Thoughts on Sunday, January 26, 2014

Some thoughts after this Sunday's Sunday school, worship service and annual congregation meeting:

1. Many "professional" organizations are taking over what churches are supposed to do, like counseling.

God's word is the most important and best thing to comfort, encourage those in difficulties, but now we're giving the way to medical institutes and other organizations. When people have mental issues, they intuitively find help from counseling organizations instead of churches. I'm not saying these non-religious organizations are useless, but we should always remember Christ is the only final answer to every trouble.

Some might say we are not qualified and professional enough to help others. That's true, but God's wisdom is different from man's wisdom. I remember at Dr. Ed Welsh's discipleship conference last year, he said: if you acknowledge your weakness before God, you're eligible to disciple others. The danger is not churches are losing their power, the danger is we are forgetting what we are supposed to do and becoming indifferent to the needs of others.

2. Leadership is a responsibility God gives men. We are supposed to teach, lead and protect our families. But... how?

It's been a hard lesson for me. On the one hand, mentally I am very willing to do so, but very often my ability does not meet my expectation. I do need God's grace. Apart from Him I can do nothing... On the other hand, our understanding about leadership is deeply influenced by our cultures and life experiences, which might not be the truly biblical leadership model... We leaders do need to ask for wisdom from God.

Pastor summarized God's calling for leaders and teachers from Malachi 2:
  • To revere God
  • To respect the Truth
  • To refine character and piety
  • To relate knowledge
Looks like a godly leadership doesn't come from innate personality, but from the fear of the Lord.

3. A decision-making process at church

At the congregational meeting we were discussing whether to hire an intern this year. This is the first time I got to involve in this kind of discussion.

Originally I thought it was a great idea to have an intern, since our pastor and two elders need someone else to share their burden. Nonetheless, several people spoke of their concerns plainly. Hiring an intern means more time to mentor him, and extra budget to support him. Are we ready for these? Some even brought up the requirements for elders in the scripture, saying the intern should be a "married" man who takes care of his own household well. If so, can a single man be hired as an intern? These are aspects I didn't think of before. The pastor humbly said they will take their opinions into consideration, and asked for more prayer.

It was a great experience. For the first time I saw everyone in a church can bring up their opinions and the pastor responded to them in a godly way. This makes me feel this church is functioning healthily, and I am a part of the congregation. It's an experience I can never gain at a mega church. Thank God. (In fact I believe it could be even more difficult in bigger churches, like my home church. Every decision takes more time and communication...)

I also appreciate the session's emphasis on prayer - that's always our first thing to do before making any decision in every circumstance.