FROM THE PASTOR’S HEART

 

The church is undergoing a transition. This was an outcome from a milestone decision made last year – the selection of Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) stewards by appointment instead of by election. Soon after a Nomination Committee (NC) was formed to work out the details of the nomination.

 

I observed that the pastors and leaders took the formation of the NC very seriously. They were well aware that their task was to nominate people to the LCEC who will in turn make decisions for the whole church. And members of the NC went about their task with much prayer and travailing because they were well aware that their work is spiritual in nature. Please keep them in prayer as they seek to nominate people, who display deep spiritual aptitude and abilities, to serve in the LCEC.

 

There are other aspects in this transition journey. The formation of the Pastor-Parish Relations and Staff Committee (PPRSC) and succession planning are a couple and there are others. All these are still work in progress.

 

It is not just our church that is undergoing change. The Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), of which we are a part of, is also undergoing a transition. As of this month, August, the Central Pooling system is in full operations. The advantages of resources being centrally managed are many. But the greatest is that now there is the opportunity for optimal deployment of pastoral resources. In practical terms it means small churches with very limited resources can get pastors who are best suited according to their needs. This would be impossible under the old system.

 

Today is CAC Sunday.  Within the Annual Conference we have 17 churches. The call is for us to work towards fulfilling God’s mandate for CAC together. We do this by supporting one another and to bear each other’s burden because we are on this growth journey together.

 

The implementation of the central pooling system represents a strategic change in the direction of the Annual Conference. It has become a springboard for a greater and deeper transformation. Hence, a CAC Transformation Task Force (CTTF) was set up by the President, to look into areas of ministry such as church growth and discipleship, pastoral and lay leadership and organizational effectiveness. The groups looking into these are working hard to give the best recommendations.

 

Beyond the Annual Conference the entire Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS) is looking into change as well.  Two years ago our Bishop took the initiative to explore ways to shape MCS so as to be ready to meet the challenges of the future. A MCS Structural Review Taskforce (SRTF) was formed and the discussions have gone beyond merely organizational unity to missional unity. Discussions are underway on developing strategies for growth that span across the Annual Conferences like the language specific ministries. MCS desire is to reduce duplication and increase collaboration.

 

Amidst these changes, I am reminded of Jesus’s High Priestly Prayer in John 17. Before Jesus left the disciples He prayed for them and the Church. He prayed that the disciples will remain united through love. He asked that they may be one as we are one and that the love with which you love me may be in them and I in them.” (John 17: 21)

 

The display of love and unity, in the midst of all these changes, is for God’s Name to be glorified. Incidentally, this is the key theme in Jesus’s priestly prayer.

 

Rev Philip Lim