Quarterly Congregational Meeting 8 Apr 2018

Missed the Quarterly Congregational Meeting last Sunday? Rachel Wong recapitulates the salient points of the meeting in this post.

Our second Quarterly Congregational Meeting (QCM) was held on Sunday 8 April after the worship service. Set up to aid transparency and communication, the QCMs are intended to be a means for the church leadership to inform and explain to members new developments or changes to existing policies, as well as to formally welcome newly baptised members into the church. As such they help to foster unity and inclusion among all parts of the church body.

QCM2Pastor Eugene opened the meeting with a prayer, following which Pastor Ian summarised the main points of the previous QCM in January. These were regarding the GBC ministry metric, or in other words how to assess the qualities and qualifications expected of those who serve in church. Pastor Ian reminded us that those leading a ministry team or consistently teaching God’s word are expected to be covenant members of GBC and to submit to the Holy Spirit as their primary authority. Importantly, and somewhat counter-intuitively, ministry leaders are not primarily responsible for delivering ministry programmes. Instead, their primary responsibility should be to disciple believers into fruitful behaviours and to disciple non-believers into faith.

Moving on to the business of the day, Pastor Ian mentioned that there will be a change to the definition of missions. Henceforth, missions will be defined as any ministry that sends the gospel beyond the walls of the church across cultural or linguistic barriers (ie, not only mission work in another country among unreached peoples). Ps Ian stressed that this is different from evangelism, which typically reaches people of a similar cultural and socio-economic background. Ps Ian also stressed that mission work is the only thing that we cannot do better in heaven, which serves as a powerful motivation for us to make a difference here on earth while we still can.

QCM 3What will this mean in practical terms for current and future missionaries? Ps Ian took pains to assure members that there will be no impact on current missionaries. In future, however, missionaries appointed by GBC will be mostly doing direct mission work, and will be encouraged to seek support from several sources rather than relying on GBC alone. There will also be an understanding that priority will be given to support members of GBC and that missionaries should expect to retire once they are no longer involved in direct mission work.

In terms of finances, Ps Ian reminded us that current giving is insufficient to meet our missions commitments. He also mentioned that giving to missions should preferably be via the blue bags and not through designated giving, to ensure that all are supported equally.

The second major topic under consideration was membership matters. The church leadership has been going through the membership rolls to follow up with those who are no longer attending GBC, to find out if they are attending another church, and if not to call them back to faith. Ps Eugene pointed out that this is an important part of shepherding, to look for the sheep that have wandered off and care for them. Another important aspect of shepherding is church discipline, of which there are two kinds: formative and corrective. Ps Ian expressed the opinion that 90% of us are in need of weekly formative discipline to encourage us to aim higher in our pursuit to be like Christ. For the remaining 10% who may need corrective discipline, this is usually because not much formative discipline has previously been done, and the aim is to restore the person to right relationship with Christ and His people.

Ps Ian had an encouraging word for those of us who may have adult children who have wandered away, that the aim is to pursue them and pray fervently for them to return to the Chief Shepherd. Parents should not have to pray this prayer by themselves, but the church as a whole should be involved because it takes a church to raise godly families. In this regard, a question was raised about the presence of young children in the worship service despite the provision of cry rooms. Some members of the congregation find the noise intrusive and feel that parents should either use the cry rooms or train their children to show ‘appropriate’ behaviour when in church. There was some discussion on this issue, with different opinions expressed and a call for more understanding to be shown by all parties.

After the presentation of baptismal certificates to new members Janet Sengalrayan and Benedict Seah, the meeting concluded with the reading of the GBC Membership Covenant by all present in order to reaffirm our shared beliefs and our commitment to each other as the body of Christ.

We look forward to the next QCM in three months’ time!