Quarterly Congregational Meeting 6 Jan 2019
The year’s first QCM got off to a good start with strong attendance and efficient time-keeping, such that despite a formidable-looking agenda all items were covered within an hour.
Proceedings kicked off with Pastor Oliver interviewing Kai and Ethan about their experience at the recent Youth Camp. Kai shared with us that he learned from the book of Acts about how the early church practised a culture of sharing, where everyone had a role to play and was able to contribute according to their gifts and skills. From this he was reminded to treat all members of GBC with love, sincerity and honesty, not shying away from engaging in conversation with anyone and everyone. Likewise, Ethan was challenged not to be on autopilot when he comes to church, but to make the effort to socialise instead of staying with his familiar group of friends. Ethan also mentioned that he hoped to apply the gospel into his life outside church too, with his school friends and others.
When asked what they were thankful for as a result of the camp, Ethan expressed his gratitude to the youth leaders who spent much personal time organising and planning. He was also thankful that God provided for every detail, even down to the food and surprisingly pleasant toilets! The lack of wifi turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as campers were less distracted and spent more time interacting with each other. Lastly, Ethan was thankful for Auntie Lily (Pang) opening up her house to his small group and sharing with them about her life and work in missions. Kai was especially thankful that everyone was very welcoming and friendly to his godbrother Elijah. Concluding their sharing, Pastor Oliver then prayed for them and the Youth Group, and formally opened the QCM in prayer.
It was a joy to welcome new members into our midst following their baptisms or transfers in the previous quarter, with the presentation of certificates and a reminder from Pastor Eugene that our role as the body of Christ is to stir them up to love and good works. This quarter, we welcomed with much joy Samantha How, Jonny Kho, Cheryl Lim, Melanie Seet, Cherie Sim, Adelene Stanley and Lianne Ong. We were reminded by Pastor Eugene to pray for them and love them as precious sheep that God has entrusted to our care for the sake of Christ.
This quarter, we welcomed with much joy (L-R): Jonny Kho, Samantha How, Cheryl Lim, Melanie Seet, Cherie Sim, Adelene Stanley and Lianne Ong (photo on slide in the background).
Moving on to other matters, we were given an overview of the key ministry opportunities for 2019. These include:
- Newcomers’ Luncheon on 13 Jan and 14 July – an opportunity to get to know new members
- Church Matters (Jan and July) – a class about what we believe as a church, how we do life together, and what scripture says about church ordinances
- Equip – moving to the second Saturday of every month Jan-Nov, focusing on how to handle and apply the word of God to our lives and ministries
- Marriage Retreat on 1 May – a chance for those at any stage of marriage, including engagement, to learn from one another and grow in our marriages
- Church Camp 12-15 June – with the theme: Grace Together, Grow Together
- Singapore Baptist Convention Missions Conference – 3 August
- GBC 60th Anniversary Service – 11 August
- Biblical Counselling Seminar 23-24 August – a chance to learn from a certified Biblical counsellor how to disciple and counsel each other by putting Christ first
(More details available on the church website under the Events tab.)
The next item under discussion was the pastoral internship for 2019, which falls under the Pastoral Development Initiative. Yanadi Gunawan (Yan) and his wife Fellisia were formally introduced to the church, as Yan will be GBC’s pastoral intern from January to May. Yan, originally from Indonesia, is currently a student at the Baptist Theological Seminary, and shared with the church that he feels his ministry calling is in teaching and preaching, possibly in an academy. Pastor Eugene encouraged church members to meet with the couple to encourage them and pray for them that their calling and future plans will be made clear in God’s good time.
Pastor Ian then took the floor to explain and clarify again the distinction between elders and deacons. Elders are understood to be pastors, in that they have the spiritual functions of shepherding the flock, and teaching and preaching God’s word, whereas deacons are more service- and admin-oriented who have the spiritual gifts of helps and service. Pastor Ian stressed that there is no hierarchy implied and both have the same level of recognition. The elders in 2019 are: Samuel Beh, Beh Soo Hee, Ian Buntain, Oliver Chia, Lim Song Huat, Eugene Low, Lam Lup Meng and Ngo Thian Chye. The ECL is further recommending Mok Chuan Xin, Caleb Yap and Tan Yee Kiat to be considered for eldership, as they have completed a period of service as elder associates and have been found to be shepherds who meet all the character qualifications laid out in 1 Tim 3. Pastor Ian reiterated that leaders are not created in seminaries, they are raised in local churches and may attend seminary to sharpen the skills they already possess. The congregation will be asked to vote on the appointment of these three men as elders. The ECL is further recommending that Nehemiah Chong and Jonathan Tan be appointed as elder associates for a year, as they are both already active in shepherding roles and have demonstrated godly character. There is no need for the congregation to vote for elder associates.
Moving on to deacons, Pastor Ian asked a trick question: how many deacons does GBC have currently? The answer: none! We used to have deacons, but they were all actually serving in an elder capacity so their designation was changed to be more in line with the Biblical picture. The ECL is now recommending the following people to be considered for deaconship: Kuan Kok Pui (Ordinances), Lee Siang Teck (Ushers), Annie Set (Welcome and Assimilation), Jena Tang (Women’s Ministry) and Bibianna Yeo (Young Adult Ministry). Pastor Ian explained that the Bible allowed women to serve as deacons (Rom 16:1-2; 1 Tim 3 with the translation of verse 11 as ‘women likewise’ not necessarily ‘their wives also’), so GBC now recognises and encourages women to serve in this role and exercise their various gifts in God’s service. Pastor Ian explained that all these people were approached because they are already doing the work and exercising their gifts, and none of them desired recognition. There is no need for the congregation to vote on the appointment of deacons. There are several ministries still in need of deacons, including Facilities, CG Ministry, Missions, Audio Visual and Compassion: members are encouraged to consider whether God might be calling them to help in these areas.
The meeting ended with the customary reading in unison of the Members’ Covenant as we affirmed our commitment to God, His church and each other, and the closing prayer was given by Elder Song Huat.