- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Tuesday, 03 December 2019 00:00
- 多為牧者禱告 – 很多人以為牧者比較屬靈，弟兄姊妹有需要時，可以找牧者代禱，卻沒有想到牧者也需要別人為他禱告，看見牧者的缺點或需要時，不要先跟別人說，請先來告訴神。
- 不要以為牧者是教會的救星 – 北美華人教會弟兄姊妹普遍事業有成，感覺顧不了教會事工，必須找個牧者，教會才有希望，別的教會有牧者，我的教會要有更好的牧者。對牧者的期望越高，種下的問題也越大。
- 不要太早給牧者按牧 – 很多教會為了容易請到傳道人，就答應早早為牧者按牧。這是教會世俗化、也違背了聖經立長老、牧師的教導：「給人行按手的禮，不可急促；不要在別人的罪上有分，要保守自己清潔。」（提前5:22)的原則，太早給人按手或按牧，容易使對方失足（過早按牧可能會使牧者驕傲，難以謙卑學習與配搭）。若牧師跌倒，按立他的牧者們、與教會也在這些罪上有份。有些教會早早給牧者按牧，說是為了主持聖禮，其實聖經也沒有這個規定。神學院剛畢業的傳道人，最好三年以後再考慮可否按牧，就是已有經驗的傳道人，上任一年後再考慮按牧。給教會壓力去按牧的傳道人，不宜請用。
- 安排有經驗的牧者作輔導 – 缺乏牧會經驗的傳道人，教會要安排年長有經驗的牧者作輔導，好從旁指導與協助，本教會沒有其他的牧者，也得安排其他地方的牧者，不要以帶職的長老或弟兄姊妹代替。不要在不如意的事情發生後才安排輔導牧者，一開始時就要安排。輔導牧者要定期與教會牧者、與同工分別定期約談，同工觀察到牧者要改進的地方，要儘早告訴輔導牧者，不要等到不可收拾時才說，讓困難早點在有愛心與和氣中解決。
- 有不如意的地方不要告訴師母 – 一般弟兄姊妹在牧師前，說頌揚牧師的話，在師母前常說埋怨牧師的話（特別是姊妹）。其實在牧師前不要說讚美牧師的話，免得牧師驕傲，要說就跟師母說，讓她心中得安慰。埋怨牧師的話別告訴師母，免得她擔心或引至牧師夫妻不和，要用愛心告訴牧師或輔導牧師。
- 不要讓牧者憂傷 – 希伯來書13:17提醒我們說：「你們要依從那些引導你們的，且要順服；因他們為你們的靈魂時刻警醒，好像那將來交賬的人。你們要使他們交的時候有快樂，不至憂愁；若憂愁就與你們無益了」。牧者的提議，弟兄姊妹要多多思考，千萬別攻擊主的僕人，免至自已與教牧都一同受虧損。
- 在困難中不要逃避 – 當發現與牧者有不合時，要面對、不要逃避，不要做「不是你走、就是我走」的選擇。教會是我們的家，心中雖然有傷痛，但都要含淚學習功課，儘早和好，恢復交通與配搭。
- 請其他牧者幫忙調停 – 尋找教會同工、與牧者雙方都能信任的牧者來調解。
- 禱告與認罪 – 雙方都要分別懇切為自己、與整個教會來禱告，求主先在自己（牧者或同工）身上作拆毀與建造的工作，每個人都要重新被建立 ，教會才會有希望。
冬令會 – 是為了聯絡美中弟兄姊妹一同追求主，同心合意傳福音，使美中教會與校園都能大大的得著興旺。為著大家期待一年的冬令會，中心同工們都全力以赴的在作準備，要從十一月初忙到一月讀經營的結束，都沒有一天休息的日子，從十二月十三日開始，陸續也會有些義工弟兄姊妹來幫忙，有些提早一週來中心幫忙註冊，有些早幾天到會場幫忙，我們為了節省大可請旅館幫忙架設的數萬元經費，所有影音裝置，都是我們自行裝設，幾天的預備工作雖多，但大家都很喜樂。今年的冬令會雖然還是於在十二月廿一至廿五日在密蘇里州堪薩斯城舉行，但場地卻改Kansas City市中心的 Mariotte Kansas City Downtown Hotel 舉行, 地址是：200 W 12th St, Kansas City, MO 64105 。網上 報名己經開始，請儘早上網報名參加，也早早邀請弟兄姊妹與福音朋友來參加，十二月十五日下午四時正嚴格截止報名，請按時報名，不要錯過這次追求主的機會。今年的主題是：智慧人生，講員是：賴若瀚牧師、賴鍾桂珍師母、陸大齡牧師、薛忠勇弟兄、周如歡教士、陳昆華博士等，青少年與英文部 的講員為有: Pastor Victor 、Dr. Clark、Minister Randy Dolan and Pastor Steve Tan，（不接受母語為中文者參加這一組，因為聚會不是為了學英語，乃是為了追求主）。英文部與兒童部每年都各約有三百人參加，請多為英文部的講員、同工，並兒童部的Uncle Dan and Aunty Cathy 夫婦與他們的眾同工多多禱告。
十二月門徒與同工訓練營 – 是一個非常關鍵性、為著者造就校園團契、與教會同工的營會，每年約有二百多人來參加，是一個很重要且有長久影響力的營會，請多為這次營會禱告，求主感動與預備人的心來參加。這個營會不僅是為了栽培初信的弟兄姊妹作主的門徒，也是為了建立學生在校園作帶領小組的同工，預備歸國的弟兄姊妹回國後，能在患難與化整為零的教會中，作一個小牧人，牧養一個十多人的小教會。門徒訓練營將於十二月廿五至二十九日中午在基督工人中心的營地(Warsaw, MO)舉行，嚴格截止報名日期為十二月十五日，但至十一月底，我們已有很多人報名了，因受場地的限制，極有可能我們會像往年十二月門徒訓練一樣，提早截止報名。所以想參加者，請儘早報名，也請為講員薛忠勇弟兄、周如歡教士禱告。
一月讀經營 – 阿摩司先知說：「主耶和華說：日子將到，我必命饑荒降在地上。人飢餓非因無餅，乾渴非因無水，乃因不聽耶和華的話。」（摩8：11）今天教會靈裡的饑渴，也是因為缺少神的話，沒有時間去聽道、沒有興趣去讀神的話、也沒有頭腦能力去思想神的話。讀經營是為了建立弟兄姊妹讀經的興趣與習慣，加強弟兄姊妹讀神話語的智慧和能力，不僅自己能從神的話語得著供應，也能帶領別人認識神的話，成為一個能餵養主的小羊的人。在美國時可作小組或主日學的帶領同工，回國後能成為一個家庭教會小組的小牧人，能牧養與餵養主的小羊。這次讀經營將會研讀「普通書信」，到十一月十五日截止報名時，己有一百五十位弟兄姊妹報名參加，現在正在寫最後一階段的研讀報告，中心同工們、講員、及其他傳道人，也分別個別輔導弟兄姊妹寫他們的專題報告，弟兄姊妹寫得不容易，老師們也付上很多心血與時間，去輔導參加者。讀經營將於十二月二十九日晚至明年一月四日中午，在基督工人中心的營地(Warsaw, MO)舉行， 請為講員蘇桂村牧師與師母等講員及聚會代禱。
- 為維修同工Scott 和建築同工Pastor Shull的工作禱告，求主使他們手上所作的工蒙福，使許多人因他們所作的工與默默的事奉，使多人蒙恩。也為他們全家禱告。
- 為梁慶龍弟兄在Columbia, MO 的牧會事工蒙恩禱告，也賜福他出外講道有智慧與能力，並求主賜福他們全家。
- a. 註冊同工 – 有智慧與力量處理報名、住宿、陪談等工作禱告。
- b. 短宣同工 - 除了與福音朋友陪談外，他們又要參與膳食、青少年、兒童事工等，求主加添力量，完成這些事工，使人蒙恩，又能帶領更多人歸信主。
- c. 事務同工 – 能夠順利佈置場地，又在影音處理工作上，能彰顯神的大能。
- d. 講員 – 能被主膏抹，充滿神的大能，帶出神的信息，挑旺人的心。
- e. 英文部同工 – 能幫助一般人認為非常困難的事工，經歷神的大能，使青年人能被主改變，為主得著。
- f. 兒童事工 – 能帶領兒童信主，建立從小跟從主的基礎。
- g. 膳食事工 – 不僅要滿足近兩千人的食物，又能讓大家在主豐富恩手中，更專一追求主。
Dear brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord,
Greetings from the Lake of the Ozarks! May the Lord enable to you become the branches planted by the stream that bear much fruit.
How to Cowork with Pastors
Thanks to be God that more and more people are willing to dedicate themselves for the Lord. They go to seminaries to be equipped and serve God after graduation. Some are in their twenties and thirties and some are in their forties and fifties, even in their sixties. Some proceed from believing in the Lord, to entering seminary, and graduating seminary in less than seven years, or even only in five years. After graduating from seminary into the most ideal situation, they would serve under more experienced pastors so they can learn while serving. But some become the only minister in a church. These ministers are at high risk to be hurt, bringing great turmoil and splits in their churches. If they are younger ministers when they face such difficulties, the damage to themselves and churches may be a less severe. Churches tend to be less demanding of these ministers and assist and support their minsters. Plus, the younger ministers are more willing to be transformed, shaped, and edified step by step. Gradually, the church can have a shepherd used by God.
However, the situation can be harder for those who are older in years but inexperienced in the Lord. They are in their forties or fifties with experience in life and society and often have a typical family. When the congregation found them, the group respects them but expects rapid progress. The ministers are often confident in themselves too. However, the churches find that the higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment. The ministers’ way of dealing with people might be not that mature. They have head knowledge but lack experience in body life. They make mistakes often. The way they behave sometimes is less mature than that of a younger coworker. It is not that hard to understand because the ministers have been Christians for only a few years. On the contrast, the coworkers have been Christians for several decades. The “kids” have heard more in-depth teaching and have more spiritual and interpersonal experience directed by God than has this graying seminarian. Moreover, they have served with other coworkers locally for a long time. Of course we can’t compare the experienced coworkers with these seminary graduates who have been believers for only a few years because they have not submerged themselves in church ministry before. The training in seminary tends to only observation and analysis. Even if they have interned in churches during seminary, their ministry is likely to have been superficial because of their competing school load. No wonder they are not as mature as the coworkers. Misperceptions, untrained reflexes, and a bit of overconfidence may now surface. Then the coworkers, deacons and elders try to be a mentor to the ministers to nurture them with love. Unfortunately, the success cases are few. In fact, even when a pastor with decades of serving experience helps, mentoring those older-but-inexperienced ministers is very difficult. When people grow older, their moldability tends to diminish. Lay elders trying to mentor older ministers will be even more challenging, because the lay elders may not fully understand the challenges of a fulltime ministry.
When a new pastor joins a church, the first year is the honeymoon period. The congregation is happy to find a new pastor. Everyone treats each other with courtesy. They are likely to tolerate people with different views to maintain harmony. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27). But entering the second year, weaknesses in all parties have been exposed and discontent may build. Tolerance has lessened. Complaints to the pastor—and about the pastor—have increased. The relationship between coworkers and pastors is more… intense. How should we face these kinds of situations?
- Pray for pastors more often. A lot of people think that the pastors are more spiritually mature and ask the pastors to pray for them. But they never think that pastors need prayer support too. When you notice the need or weakness of the pastors, please don’t talk to others first, but tell God first.
- Don’t consider a pastor as the savior of the church. The brothers and sisters of North America Chinese churches tend to be quite busy in their careers and lack time to serve in the church—or think they don’t need to raise the priority of their service to God’s people. Finding a pastor for the church may actually lower their expectations of their own service in the congregation. If other churches have pastors, they wish to find an even better one. The higher the expectation on the pastor, the more serious the problems.
- Don’t ordain a minister too soon. Many churches wish to find a full-time minister as quickly as possible, so they promise that minister that the church will ordain him soon. This ignores biblical principles on ordaining leadership. “Do not be hasty in the laying on hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.” (1 Timothy 5) To ordain a minister too soon, may easily expose the minister and the congregation to a fall. Ordaining the minister prematurely may cause the pastor to be prideful. It will be hard for them to humbly learn and work with others. If the pastor falls, those who ordained him and the congregation bear great responsibility. Some churches ordain pastors very early in order for the pastors to lead their holy sacraments. There is no biblical base on this rule. It is better avoid ordaining ministers who just graduated from seminary within the first three years. For more experienced ministers, churches may consider ordination after at least one year. If a minister pressures church to ordain him, I do not recommend this kind of minister to serve in the church.
- Assign a more-experienced pastor as mentor. Churches should find older and more experienced pastors to mentor inexperienced ministers, to walk alongside them and help them. If there is no experienced pastor within the church, they should find a pastor from other places as mentor. Don’t substitute with a lay-elder or coworker. It is too late to arrange a mentor to counsel the pastors when a situation goes bad. Mentors must be assigned at the first moment. The mentor needs to meet with ministers and coworkers regularly. If coworkers observe things that the minister needs to improve, they should communicate to the mentor as soon as possible. Don’t wait till the situation becomes uncontrollable. Try to resolve difficulties in their early phrase with love and kindness.
- Don’t complain about the pastor to pastor’s wife. Brothers and sisters—especially sisters—tend to praise pastor in front of him and complain about him in front of his wife. In fact, we should not praise pastors so much to their face, because they become proud. If you want to praise, praise in front of the pastor’s wife to become her comfort. Don’t bring your grumbling to the pastor’s wife. That can cause conflict between the couple. Tell the pastor or the mentor with love if you have any constructive suggestion.
- Don’t let your pastors grieve. Hebrews 13 reminds us, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Brothers and sisters need to heed the suggestions from the pastors. Don’t attack the Lord’s servants, lest both sides become hurt.
- Don’t avoid difficult situations. When there is disagreement between pastor and brothers and sisters, face it. Don’t try to avoid it or make hasty decision like “you leave or I will leave”. Church is our home. Even though there is hurt in the hearts, we need to learn the lessons with tears and to reconcile promptly to recover fellowship and coworking relationships.
- Ask other pastors to help with disagreements. Seek pastors who the coworkers and pastor trust to mediate.
- “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5) All need to pray earnestly for themselves and the whole church. Ask God to tear down and rebuild both coworkers and pastors. Everyone needs to be rebuilt. Then the churches will have hope.
Winter Conference connects brothers and sisters from Midwest to pursue God, to share the Gospel with one accord, and to revive the campus ministries and Midwest churches, CWC coworkers are in full-force to prepare for the annual winter conference. They do not take break from early November until the conclusion of January Bible Camp. We will have many volunteers coming to CWC to help from December 13th. Some come to CWC a week before the Conference to help with registration. Some come a few days earlier to Kansas City to help set up. We are setting up all the audiovisual devices by ourselves instead of using the hotel’s service to save more than ten thousand dollars. The few days of preparation work will be intense, but we all do it with joy. This year’s Winter Conference will be held on December 21-25 in Kansas City, MO, but our location has changed to Mariotte Kansas City Downtown Hotel (200 W 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64105). Online registration has begun. Please register online at your earliest opportunity and invite other brothers and sisters and nonbelievers to attend. Our strict deadline is December 15 at 4pm. Please don’t miss this chance to pursue God. Our theme is Life of Wisdom. Our speakers are Rev. Johann Lai, Mrs Esther Lai, Rev David Lu, Brother Balex Sit, Minister Jenny Wu, Dr. Kun Hua Chen and others. Youth and English section speakers are Pastor Victor, Dr. James Clark, Minister Randy Dolan, and Pastor Steve Tan. (If your mother tongue is Chinese, please refrain from going to an English section. The conference is for us to pursue God, not to learn English.) English sections and children’s ministry have about three hundred people respectively each year. Please pray for our speakers and coworkers of English section and Children’s ministry, notably for Uncle Dan and Aunty Cathy and their many helpers.
December Disciple and Coworker Training Camp is an essential camp for building up coworkers from campus fellowships and churches. We have about 200 attendees each year. It is a very important and influential camp. Please pray for the camp. May the Lord urge and prepare the hearts of the attendees. This camp not only nurtures new believers to be the Lord’s disciples, but also edifies student coworkers to lead campus ministries, and prepares the brothers and sisters to be little shepherds when they returns to China to lead small churches of ten-plus people while facing trials. The camp will be held on Dec 25-29 noon at CWC camp in Warsaw MO. Our strict deadline is December 15. We have many people signed up already by the end of November. Due to the capacity of our facilities, we are likely to cut the due date earlier as in previous years. If you want to come, please sign up now. Please pray for our speakers Brother Belix Sit and Minister Jenny Wu.
January Bible Camp builds attitudes, habits, insight, and wisdom in God’s powerful word. The Prophet Amos said in Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land—not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” A spiritual famine in our churches nowadays is also because of the lack of God’s Words: no time to listen to messages, no interest in reading Scriptures, and no brain power to meditate on God’s Words. Bible Camp is to build up brothers and sisters the interest and habit in Bible reading, improve our wisdom and power in understanding God’s Words. Not only can God’s Word feed us, but also learn to lead others to know God’s Words. Then we can become little shepherds that can nurture others. We can be small group leaders or leading Sunday school in the United States. We can become little shepherds for a house church when we return to China to shepherd and nurture God’s little lambs. We will study the General Epistles. There are 150 brothers and sisters signed up by the November 15 deadline. They are writing the final-stage reports now. CWC coworkers, speakers, and other ministers have individually mentored their reports from attendees. Brothers and sisters diligently wrote their reports and the teachers also spent time and efforts to mentor them. Bible Camp will be held from the evening of December 29 till noon of January 4 of the next year at CWC camp. Please pray for our meeting and speakers Rev. David Su, Mrs. Lois Su etc.
- The coming month will be the busiest time for the whole year for CWC coworkers to prepare winter conference, disciple and coworker training camp, and Bible camp. We face challenges daily for a whole month. We covet your prayers for us each day.
- CWC coworkers still need to read Bible Camp reports. Each report will take at least two to three hours and back and forth multiple times. Please pray for our coworkers. We need your prayer supports.
- Pray for maintenance coworker Scott and building coworker Pastor Shull. May the Lord use their hands to bless many, so that many will be blessed through their work and service behind the scene. Pray for their families also.
- Please pray for the health of Mrs. Ko. Thank God that she is improving. She tires easily due to hyperthyroidism.
- We thank God for Brother Qing-Long Liang’s ministry in Columbia, MO. May God bless him with wisdom and power as he also ministers in other churches. May the Lord bless his whole family.
- Pray for many ministries and volunteers of Winter Conference
- a. Registration coworkers— They require wisdom and energy to process registration, room assignment, and counselor arrangement.
- b. Short-term mission teams— Besides being a counselor to the seekers, they need to help with food, youth, and children ministry. May God strengthen them to complete these tasks that many will be blessed through them and many will become followers of Christ.
- c. Pre-meeting setting up coworkers— They want to effectively and smoothly set up the meeting places and all the audiovisual devices, so that God’s glory can be seen.
- d. Speakers— May the Lord anoint them. They will be filled with God’s power to bring out God’s message to revive the hearts of all the attendees.
- e. English section coworkers— This English program is always deemed the hardest one. Please pray for those coworkers that they can experience God’s great power. May the youths can be changed by the Lord and gained by God.
- f. Children’s ministry— Pray that they can lead the little ones to believe in Jesus and build a firm foundation when they are still young.
- g. Meal ministry— Pray that they not only prepare enough food for near two thousand people, but also allow others pursuing God under God’s mercy and grace.
- h. English translators— Also pray for the volunteer translators who will translate from Chinese to English during the meeting.
- Pray for the expansion of the East Coast Disciple and Coworker Camp. May God provide the funding needed for the work.
- Pray for the monthly general expanses of CWC. Pray that God will touch more people’s hearts to care and support CWC ministry.
- May God touch more people’s hearts to join in CWC ministry, so that the ministry in the Midwest will be more thriving.
May God’s grace and love during year end to encourage us to pursue and serve Him more eagerly!
Serving God with you in the Lord,