Investing in People
Pastor Eugene encourages us to invest our resources in people, to grow them in the faith and to equip them for faithful ministry.
One of my favourite parts of our quarterly congregational meetings is when we introduce the new members who have recently joined us. We mention each person by name, provide information about them and invite them to share how we can pray for them.
These introductions typically take some time, especially when we have a number of new members. Why devote such a significant chunk of our members’ meeting to this? It can seem like a rather inefficient use of time, particularly when there is other pressing “church business” to get to.
We live in a task-oriented culture that emphasises bottom lines, deliverables and results. Amid talk of budgets, programmes and plans, it is easy to lose sight of what should truly matter to us as a church. Our health is a function of our faithfulness to our mission: to make and grow disciples through the gospel of Jesus Christ.
GBC, we have a stewardship from God to grow His people. Paul reminds the church at Philippi of this by expressing his affection for them and his desire for their spiritual progress: “My brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” (Phil 4:1)
Therefore, introducing new members is not a distraction from the business of the church; it is a key part of the church’s business to make disciples of the nations. We are in the “business” of investing in people, so that they grow to maturity in Christ. Our budgets, building, programmes and plans are means to this end; not an end in themselves.
Take the churches of Macedonia in the New Testament, for example. They were not in great financial shape. They hardly had any reserves to speak of, yet Paul says these churches are evidence of God’s grace: “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia.” (2 Cor 8:1)
How did they display God’s grace? It was through their generosity amid adversity. Like the widow and her two copper coins in Luke 21:1-4, the Macedonian churches did not give because they had much to offer; they gave because of their wholehearted devotion to God. For this, they were commended. Paul says of them: “For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” (vv 2-5)
Their generosity was motivated by their love for Jesus, which moved them to love God’s people through their sacrificial giving. They gave, not because it was pragmatically prudent, but because they understood it to be an investment in the wellbeing of God’s people. The Macedonian churches regarded the opportunity to give to the saints as God’s favour—literally, “grace”—to them.
Fellow GBCers, I’m thankful for your sacrificial giving, even in these tough times. May God help us to continue investing His (we are stewards, not owners, after all) resources to build up His people.
An important way in which we do so is through the ministry internship. From July to November every year, we take in up to five interns with the goal of developing men and women for local church ministry and missions. If you aspire to greater faithfulness in ministry, perhaps in a full-time capacity, then I’d like to encourage you to consider joining the internship. Applications for the next round, beginning in July, are open.
Why be an intern at GBC? The internship can help:
- Deepen your biblical-theological understanding of Christian ministry;
- Give you an opportunity to gain practical ministry experience in a local church, under the direct guidance and care of GBC’s pastors-elders;
- Clarify your aspirations for full-time, vocational ministry.
The internship is open to GBC members. You can find out more on GBC’s website here. If you have questions or would like to apply to be an intern this year, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Do also feel free to reach out to one of our former interns: Samuel Beh, Yanadi Sutan, Hannah Yeo, Andrew Sung and Joshua Lowe. They would be happy to tell you more about their experiences.
I’m grateful for how GBC is able to offer an internship to men and women keen on getting better equipped for ministry. May God help us to invest our resources to build up his people for the sake of his gospel. May He “supply and multiply our seed for sowing and increase the harvest of our righteousness” (2 Cor 9:10). And may we, as a church, continue to share in the joy of seeing God’s people grow in faith, hope and love!
Our investment in one another’s spiritual wellbeing is meant to reflect the self-sacrificial service of our Lord Jesus Christ. This Sunday, we will hear from Luke 22:24-65 about how Jesus is the Servant King who humbly gave His life for undeserving sinners. Therefore, we are to follow Him by humble service, dependent prayer and honest repentance.
Do also join us for EQUIP next Tuesday (Mar 23), which will be the final session of “The Gospel at Work” series. This session will focus on how we can share the gospel in our workplaces. The class will take place over Zoom (http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/equip) from 8-9pm.
Looking a little further ahead:
- Our monthly prayer meeting takes place next Friday (Mar 26) at 8pm on Zoom (http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/gbcprays)
- Our Good Friday service happens at 9am on April 2. Our services during Easter weekend will take place as usual: 5pm on Saturday and 9am on Sunday. Do invite your family and friends to hear the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection.