Quarterly Congregational Meeting -- 3 Jan 2021
We held our first Quarterly Congregational Meeting (QCM) of the year on 3 Jan 2021. The elders shared the plans for 2021 as well as introduced new members who joined last quarter.
Ps Oliver chaired the meeting which saw members joining via Zoom as well as ~30 members who joined the meeting from Room 310.
It has been a while since we last held our QCM in Room 310!
Elder Chuan Xin opened us with thanksgiving to God for how He has gathered all of us for the meeting to hear what He has been doing among us despite all the challenges in the past year, and prayed that He would instil in us a strong faith to rely and depend on Him for what He has in store for us in the new year.
Next, Elder Caleb took us through 10 points of thanksgiving for 2020. Indeed, all glory and praise to our faithful and gracious God!
Following that, Elder Jonathan introduced 12 new members who joined us last quarter. He explained that time was set aside to introduce and welcome each new member so that we would get to know them and connect with them, for how could we love and exhort one another towards Christlikeness if we do not know one another? As he introduced each member—sharing where they live and work as well as an interesting fact about them, he also invited them to share how we as a church could pray for them.
We are so thankful for these new members: (starting from top row, L-R): Chester, Caleb, Clara, Samuel, Rebecca, Wai Hong, Ryan, Matthew, Jennilyn and Isaac (Qian Ling and Liam joined the meeting from Room 310). We pray that they will remain rooted in Christ, grow in their faith, trust in and rely on Him and also integrate well into the GBC family.
Concluding the segment, Elder Jonathan informed the meeting that the next class for Church Matters—GBC's membership class—would be held in person from 11am-1230pm on Jan, 24 and 31.
Plans for 2021
In sharing the plans for 2021, Ps Eugene emphasised that ministry means people. Hence, in all our plans, the focus would be on building up the people whom God has gathered to us in the faith so that we would stand fast in the Lord, and to call those outside of this community to know the joy of knowing Jesus.
With this goal in mind, he went through the four key areas that GBC would be giving attention to this year: Gospel, Gather, Grow and Go.
Ps Eugene shared the sermon series lineup for the year on how we would be building deeper roots in the gospel. He explained that one of the reasons for sharing the sermon series ahead of time is to encourage us to start reading these books of the Bible in our quiet time so that we would prepare our hearts to receive God's Word.
He elaborated that we would be wrapping up our sermon series on Radical Dependence in April 2021. Thereafter, we would embark on a short sermon series on Ephesians, reflecting on the way we are to live as His people, the church. This would be followed by a series through Genesis 1-12 on foundational topics for life, i.e. what the Bible says about creation, work, who we are and marriage etc. Next up, we would look at 1 Peter and Habakkuk on the theme of "hope"—how do we grow in the hope that is informed by God's truth? In between, we would also be spending some time in Psalms 42-48 focusing on the theme of "The King and His People".
As we grow deeper in the gospel, Ps Eugene prayed that we would strengthen our life together as God's family. As such, one of the elders' prayers is that we would resume the habit of gathering as God's people as we slowly emerge from this pandemic. This is why we would be launching a second service on Saturdays at 5pm starting Jan 16. With two services and increased capacity, we would have the opportunity to gather weekly as a church to worship. Thus, he strongly encouraged us to resume gathering if we are able to.
He also emphasised the elders' prayer that we would continue to build one another up in the faith. We are thankful for the increase in the number of newcomers who are either visiting our services physically or online, and we would want to enable the newcomers to plant their roots deep in the community. It is thus our prayer and hope that a newcomer would grow to be a member (not just a passive but a committed member of God's community) and to be a gospel partner whom we could work with to grow the gospel.
And as Elder Jonathan mentioned, a key part of that is our membership class—Church Matters—which would take place quarterly for 2021, with the first quarter's class taking place over 3 Sundays starting Jan 17.
Another key focus would be to encourage all to meet together in care groups. We are heartened by the number of new groups formed in 2020, and it is our prayer that more would be formed in 2021. Hence an important focus would be to strengthen our existing CG leaders, to better equip them for CG and ministry because they are fellow shepherds along with the elders and play an important role in the life of the church. In addition, the elders would commit to develop new leaders through monthly CLOBs and other platforms. Ps Eugene urged us to pray for existing CG leaders as well as for God to raise up more CG leaders. He added that as we continue to launch new care groups, it would mean that some of us in existing groups may need to be redeployed to other groups.
On the third key area—Grow, Ps Eugene explained that it is our desire to build a culture of discipleship where everyone of us is involved in speaking the truth in love to one another, strengthening one another in the Word, helping one another to know Jesus, follow Him and become more like Him. This could take place formally or informally over a meal or coffee. He prayed that this discipling would happen across the whole body of Christ, across different stages of life—from children to youth, young adults, newly-weds, young families, working adults and older saints. He highlighted that one practical way we could do this would be to obtain a copy of the membership directory from the church office and pray for one another, and get to know one another as we go through the directory. He expressed that it would be so encouraging if we could go to someone on a Sunday (or Saturday) to let him/her know that we have prayed for them that week. Furthermore, recognising the needs of the Children's Ministry, he also encouraged more of us to be involved in the ministry, to get to know the children as well as the young families in our midst.
In addition, to help us grow in the gospel, this year's EQUIP would take place over Zoom every Tuesday, 8-9pm. These hour-long webinars would go through four key life topics: Work, Singleness, Marriage, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The first session would take place on 2 Feb 2021.
Another aspect of our growth in the gospel would be to invest more intentionally in people. For 2021, the elders would look to:
1. raise up more elders and deacons. It is the elders' prayer that we would have a pipeline of faithful men and women who could serve as elders and deacons.
2. conduct monthly preaching labs from February to November to learn together how to handle God's Word and teach God's Word faithfully.
3. run the ministry internship programme from July to November, with the aim of encouraging these interns to grow deeper in the faith, giving them real ministry experience, allowing them to know the church better, and be better equipped for life and ministry. Some of these interns may enter full time ministry, some may not but it is the elders' prayer that God would continue to use them wherever He calls them.
4. increase and strengthen the team of staff. We are grateful that the budget has been approved and we would look to bringing in new staff. Ps Eugene explained that it is our hope that we would be investing in the lives of these new staff for their own growth and to strengthen them and equip them for the gospel.
The last focus would be going forth with the gospel. The pandemic, though a challenging time for us, has also presented us with evangelistic opportunities, for e.g., our outreach to guest workers and street evangelism. We would continue to focus on these outreach efforts. Furthermore, Ps Eugene stressed the importance of our own personal evangelism—to reach out to the people whom God has placed us in contact with, and he prayed that we would all be faithful to the gospel and be ready to give a reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.
Ps Eugene also hoped that this focus on the gospel would lead us to think about missions overseas. He prayed that God would open up more opportunities for us in both local and global missions. He hoped that we would be more intentional in local missions especially in light of the travel restrictions, given the huge population of foreign workers in this country, many of whom come from unreached people groups.
Ps Eugene ended the segment with the prayer that we would grow deeper and stronger in the gospel, gather more as God's family, grow to be more and more like Christ, and that God would move our hearts to go faithfully wherever He calls us.
Next, Ps Ollie updated us on the launch of the second service which would start this Saturday, Jan 16. He clarified that once we have two services, almost every member could gather for worship physically now. Therefore, he encouraged all to join either one of the service physically. He also hoped that members would commit to respective service for better shepherding care and building of community. The launch of the second service and increased capacity also meant that we would need more volunteers in various ministries:
- Worship Ministry (musicians, worship leaders, sound & AV) – contact Lup Meng or Carrie
- Welcome Team (Covid-19 safety management, ushers and greeters) – contact Siang Teck
- Steward Offerings – contact church office.
Finally, Elder Chuan Xin took us through our finances for 2021. By God's grace, the budget for 2021 has been approved. The budget request reflects the size of the task that God has placed on GBC and the elders are grateful for the strong indication of the faith of the church in the plans for 2021.
Elder Chuan Xin explained that the budget for 2021 is 4-5% higher than 2020's. Given the growth in the church, the elders felt strongly the need to expand the team of pastoral and ministry staff, hence the higher budget request for HR cost. He detailed that our giving in the past three years have been increasing and this is in spite of the financial difficulties and challenges in 2020. By God's grace and provision, our giving for 2020 has exceeded our expenses for that year.
However, for 2021, we would need to increase our giving from 2020's level by 25% in order to meet the budget for 2021. (If you want a breakdown of the budget requirement, you can email the church office.) Elder Chuan Xin prayed that God would continue to provide through us and help us in these uncertain times. The elders also recognised that though our giving has increased, many members are also facing financial difficulties. Thus, one of increases in our budget for 2021 is the increase in funds set aside for Member Care. Elder Chuan Xin strongly encouraged those who are in need to connect with either Elder Thian Chye or the church office so as to allow the church the privilege to take care of those in need.
Lastly, Elder Chuan Xin emphasised that stewardship is not just about financial giving but also the giving of our time and energy in serving God and one another.
While waiting for questions to be raised, Elder Chong Tien encouraged us with his observation that God is doing mighty work in us despite the circumstances. He felt that God is calling us to enter into another phase of faith journey. He mentioned that when we embarked on our church rebuilding programme a few years back, we were well aware that God is not looking at physical rebuilding but spiritual rebuilding; and we are now seeing some fruit of this spiritual rebuilding. He's very grateful and encouraged by the team of pastors and elders who have been preaching and living the Word faithfully, and as a result, God is blessing us with many newcomers who are hungry for God's Word and are attracted to the faithful gospel preaching and living.
He added that we are merely stewards of all the good things God has given us, be it our lives, wealth or the church; and he exhorted us to be responsible stewards by using our finances, time and energy which are temporal, to invest in something that is eternal—God's glory and kingdom. If we are short in finances, we should not retract but instead step up in faith, asking God to provide in His abundance to enable us to give to His work. Most importantly, we should also invest our time and love in His people. He ended with the exhortation to be courageous and to build up the church together.
Following that, a question was asked on the increased capacity, and Ps Oliver clarified that the approved capacity was 170 people but we were in the process of seeking a higher number. [Post meeting update: MCCY has approved a capacity of 244 people per service.]
There being no other questions or comments, Ps Oliver concluded the meeting by reading through the Members' Covenant, to which the meeting resounded with an "Amen!" to affirm our commitment to God and to one another.
We thank God for what He's doing through us and for the elders whom He has so generously enriched us with to shepherd us. We pray that as a church, we would daily seek and rely on Him to love one another and persist in working together in unity for His glory.