Articles tagged in ministry

  1. Ministries in the City

    Life in the CityThursday sometime in the morning

    I was at work, trying to solve some "problems" as usual, and CJ from City Bible Forum called by direct line, asking me to come to Ecom's meeting to kick start the ministry in 2007.

    "Hmm. Yes?" (Put that into my Outlook calendar, remind myself to confirm with Vivian, etc)

    CJ then invited me to join his table, under the banner of the FUT (short for "Follow-up Team"). "Ever had any training in follow up? Done Just for Starters?"

    "Yup", but that was like almost 11 years ago. But just like all the keen beans with ticks under all SOCM courses, getting into doing some follow up wouldn't be too hard, would it?

    Thursday evening

    Okay. Time confirmed, and I am going to Ecom's meeting. Emailed CJ. Also have to cancel a clashed dinner in the same evening.

    Monday evening at 6:00pm

    Finished work early'ish, and headed straight to Scotts Presbyterian Church at the western side of Wynyard. Lots of people were there already, most of those whom I have never met. That was alright, as I often find it is easier talking to complete strangers than someone you know. So there we go, chatting with two other blokes in the finance sector, until the evening started with the dinner.

    During the meeting PK went through everything from Ecom mission statement, yearly planning, various ministry groups, finance, etc, and left sometime for each ministry group to discuss what they are planning to do for the year.

    So, a few of us in the FUT table, coming back to the topic of following up those who have visited the City Bible Forum, and wanting to know more about Jesus. Then I realised that there are a few problems.

    1. Many have only seen the "Just for Starters" for the first time that evening.
    2. Most have little idea what "follow up" involves.
    3. We have no girls in the group so somehow CJ has to figure out what to do with the female contacts.
    4. Done Just for Starters, then what? Done Complete Christianity (Colossians), then what? I guess the issue is, how do we fit "church" into the picture of following someone up in the city.

    Let alone the idea and practises of "follow up" is just so different from a student church. Or at least for an overseas student church, who deals with mostly Asian students with no privacy consciousness -- what we do is just get their number, call them up, ask them to come or meet up, push forward the idea of going through a series of 7 Bible studies, encourage them to come to our church, etc.

    But I can imagine calling up a complete alien fund manager in firm XYZ to arrange meet up for Bible studies over lunch break can be very awkward.

    Or maybe it can be a good opportunity for me to get some hand on experience with various ministries in the city?

    Well. Sounds like I've just got myself some commitments this year.

  2. Back from FOCUS Long Termers' Weekend Away

    Steven and Shirley dropped me back home at around 5:15pm this afternoon, from the annual FOCUS Long Termers' weekend away at the Rafferty Resort. Long Term Leaders at FOCUS are those who have finished their degree but have continued to stay in FOCUS for the sake of overseas student ministry, and this weekend away has somehow reaffirmed us what FOCUS is really about. Don't let the term "long term leaders" fool you, this weekend away was more of a holiday than your typical Christian retreat. Though Rev. Ng doesn't want other people to know about this so I won't mention it again :)

    Here are some of the highlights/reflections in this year's weekend away. For me at least. Sorry about the point form. Not arranged in any particular order...

    • Can't believe it is the 5th Long Termers' weekend away! I just had a brief look at the photos of our first one at Wollongong organised by MP -- how things have changed! Many old faces have disappeared. Ironically, it was supposed to be the Long Termers' event! In 5 years time, in our 10th Long Termers' weekend away, who will those people be -- those who attended this weekend, who who were affirmed with the goal of being a long termer? Will Scott be there? Will the good ol' Josh be there?

    • Didn't have a decent tennis game. It was drizzling. We didn't have enough time, as we were late with our court booking. And I wasn't really "in the mood" of playing. I guess Josh will brag for another year that how he beats me in tennis at the long termers' weekend.

    • A weekend away without Vivian and Anna is truly weird. Felt like out of place. Great that they are coming back on Friday.

    • Food. You can't call it FOCUS without over flooding the events with FOOD! Congee for breaky, BBQ satay chicken on sticks for lunch, curry for dinner, pancake for breaky, chicken burger for lunch again (proudly "sponsored" by Red Lea Chicken -- thanks Wilson!). Oh yum.

    • Scotland Yard was fun. Except when you are playing Mr. X, was cornered right from the beginning, and all the detectives can predict your next move...

    • "How long is a piece of string?" That was the ultimate question for many long termers this weekend. Not many people, if there's any, can be like the Driscolls who persisted for 21 years. But how long?

    • "Surprise pregnancies" revealed in Long Termers weekend away. More babies in FOCUS later this year :)

    • Honda Odyssey is nice, especially with the luxury pack. No wonder they won the People Mover of the year in 2005 with NRMA. It wasn't actually that big -- in fact the third tow is quite small. However it is packed with gadgets and surprises for 3 kids.

    • What are your objectives and goals this year? These were the same questions that we did last year, which I think I should dug it out and check. Personally I found these questions are also suitable for every graduating members of the FOCUS congregation -- what am I doing and what am I here for? It is just too easy for us to get too comfortable and lazy, and sit back and complain when the core business of the church are not aligned with our own needs.

    • How do we minister the gospel according to 2 Timothy 3-4?

    • There seems to be an interest on "internal exports", i.e. providing a list of suitable churches for graduates who decided to stay in Australia, but do not conform with FOCUS's "core business". Again there's a delimma -- Anglo churches with ethnic ministry, or ethnic churches?

    • DISC -- which one am I? I haven't done the personality test on it, but my guess is that I will be just like the Joe Average -- high in Steadiness and Conscientiousness. I guess that also made me a terrible guy to stand up front.

    The list goes on -- and more will be added when more are remembered.

  3. God is Wonderful

    Sunday, 1:15pm

    Bible passages we were looking at was 1 John 3:16-5:5. In one of the application questions, it asked us to discuss practical ways to demonstrate our love for our Christian brothers. Instead, I asked everyone to share something that they should have done but failed to do last week, and how we can be accountable towards each other, making sure that we do what we intended to do this week.

    Everyone shared. And it was my turn. I talked about calling these two guys up -- two Christian brothers that have been on my mind for a while, but I have always failed to contact them and asked them how they are going. I noted down that I shall call each one of them up sometime this week, just to catch up.

    Sunday 8:20pm

    I was at home, helping Vivian to cook. Suddenly the phone rang. It was from GL! One of the two people that I said I intended to call earlier that morning! The last time I chatted with him was just a bit less than a year ago, and I was amazed how much he has grown over the last 12 months.

    In 2003 MYC, he was the "Mr. Grumpy" in the group. Lots of "strange" ideas, and really has an attitude. He was on and off church, had a non-Christian girlfriend, and when he was about to go back to Shandong, China in early 2004, I was really worried about whether he was right with God.

    And I know that I should have trusted God to carry his own flocks. GL has been actively serving in the church back in Shandong, and he is now leading fellowship groups two nights a week for young factory workers in town. He has grown so much in maturity, and has turned into someone who is trustworthy, dependable and reliable. A Christian brother that is really encouraging. God has the power to change a person in an unexpected way. Isn't God wonderful?

    And he is getting married too! To a Christian girl, as he emphasised. He has to explicitly tell the girl that Christ should be No. 1 for both of them, and she will only ever be number 2. Ha! He is the one who has really got the priority right.

    There are much to pray for him, as being an educated young Christian in a rural town populated with factory labours isn't easy. He has been given a lot of responsibility, whether he was ready or not. There are also other issues but I won't list here. But please pray for GL, if you have known him personally (I know many of my readers are!)

    Yeah. God is wonderful.

    Now I need to remember to call the other guy.

  4. Jesus, Beijing and Heavenly Man

    Yesterday evening I went to David Aikman's talk on Jesus in Beijing, organised by Christians in Media, hosted by the Annandale Community Church. It had a big turn out, showing there are many who are interested in Christianity in China. 2/3 were actually Asians from different background and …
  5. Charge for a church website

    Michael Boyink argues that webmasters should stop working on their church websites on a volunteer basis, as their "free" work will never be valued by the congregation, who mostly do not understand how Internet works. While Michael has made his point, and I do agree to some extend that it …
  6. Church Search

    Search any Catholic/Protestant/Pentacostal churches around you in Australia. I put in Kingsford, and asked for any Protestant churches within 2 km - and apparently the University Churches is not in there. Not very "comprehensive" IMHO. Maybe someone from Unichurch can keep them informed.
  7. AABC to St. Marks

    Asian Australian Bible Church is migrating from Unichurch to St. Marks at Malabar. All the best to AABC and Andrew Moore! May God continue to utilise them in the local ministry in the Eastern suburbs! Now that has left a hole in the ABC ministry on campus (as well as …
  8. FOCUS Church Camp 2005 "Desiring God"

    Almost 3 hours of continuous driving has brought Vivian, Anna and I myself back to our home sweet home in Kingsford on Monday night. Headed bed early, but when I woke up yesterday morning, it appeared that 8 hours of sleep still could not flush out the tiredness. Yet deep …
  9. Full-time Ministry (Part II)

    Tuesday. I usually go to the City Bible Forum under the AAP tower on Tuesdays, and Stuart Robinson from St. Andrew's Cathedral gave an evangelistic talk on Acts 2. Afterwards, me, some of my colleagues, and another guy chatted about work and life at the foyer. Stuart finished his talk …
  10. Full-time Ministry

    Bah! Should we boycott the term "full-time ministry" here in FOCUS, as I feared that its usage has been abused? Isn't it supposed to describe people who have spent so much of their time ministering people, preparing for talks, leading the Bible study, etc, that he or she has decided …
  11. I feel achieving

    ... when the little 1-year-old Calvin stopped crying in my arms. That is the sense of satisfaction that I have not previously experienced. I could actually calm a child! It was my first time working in Creche. Thanks to the special "kindness" of other "mums" from Asian-Australian Bible Church, I had …
  12. Frustrated at Meetings

    Today LC found my blogsite, as he searched the quoted term "3 self church" on Google. One of my blog entry was right there at result number 4! Aargghh! Since when did I become an authoritative source to provide information on the government recognised Christian church in China? Worse, another …
  13. Christianity-Today on Back To Jerusalem

    Article on ChristianityToday on the Back to Jerusalem movement amongst the Chinese house churches. House church in China are aiming at sending 100,000 missionaries to its neighbouring countries, and they have taken the great commission seriously. There will be persecutions along the way, but those who have experienced the …
  14. Ex-MBF @ Shandong

    Last Thursday I gave GL a call with a late Happy Chinese New Year greeting, and we chatted about life and Christianity back home. GL has been back in Shandong, China for a month now, after spending 5 years in Sydney and 3 years with Mandarin Bible Fellowship. He was …
  15. A night at the Koorong

    Last night after work, Vivian and I, with Shan-Shan from MBF and her Med friends Nancy and Benjamin, went to Koorong at West Ryde for the Thursday late night shopping. Ben somehow got this 30% once-off discount card, and he was shopping like mad last night. As I was only …
  16. Post-Welcome Dinner for Session 2, 2003

    Last night Mandarin Bible Fellowship had a welcome dinner for the new students. We usually do this kind of thing - a package of some ice breaking games, introduction to our church, a short talk and a nice meal afterwards - at the beginning of each session. We did get some freshly-landed …