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Guarding the Good Deposit by Passing It On

interns-2021-header

Yanadi, our Ministry Worker, introduces this year’s interns and encourages us to open our lives with them.

It is that time of the year again when we rejoice to have ministry interns. Just to jog our memories, we had Andrew, Hannah, and Joshua last year, the last of whom is now serving us on-staff as a Youth Ministry Worker.

We have three interns this year:

rolland-liRolland

ryan-tan Ryan

samuel-hoSamuel

Every year, as our Lord supplies, we have these wonderful opportunities to serve and be served by the interns. And it indeed goes both ways. On the one hand, the interns serve the church in various ministries. On the other hand, the church equips and shapes the interns through our interactions with them and as they faithfully ponder/pursue their callings.

During his supposedly last days, Paul wrote his second letter to Timothy. It is very possible that persecutions against Christians were getting more severe, and as a result, many Christians were discouraged to continue their ministry of the gospel. This was why Paul wrote to his spiritual son to encourage Timothy to press on in his ministry.

Paul exhorts Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2:

and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

This passage is specifically known as the "four generations of discipleship".
The "generations" goes like this:

  1. me” (Paul) is the first generation;
  2. you” (Timothy) is the second generation;
  3. faithful men, who will be able to teach … also” is the third generation; and
  4. others” is the fourth generation.

2 Timothy 2:2 is one of the main passages that our ministry internship is anchored upon:

  1. Our elders are the first generation;
  2. Former interns (some of whom are on-staff) are the second generation;
  3. Current interns are the third generation; and
  4. The church members whom our current interns are serving are the fourth generation.

So what does that entail for our interns?

The interns read about 20 books that are spread throughout the duration of their five-month internship. Every Wednesday, the interns meet with Elder Eugene to read the Bible together and discuss the book(s) they just read for the week. These discussions are not just for discussion sake, but to help one another grow in their Christian faith and ministry. Elder Oliver, Joshua, and myself join the discussions whenever we are available. Elder Thian Chye also joins them in reading and discussing the same books every week, while providing them opportunity to steward their God-given member-care gifts by taking them along to various members of our church.

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L-R: Ryan, Samuel, Rolland, Elder Eugene, and Elder Thian Chye

The benefit of church-based ministry internship, like the one we are having now, is that our own elders have curated the 20 books deemed directly relevant and helpful for ministries in our own church context, and the interns can gloss through them within five months. Those readings can be:

  • a foretaste and conditioning for seminary studies, for interns who may decide to pursue seminary studies thereafter;
  • a contextualisation for service in GBC or like-minded churches and an enrichment in addition to seminary studies, for interns who are already pursuing seminary studies; and
  • a targeted preparation for service in GBC or like-minded churches, for interns who are not going to pursue seminary studies.

In addition, the interns join Staff Meetings every Tuesday and Elders' Shepherding Meetings every month. In those meetings, they can observe the main gears that are driving our church. They have access to the church staff and elders when they need guidance and clarification, and each other to process thoughts and walk faithfully together. But not only that, they can also witness and learn the heart of our elders for the church members and visitors when they pray and plan to care for various members of our church together with the elders. Our prayer is for them to imitate and growingly develop a heart for Jesus Christ and His bride, the church.

Lastly, the interns will have the opportunity to initiate and develop relationships with us, the church, that may develop into discipling opportunities, to help one another grow together toward Christlikeness.

The hope is to apply 2 Timothy 2:2, guarding and passing on the good deposit received from Jesus Christ, flowing from our elders through the interns to the church members, and for each of them to “level up” in the “generations”. Perhaps these brothers will also aspire to serve the church as elders in the future, according to the scriptural criteria sufficiently expressed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9, and 1 Peter 5:1-11. Perhaps also there will be church members whom, through the ministries of these interns, God calls to disciple others and probably become interns in the future.

Then [Jesus] said to his disciples,
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;
therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

—Matthew 9:37-38

So what does that entail for us, the church?

While I joked with Joshua that these interns are so blessed because they have two former interns who are now on-staff to pamper them, their internship can only be meaningful, humanly speaking, if we allow them to serve us. Or better still, if we initiate building bridges with them. So, do get to know them and let them get to know us. Ask them: “How can we pray for you?”, and do actually pray for them.

Let me know if you need help on connecting with any of our interns. Let us shower them with God’s love, GBC.

To find out more about our Ministry Internship, click here.