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Vicar’s write 2/3 May

posted 03.05.2015

Reflections on SaRang

Our visit to SaRang Church was God’s kairos moment; we attended the historic 100th CAL seminar (“Called to Awaken the Laity”). Personally, I have just been informed by Bp Rennis that he is appointing me vicar-designate; to take over from Ps Terry from 1st July 2015 with his move to St. Andrews’ Cathedral. The realities of having to lead God’s people and responsibilities filled my mind. But let me thank God for Ps Terry’s ministry over the past 14 years, laying a solid foundation to where we are today: growing, generous and gracious.

Judges 5:2 has been on my mind when I think of what’s ahead “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves – praise the Lord!” Two things are needed for the praise and glory of God:
1. The princes in Israel to take the lead or leadership
2. The people of Israel willingly offer themselves or “followership”

I believe these were present conditions that led to significant growth and blessings in St James’ over the last 5 years! What next? Not a change in focus, as biblical truths are eternal, but learning to follow the Lord better!

Let me share one lesson here: it is love. The CAL seminar is not a church growth strategy or method to get believers to serve and minister. SaRang actually means “love” in Korean. Rev Oh Jung-Hyun, the senior pastor shared the importance of love from a leaders’ perspective: it is to have a father-shepherd’s heart. One that “values and loves one soul”; willing to lay down everything for that one soul. The late founder pastor has coined the “maniac theory”; to give everything to disciple that one soul. To do that, how can we as pastors not be a disciple first, so that he can disciple another? This will shape my priorities and direct my reflections on the roles I have been called and entrusted to serve in.

For the people of God i.e. laity (laos in Greek and this is the collective noun that includes clergy and lay people and not just the lay people as we commonly assume and refer to) I saw the results of that single-minded devotion to disciple believers to be Christ-like disciples. It is evident in leadership, small group meetings, traffic wardens or flower arrangements* and even during Sunday worship and daily dawn prayer meetings; how they sang and prayed. All these had flowed out from a foundation based on the study of God’s word. A lifelong study carried out in “Upper Room” small group meetings that emphasized on application: “What does this Bible truth mean to me?” SaRang knows the power is in biblical truths applied; it changes or transforms us to be like Christ.

My humble prayer mirrors Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1Cor 11:1) I invite us to desire to know God deeply and obey Him totally; walking as disciples with your pastors in the days to come. This is God’s desire for us and everyone He is calling into the church of Jesus Christ. I believe Judges 5:2 is reflected in Psalm 110:3 “Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy majesty, from the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth.” This great Messianic psalm pictures God’s people willingly following Christ to advance His kingdom in the last days. We cannot follow unless we are disciples. This has been God’s plan from eternity!

There are many other lessons from SaRang that the pastoral team, staff and I will be discussing and praying over in the coming months. Can I ask that you pray for us until there is a clear breakthrough; that we may lay hold by faith of all that God wants to do through us personally and in St James’ Church!

Revd Chua Siang Guan

 
 
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