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Copyright © 2019 Canning Garden Methodist Church Ipoh

Rev. Dr. Andrew Tan

Stepping Forward in Faith

As we look back these past 50 years, I am sure we cannot but marvel at God’s faithfulness in our midst - how He added members to the congregation, matured them in their spiritual life, raised leaders, provided workers and expanded CGMC ‘s horizons in ministries! But even as we have celebrated 50 years of God’s faithfulness, we must ask ourselves where is God wanting to lead CGMC in the next 50 years? And perhaps just as importantly we must also ask ourselves, what must we put in place so that we are ready to respond to God’s call and step out again and again in faith in the next 50 years? The following are my current thoughts as I look forward to leading our Church in CGMC: First, we must strengthen the unity (love and belonging) of the Body of Christ. Paul tells us in Eph. 4:12-13 that we are equipped for “works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith.” It is the unity of the church that gives her the strength to do her work.

  • We need to bring everybody on board, not in segments but in unity and in one body, with each member contributing to the growth of the Body.

  • We need to enable our children, youths and young adults to connect with one another. (We want to see our adults care for our youths who care for our children. We want our children to look up to the youths who look up to the adults.)

  • We need to strengthen our Cell Group ministry of the Church. The Cell Group ministry cares for and communicates with the members of the church and is able to mobilize the members. Secondly, we need to produce disciples just as Jesus did. With a mission to reach the whole world, Jesus’ master strategy was spending time with his 12 disciples. In Mark 3:13-14 we read that Jesus called His disciples so “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” In other words, He shared His life and ministry with his disciples so that He might send them out to multiply His ministry.

  1.  REV. DR. ANDREW TAN Pastor-in-charge Canning Garden Methodist Church

  2. In CGMC all of us need to make disciples for Jesus at every level by sharing life and ministry with the goal of multiplying ourselves. We need to focus on discipleship and mentoring so that we raise the next generation of mature leaders.

* Through our Cell Group ministry, we need to raise sponsors to sponsor new Christians, Cell Leaders to disciple a Cell Leader intern, and a Zone Supervisor to raise a Zone Supervisor intern.

* Other church leaders and chairpersons of committees will need to mentor future church leaders to succeed them.

* In the course of discipling, we pass on ministries so that CGMC will always have disciples who are ready to do all the basic ministries of the church. Thirdly, we must reach out in missions. God’s purpose for the church is to be a blessing to the nations. The most important blessing is to bring the gospel to all. The last words of Jesus are: “go and make disciples of all nations” (Mat. 28:19) and “be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea … and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Mission is a top priority of the church.

* We must mobilize our members to do personal evangelism: to reach out to colleagues at work, friends at play, relatives at home. We must encourage our members to bring children and youths and adults through the church activities into the church.

* We must reach out in missions to our countrymen in our land – both in West and East Malaysia.

* We must reach out in missions to the foreign workers in our land. (God has given us such a window of opportunity to bless the nations around us!)

* We need to do missions overseas where we can sustain the work or partner with other agencies.

* We will mobilize our members and our Cell Groups to support our social agencies and other social projects. Fourthly, we need to continue to raise workers. Since the harvest is plentiful, Jesus told us to “ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Mat. 9:38). If mission is the church priority, then raising the workers is imperative.

* We need to train our members to do basic ministries within the church and for missions support outside the church.

* We need to identify the members’ giftings and encourage the exercising of their gifts in the ministries.

* We also need to challenge our members to be ministry workers, missionaries, and pastors for the church. To do all these so that we are ready to step out in faith with God in the next 50 years, we need commitment from everyone. Will you join me to renew our commitment by first offering ourselves to put all these things in place to extend God’s Kingdom wherever God calls us in the years to come?

1. Strengthening the Unity of the Church
• We need to bring everybody on board, not in segments but in unity and in one body, with each
member contributing to the growth of the Body.
Since every Christian is called to do the works of ministry, and doing the works of ministry is exercising
faith and good works, and exercising faith and good works helps in ownership of the vision
and hence the unity of the Church, every ministry in the Church should be looking out to recruit
new members, every Cell Group should encourage her members to commit themselves to a
ministry, and every member should offer themselves to serve in a ministry.
• We need to enable our children, youths and young adults to connect with one another.
If children look up to youths, youths look up to young adults, and young adults look up to senior
adults because the ones above us are good examples to follow, half the battle for discipleship is
won. God has naturally put in the hearts of younger people to look up to the older ones but when
such a relationship is missing, we lose out on an environment that can naturally aid discipleship.
Hence we must make the effort to build relationships across age group segments in our Church.
We need to take an interest across the generation gaps.
• We need to strengthen our Cell Group ministry of the Church.
Our Church majors on this ministry. We expect our members to participate in a CG. Our pastoral
care (sick, homebound, hospitalized, death, home blessings, counselling, etc.) is basically maintained
through the CG network. The CG is also the main avenue for discipleship (sponsoring, raising
a CL intern) evangelism, missions, and social projects. Our ZL and CL meetings and CG trainings
are important events in the Church.

2. Producing Disciples
• Through our Cell Group ministry, we need to raise sponsors to sponsor new Christians,
Cell Leaders to disciple a Cell Leader intern, and a Zone Supervisor to raise a Zone Supervisor
intern.
• Other church leaders and chairperson of committees will need to mentor future church
leaders to succeed them.
• In the course of discipling we pass on ministries so that CGMC will always have disciples
who are ready to do all the basic ministries of the church.
All the above requires us to reproduce ourselves and the ministries we do. We can only reproduce
ourselves if
(i) we are good models ourselves and share the vision for future leaders to step in,
(ii) we show our potential leaders the work we do and teach them how to do it,
(iii) intentionally mentor and prepare them. We need to emphasize intentional discipleship
because we constantly find we lack leaders who are willing to step in.
We should always be working ourselves out of the job. So that when we are ready to leave our position,
we will have trained someone to take over from us.
3. Reaching Out in Missions
•We must mobilize our members to do personal evangelism: to reach out to colleagues at
work, friends at play, relatives at home. We must encourage our members to bring children
and youths and adults in the the church through the church activities.
We need to encourage every member of our Church to reach out to their non-Christian friends. We
need to find avenues of doing evangelism via: Alpha Classic, Alpha Parenting, Marriage, Marriage
Preparation, Daybreak, Hope Dialysis, and Hope Lighthouse, CG evangelistic events, celebrative
Church events, etc.
•We must reach out in missions to our countrymen in Malaysia.
•We must reach out in missions to the foreign workers in our land.
•We need to do missions overseas where we can sustain the work or partner with other agencies.
•We must mobilize our members and our Cell Groups to support our social agencies and other
social projects.
To fulfil the above we need to widen the base of our personnel involved (i.e. recruit new members)
in missions. This includes building a base of members interested in visiting our missions
workplaces and the missionaries we support. We need missions exposure for our members through
seminars, conferences, missions field visits.
4. Raising Workers
•We need to train our members to do basic ministries within the Church and for missions support
outside the Church.
•We need to identify the members’ gifting and encourage the exercising of their gifts in the
ministries.
Every member should be trained to do basic ministries in prayer, sponsorship (discipling a new
Christian in the Word), evangelism, and discovering their spiritual gifts to serve in a ministry.
•We also need to challenge our members to be ministry workers, missionaries, and pastors for
the church.
We need to pray, support, encourage potential ministry workers, missionaries, and pastors and
give them opportunities for ministries. We need to challenge our youths to think of full time ministry
in serving the Lord.