What a Joy
It was a joy to be welcomed by Pastor Bernard. His church Harvester Community Church was hosting the event. I knew Bernard from the Christian fellowship at CMPB when we met for times of prayer and encouragement, before he completed his National Service.
My joy doubled as I saw various pastors I know among the groups of five that were seated around tables: Ps Lawrence Koo, Ps Francis, Ps Justin, Ps Ben (one of the panel speakers), and of course my cycling buddy, Ps Richard Wong. I felt relaxed and at home.
Joining MFI Singapore
I joined the Ministers Fellowship International Singapore after my retirement. They are an association of ministers that intentionally facilitate meaningful relationships among ministers. In doing so they hope to strengthen churches. They also believe that the Church would be strengthened when local churches recognise and allow for the development of the five-fold ministry amongst them. The two main key leaders of MFI Singapore are Ps Chua Hock Lin and Ps Gabriel Han.
Pastors Consultation 2022
This Pastors Consultation began at 9.30am and ended around 1pm. Surprisingly the three and a half hours passed quickly, which was a good sign. The theme was “Leading With Clarity In Uncertain Times” and the speakers were seasoned pastors: Ps Chua Hock Lin, Ps Jeremy Seaward, Ps Ben Lee, and Ps Joey Bonifacio. There was also an interesting panel discussion of three youth pastors: Joel Tan, Jay Ong, and Jess Ong. On the whole, the program fulfilled the purpose of helping pastors gain the clarity to move forward. The program was ably helmed and facilitated by Ps Rhordan Wicks. Every speaker and their respective topic, and the panel discussion contributed to expanding and developing the theme. It was an enriching time, though more time for processing on the insights we gained would have made the meetings more fruitful. However, pastors are busy people and we have to leave it to them to reflect on what the Lord stirred in them personally, and pray about the implications and action to take.
Clarity For The Church
For me the session about “Clarity For the Church” was inspiring in its centrality and simplicity. The church needs to stop being pre-occupied with reacting to the rapid changes triggered by government covid regulations, necessary as this was, and let Jesus come and give us clarity. He used Luke 5, where Peter was pre-occupied with cleaning the nets and Jesus facilitated a process of revelation where in the end Peter realised his real call was to be a fisher of men. This however was but the first of three encounters where Jesus came and clarified things for the disciples. The other was during post-resurrection, when Peter and the disciples went back to fishing, and Jesus came and clarified their call. The last was when the disciples asked Jesus when would the kingdom come, and Jesus in effect said, Do not be pre-occupied with such matters of last days timing; rather let the Holy Spirit empower you to be My witnesses. I could feel that the pastors were moved by the simplicity and clarity and directness of the message. It was a timely rhema word for the Church in the midst of pandemic uncertainty.
Ps Chua gave an overview about what he believed the Lord is doing in the midst of this pandemic. He is shaking what can be shaken, and judgment has begun in the house of God, so that the Church would be purified and prepared as the Bride for the return of Christ.
The other speakers spoke about “Clarity in the Family” and “Clarity in the Personal Life”. Here are some of the insights and catchy lines delivered to us:
- Clarity addresses uncertainty; it does not remove it. You cannot have certainty but clarity is the next best thing to have.
- Covid had made it such that parents could not outsource the discipleship of their children to the children’s programs. It had to be done by them at home.
- Families need to root themselves in the local church and not move from screen to screen and church to church because the children and teenagers need more than the input of mums and dads – they need adult uncles and aunties to enrich their faith and lives. This can only happen if they root themselves in a local church and stay put.
- Online or physical services better? Most important thing is to be fully present. In which format can you be more fully present to what God is saying and doing?
Youth Pastors Panel Discussion
The youth pastors panel was interesting as you get glimpses of what today’s youth pastors are like and what are their perspectives and experiences of ministering during the pandemic. Some points that struck me:
- Young people prioritize authentic relationships.
- They are tired of being online behind the screen and prefer face to face. At the same time, they need help to relate to others and have authentic conversations.
- They want to engage and make contributions that make a difference and would participate in social causes and justice issues in tangible ways.
- They feel a sadness to have lost two years of precious experiences due to covid restrictions.
- They need and would appreciate the humble sharing of the ups and downs of life stories from people older than them, as it helps them imagine what their life can be like in the real world and give them hope.
At the end, we had a time of quiet reflection and then in our groups we shared about the insights that struck us the most. This was a good time of collaborative learning and of iron sharpening iron. Some good news also came through as it was announced that by next week groups of ten would be allowed, and wearing masks outside would be optional! Someone remarked: I hope this does not undo the good that the pandemic has done in the church. A great way to end the consultation.