“Protection” is Not a Metaphor
Pastor Ian explains the latest measures that GBC will put in place during Phase 2 of Singapore's reopening.
My library in Canada is full of “Christian leadership” books that have long since lost their value to me. The reason for this is that I have come to realise that there is nothing inherently Christian about them. They have simply taken secular leadership principles and sanctified them with Christian language in an attempt to get a man like me to aspire to be the kind of leader that other men admire.
In the GBC family, those who serve as Elders are constantly called to draw our blueprint of “church leadership” not from secular principles, but from God’s Word. We often remind one another, that when God was looking for a man to lead His people, He wasn’t looking for the typical leadership profile. He was not looking for imposing stature or inspiring communication skills. Nor did He seem to require a resume full of great conquest. In 1 Samuel 16, God had rejected a man like that, and as Samuel went about searching for the next great leader of Israel, God spoke to him and said, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
So God doesn’t look for typical leadership qualities, nor does He need them. Instead, we see that He desires in His leader, the gifting and resume of a shepherd. Not a shepherd who owns sheep. But a shepherd who feeds, guides and protects someone else’s sheep. The boy David was that man. While his brothers were off at war, David was caring for his father’s sheep. In 1 Samuel 17:34-35, he shares his resume with King Saul: “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth.” David not only fed his father’s sheep; he protected them.
In the best of days, elders often assume that protection is a metaphor for “guarding God’s people from the dangers of false teaching” and indeed, often it is. But for David, protection was not just a metaphor. It was real. And in the words of Jesus, “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:11)
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the ministry of David and of Jesus to us. And in these moments, we believe God calls us not just to feed His sheep, but protect them.
This coming Sunday, we will have been out of our building for 97 days. With the early arrival of Phase 2, everyone has been looking forward to our nation reopening and to our church re-gathering, greeting one another and fellowshipping together. However, as one of our primary obligations is to protect our Father’s sheep, the elders and pastors want to do so as faithfully as is possible. And this means even during this current phase, we will be encouraging our ministry leaders, insomuch as is possible, to continue to meet and minister virtually.
However here is a list of some practical implications for GBC ministry (and the safeguards put in place) during this current phase:
• Beginning this Sunday, 28 June, we will begin again to livestream our service from our sanctuary. This will be done with a small team of 10 or less people. All will be required to register their entry and exit through the SafeEntry app, everyone will wear masks, and will maintain safe distance. The worship leaders and preacher will be allowed to remove their masks while singing or preaching. There will also be “single flow traffic” meaning, participants will access Level 4 by the southwest stairwell and will exit by the northwest stairwell.
• Beginning 5 July, we will offer a gathering for our precious seniors who will participate in the livestream from Level 3. This meeting will be limited to 50 members who are 65 or older and special priority will be given to those who have not been able to connect to our digital ministries. If needed, transportation will be provided. Ministry leaders will assist everyone to register using the SafeEntry app, all participants will be required to wear masks and will maintain safe distance. Until we have broader opening of our building, this group will have exclusive use of the lifts on Sundays from 845am to 1015am.
• Beginning 6 July, small groups of less than 5 may schedule meetings on the church premises. This may include Tuition Ministry, counselling, or one-to-one Bible reading. Anyone entering the building during this time will need to call ahead and book the time and space with our Administrator who is serving as our Safe Management Officer. All will be required to wear masks and practise safe distance while in the building and meetings will be limited to one hour.
• Beginning 7 July, though the staff will continue to work from home by default, the pastors will be in the office on a week-by-week rotation. Weekly staff meetings will continue to be held over Zoom.
• Children’s and Youth Ministries, along with Equip, Elder-led Prayer Meeting, CG Leaders meetings, and Quarterly Congregational Meeting will continue to function on the Zoom platform.
• Care Groups and any interactive Bible Studies will also continue to meet over Zoom along with our Elders’ Meetings.
It is our sincere prayer, that as we patiently wait for the day in which we can safely gather again, each of us will take daily refuge in the strength of His Word. It is our hope that we will actively seek ways to be connected to one another, and that we would have hearts alert to the many evidences of our sovereign God showing Himself to be Lord even, of global pandemics.
• Let’s plan to express our radical dependence on God as we gather this Friday for our monthly Elder-led Prayer Meeting! You can join this Zoom meeting via this Zoom link: https://tinyurl.com/prayermeetingjun2020 or scan the QR code below:
• This Sunday, Pastor Eugene will stand on our platform and lead us into the strength of Psalm 39. Let me encourage each of us to prepare ourselves to hear how God sometimes uses difficulty to teach us of our true nature and to prompt us to cry out to Him