“Remember how the LORD your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2, NLT
As I look ahead to 2015, I am filled with anticipation. God has repeatedly affirmed what the main thrust of the church should be. The flags are raised, I see three watchwords: Intentionality, Authenticity and Missional. It is going to be an exciting year ahead and may the LORD lead us to fulfill our mission! The unfolding of next year’s theme and main thrust will be done through a pulpit series in January 2015. So do prayerfully look forward to it!
However, I confess that something has been troubling me lately.
For the past couple of years, we have been operating with a pastoral staff team of four members working with maximum loads. In early 2015, this team will be further trimmed to three members, as Assistant Pastor Jan Choo will be leaving the team to enter into cross-cultural mission work. This means there will be just three full-time staff providing pastoral oversight to the whole church together with the elders.
The Pastoral Staff Search committee is looking for members among us who will heed the LORD’s call and step forward to join the pastoral team. Are you at the crossroads, seeking God about your vocation in life? Is God calling you to serve Him in a full time capacity? Don’t be quick to dismiss it. Will you pray and seek guidance from the leaders of the church?
With a small pastoral team at hand, we need every member to step forward to serve the body of Christ in YCK Chapel. There are many ministries in need of volunteers: Bless Community Services, cross-cultural missions, welcome and hospitality, worship and AV, small groups, family life, youth, seniors, missions at our doorsteps, etc.
I wonder if God is intentionally downsizing the pastoral team to remind us that the church is not to be run by a group of clergymen. Is He calling us to be true to our heritage of the priesthood of every believer?
Will you make time to serve the body of Christ? Please approach the pastoral team to indicate your availability to serve.
Even as I write this, there are already some among us who have expressed their desire to step out or scale down their ministry involvement in church due to ill health, work demands, academic workload, family obligations or other competing commitments. These reasons may well be valid ones, and I trust that these brothers and sisters have sought the LORD enough in making their decisions.
So as I look ahead to what God has in store for us in 2015 but turn back to inspect the needed resources to fulfill them, I find a great disparity. From a human perspective, I cannot see how things will pan out. Without the needed manpower, I wonder how far can we go and how much can we do?
In Deuteronomy 8:2, it was recorded that God tested the hearts of the Israelites in the wilderness to see their resolve in obeying His commands. Sadly the Israelites failed again and again, they doubted and grumbled, about water, about food, about the lack of resources. I wonder if the LORD is testing our resolve as well. Is He testing our commitment to fulfill our mission regardless of the situation?
I am reminded of the mistake Abraham made in leaving Canaan because of a worsening famine (Genesis 12:10). So I am determined to remain steadfast in God’s calling and not depart from it because of ever-diminishing resources. I want to trust that God is able to bless us abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that we need, we will abound in every good work He has called us to do.
We are in the days of testing. I pray that we will withstand the test indeed.
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 6&7 December 2014)