Quarterly Congregational Meeting (1 July 2018)
Every quarter, the English Congregational Leadership holds a Congregational Meeting for members to hear and stay in touch with what's going in the body. As we continue to grow as a body of Christ, these meetings are an important way for us to practise practical unity in the church. Here's a brief summary of what happened at the recent meeting, which was very well-attended
The meeting began with a time of thanksgiving as our sisters Grace Ang and Gloria Yeo shared with the church about the highs and lows of the recent Vacation Bible School and Young Adults' Retreat. Grace shared about the many ways God provided for needs through the kindness and support of church members who came forward to solve problems, offer their services, and help out in practical ways. She urged us to pray for the children, and that the seeds of the gospel would bear fruit in those young lives. She also shared the ambition of the Children's Ministry to conduct more of such "CCAs" for the children in each of the four annual vacations, and for God to guide the teachers in these matters.
Gloria shared warmly about the retreat over the Hari Raya weekend, and how the theme "Homeward Bound", which was focused on the idea of heaven, was both an occasion for deep learning and yearning for the 55 young adults who attended. She shared how God has used the retreat experience to grow the young adult community, and how through the sermons by Samuel Beh and Bryan Tan and the other activities, various ones had their hearts stoked for heaven, home and holiness. Pray for the young adults to continue their good work of discipleship, and for the bearing of much fruit. (Read blog post on YA Retreat.)
Pastor Ian shared the ECL's recent efforts in leadership development, and how it was the conviction of the leaders to raise up elders/pastors who would pastor the flock at GBC. Through the Elder Associates programme, he said that the ECL were happy to recommend Thian Chye, Lup Meng and Samuel Beh as potential elder candidates. Pastor Ian stressed the biblical qualification of leaders from Scriptures such as 1 Tim 3, and that character, more than anything else, set such men apart for the office of elders.
More specifically, the further nomination of Samuel Beh to be a full time member of the pastoral staff as an Associate Pastor as an affirmation of his gifting and calling, was a matter discussed at length. Pastor Ian added that Samuel was currently taking online classes in Greek at a local seminary, and had expressed interest in going to seminary in the future. Members expressed their appreciation for Samuel and his leadership over the youth ministry, and for the sermons he preached at church. Members were invited to speak directly to Samuel, as well as Thian Chye and Lup Meng next Sunday at 10.45am in Room 310A&B. Thereafter, the nomination of these brothers would be tabled for a congregational vote at a business meeting.
Pastor Eugene shared on recent membership matters, including the welcoming of new members into our midst: Seng Guan and Karen (their daughter Samantha is attending the youth group), as well as Eric and Bernie, who can be seen helping out with the book table. We warmly welcomed them into our family.
Eugene explained that the church was also a community of repentant sinners, and said that church discipline was an important, though painful part of our life together. A case of church discipline was brought before the congregation, and a member was removed for serious unrepentant sin. Pastor Eugene also explained what the practical implications of such a serious action were, and stressed that removing a person from membership meant that the person was always welcome in our midst as a visitor to hear the gospel, and that our doors were always open. However, it was important to note that while we could not affirm this person's profession of faith as a follower of Jesus because of her choices, God's people were encouraged to pursue and seek her as a lost sheep of God's. We prayed for her as an expression of our love for her, and submitted this matter to our loving Shepherd.
While the meeting ran over time slightly, the meeting was time well spent, with many members giving thanks for the time we spent together deliberating over the matters of God's family in love, hope and holiness.