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Serving God in our own generation

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep…” Acts 13:36

We will release info on our finances quarterly, as can be seen in our bulletin today. As our budget is about 20% above last year’s actual, we do need to pray that our giving will be able to support the current manpower and ministry needs.

Since I became Vicar in January 2021, I have not added any new staff. I am grateful for the commitment and heartfelt work of our current staff. We also asked Eliza to study full-time in TTC and complete her degree. She returns to staff on 1st July.

Now, if all goes well, a new staff will be added on 1st August. Emily Yue will be joining as our new youth pastor. At some point, if she and the church can confirm that this will be her lifelong calling, she will be sent for further theological studies.

But it takes a “kampung to raise a pastor” and that is the role that the parish family will play.

Now, I have some less than conventional ideas when it comes to “mentoring.” This is due to my own experience. In all my years of peer-leading as a student teen, varsity student and later, as a parish worker, I have always been inspired by both my peers or those who are older than me. I listen, I read books (these “writer-mentors” are far away or dead a long time ago!), various older ministers became friends and so on.

My point is that I took the initiative to observe and learn, often unconsciously.

A good illustration is in cooking. I am a home cook and have never gone for a systematic culinary program. I am unorthodox as a cook, kind of “think out of the box.” As a pastor, I am thankful for some systematic training at TTC, Wycliffe College (one semester) and countless conferences. I am also thankful for the good examples from older pastor and lay leaders. Some have a huge impact on me. They indeed spoke - and continue to speak - into my life.

But here is my point, no one actually worked out a systematic way of mentoring me. Few adults, if any, directed the way I led or served in ministry. We were vision-bearers. Some adults may advise here and there, but undoubtedly, we were on the drivers seat. We made a lot of mistakes but we learned from them.

This point may be worthy of note for my generation of adults who never fail to worry for our younger generations and wonder if we are doing enough to “mentor” our youths or to help create a spiritual cultural milieu that will make Christianity more appealing for them compared to other ecosystems.

My point is that it is a battle they must fight, a journey which they need to discover. If they are not convinced about Christ themselves, they are not going to invite others to “Come and see.” Some of us parents lament that some of our own children may have drifted from our faith. But that is a journey of choice they must make, just as many of us did when we drifted from the religious traditions of our parents (hey, their hearts ached too!).

There are many issues confronting today’s youths just as we had our own in our teen and twenteen years. What good is an after-life heaven, however promising it is, if the present life do not make sense? What about the latest in Science, evolution and so on? How do these square with our faith? Is the moral life possible and even beautiful, in the face of modern culture, in the aftermath of last century’s sexual revolution? I believe in an affirmative answer to all these but each need to discover for him or herself. The Church can share and teach, but each need to make the right choices.

What roles do we adults have then? I will say these roles are significant. For one, we need to set an example, even if imperfect. More is caught than taught, as the adage goes. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” This applies to how we may influence the next-gen folks. For they are always quietly observing.

I seem to have burst into these reflections as we welcome Eliza back and prepare to receive Emily on staff. As David served God in his generation (Acts 13:36), may they and others also do likewise.

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