Do you read this weekly pastoral article in the bulletin?
It crossed my mind that perhaps not many read and therefore, it is not worth the effort contributing. Maybe it is the ordinariness of the content that doesn’t excite you, and you prefer a professionally written piece.
I think it is much easier for the church to print excerpt from works of great Christian writers than to arrange for members to take turns to write. While there is value in professional articles, I feel they lack relatability to problems of everyday living in our local context. To me, it is the ordinariness that makes the article a gem and our church bulletins unique.
I am glad that articles are contributed by ordinary church members and Council members. Writing an article takes much time, effort, and courage to share real life issues relating to current affairs that affect us, or personal insight of struggles that all of us have faced or may face one way or another. Each writer has to consider how the content can uplift and encourage the readers. And if the content is based on a particular biblical passage, he or she takes time to reflect upon it.
Often, the writer will share his/her struggle even if just so subtly, and how grace has visited him and strengthened/comforted him. It takes courage to share one’s vulnerability.
The writer must also take care not to bring attention to oneself but point others to God. These are genuine “stories” – truth written most of the time with a feeling of inadequacy and weakness. Writers often turn to the Lord for wisdom and guidance for their contribution. These down-to-earth sharing of personal struggles/reflections written by people whom we know make our pastoral articles real and relatable. The Bible is replete with stories of how our Lord uses ordinary people for His extraordinary works. Likewise, I believe our Lord is doing the same with our pastoral articles.
In the paper-era, I rarely missed reading an article. Some were excellent – truly inspired by the Spirit. Many were heart-warming. But a gem exists in every contribution. This gem will be found, if diligently searched for. I therefore urge contributors invited to write, to boldly have a go at it. You will be blessed. I also urge all in the church not to give the weekly bulletin article a miss. Read and be blessed. That has always been the intent of pastoral articles for both readers and writers.
By brother Shi Pau Soon