Last week, my family and I enjoyed celebrating our nation’s 48th birthday. Along with the parade, performances and fireworks, we also observed the perennial soul-searching about Singaporean identity (perhaps in part sparked by the new National Day song). I could not help remembering that our home church Yio Chu Kang Chapel is 10 years older than independent Singapore.
I also recall how we found it timely a few years ago to reflect on our identity as a local church. If you’ve ever heard friends in church talk about our “IDC journey”, it refers to our journey back to our disciple-making roots – a journey we began in 2009. That year, we expressed all that we hold dear in a set of community or core values. Sermons were preached on them and we also did a cycle of bible studies on them, in our small groups. Then we prayerfully re-articulated the church vision and mission, and gradually brought all our activities and ministries in line.
Obviously, our IDC journey is not yet complete. Studies show that it can take five years to change the DNA (or culture) of a church our size. It is important that we change from the inside out, so that what we do is an expression of what we are determined to become.
One of the core values is expressed this way: “We value spiritual growth and disciple-making”. This value is especially important because it expresses our commitment to the Biblical mission of all churches. This core value reminds us to aspire and work towards making disciples, which is Christ’s last command to us.
May I bluntly speak a loving word to YCK Chapel members? Your primary role in church is not to be “taken care of”, but to make a disciple who can make another disciple. The vast majority of your “pastoral needs” can be met if you know and trust God’s Word and do life with a thriving small group. Church is not supposed to be about the needs and preferences of individuals or groups but about multiplying disciples, small groups and churches.
The work’s not done yet, and the road still lies ahead. Let’s help each another, and let’s get on with it.
By Aaron Lee, Elder (YCKC Bulletin 17&18 August 2013)