Recap of 1Q22 QCM
We held our first Quarterly Congregational Meeting (QCM) for the year on 9 Jan 2022, recounting and giving thanks for the wonderful deeds of the Lord in our midst, and committing the new year to Him.
Elder Jonathan, the chairman for this year's QCMs, kicked off the QCM by quickly walking us through the agenda and opening us in prayer to give thanks and commit the time to the Lord.
This being the first QCM of the year, it was only right that we started with a time of reflection and thanksgiving for 2021. Elder Caleb directed us to Psalm 9:1-2 and 7-11 and recounted ten wonderful thanksgiving points for 2021:
1. Preachers raised for God’s Word. In December we had our sermon series “Glory Has Come” from the gospel of John about Jesus Christ, the Word became flesh who dwelt among us. In the series, we heard from some lesser-known able preachers in our midst, including some of the men trained through our Preaching Lab initiative. Read more about the Preaching Lab and praise God for the 20 brothers trained to handle God’s Word, including two brothers from Acts Baptist Church!
2. Support for gospel work abroad. We praise God that GBC was able to support: the Love Indonesia humanitarian project through the Singapore Baptist Convention; pandemic relief work in India through City to City Asia Pacific; and pandemic relief and ministry needs in Bangkok, Thailand through David Chang, our own GBC supported missionary with OMF. Through David, we were able to contribute to Thai churches, missionary expansion and outreach projects, refugee work, a seminary, and Christian publisher, among others.
3. Blessings of new marriages and babies in our midst. We witnessed an uptick of weddings and births towards the end of the year as God brought couples together and blessed others with the gift of children in 2021. We rejoice with what God is doing in the couples and families of GBC.
4. Ministry through our Youth Camp in December. Around 25 youth studied God’s lovingkindness from the Old Testament book of Ruth. GBC church members preached God’s Word, provided food for the youth, and helped to write daily devotions for the good of our young ones. Praise God! (Read about the Youth Camp here.)
5. God used our Christmas Eve service to proclaim the gospel through us. We saw around 20 responses to Ps Thian Chye’s evangelistic sermon, including people trusting in Christ for salvation and requesting for follow-up.
6. More returning to worship in-person. In 2021 we appealed to members to return and resume in-person worship, and many responded. Our Saturday service has averaged 80 pax attending, and our Sunday service, 160 pax. We continue to pray that God will move members to return for worship in this third year of the pandemic.
7. We have resumed Children’s ministry and attendance has been healthy. We see around 50 children out of the 70-odd children in our records. As we recruited more teachers for this increase in children, God has provided around 50 teachers, half of whom are new and responded to the needs. We have also just resumed our nursery ministry on 9 Jan.
8. Our prayer devotional. As we began a new Prayer sermon series in January 2022, we are grateful for the wonderful prayer devotional written together by 28 GBC writers and skilfully produced by Bibianna to help GBC members pray better this year.
9. God’s grace to our congregation and members. More broadly, we recognise God’s gracious hand in seeing members through a difficult year of life stage moves – new schooling situations, major exams, relocating, work and family transitions, even personal crises and health difficulties. This includes members who have had COVID-19 scares in our midst as well. Through it all – there have been story after story of God’s faithfulness and tender care.
10. Love action and care for members. We give thanks for the almost full utilisation of our member care fund rate in 2021, indicating that God has used the church to identify and meet needs according to His mercy. Around 10 members were able to receive support, and we praise God for the means and opportunity to do so.
As we considered these wonderful works, Elder Caleb reminded us from Psalm 9 that we were not considering how great our church was or how awesome we were, but how great God has been in His sovereign rule over us. Indeed, He is our good and righteous king and we praise Him for His wonderful deeds!
[Read also Bibianna's recap of our Watchnight Service where we gathered to look back at God's marvellous work and pray for the year ahead.]
Welcome New Members
One of the highlights of our QCMs is the introduction of new members who have joined us the preceding quarter. We thanked God for allowing us to welcome 13 new members into our midst last quarter, bringing the year's total to 76! Elder Lup Meng briefly introduced each of them – where they stay/work, which care group they belong to as well as a fun fact about them – and encouraged members to reach out to them and get to know them (email Pauline for the latest members' directory). Those who could join us during the meeting also shared how we can pray for them.
Sharing their prayer requests during the meeting: (top L-R) Martin, Mercia, Caroline, (middle L-R) Kelvin and Rebecca, Alan, Brandon, (bottom L-R) Tabitha, Kimberly, Robert and Anna. [Not in photo: Joel and Jolene.]
We pray that as a church, we will reflect His glory, discipling one another and helping one another to grow in our faith and love for God and for one another.
[If you would like to be a member or find out more about GBC, our membership class— Church Matters—will take place this Saturday, 22 Jan, from 9am to 1pm. The class will be conducted in-person in Room 516-519. You can register here.]
Eight Aspirations for GBC
Following that, Ps Eugene shared eight aspirations that the elders have discussed, prayed over and drafted for GBC. Ps Eugene also shared these aspirations during last month's Watchnight Service. He stressed that these aspirations are not ministry targets or programmes, rather these aspirations capture the essence of who we are to be as God's people and what we are to do as His people. He walked us briefly through each of them.
These eight aspirations are listed and explained on our website and in the weeks to come, the elders and staff will also be elaborating on each aspiration in our weekly enewsletter. [Read "What We Aspire to Be" by Ps Ollie; and "We Aspire to Cultivate Christlikeness" by Bibianna.]
1. Sermon Schedule
At the beginning of the year, we have started our sermon series on Prayer and Ps Eugene shared the upcoming sermon series for the rest of 2022:
Ps Eugene encouraged us to read ahead to prepare our hearts as we gather to listen and understand these passages.
2. EQUIP 2022
Next, for EQUIP (a learning and training initiative for the whole church), Ps Eugene introduced the four tracks that we will have this year:
- Church Matters – our membership class which aims to foster a biblical understanding of the church and church membership, will continue to take place every quarter. The class will be held in-person (God willing) and will go through what we believe as a church, and what it means to be a church member.
- Core – a new initiative this year with four modules that go back to the fundamentals of our faith and would be especially helpful for new Christians. The classes will be conducted via Zoom and will go through who Jesus is, how all Scripture points to Christ, Christian doctrines and Christian living.
- Electives – there will be four series this year, one in each quarter: 1. Side by Side on how we can walk alongside one another to encourage one another to grow; 2. Addressing Anger, Fear & Anxiety on how do we battle these emotional sins in our lives; 3. Instructing Children; and 4. Missions. Once again, the classes will be conducted via Zoom.
You can refer to our EQUIP webpage for more information, as well as watch past series that have been taught.
- Training Group – another new initiative is called the Training Group, where people can come together, read a Christian book and discuss it. The first book that the group will be reading is Mark Dever's Nine Marks of a Healthy Church which is a book that's very helpful for ministry. Ps Eugene will be leading this group which will meet over four monthly Zoom sessions. To sign up, just email Yanadi or Ps Eugene.
3. Affirming and Electing Elders
Moving on from the preaching and teaching plans for the year, Elder Jonathan updated the meeting that the elders have unanimously put forward Elder Associate Gerald Chua as a new elder and will be seeking the congregation's affirmation on 20 Feb 2022. On 20 Feb, the congregation will also be asked to vote to extend Elder Caleb Yap and Elder Mok Chuan-Xin's term as elders for another 3 years. We thank God for stirring in these men's hearts the desire to serve Him and His people and we ask the congregation to prayerfully consider and affirm the call of these faithful men. Elder Jonathan also shared that Elder Associate Huang Weiquan and Andrew Sung have asked for more time to prayerfully consider this call.
In addition, after having completed two consecutive 3-year terms, Elder Beh Soo Hee will be stepping down as an elder. We thank God for his faithful service for the last 6 years as an elder and pray that the coming period of rest will be a time of recharging and reconnecting for him and Kit Wan.
If members have any questions on the affirmation of elders, there will be a Q&A session on 6 Feb 2022 via Zoom.
4. Missions Updates
Next, Elder Jonathan updated us on some changes in the Missions Committee (MC):
- With Elder Beh stepping down as an elder, Elder Jonathan will in turn take over as the elder overseeing Missions.
- We rejoiced that Hannah Ng has joined the MC serving in the area of Communications.
- Joey Raju who has been serving in the MC since 2019 has stepped down with his return to the US late last year.
The MC thus consists of:
Elder Jonathan asked that we continue to keep the MC in prayer as they seek to bring on more missions-minded members to strengthen the ministry's effectiveness.
He went on to update us that our missionary, Fedora Teong, who was serving with OMF in Thailand since 2018 has returned to Singapore in 2020 due to family health issues. The ensuing pandemic restrictions in Thailand have prevented her from returning and also limited her mostly face-to-face ministry in Thailand. While no longer a GBC-supported missionary, she would continue to volunteer with OMF, serving in their online ministries. Fedora seeks our partnership in prayer as she looks out for future missions openings in Thailand or opportunities to minister to the Thais in Singapore.
5. Corporate Worship
After the update on missions, Elder Chuan-Xin walked us through some new elements introduced in our worship services this year as well as how the shape of the congregation has changed. He exhorted that corporate worship is not individualistic, that we cannot worship as disconnected, anonymous individuals but instead we gather as one gospel-created and gospel-united people to glorify God and build one another up (Heb 10:24-25).
One of the new elements introduced in our worship services was using the New City Catechism to affirm the Christian faith together as a congregation. Elder Chuan-Xin explained that the New City Catechism is a comprehensive exposition of the gospel, comprising 52 questions and answers on what we believe. During our worship services, we will go through one question per week. He encouraged all to refer to the New City Catechism website or app which provide the accompanying Bible verse for each question as well as commentary by past and contemporary preachers to help us understand meditate on it. Given the communal nature of the catechism, he strongly encouraged all parents to use it with their children just as our worship leaders are using it with the congregation, and highly recommended it for all to use it for their family devotion. He emphasised that the catechism is fully aligned with our established church beliefs which he encouraged us to read through on a regular basis too to remind ourselves of what we believe in.
[Read Ps Eugene's article on "Speak the Truth to One Another"]
Another area of emphasis for corporate worship for the year is our time of corporate prayer. We have kick-started the year with the sermon series on Prayer to help us understand prayer using the A.C.T.S model, which is derived from the Lord's Prayer. The model has the following elements: adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. We have also incorporated this model in our worship service where our opening will be on Adoration and Praise, followed by a time of Prayer of Confession and Assurance of Forgiveness, Songs of Thanksgiving and ending with Pastoral Prayer of Supplication. Elder Chuan-Xin reminded us from Act 2:42 that prayer is not just personal but also a coming together as a church to pray. He urged members to actively participate in our corporate prayer, and during the week to also join the church in praying over the prayer needs listed in the ministry guide.
Finally, he shared that as we gather, our ministry needs are also growing and changing. Ministries such as the Welcome Ministry, Worship Ministry, Children's Minstry and Youth Ministry are all in need of more volunteers. If you are interested in serving in any of these areas, contact the following members:
- Welcome Ministry: Siang Teck or Sze Gar
- Worship Ministry (including song leaders, instrumentalists, projectionists, and AV crew) will be gathering to pray, catch-up and share plans for the year on 23 Jan (Sunday) from 11am-1230pm. If would like to be part of the ministry or just to find out more, you are welcome to join them by registering here.
- Children's Ministry (Sunday School and nursery): Siew Ting
- Youth Ministry: Joshua
Shape of the Congregation
Lastly, Elder Chuan-Xin rejoiced that rather than getting older, our congregation is miraculously getting younger. He updated us on the growing number of children attending Sunday School, and the number of teachers and parents who are involved in this ministry.
He emphasised that due to safe management restrictions, there's still a great need for more teachers to teach and mind the children. While we are thankful for many who have stepped up, our ideal number of volunteers would be close to double of what we currently have as we look to start Sunday School and nursery for Saturday services as well.
Going through the numbers, he added that from 2020-2022, we have 30 couples who got married and many have or will be starting families. Currently, we have 104 parents (around 20% of our members) who have children under the age of 12 and another 30 parents who have children in their youth. This implies a great ministry need in terms of family ministry, on navigating marriage as well as bringing up children in a godly manner.
Having informed the church of the changing shape of our congregation and the needs, he asked Mok Chuan-Hao and Melisse to share how the church can come alongside parents such as themselves. Chuan-Hao shared that raising children is a God-given gift and responsibility, and they are constantly reminded of the need to depend on God for His strength. It definitely has not been easy to lead by example 24/7 with three keen observers at home, and as they grow, many new challenges surfaced which they would need advice and help in, for example how best to address contemporary issues such as gender issues, how to explain the relevancy of the gospel against the backdrop of contemporary issues, how to nurture kids in the right path etc. In a nutshell, there's a need for us to work together as a church to meet these family ministry needs.
6. Family Pastor
With the changes that Elder Chuan-Xin mentioned, Ps Eugene shared that the elders have been aware of this growing need in terms of family ministry and have been looking for a potential family pastor to help strengthen our children's and youth ministries. Currently, we only have one part-time staff (Siew Ting), and we definitely need more help to work with children, youth, and moving on to disciple newly married couples and families. This search has taken a while and the pastoral search team has shortlisted a candidate – Mark Collins. Mark is married to Megan and they have 6 children (find out more about Mark here). Mark is currently in Singapore and would be preaching on 14/15 Jan and 22/23 Jan. We are grateful for how God has provided us with this candidate and there will be a Q&A session on 22 Jan for members to meet Mark. Meetings have also been arranged for various groups of our church such as teachers for Children's Ministry, parents, youth ministry leaders etc. to meet with Mark in person while he's here with us.
Ps Eugene also explained that if Mark's appointment fall into place, he would be here only for a season with a focus on raising up local leaders in the family ministry. He asked that we prayerfully consider this possible appointment, explaining that many things still need to fall in place and we will trust God every step of the way.
The meeting was opened for a time of Q&A and it was clarified that Mark's desire is to return to East Asia (where he has served for close to two decades) and God has given him a season of 2-3 years to help strengthen our church in this area as we seek to raise up more local leaders and leaders from within us to serve. Ps Eugene added that Mark has a good track record in doing local church ministry in East Asia and has been fruitful in pastoring churches and helping other churches raise up leaders, hence, he will be of great help and encouragement to us.
Another question was raised on the key criteria used to shortlist the candidates and Ps Eugene responded that first and foremost, it would be whether the candidate has the biblical character of an elder which includes the ability to teach. Next, the pastoral search committee also assessed if the theological convictions and philosophy of ministry, especially in the area of family ministry, are aligned. Last but not least, the committee also examined if the candidate can work with the rest of the team here in GBC, including the elders, and if this person is able to disciple and raise up leaders and pass the ministry on.
Consequently, Elder Caleb encouraged us to hear and engage with Mark, to interact with him and make our observations and speak to our elders so the elders know how we are responding to him. He urged members to talk to the elders and pray over the next few weeks as we engage with one another to discover if this is what God intends for us.
In closing, Elder Nehemiah led us in reading of the church's covenant to remind us of our commitment to God and to one another, followed by Elder Thian Chye's closing prayer to thank God for His abundant blessings and commit all the plans to Him, praying also that He will guide our thoughts and hands so that whatever decisions or actions we take, they will please Him and bless the church.
We thank God indeed for His wonderful deeds and exciting plans for us! To Him be all glory and praise!