Nurturing Elders and Pastors
We will be voting for new elders on 22 July during a special congregational meeting. Pastor Ian shares with us the pastoral team's elder recommendations and the process that will take place. The testimonies of the candidates who are being put forth for the church's consideration follow after.
Just over a year ago, the elders made the decision to begin taking personal responsibility for calling out and mentoring new, younger shepherd-leaders. With this in mind we invited several men to join the elders as we met each month. The criteria for this invitation was simple: We were looking for men who were seeking to live life within the margins of 1 Timothy 3, and who were already expressing their obedience to the Chief Shepherd by shepherding others. At the same time, as Pastor Eugene returned to GBC, I asked him to develop a Pastoral Development Initiative (PDI) whereby the Pastoral Team could intentionally and systematically invest in those who were sensing a call to pastoral ministry. We believed that from this group of young men, there may indeed be some who were wrestling with a full time call to ministry.
In the past year, these men (who we identified as 'elder-associates') have been faithfully meeting with the elders twice each month. We have wrestled together with heart-rending issues of Kingdom implication and we have discussed the mundane matters of organisational structure. We have sought to shape our own hearts around the study of Scripture and we have prayed together. And, we have exposed each other to the strengths (and weaknesses) of serving together as a mutually accountable ministry team.
In the process of serving together this past year, our meetings have been greatly enriched by these men and by their passion for Christ and His church. We have been enormously strengthened by the gifts and insight they have brought to our meetings. And perhaps most importantly, through the lives of these men, our awareness of the diverse people and ministries actively pursuing God’s glory in and through GBC, has been dramatically expanded.
As Elders who have been faithfully serving begin to rotate off for a season of sabbatical, it is our intention to systematically (every six months to a year) recommend to you, other men whom we believe—after at least a year of observation—both satisfy the requirements of biblical eldership and demonstrate the heart of a shepherd. After a period of prayerful consideration, we will ask you to affirm these men as elders during a special congregational meeting.
Below, you will find a process timeline for our first elder recommendation. You will also find brief introductions on each of the men we are recommending to you at this time. I invite you to earnestly begin to pray that all of our hearts be fully aligned to the Father’s will for these men and for His church, and that when we come together to discuss these matters, that there would be clear evidence of His presence in and among us!
Elder Recommendations: Lam Lup Meng and Ngo Thian Chye
1. Lam Lup Meng
I was born in Malaysia and received Christ while attending university in the US. When moving to the US, I was received by a Malaysian and Singaporean Christian fellowship group led by a full time staff from the Navigators. They had helped me to settle down in the university, renting an apartment and many other things. I was attracted to the way these group of people responded to life and how they always seemed joyful even in the midst of difficult circumstances at school, and joined them in their weekly fellowship meetings. Not long after, one of the leaders invited me to do a one-to-one Bible study on the book of John to help me understand more clearly the work of Christ and the reason for His life, death and resurrection. At the same time, God had been working in my life to be more aware of my innate sinfulness and my need for a Saviour. After some internal struggle of not wanting give up control of my own life, God broke through my stubborn heart and I accepted Christ and got baptized soon after.
After graduation, I got a job here in Singapore and my colleague at that time brought me to GBC as he was attending the church. That was back in 1996 and I have been a member of GBC since then.
During the past 22 years, GBC has been a home for me in many ways. It is where I have grown in spiritual maturity through the ministry of His word taught at the pulpit, at the CGs and through various discipling relationships. It is also where I met my wife, where we have been married for 17 years and where our two children grew up and are now part of the youth group. It is also where I’ve served in the worship ministry for many years, where the Lord has taught and guided me on how to indeed worship Him in Spirit and in truth both privately and corporately as a body of Christ. It is also a place where I’ve witnessed many who are faithful in serving Him and have given me much encouragement in my faith journey in Christ.
Having been an elder associate for the past year, I am thankful for the opportunity of growth that the Lord has provided me in this capacity. The role of an elder is essentially that of an under-shepherd who leads and guides His flock as he himself follows the leadership and guidance of the chief shepherd Jesus Christ. In other words, I am to follow Christ even as I urge and disciple others to follow Christ through the example of my life (1 Pet 5:3). Another area which I think is important in this role is that we need to be intentional and focused in caring for the well-being (both spiritual and physical) of the flock. It’s something that I have had to learn and ask God for guidance as I am more naturally inclined to be task oriented and focused on the job at hand. That means for the worship ministry that I am leading, it is not just a ministry that provides the music for the worship services, but a ministry that involves lives that are precious to God and put under our care to guide and gently lead to a closer and deeper relationship with Christ.
My prayer is that I will be obedient to Christ wherever He has called me to be and also for GBC to be strengthened in her faith in Christ as each one serves Him within this community in the areas that God has uniquely gifted them in. I am excited to see God at work within GBC as we seek to grow in Christlikeness and to proclaim the gospel boldly within our community and beyond.
2. Ngo Thian Chye
I came from a non-Christian family with three siblings. I came to know and believe Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour during my secondary school days through an evangelistic meeting. Thereafter, I was introduced to the school's Christian Fellowship (CF). I also attended Kay Poh Road Baptist Church for about 14 years, where I was given various opportunities to serve the Lord, some of which included an active role as an advisor to the youth in the church. I was also being mentored by a brother who has discipled me into spiritual maturity. In 1990, my family left Kay Poh Road Baptist Church with two other couples and came to worship at GBC.
Since joining GBC in 1990, the Lord has blessed me in many areas to serve Him. I was involved in church camps committee and served as a Care Group (CG) Leader. Currently, I am serving in the CG Ministry. I am married to Janice for 32 years and have two children Samuel (28) and Samantha (22). Both Janice and Samantha are serving in the Children’s Ministry while Samuel serves in the Projectionist Team.
In April 2017, I was invited to serve as an Elder Associate for a period of one year. During this time, I attended the monthly Elders’ Meeting and Shepherding Sessions.
In May 2018, God through the Pastoral Team (together with the Elders) called me into Eldership. My first thought was: How can I fulfill the role of an Elder in GBC? Many fears and questions started flooding my mind. Should I remain as an Elder Associate and continue serving as a Deacon in the Care Group Ministry?
What actually is the role of an Elder? As I reflected upon this question, I believe an Elder’s Ministry is to provide shepherding in the lives of members in the church. His role is primarily in the area of teaching, prayer and pastoral care. Elders also provide spiritual directions for the church, as the Lord leads them.
As I consider the role of an Elder, many questions came to my mind. I repeatedly gave myself excuses to avoid answering God’s calling. I am ineloquent and etc… I can identify with Moses in these verses (Exodus 3:11; 3:13; 4:1; 4:10-15) when he initially rejected God’s calling for him. But, God has assured me with His promises that He is with me and He will provide all that I need in serving Him as an Elder.
After a period of struggle, I decided to obey God’s calling for Eldership with fear and trembling. As I avail myself (together with my family) as a candidate for Eldership, I pray that the body of Christ (GBC) will partner with me in serving our Chief Shepherd. Pray with and for me that I may walk humbly and faithfully before God and men in living out my role as an Elder. Let this vessel of His be sanctified daily for His service. To God Be the Glory!
Related article: Nurturing Elders and Pastors (Part 2)