- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Friday, 10 August 2018 00:00
耶穌對旁邊的人說：「或對癱子說『你的罪赦了』，或說『起來！拿你的褥子行走』，那一樣容易呢？」，耶穌這樣說，一方面是為了讓人知道祂有赦罪的權柄，另一方面也讓我們看到，耶穌傳福音時，「愛心關懷」與「傳福音」是並行的，使癱子起來，是要解決他身體與生活的問題，赦罪是解決靈魂的問題；叫癱子起來，就是要證明耶穌有赦罪的權柄，關懷事工是用來證明耶穌與我們所傳的道； 因此關懷事工必須要與傳福音並行，好叫關懷事工更有效的去證明福音的大能。耶穌從未有過第一次到一個城市只作關懷的工作，第二次才到這城市作傳福音的工作，祂總是一邊醫治、滿足人的需要，一邊馬上就傳天國的福音；我們也不需要說: 第一個學期作愛心關懷，第二個學期才傳福音。開學第一個月，就是愛心關懷的日子，也是傳福音的日子。迎新必須「愛心關懷」與「傳福音」並行。
- 為建築同工Pastor Shull 與維修同工Scott 禱告，求主賜福他們手所作的工，使中心得建立，彰顯主榮耀的大能。
- 為Scott 一家八口在中心的生活禱告，也為他們家房子的擴建禱告（多加一睡房），求主賜福工程順利，也賜下所需經費禱告（約二萬元）。
Peace in the Lord!
August is around the corner! The new semester is almost here! The new students are coming soon! Are you and your church ready to welcome them? Campus ministry energizes a church and brings in new blood so that the church does not age. It also changes the status quo of a church for the better and blesses her future. Every church has to value campus ministry and take part in new student welcoming ministry. This issue of newsletter allows me to ponder how to carry out and make more effective new student welcoming ministry this year by considering the miracle of Jesus’ healing the paralytic man.
Seeing New Student Welcoming Ministry from the Perspective of Jesus Healing the Paralytic
Four men carried a paralytic to Jesus and sought His healing. Paralytics are those who cannot move by themselves, cannot take care of themselves. They need help from others. Upon arrival, many international students when they first arrive find themselves like paralytics: having ears, but not fully understanding what others say; having eyes, but not at first understanding their stack of books; having legs, but cannot go buy food; having hands, but do not know how to cook food. They really need help! But who can help them and how to help them? We can learn some new lessons from the story of Jesus healing the paralytic man.
1. Welcoming new students requires unified team efforts.
The paralytic was brought to Jesus by four friends, who made up a wonderful team. Together they saw the needs of the paralytic. Together they believed in Jesus’s power and willingness to heal the paralytic. To bring the paralytic to Jesus they walked in the same direction at the same pace, and generally coordinated their efforts.
Facing hundreds and thousands of new students, a welcome team is necessary to bring the love and grace of Christ to so many people. The biggest difficulty with welcoming new students every year is that last year’s old students and others have scattered to the winds pursuing summer vacation or their own chores. During the summer most students returned to their home countries to visit their relatives and friends. Many wait until the last minute to come back to school. Since the new students tend to be cautious in coming to this new setting and have orientations to attend, often it is the new students who welcome the old students! Most current students only have themselves and their families in mind and could not see the needs of the new students. Brothers and sisters who are working full time may think that welcoming new students is not their business. They must work. They think that the old students will take care of the newcomers. Therefore the old students conclude that the church leaders are indifferent to the new student welcoming ministry.
To build up a strong and unified student welcoming team, before the beginning of the new semester we should encourage the old students to return to school in time to join the welcoming ministry, many days before that might otherwise arrive. Brothers and sisters who work can take a day or two off to help them. The active participation of coworkers and mature brothers and sisters in the church will certainly enhance students’ willingness to welcome new students. If everyone has such a heart, a team will be built up.
2. Welcoming new students requires people to open their homes.
The paralytic could be healed because someone literally opened his house to Jesus and anyone who wanted to come in and listen to Jesus’ teaching. The owner of the house truly handed over the ownership of the house to Jesus. Although his roof was torn down, he apparently did not scold anyone. He looked upon Jesus’ reaction. Since Jesus did not speak, he did not speak either. Since Jesus was not angry, he was not angry either. The ownership of the house was in the hand of the Lord. The Lord and others could use it at will.
Welcoming new students requires someone’s willingness to dedicate homes and possessions to the Lord and be used by Him, letting the new students feel the warmth of a home. They will not only experience the love of the brothers and sisters from the church, but also the love of the Lord Jesus, so that they will also desire to become children of God.
3. The premise of welcoming new students is meeting people’s spiritual needs.
When Jesus saw the paralytic, He did not immediately heal his disease, but first took care of his spiritual needs. He said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus made it clear that satisfying people’s spiritual needs was the priority of his gospel ministry. Healing sickness, casting out demons, and feeding people were secondary. Consider also that Jesus never used such secondary work as a prelude or advertising for His ministry, nor did He draw people to listen to Him with such work. Wherever Jesus went, He first showed that He came for the needs of the human soul. Evangelism was His first priority.
However, today many of those welcoming new students prioritize food and fun to sharing the gospel of God. Too often we are eager to show our compassion to others but dare not to tell them the grace of God’s love, because we worry that bringing up the gospel will turn people away forever. In fact, whether we share the gospel or not, more than 80% new students will not come back after that first encounter. Indeed, many of them visit church or a Bible study just once in their lifetime. If we do not share the gospel with them, woe to us! We do not dare to preach the gospel, often because we pay too much attention to establishing our relationship with new students but do not help them establish a relationship with God. As a result they will stop coming. Keep in mind that our abilities and resources are not drawing people. Only Jesus can draw people to himself and to his church.
Jesus knew that the paralytic and his four friends would come to Him because they had some knowledge of Him. Therefore, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5). New students are willing to accept the help of the church and come to the church gatherings because they all know that the church is the place to hear about Jesus. They are ready to hear about Jesus when they come to the church. They will be surprised if we only introduce student life on campus and in the United States but do not introduce Jesus properly. Why do churches or Christian fellowships not talk about Jesus? If the church does not preach the gospel, new students will think that the church is no different from Chinese Student Association. Since there is no difference, it is enough just to attend the Chinese Student Association. Therefore, our churches have to preach the gospel and draw people to our gatherings by proclaiming Jesus.
4. Welcoming new students should meet the needs of body and soul at the same time
Jesus said to those next to Him, “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘rise, take up your bed and walk’? Jesus said this, on one hand, to let people know that He has authority to forgive sins, and on the other hand, to show us that “caring with love” should go hand in hand with “preaching the gospel”. Making the paralytic walk was to solve problems of his body and daily life. Forgiving his sins was to solve the problem of his soul and destiny. To raise the paralytic was to prove that Jesus had authority to forgive sins. Therefore, caring ministry is used to prove Jesus and the gospel that we proclaim. Caring ministry must go hand in hand with evangelism so that caring may prove the power of the gospel more effectively. Jesus never came to a city for the first time only to care and for a return visit to share the gospel. He always preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven as He healed and satisfied the physical needs of men. We shall not say that we will care for new students in the first semester and then share the gospel with them in the second semester. The first month of school is the time to care and also to share the gospel. Welcoming new student ministry includes both caring and evangelism.
5. The aim of welcoming new student ministry is to show the glory of God
When people saw the paralytic get up and walk, they knew that God has given Jesus authority to forgive sins (Matthew 9:8). They had a new understanding of Jesus and God, and greatly glorified God. If our welcoming new student ministry can bring people to new understanding of Jesus, they will be able to know God’s love, glory, and power. Then they will be drawn to the church gatherings and learn more about God.
We need to learn from Jesus. The church is Christ’s representative on earth. We have to be bold to make known that what we do is for the sake of the gospel. The gospel is the power of God. When we share the gospel with new students, we will always be able to lead some to Christ. Then we continue to equip them as disciples of the Lord and build their spiritual foundations, with the hope that they will become capable coworkers on campus next year and lead other students to the Lord in the future. Therefore, active evangelism and quick building up of disciples and coworkers are the secret to the revival of campus ministry.
August Bible Camp
When you received this letter, nearly a hundred brothers and sisters will be studying the Life of Christ for or in the Bible Camp. Participants signed up for this camp a few months ago. They studied the Bible and prepared their homework. They assiduously wrote a research report. Their enthusiasm for studying the Bible affects their churches and fellowships. Thank God for using the Bible Camp to motivate brothers and sisters in the Midwest to study the Bible! In addition to students, faculty members, office employees, engineers, ministers, housewives, and many others have become good stewards of the Word of God. They not only can understand God’s Word but also can teach God’s Word, giving spiritual food to others at the proper time in Bible study groups, Sunday School classes, and even Sunday worship services. Please pray for the speakers, Rev and Mrs. David Su, CWC coworkers, and the entire meeting.
August Disciple and Coworker Training (August 5th to 11th)
The August training is a very important camp, and has considerable influence on campus ministry of the coming year, not only for the purpose of building up student workers, but also for the flourishing of the campus ministry. Every summer, a large number of students go back to their home countries for two or three months. They cannot regularly go to church in their home countries and have no brothers and sisters around to encourage them. As a result their fellowship with other Christians within a church and personal devotional time come to a stall and their spiritual life fall to its lowest point. When they come back to the States, the school is about to start. The new students already arrived two weeks ago. Instead of being able to participate in welcoming new students, these student coworkers need spiritual nourishment and healing themselves. This problem could indeed affect campus ministry for a whole year. The August Discipleship Training Camp is designed to encourage students to come back to the States earlier, build themselves up, and be revived spiritually, becoming a fresh force with vision and power in the new semester and serve effectively to welcome new students. In this way the campus ministry will prosper in the future. May more brothers and sisters understand the importance of spiritual preparation and receive more training for the Lord, or themselves, and for the campus ministry. Please pray for the speakers, Pastor Taneng Chuang, Sister Grace Lee, CWC coworkers, children teachers, and all the participants. May the Lord be glorified!
Welcoming New Students and Short-Term Mission Teams:
There has been a slight decline in Chinese students population this year. Some have blamed President Trump’s immigration policy. But as far as I feel in my heart, generally speaking, in the past few years campus ministry in the North America failed. Though the number of students increased substantially, the attendance at local campus fellowships remained almost the same. Many campus coworkers do not dare to preach the gospel to students, fearing that the gospel will deter unbelievers to their meetings. Many student fellowships and ministries do not provide disciple and coworker training, dreading that any requirements on students will affect the relationship between campus coworkers and students. Moreover, the campus fellowship counselors and leaders often lack a solid foundation in the Bible and cannot lead the students with the Word of God. If the campus ministry does not do well, why should God bring people here? God desires to win over students to become the vessels of the church and Christian soldiers for His Kingdom. May the Lord make more use of the short-term mission teams this year to win more souls and manifest the power of the gospel. After witnessing God’s power, local fellowships and churches will boldly proclaim the gospel and revive the campus ministries. Thank God! In August and September a total of nine short-term mission teams will come to share the gospel in the Midwest campuses. During welcoming new students, many brothers and sisters will be busy caring for the new students with love while the short-term mission teams can focus on sharing the gospel. The collaboration between campus coworkers and short-term mission teams will surely make campus ministry flourish. Please pray for two short-term mission trips in mid-August (August 17th to 26th) and early September (September 7th to 16th) and may the Lord use them!
- Please pray for the August Bible Camp. May the Lord kindle the thirsts in brothers and sisters to study His Word and become those who can share His Word in the future.
- Please pray for August Disciple and Coworker Training. May the Lord use this meeting to build new believers’ spiritual foundation and equip mature believers and coworkers to be able to lead others.
- Please pray for speakers of the Bible Camp and Disciple Training Camp. May the Holy Spirit give wisdom and power so that more people will be equipped and built up.
- Please pray for CWC coworkers to complete two-week camps this month and ten days of two short-term mission trips, with God’s wisdom and power.
- Please pray for Mrs. Ko’s chemotherapeutic treatment for the next few months. May her body be healed, her heart have peace, and her spirit be revived.
- Please pray for the short-term mission teams. Five teams will arrive in August. May the Lord send them out to bring people into His Kingdom with the Spirit of God and bring great revival to local campus gospel ministry.
- Please pray for the welcoming new student ministry. May the Lord give the power of Spirit to local coworkers so that they will show the love of Christ and boldly preach the gospel. May they serve alongside with the short-term mission teams and receive an abundant harvest.
- Please pray for construction coworker Pastor Shull and maintenance coworker Brother Scott. May the Lord bless the work of their hands and reveal His glory through their services.
- Please pray for brother Scott’s family which is living on CWC camp ground. Please also pray for the expansion of their house (adding a bedroom). May the Lord bless this project and provide the necessary funds (about $20,000).
- Please pray for new CWC coworkers. May the Lord lead more coworkers to serve the Lord’s churches in the Midwest and build up more disciples and coworkers to revive local campuses.
May the Lord let us witness the power of the gospel in this new semester and bless us to serve Him with one mind!
In the Lord,
Pastor William Ko