunearn Tech Secondary School, along Bukit Timah Road. What began as students speaking in tongues behind the science labs became a crying revival and finally became the church, World Revival Prayer Fellowship. This not insignificant event was mentioned in the book.

With Rev Michael Teh, Vicar of Chapel of the Holy Spirit
With Rev Michael Teh, Vicar of Chapel of the Holy Spirit

Enjoyable evening
At my table, I sat beside Rev Michael Teh, the vicar of Chapel of the Holy Spirit, an Anglican church that was planted as a result of the spiritual renewal among the Anglicans in the 1970s. We had a nice chat and could connect easily. He is the pastor of the church which originally started in the Lee family’s home. The fellowship was good and so was the food and service but later during the meal I had cold Coca Cola spilled over me. I left for the restroom to clean up and on the way back to my table there was the apologetic head waiter and the waitress apologizing profusely and offering free dry cleaning service. Wished they offered me a free night’s stay at the hotel with breakfast. Good thing I was wearing a Mandarin collar long sleeve not a jacket. It was a long but enjoyable night.

May the Lord continue to bless the FGB Gatekeepers. I have nothing but good things to say about them now and what they have to offer to churches. If you wish to learn more about how they train people to make disciples in the marketplace you may want to read this blogpost I wrote earlier about one of their programs.
THINE IS THE GLORY, THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE.

Biblical Turkey & Greece Pastors’ Familiarization Tour 2015

Hagia Sofia: church turned mosque turned museum
Hagia Sofia: church turned mosque turned museum
Gymnasium at ancient Sardis (city of one of seven churches in Revelations)
Gymnasium at ancient Sardis (city of one of seven churches in Revelations)
Beautiful chapel that celebrates Lydia's conversion in Philippi (Greece)
Beautiful chapel that celebrates Lydia's conversion in Philippi (Greece)

Packed itinerary

We landed at dawn and began with a one day tour of Istanbul. It was a wet, windy and cold day. However we toured the main tourist sites and still managed to squeeze in an hour of shopping at the grand bazaar in the late evening. We visited the ancient ruins of the cities where the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation once existed. They are all in modern day Turkey. Then we crossed over to Greece by bus and visited holy sites, ancient ruins and museums in Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, and Corinth. From Athens, we flew and transited at Istanbul, and flew back home.

We stayed at eight hotels in ten days. That should say something. It meant living off our suitcase. It meant early morning calls that mercifully became sane morning calls in Greece. It also meant being on the road on average about 2 hours between sites. We all expected it as this was a familiarization tour and they were trying to give us a sampling of as many different religious sites as possible within the limited time-frame. This survey would then help us to choose from a wide range what we think is suitable for ourselves if we want to lead a tour from our church in future.

The group picture taken at ancient Laodicea
The group picture taken at ancient Laodicea

Personal highlights of the tour

The fellowship was wonderful. There were 39 participants in all – mostly pastors from different denominations and background. There were Methodists, Baptists, Assemblies of God, Independents, Brethren, Presbyterians, Anglicans, and Vietnamese Alliance. As there were about 25 meals we had together I got to hear many inspiring stories of pastors, and how they were called and what their churches were about. A few of these pastors had successful careers. But they heard the call and became pastors in mid-career changes.

Fellowship over meals
Fellowship over meals
Baked fish
Baked fish
Salads
Salads
Soups
Soups
Lamb cuts and other meats
Lamb cuts and other meats
Sweet desserts
Sweet desserts
Old friend Pastor Richard  & Nancy Loh of Queenstown Baptist Church
Old friend Pastor Richard & Nancy Loh of Queenstown Baptist Church
Renewed fellowship with pastors' prayer group leader Rev Sng Chong Hui and wife Irene
Renewed fellowship with pastors' prayer group leader Rev Sng Chong Hui and wife Irene
The ladies enjoyed the fellowship
The ladies enjoyed the fellowship
Pastor Ezekiel giving the devotion at site of Lydia's conversion at Philippi
Pastor Ezekiel giving the devotion at site of Lydia's conversion at Philippi

Naturally the pastors were deployed to give devotions at the major sites. It was edifying to hear God’s messages to the seven churches in Revelation come alive with probing relevance and power across the centuries. I was blessed. For me it was like a personal invitation from the Spirit to look more deeply at the book of Revelations and consider preaching it through in the church. The book lit up like a burning bush.

Sela, boss of tour company humouring us in the bus
Sela, boss of tour company leading us in the WI-FI equipped bus
Excellent informative guide telling us about ancient Ephesus toilets that St Paul probably used!
Excellent informative guide telling us about ancient Ephesus toilets that St Paul probably used!

This subsidized tour was well organized and packed. The tour guides that were handpicked for us were very good in terms of their expertise, people skills and humor. The Bible Society of Singapore and the Omega Tours and Travel did a thoughtful job of planning all these and selecting the local tour companies to partner with. We had our meals at restaurants and most breakfasts and dinners were in above average hotels. Not sure about the cuisine, but I preferred the Turkish meals to the ones in Greece for the greater variety. There were salads in every meal and I never ate so much vegetable in any ten days of my life till now.

Short cut on the ferry to and from the European and Asian parts of Turkey
Short cut on the ferry to and from the European and Asian parts of Turkey
At Parthenon, ancient temple dedicated to goddess Athena, in Athens acropolis
At Parthenon, ancient temple dedicated to goddess Athena, in Athens acropolis
Admiring ladies hairstyles in the Acropolis Museum, Athens
Admiring ladies hairstyles in the Acropolis Museum, Athens

If I were to plan a pilgrimage/study tour for the church I would concentrate on Turkey. I would do the Istanbul bit, fly to Tarsus, get lost in the Cappadocia caves, do the seven churches circuit, and have a day cruise to the island of Patmos (part of Greece). Such a pilgrimage/study tour would focus on the book of Revelations and the relevance of its message to us. I feel the Revelations tour can be impactful. And add some restful elements like staying to linger an extra day in a city, and having some fun shopping or hot air ballooning. Adding Greece in would be too much. Have a separate pilgrimage for Greece, probably with a missional slant.

My favourite sites: the ancient Ephesus site, and Parmukkale“cotton castle” in Turkey; and the Meteora in Greece.

Taking a selfie at Ephesus ancient library ruins
Taking a selfie at Ephesus ancient library ruins
Ephesus amphitheatre
Ephesus amphitheater
Pamukkale: cotton castle World Heritage site
Parmukkale "cotton castle": a World Heritage site
Soaking our feet in the mineral water supplied by hot springs
Soaking our feet in the mineral water supplied by hot springs
Natural hotsprings and beautiful terraces of carbonate minerals
Parmukkale: natural hot-springs and beautiful terraces of carbonate minerals
Monasteries built on top of rock formations - cool
Meteora - Greek Orthodox monasteries built on top of rock formations - cool
Monks and nuns in those which permit visitors and tourists
Monks and nuns in those monasteries which permit visitors and tourists
How heavy loads are carried up in the old days
How heavy loads were carried up in the old days

Kingdom Invasion 2014

Bill Johnson preaching in Kingdom Invasion
Bill Johnson preaching in Kingdom Invasion

I attended Kingdom Invasion from 19-21 March at the Singapore Expo, but mainly the morning and the afternoon sessions. The keynote speaker was Bill Johnson and we missed him the last time round but it was good to have him take more sessions this time. He was full of interesting insights into God’s ways and some of his one-liners stay with you like henna dye. Two of his powerful messages were the ones on culture of honor and the one of the role our desires and faith play in God’s sovereign plan. The basic thesis of the first is that the church needs to recover the key of honor in different aspects of relationships so that what God has gifted and graced the person who we honor may be released to us. Jesus was not honored in Nazareth and thus they were deprived of what He could have done for them. The central truth of the second is that our desires and faith have a way of bringing forward what God may have planned for the future. Jesus said to Mary his mother, My hour has not come (to perform miracles). However due to her persistent faith, that hour seemed to have been brought forward in the miracle of changing water to wine. Thus imagine if the church had the desire and faith to bring forward the promises of the future kingdom to the here and now – bringing the promises of heaven to earth – what kind of glory would the church display to the waiting world. What an inspiring, expansive vision.

James Goll was another proposition altogether. More prophetic and inspirational he spoke, sang and shared some of his encounters with angels and dreams and taught people how to intercede as a privilege, out of the intimacy that the Father offers us.

And as ever the inimitable Heidi Baker facilitate a soaking in the presence of God. We think we need more cognitive content but God knows we ministers need more time allowing the Spirit to fill us and to be inspired by her abandon to the Spirit.

Love Singapore Pastors’ Prayer Summit 2014

This years prayer summit was held on January 6-9 at the Equatorial Hotel in Malacca. The theme was Jubilee. There were about 500 pastors and leaders from Singapore in attendance. The speaker was Peter Tsukahira and his theme was the kingdom of God and the marketplace.

Worship preceded the sessions
Worship preceded the sessions

The prayer summit this year was Word rich. I suppose there were pastors who attended because of the guest speaker – they wanted to hear his teachings. He is of Japanese origin, speaks with an American accent, and has an Israeli passport. He is married to a Messianic Jewess and both of them lead a ministry and Messianic community in Haifa. In fact the last thing we did during our holy land trip was to visit and support his ministry. I saw pastors who never attended the pastors’ summit attend this summit giving attention to all the teaching sessions. Peter Tsukahira did not disappoint. He spoke about the formation of Israel, and its relation to the return of Christ, the gospel of the kingdom of God and how these give the framework for the marketplace ministry. I was blessed by the teaching it stirred me to return to my favorite writer on the kingdom of God, G. E. Ladd, a professor from Fuller Theological Seminary. Read an excerpt of his concept of the kingdom HERE for an example of his concise writing and clear thinking and grasp of a difficult subject with many different interpretations.

Chance meeting with pastors Lawrence and Guna
Chance meeting with pastors Lawrence and Guna

This year they also re-introduced pastors Lawrence Chua and Guna to do the stand-up comic thingy. They are two members of the team steering the Love Singapore churches. They are  pastors with hearts for community service and have led their churches to be models for such a ministry in the heartlands. They have somehow discovered a chemistry between them for stand up comedy. They brought the house of God down with laughter. Humor is serious business. You need a gift  to get pastors in a sober “prayer summit” to laugh shamelessly. So used are pastors to being serious about eternal and earthly issues. Kudos to Lawrence and Guna for their gift of getting all the stressed-up pastors laughing. However, they would do well to expand their range of subjects. They seem too constrained to introducing the chairman and the speaker or the organizing church in humorous ways. They can evolve into a stand-alone act that can help pastors and leaders laugh at themselves and alter some perspectives of church ministry and relations.

Lindy Chee, Dara Chee, and Kenny
Lindy Chee, Dara Chee, and Kenny

The pastors’ summit is one of the best places to keep in touch with acquaintances and other pastors. I met two of my cousin’s daughters: cousins once removed. One morning I had breakfast with Lindy Chee and Dara Chee. Lindy worked with YWAM for many years. Now she is in training and facilitating. Dara Chee is a trained social worker who was in Vietnam for a few years with the Anglicans, and now a residential manager for Highpoint Dayspring, a residential treatment center for abused women and teens. It was encouraging to see young people with a passion for Christ’s kingdom to be realized on earth as in heaven.

Vincent, Thomas, Kenny and Kenny
Vincent, Thomas, Kenny and Kenny

This year I roomed with priest Vincent Hoon from True Light Anglican Church. We met years ago when we were randomly put together to share a room in a similar conference. We gelled and this was the second time we roomed again. Vincent drove us all to Malacca -me and pastor Kenny Fan from Woodlands Evangelical Free Church and pastor Thomas my colleague. They were such pleasant company the road trip seemed shorter. On the way back we stopped by Yong Peng, and later, at a Gelang Petah seafood restaurant popular with golfers. Ahhh…Malaysian food.

Preaching at Care Community Church camp

Care Community Church Camp
Care Community Church Camp

Care Community Church camp at Pulai Springs, Johor

Pulai Springs, Johor is a good resort for church camps. We arrived there from Singapore within two hours or less. We had ice breakers and orientation and settled into our rooms. The haze however spoiled what would otherwise have been an ideal place for relaxation, seminars and meditation. The food was excellent and the rooms were above average. So was the service.

The Care Community Church is a warm and loving family church. Their welcome quickly put us at ease with them. Meals were pleasant as we got to know different members of the church. As they responded to us warmly, we in turn enjoyed a growing rapport with them. When I am relaxed and feel at home with an audience, I find I can preach and teach more effectively. I found the church to be friendly, unique, and blessed with many talented and faithful people. You could tell they have been cared for and loved.

Small group discussions increases learning
Small group discussions increases learning

Pastor Amos Yap has been their pastor for more than a decade. I got to know his family better: Juliet, his wife who gives tuition with a twist – counseling and guidance! and his son and daughter. They are a lovely family and all are serving the Lord. The theme was about personal renewal and rebuilding the church. I dealt with the common symptoms of an unhealthy spirituality.

Pulai Springs, Johor
Pulai Springs, Johor

Pulai Springs, Johor is a lovely hotel with good service and food. I adapted some ideas I got from Peter Scazzero’s “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” and filtered them through my experience, and shared 8 symptoms with them over two nights. Detecting some of these symptoms will help people unlock some of the hindrances to the Christ life in them. I also did two morning workshops on the spiritual disciplines of the “Examen” and “Lectio Divina” – fancy Latin names for a review of the day and devotional reading. Short explanations and 25 minutes of actual prayer, followed by 20 minutes of group sharing and prayer. I kept the practices brief and manageable so that the young people can enjoy a taste of these spiritual practices. These are disciplines that will position them to receive and experience more of God’s grace and love on a regular basis. On the last night we had a wonderful ministry time praying for the sick, prophesying and blessing people in the name of the Lord. The presence of the Lord was among us.

There was more hunger and faith among them than I had assumed from the first session. In the final morning session, I encouraged them to rebuild the church together, doing a bare bones expository message of Haggai’s second prophecy.

Euclid Tan was my room mate, a young man who had been in Bill Johnson’s school of the supernatural in the US. He was a great help. He gave me input on the messages, helping me to angle it to young people and contributing stories as well as trimming off unnecessary fats. May the Lord raise a new generation of ministers who will excel in faith, hope and love.

Pardon my rambling all over the place. This is a symptom that I need to slow down, slow down.

Raphael Samuel: Singapore missionary becomes the Bishop of the Anglican Church in Bolivia

Bishop Samuel, Michelle and Elijah
Bishop Samuel, Michelle and Elijah

Good friend

The Bishop of the Anglican Church in Bolivia is a good friend of mine! We did theology together in Trinity Theological College. As a student he was a sharp and creative thinker, good at thinking provocative abstract ideas that stretch your theological world to the edge. Together with Rev Benedict Muthusamy, we were pals who had long teh tarik sessions about theology, society, politics and …..our lecturers. The charismatic movement was very strong in some of the Anglican churches and for field education he served in Church of our Savior.

I was his bestman when he married Michelle at a wedding at Church of our Savior. Rev Derek Hong was one of his heroes and the officiating minister, and I distinctly remembered how the reverend wore hip jeans and moccasins under the Anglican whites and how the wedding was saturated with worship and prophecies. The venue was the old chapel at Prince Charles Crescent.

Missionary call

After our graduation we met regularly to encourage each other and share about our respective ministry and struggles. When our seminary classmates were in town I made arrangements for class meetings. I remembered it was a big decision when Raphael and his wife Michelle decided to answer the call to Bolivia. The prayers, the deliberations, the anxieties about adaptation and their son, Elijah. I thought they displayed courage that could only come from receiving God’s call and promises. You can read the whole story of the process of answering the call in “Going to Bolivia” in his blog.

When he came back for furlough we always meet for fellowship and it was an opportunity to bring back as many of the classmates as we can together.

Consecration of Bishop Samuel
Consecration of Bishop Samuel

Proud of him

I feel so proud, so pleased for him that he has become the bishop. It is not the prestige or status that it confers on him. Nor is it the often unnoticed fact that the Diocese of Singapore has produced two minority race Indian bishops in a Chinese dominated clergy – a credit to the diocese. I feel that with his knowledge and experience and intelligent reflection from years of parish work both in Bolivia and Singapore, he will certainly do a good job of it. He has a clear idea of what needs to be done and he has the passion and contextualization skills and competencies to succeed. The Bolivian diocese and the wider church there will only benefit from his being in this leadership position at this juncture. Glory to God!

TTC alumni news update

Here is an extract from the Trinity Theological College alumni news update:

Our congratulations to Rev Raphael Samuel (BTh 1985) and his wife, Michelle Lee Hock Sim (BD 1984) on Raphael’s election as the Bishop of the Anglican Church in Bolivia, South America. The consecration will be held on 12 May 2013 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

The Bishop Elect of the diocese of Bolivia, Ven. Raphael Samuel, is a Singapore clergyman sent by the Diocese of Singapore to serve in Bolivia. He and his wife, Michelle are the longest-serving missionaries in the Bolivian Anglican Church.

Raphael, a Singaporean Tamil, was born in January 16th 1957. He was raised in a traditional Anglican parish and received Christ when he was a teenager. He hails from several generations of Anglicans and was educated in a Methodist school. After formal studies, he joined the Singapore Navy in 1974, after which he responded to the Lord’s call to serve in the Anglican Church in 1980. At this juncture, a life-changing experience of the Holy Spirit, left a deep and lasting impression on his life. As part of his preparation for full-time ministry, he studied theology for 4 years at Trinity Theological College, where he and Michelle met. The communal setting at St Peter’s Hall, an Anglican institute for ministerial training in the campus at Trinity, served as an integral part of his formation as a priest in the Anglican Church.

The Straits Times reported his consecration HERE.

New Horizon Church: great hope for small churches

new horizon church

This church is a model of hope for small churches. Two small churches merged into a unified larger body and out of that union, a new fellowship emerged, aptly re-named, the New Horizon Church.

Ministry at New Horizon

I was invited to preach at their facility at Wing Fong Building, Guillemard Road. It was a mere 10 minutes drive from the church where I serve.  Euclid Tan, who spent a year in Bill Johnson’s  School of the Supernatural in Redding, accompanied me. Extra firepower! The worship hall was pleasant, and the congregation looked about 200. The worship leader led with enthusiasm, and the receptiveness of the congregation was gracious, and they warmed up as the message developed. I preached about the characteristics of God’s love. Yes, I added some ingredients to a used message. I micro-waved “God’s Love Tattoo”, and served the Word with a fresh spirit. Then we prayed for the sick and released prophetic words. The Spirit manifested himself and we were all blessed.

How the two churches merged

What happened? How did the two churches get together? I see the finger of God and the wisdom of seasoned ministers at work in the merger. The Herald Assembly of God church pastor was retiring. Out of discussions with Rev Lawrence Koo, then senior pastor of Agape Community Church, emerged the possibility of a church merger.

What followed were many meetings and a master plan that stretched to a year or more. Planned discussions by pastors and key leaders of both groups were held.  They organized a combined church camp, many joint services and church events where they got to know each other, like in dating and courtship.

They allowed a lot of internal discussions and time for each group to process the idea of a merger, to envisage what it would look like, and to imagine and live in the new feelings in the new state. Perhaps it was at the same time a necessary period to surrender preferences,  grieve and say goodbye to their respective former histories and identities. Thankfully, the decision over who would be the senior pastor was a no-brainer. The tough call was probably the name and the place of worship and the new identity and vision of the unified body.

In the end, all ended well, and they got married, and I wish I can say, and they had lots of children and lived happily ever after. I cannot so all readers are urged to lift up a prayer that this new entity will move from strength to strength;  and is able to fulfill its new destiny; and provide a beacon of hope for small churches.

Ps Lawrence Koo with meRev Lawrence Koo

I first heard of this process of merger from Rev Lawrence Koo, a veteran pastor with the Assemblies of God.  Besides being the senior pastor of Agape Community Church, he is a council member, a respected minister in his denomination, and the founding chairman of Global Leadership Summit.  Together with his wife, Nettie, during their Bible college days, they actually planted what is now a dynamic church in Seremban . Lawrence made regular trips to USA, particularly to Willow Creek Community Church. I got to know him when I joined him in one of those trips. During that trip, we also attended the Toronto Airport Church for a conference, and visited Jim Cybala’s Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. Occasionally he took my pulpit.

Tough to be small church

This promising merger will be a great hope for small churches because it’s tough to be small in Singapore. We are a well-connected tiny little red dot of an island. People are educated, exposed, sophisticated and want the best for their families. They are more consumer-oriented in their decisions than they realize. They compare; they shop; they look for what meets their needs best. The small church, like the old provision shop, finds itself marginalized by the large church “shopping mall experience”. A small church of below 30-60 finds it tough going. But if they go over 100, they struggle less financially and are more stable. Closer to 200, there is even better synergy and resources. Anything above that is a good size to be in: good for disciple making, strong community, and having sufficient resources for resilience and advancement. It’s tough to be small in Singapore but if small churches can merge like what New Horizon Church has done, there is great hope for helping small churches to move ahead in the Lord.

Help!

Perhaps larger fellowships (denominations) like the Assemblies of God have the resources and experience to make available and encourage and facilitate the merger of small churches. There are wise spiritual fathers and mothers respected by younger pastors and the many small churches. These veterans can help prod, probe, explore such mergers without trampling on the dignity or passion of small church pastors and their dedicated, battle-hardened troopers. Maybe this is apostolic work too.

There is always a new horizon when small churches dare to risk an intentional merger.