ON the 6-9 March, all the pastors of Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC) were gathered at Kingwood Hotel, Sibu, from for the annual Pastors’ School. These 3 and a half days were enriching spiritual feasts. The pastors went home refreshed, rejuvenated and recharged for ministry.
Dr Leung Ka-Lun, the President of the renowned Alliance Bible Seminary, Hong Kong, was the theme speaker during the School. His vast pastoral experience and profound insights as a church leader have been a tremendously helpful guide to participants.
Of the many pastoral topics he talked about, below are the highlights of certain topics:
The Joy of Ministry
Dr Leung reminded us that being a Christian means living out a Christian lifestyle. This includes learning to make choices and giving up on others. For example, once we have decided to be a Christian, we should be firm to live out what we have been taught from the Bible, instead of being swayed to and fro by the ever-changing fads and fashions of the world.
Maintaining a joyful heart
How then do we maintain a joyful heart? Dr Leung suggested three things we can do: (1) do not hold grudges. Let’s not have the mind-set of being victimised. (2) Learn to share our emotional distress instead of having it bottled inside us (3) cultivate a thankful heart. Give thanks for the people around us and affirm their contributions and callings. Philippians 4:8-9 urges us to think on whatever that is true, noble, right, pure and lovely. This helps us to cultivate joy.
Dr Leung pointed to us Acts 2:17-35. Three things we should learn from Apostle Paul: (1) Persistence. Apostle Paul served the Christians in Ephesians faithfully and tirelessly. He persisted in sharing the Gospel to the people there (2) clear vision. Apostle Paul said that everything he did was for a purpose, that was, for the good of the believers there, (3) dependence on God. In his ministry, he held onto God and His Truth. In these three areas, Apostle Paul showed us the example for joyful ministry.
Apart from these, the speaker encouraged us to build on these four habits:
(1) Build a healthy lifestyle
(2) Build on living a blameless life
(3) Build on ministry skills
(4) Build on faith/theological reflections
And four relationships to build on:
(1) With God
(2) With family, colleagues, fellow co-workers
(3) With believers
(4) With the world and neighbours
On leadership, Dr Leung reminded us that as leaders, we should strive for breakthroughs in our personal lives, in our spiritual lives and also in our environment. We are to be radical, as we have been called by God, yet, not cynical. In our serving, we should be working hard, yet, ought to be humble, gentle and patient.
During the night sessions, there were group discussions on Small Groups as well as Discipleship to evaluate the present needs of the church and brainstorm ways we can improve on what the church had been doing.
The night sessions were closed with corporate prayers led by different districts. Praying together enhanced our unity in Christ. Though we are all made different, we were bonded in Christ.
Last but not least, one of the highlights of the Pastors’ School was the celebration of birthdays for pastors who were 70 and 60 years old. Their faithful services to the Lord and to fellow men were examples for us all to follow.
All in all, it was a rich School for participants. When it ended, participants travelled back home safely, ready to be of use in service for the Lord and His flock.
By Rev Candy Liong
Faith Methodist Church, Kuching