Last Sunday was a joyous occasion, with our different congregations worshipping together on the 128th anniversary of CPC. Reflecting on the rich blessings that the Lord has endowed upon our church is humbling, and summons up heartfelt gratitude.
The Lord Jesus has also laid down the principle of stewardship: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Lk 12:48b) Therefore, we have two important reasons to strive to build CPC up as a church that is pleasing and glorifying to the Lord:
1. It is the rightful response to His graciousness to us over 128 years, and
2. It fulfills what the Lord is requiring from us as His stewards and redeemed people.
As I shared last Sunday, God’s model for His church, as presented by Paul in Ephesians 4 can be summarized as “unity in diversity, in order to bring his people to full maturity in Christ”. It is easy to just give mental assent to this. “Of course, it is good for our church to be united” you might say, but unless we are committed to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:2-3), our practical unity will remain skin deep, and not go beyond a symbolic gesture at church anniversaries and combined church camps.
Let me suggest a few practical starting points for us all in deepening our unity at CPC”
a. Within each congregation:
i. Intentionally not sticking to our usual small circles when our congregation gathers together, e.g. at morning tea and church lunch. Take the opportunity to get to know others, particularly members of different age groups.
ii. See each other as brothers & sisters in Christ, even if the other persons are not yet friends, or you do not feel a particular affinity to interact with them.
iii. Intentionally express care and concern towards others and deliver practical help where possible and necessary.
b. At the church-wide level:
i. i. to iii. in a. above with members of other congregations
ii. Take concrete steps to get to know a few members from each of the other congregations who have sufficient language(s) in common with you. Take an interest in their congregations, their passions and their ministries. Pray for each other’s ministries.
iii. Where possible, personally, or better still, encourage your small group to, assist in the ministries of other congregations, e.g. child-minding, catering, providing transport etc. for special functions, such as congregational camps and evangelistic functions.
iv. Collaborate in inter-congregational ministries, e.g. joint “O-week” outreach on university campuses; Country Mission; Seniors’ ministry; ESL classes for new migrants etc.
v. Provide opportunities for other congregations to participate in your worship service and other functions, e.g. “spotlights” for other congregations to share about their joys and pains; a few times a year to exchange WIS teams and/or choirs to lead musical worship etc.
vi. Encourage and learn from each other on making disciples in your own congregation.
Let us not only be hearers of the Lord’s word, but committed implementors as well.
May the Lord continue to bless CPC richly for His own glory.