- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Monday, 04 March 2019 00:00
A. 神看重校園事工 : 雖然學生年輕時在社會中無權無力，生活與行為常令人感到頭痛，但神仍是寶貴這些年輕的學生，每一個時代神都興起祂的工人，幫助這些學生到主面前，建立他們日後成為神國度的同工。以現代教會的眼光來看，耶穌在地上三十三年也是年青同工，祂的十二個使徒更是非常的年輕。神看重、與使用年青人。
B. 校園事工是領年輕人歸主的寶貴良機 : 每年都有數萬華人留學生來到美中十多州的校園讀書，這些校園所在的地方就是一個大學城，在相對缺少娛樂的大學城，週末也沒有太多可以娛樂的地方，所以當他們被基督徒邀請參加校園學生團契、或查經聚會時，很多學生都樂於受邀；參加一段時間後，大部份的人都很有興趣，不久就接受耶穌為他們個人的救主。靠著主的恩典，我在作個人佈道時，學生也表示願意參加福音聚會，繼而信主的也不少。很多學生的心靈，都被預備好聽主的福音， 大部份信主的學生，都是在到美國後半年內信主。他們信主畢業後到大城市工作，加入當地的教會，就成為教會的新血。
E. 校園事工能為教會帶來興旺與活力： 十五年前教會曾有同工建議我：既然學生流動性如此之快，約兩、三年就換一批人，在本地上班的弟兄姊妹較固定，教會的家庭是長期性的，不如先將家庭的弟兄姊妹建立起來，教會就可以穩定下來；先有了更多固定的同工，再一同推動校園學生事工。起初我也覺得頗有道理，所以有一段時間我就以家庭為重點、學生次之。但實際結果是，五、六年下來，上班、有家庭的弟兄姊妹，要幫助他們成長，成效較慢。一段日子過去了，那些不來參加禱告會的，仍是沒有來參加禱告會；不來參加成人主日學的，還是沒有來參加成人主日學。我看這情況，只得改變策略，乃是學生事工與家庭事工同時進行，不分孰先孰後。
要防止教會老化、增添教會的活力、與建立新一代神國的生力軍，教會就要走出自己的舒適圈，進入校園，讓學生以教會「為家」，建立學生成為能帶領同學「回家」的年輕同工。不要視學生為「怪物」、為不可碰觸的一群，我們若肯放下身段，愛護與關懷他們，是會很容易得著他們的，年青人主要不是要尋找年青朋友，乃是尋找關心他們的朋友。最難的是: 得著一批不僅愛主，又能建立他們帶領人信主、與進入教會的人，教會得著「新血」，神國就得生力軍; 教會得活力，神國就得著更大的興旺。
三月福音營 ( 3月15 至 18日)
五月門徒與同工訓練營 ( 5月19至24日)：
這次訓練營是在學期結束後舉行，目地是為了使您在主面前重新得力。若是您準備暑期回國探親，想向家人或朋友傳福音，這次訓練營能使您在回家前，先得著裝備，有從神來的智慧與能力。若您五月要畢業，也請務必來參加，在進入職場或社會之前，先來充實與裝備自己，因為以後可能就不容易請假來參加為期一周的訓練營，所以五月的訓練營不僅是為了裝備畢業生進入社會，在職場中為主作見證；另一方面也為了建立教會，及校園團契訓練新的同工，使教會及校園同工不至有斷層；讓我們多多為五月訓練營禱告，並鼓勵弟兄姊妹及自己也報名參加， 這次訓練營的講員為: 許道良牧師、袁曉牧師、與中心同工等；截止報名日期是: 5月17日，詳細資訊請上中心網站查看。
美中傳道人的流動性往往比弟兄姊妹的流動性還要大，過去三、四年間，美中三分之二的教會牧者，都轉離職位，牧者的空缺能在一年之內補回，算是主極大的恩典，有些教會多年來都找不到牧者、有些教會經歷幾次的牧者變動後，也放棄再去尋找牧者。教會同工與弟兄姊妹若不起來承擔教會的牧養、關懷、與話語的供應，教會很難再走下去。國殤週末的訓練營，是為建立全職工作的基督徒，成為帶職的小牧人，他們雖然不能牧養五十個人，但卻可以牧養五位初信的弟兄姊姊，若教會多有幾位這樣的小牧者，不論教會有沒有全職牧者，教會仍能維持興旺。帶職信徒訓練營每年只舉辦一次，請把握機會參加。我們準備有家庭宿舍及兒童節目， 弟兄姊妹必須全程參加，建議弟兄姊妹可考慮星期五請半天假，這樣就能準時在下午五點半前來聚會。這次講員有：許道良牧師、袁曉牧師、阮雄長老、及中心同工等；報名截止日期為5月17日，請盡早報名参加，詳細資訊請上中心網站查看。全職學生 (TA, RA 或博士班學生不能算為全職上班者) 必須先參加五月門徒訓練後，才能繼續留下來參加此聚會。
雖然末世罪惡氾濫，許多年青人因而隨波逐流，連信主的青少年也受影響。但正確的教導，卻能影響青少年一生跟從主。這次的營會是為青少年人舉辦的門徒訓練營。它不是年輕人的遊樂場所，乃是為裝備青少年，得以一生走主的道路，一生為主而活的營會。講員有 Pastor Steve Tan 及 Sister Vivian Lin 等。請常至中心網站查看有關的資訊並代禱。
八月讀經營 ( 7月28至8月3 日)：
Dear brothers and sisters, peace be with you in the Lord!
Greetings to you in Christ! As we draw closer to the tail end of winter and welcome spring, may the love and power of Christ spur our hearts to love Him and His people more. May you grow in favor with God and men!
Aging of Church & Campus Ministry
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity”. (1 Timothy 4:12)
Several times I have visited bigger-sized Chinese churches. Those churches have decent-size congregations, many pastors and elders, and financial affluence. Middle-aged people, seniors, and children in attended. However, there was an obvious shortage of young people such as college students and young professionals who recently graduated. Coworkers in these churches are oftentimes fathers and mothers or grey-haired. Those coworkers know that the church leadership is aging even though currently every ministry seems to operate well. But there is no new blood. Sooner or later the church’s drift will come out. This demographic is very common in the North American Chinese churches. Is there any way to solve this kind of church aging problem? As we take a closer look at these churches, one thing is common: either there is no student campus ministry or no successful campus ministry. If you did not build up the young people, then you cannot attract young people. Churches ought to have campus ministry and to learn from the Apostle Paul. Paul cared to build up young people to be coworkers, to equip them and to establish them.
When one day I meet Apostle Paul in the heaven, I would ask him, “What was your greatest regret during your decades of service?” Paul might answer me, “it would be my dispute with Barnabas over John Mark.” Paul was learning from senior Barnabas when he first started his ministry. Thus, maybe Paul was not good at leading the young. So when the young coworker John Mark left the team at the first missionary journey, Paul concluded that this youngster was unreliable, useless, and hopeless. Paul even had a sharp argument with Barnabas, who was brave and willing to train the young John Mark, to such a point that Paul and Barnabas separated. That was not only a blow to coworkers’ relationship but a strategic failure: a lack of vision to build up young coworkers. But this incident changed Paul. After he separated from Barnabas, in his second missionary journey, Paul learned from Barnabas and was willing to bring young coworkers to his team. Timothy and Luke were added to his second missionary journey, and later Titus and Aristarchus also joined the team. Even the young John Mark, who was once rejected by Paul, also became a close coworker of Paul. Paul oftentimes called those young coworkers as his “true sons”. Paul not only build up young coworkers but also constantly reminded them to build up themselves to lead others. He admonished Timothy, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). One of the reasons Paul was a useful vessel to the Lord is that he could build up the younger coworkers. His core team was made up of young coworkers. Today’s church need to equip the young generation to become coworkers. Campus ministry is an effective and efficient way to make this happen. This solves the problem of aging congregation and vitalizes the whole church. Every church should promote and support campus ministry.
A. God values campus ministry. God treasures young students, no matter how powerless or insignificant they may be to the society, and no matter how unruly they sometimes behave. In each era, God always raised His workers to bring these students to the Lord and equip them as future leaders in His Kingdom. From a modern church’s point of view, Jesus Himself was a young worker since He only lived on Earth for thirty-three years. His twelve disciples were all very young. God values and uses young people.
B. Campus ministry provides a golden opportunity to lead young people to Christ. Each and every year, over ten thousands of Chinese students come to over ten States in the Midwest to pursue education. These campuses are in a college towns where entertaining activities are relatively scarce. Students do not have many gatherings to go during weekends. So they are open to Christians’ invitations to campus student fellowship or Bible study groups. Over a period of time, the majority of them express interests and soon accept Jesus as their personal Savior. By God’s grace, students are also willing to attend evangelistic meetings upon my invitation when I share the gospel with them. Many of them were then converted. In fact many of their hearts are ready to listen to the Lord’s gospel. Most who believe in the Lord are within their first six months in the States. After they believed, and after they graduated, they find jobs in big cities. They joined the local churches and become new blood to the churches.
C. Campus ministry provides new blood to the Kingdom of God. Young students, especially Generation Z, are normally perceived as carefree and indulged in fun, food, and spending. They are obsessed with electronics devices and videogames. Some tend to play at night, sleep during the day, and generally live their own self-centered lives. It becomes rather difficult to lead them to know Christ. Training them to be faithful disciples of Christ may even seem like mission impossible. But young people also are fast in learning new things and adapting to changes. Once their hearts are opened by the Lord, and once they were attracted by God’s love, they are more willing to be changed by the Lord. And they are committed to be His disciples by reading God’s Word seriously, obeying His Word accordingly, attending the churches regularly, sharing the gospel and serving the Lord joyfully. As we examine the church’s history, God called young college students to dedicate themselves to take up missions. They had hearts even to sacrifice their lives for missions. Young men and women like 22-year-old Hudson Taylor and the Cambridge Seven shared the gospel all over the world and ignited the flame of the mission. Today God also loves to use the young college students to offer themselves and dedicate their whole lives for the gospel of His Kingdom. Now is a critical moment. We should not dismiss them just because they are young. On the contrary, not only ought we need to make them disciples but also we should equip them to be coworkers of the Lord, and pass the vision to them so they can be the soldiers of the mission. Starting from their own campus, they can lead their fellow students to Christ. Upon graduation they can lead their colleagues and friends to the Lord. Currently many young people who were born after 1990 are studying in seminaries, and some have graduated. We should encourage them more, give them more opportunities to serve deeply, and support them to be the future warriors for the churches and God’s Kingdom. The most important investment in God’s kingdom is to win over and equip young people who can be used to lead and shepherd other young people in return.
D. Campus ministry prevents aging of the church. Many Chinese churches in North American started from the campus Bible study groups which consisted of mostly young people. As time passed, these groups transformed into Chinese churches with students and families alike. Upon choosing a church building location, these churches moved from urban areas to the less-expensive suburbs. Thereby the student population decreased. Programs and opportunities emphasized families and involved aging coworkers. So fewer students attended these churches. Indeed, young professional brothers and sisters even dreaded going to these churches. The generation gaps widened and the congregation aged. When coworkers are harder to find and attendance goes down, the church becomes more stagnant. A church that devotes to campus ministry oftentimes motivated coworkers. These coworkers not only are willing to share the gospel, but their spirits and minds are renewed continuously. They are more self-motivated as they look to grow and equip students, thereby enriching their own lives. Not only will the churches have more students, but when they graduate, because they love the churches, they will try to find jobs locally first. As the number of students and young professionals increase, so does vitality and morale of the church. Then it can solve the aging issue of the churches.
E. Campus ministry energizes the church. Fifteen years ago, some coworkers of my church suggested me to prioritize families over students. Their reason was like this: students’ turnover rate is generally high, leaving the church maybe in two to three years. Whereas brothers and sisters who work locally tend to be more stable and stay at one place longer. As such, we should build up these brothers and sisters and their families first. Once the church is stabilized, we would have more devoted coworkers to serve in campus ministry. I was convinced upon hearing this and therefore prioritized family ministry over campus ministry. The result was that after five to six years, brothers and sisters who work and raise their families here saw a relatively slow spiritual growth. No matter how much we toiled, brothers and sisters who avoided prayer meetings and adult Sunday School classes stayed AS-IS. With that, I had to change strategy and run campus ministry and family ministry parallel.
Not long after I shifted gear and put more emphasis on campus ministry, I not only saw that many students came to Christ, but also that these students flourished and applied what they learned from the disciple training they received. When I encouraged them to attend CWC disciple training camps, they sought after their peers and went as a group. They studied seriously in camps and preserved their faith as they returned home. Week after week they took part in a variety of meetings, including prayer meetings and Sunday School classes. They thirsted for God’s Word and sought to know God better. They were zealous in sharing the gospel and inviting newcomers. They faithfully, enthusiastically, and sacrificially served the Lord. Their zeal in spirit touched the working-class brothers and sisters and motivated them to join prayer meetings, Sunday School classes, and Bible studies. Families who were once being cared for now reached out and served by visiting other families. As the older brothers and sisters co-labor with the younger believers, their love for the Lord is rekindled. They are changed and become more agile and enthusiastic. The revival of campus ministry brought revival to the entire church.
The congregation needs to step out of its comfort zone and start campus ministry if it wants to avoid stagnation. It must establish new forces for the Kingdom of God. The church needs to enter the campus and help foster in students a sense of belonging such that they are eager to bring other students to “come home”. Never look down on students nor think that they are incomprehensible or out of tune. Should we show them love and care, they are ready to accept faith. Young people do not necessarily look for friends among peers but they are seeking for friends who care about them. What is more significant is to win over a group of young people who not only love the Lord themselves but also bring others to Christ. They become new blood to the church and new force to the Kingdom. When the churches are vitalized, the Kingdom of God will be revived.
Paul’s Missionary Journey Study Tour (June 16th to 28th)
This year the January and August Bible camps are studying the Book of Acts and the Pauline Epistles. To tie in with the Bible camps, CWC is arranging a Paul’s Missionary Journey Study Tour in June. Currently CWC coworkers are busy preparing for this trip, which is not for sightseeing but for Bible studies, especially to discover and appreciate Paul’s travels to share the gospel in Europe and Asia as well as witness how God’s servant fervently and faithfully shared the gospel, planted churches, and trained disciples everywhere along those long and arduous journeys. We will first fly to Istanbul, Turkey, the former Capital City of the Eastern Roman Empire, also a major East Orthodox city. From there we will fly to some of the churches recorded in the Book of Revelation. After visiting Ephesus and the home of the Apostle John and Mary, we will sail to the Island of Patmos to see where the Apostle John was imprisoned. After going through Troas, where Paul saw the Vision of Macedonia, we will follow Paul’s second and third journey to Greece, by way of Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Mateora. After visiting Athens and Corinth, we will fly to Rome from Athens, firstly visiting Pompeii (the famous city buried by volcano eruption, where Paul landed ashore nearby). From there we will go to Rome and the Vatican City by bus, studying the history of this ancient city where early Christians suffered persecutions and martyrdom. Since this is a study tour, only Christians could take part. The study materials will be provided after you register. We facilitate this study tour during the summer in the hope that you can bring your family. We believe that every participant will be tremendously blessed and encouraged to follow the examples of apostles and saints to dedicate oneself to the Lord and His gospel. The detailed information and the registration form will be posted on CWC website in the future. Since you need to buy flight tickets by yourself, please register as soon as possible.
March Gospel Camp (March 15th to 18th)
The Spring Break Gospel Camp will arrive in two weeks! Let us with one heart grasp this last opportunity to bring unbelievers to the Lord before the school year ends, so that students may be able to accept Christ before they graduate in May. The Gospel Camp provides both evangelistic and edifying programs. Christians should register first before they are able to motivate unbelievers to come. Through this camp we together will share the gospel and grow in the Lord. May the Lord prepare people to attend! Please remind brothers and sisters to register as soon as possible to invite unbelievers. The theme of the camp is Science, Faith, and Life. The speakers are Professor Leaf Huang and Elder Rupert Hsu. Short-mission teams from Chinese Church in Christ in South Valley, CA will join the efforts. Please pray often for the speakers and unbelievers! This camp is supported solely by free-will offerings. Please download the registration form online and check details on CWC website.
March East Coast Disciple and Coworker Training Camp (March 6th to 11th)
May Disciple and Coworker Training Camp (May 19th to 24th)
This training camp takes pace right after the end of this school year, with the aim of helping you regain strength before the Lord. If you plan to visit your home country during the summer to share the gospel with family members and friends, this training camp will enable you to be equipped and receive wisdom and power from the Lord before heading home. If you will graduate in May, you should also come to prepare yourself before entering your career and the society, because you may find taking time off to attend a week-long training rather difficult in the future. Therefore, this May training camp not only will equip graduates to witness for the Lord in their future workplace but also build up new church and campus coworkers to continue church and campus ministry. Please pray often for the May camp and encourage yourself and brothers and sisters to attend. The speakers are Pastor John Hsu, Pastor Xiao Yuan, and CWC coworkers. The deadline for registration is May 17th. Please go to CWC website for details.
Memorial Day Weekend Lay Minister Disciple Training Camp (May 24th to 27th)
Sometimes the turnover rate of full-time ministers in the Midwest is higher than that of lay believers. In the past three to four years, many pastors moved away from the Midwest. If a church can find a new pastor within one year, it is tremendous grace from the Lord. Many churches failed to find a pastor for many years, and some other churches had totally given up looking for one after losing pastors several times. If church coworkers and lay believers do not stand up and take responsibilities of pastoring, caring, and teaching, the church may decline irreversibly. The Memorial Day Weekend training camp is especially designed for Christians who work full time to become bi-vocational shepherds. Even though they may feel unable to pastor fifty people, they might well be able to care for five new believers. If the church has several such little shepherds, it will continue to thrive no matter if they have a full-time pastor or not. There is only one Lay Minister Training Camp each year. Please take the opportunity to attend. We have family dorms and provide children’s programs. Since participants must attend full time, we would like to suggest you take a half day off on Friday to arrive at the camp before 5:30pm. The speakers are Pastor John Hsu, Pastor Xiao Yuan, Elder Jack Yuan, etc. The deadline of registration is May 17th. Please register early. For more details, please go to CWC website. Full-time students (TA, RA, or doctoral students are not considered full-time workers) need to first attend the May Disciple Training Camp in the previous week before they can attend this camp.
Youth Disciple Training Camp (June 2nd to 8th)
Sins and transgressions are rampant and uncurbed during the end time. Many young people are carried away by this worldly tide. Sometimes Christian youth are not immune. However, correct teachings still motivate young people to faithfully follow the Lord all their lives. The Youth Camp is not a playground for the young people, but a training group specially designed for them to be disciples and missionaries, walking on the way of the Lord and living for Christ all the days of their lives. The speakers are Pastor Steve Tan, Sister Vivian Lin, and others. Please check for updates often on CWC website and remember the camp in your prayers.
August Bible Camp (July 28th to August 3rd)
This year the China government began to tighten the control of Christian churches in Mainland China. In the past the government mainly supervised gatherings with twenty or more people. Many house churches thus took care that they gathered fewer than twenty people in one location. Starting this year, it is possible that the government would closely watch over gatherings with five people or more. Therefore, it seems that the churches will have to break up into even smaller fellowships. Consequently, now every five people need someone to pastor and care for them. Since many brothers and sisters in the States will go back to China eventually, we ask the Lord to train up more brothers and sisters to be little shepherds through the Bible camp. Some of them will be leaders of fifties while others be leaders of five, pastoring young sheep that the Lord entrusts to them and giving food at the proper time. The Bible camp does not only enhance brothers and sisters’ ability to study the Bible, but also equip them to shepherd the Lord’s sheep with God’s Word. We will study the Pauline Epistles in this camp. Though the content is complex, we can tackle it together. May the Lord help us plan to attend and register early so that we can prepare ourselves and start the assignments as soon as possible. Registering early will also allow us time to form local groups to carefully study the Bible. The speakers are Pastor Chuang-Seng Wang and Sister Grace Lee. Information about the camp will be posted on CWC website gradually. Please as early as possible register and get ready.
- Please pray for the preparation for the March Gospel Camp. May the Lord bring people to attend!
- Please pray that the dining hall expansion can be finished before the May camps.
- Please pray for the invitation for the Gospel Camp. May the Lord enthuse unbelievers to attend.
- Please pray for the Gospel Camp speakers. May the Spirit of the Lord work in their hearts.
- Please pray for May training camps. May the Lord bring more people to be equipped and be His disciples.
- Please pray for the Youth Discipleship Training Camp. May the Lord prepare speakers as well as the hearts of the youths.
- Please pray that God will raise up more new coworkers for CWC.
- Please pray for the health and ministry of CWC coworkers.
- Please pray for Mrs. Ko’s recovery. May the Lord heal her.
- Please pray for the early March East Coast Disciple and Coworker Training camp. May the Lord work in the camp.
2018 Offering Receipts:
The statements for your offerings in 2018 have all been postal mailed out. If you have not yet received yours, probably the address was incorrect, and the mail was returned to CWC. Please contact CWC with your correct address. Thank you for your financial support to CWC! In the new year, please continue to remember the needs of CWC. May the Lord continue to supply effectiveness to CWC ministry, bringing more people to Christ, building up more disciples, and raising up more coworkers. Please remember our needs in your prayers!
In the Lord,
Pastor Billy Ko