- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Sunday, 01 February 2015 01:00
校園教會其中最弱的一環就是兒童事工。兒童教室就像遊樂場，小孩追逐跑跳，又吵又閙；相對來說，美國教會的兒童事工卻是井然有序，教室就是教室，兒童有規矩的學習，靈命也得以成長。有不少原因使兩者不一樣，其中最主要的因素就是：華人教會的主日學老師不停地更換，因為覺得教會的兒童太調皮了，沒有辦法管，更沒有辦法教。能委身教一年的老師算是少數，作完一年，有很長的時間都不想再碰兒童事工，因為太辛苦了！能委身一年的老師既不容易找，只好退而求一次，改成半年或三個月一期，老師不停的更換，很多都是新手，兒童上課像是老師的白老鼠(實驗品)，老師辛苦，學生也辛苦。相對而言，美國教會主日學老師大多有委身的心志，不論多麼困難，一作就作十幾、二十年，甚至一生都擺在兒童事工上，在同一崗位、多年忠心的事奉，就成為主老練的器皿，精銳的精兵，並帶著喜樂的心，忠心地事奉主，建立了很多向著主的年青人，一生走主的道路，在困難中能忠心事奉主，既能建立自己，也能建立別人。同樣的道理：團契的興旺在乎有沒有肯委身帶領團契，作個老練帶查經、分享神話語的人，多年忠心在自己的小組中分享神的道，團契就會成為一個滿有神同在的團契，在主的愛中成為得人的地方。華人教會常被人事問題所困擾，牧者逃避難處最好的方法就是換工場，牧師不停的更換，弟兄姊妹不停的受傷，教會如何能興旺？牧者若能在困難中靠主往前，不斷學習，忠心事奉主，不改變工場，主的恩典不僅夠用，祂會將困難轉為祝福，教會得興旺 (教會的興旺常與牧師牧會的長久度成正比)，自己才能在事奉中高唱：「事奉耶穌越久越甘甜」！曾有人問我，如何能在過去三十多年，在美中同一個地方：基督工人中心和哥城華人教會不疲倦地奉奉主？使事奉能從難處轉成甘甜，帶著喜樂的心長久的事奉？ 關於這一點，最近我寫了一篇文章，登在今年一月「舉目」第 71 期 (全文請按這裏)。簡言之，就是: 要不斷學習下面的功課：(1). 認定異象、(2). 化敵為友、(3). 僕人心態、(4). 不怕疲勞。
福音營是傳福音的好時機，趁著學生還沒有畢業(五月份)之前，將福音傳給他們。其實很多同學已經聽了一段時日的福音了，現在該是決志信主的時候，求主藉我們去得著他們。等到他們五月畢業，在社會工作後，再信主的困難會更多。求主幫助我們把握緊機會，邀請他們來參加福音營，讓他們早日信主。最好邀請的方法，就是弟兄姊妹自己先報名參加，因為弟兄姊妹不來參加福音營，福音朋友也不會來參加。讓我們早早報名，常常為福音朋友禱告，並儘早作邀請工作。這次福音營的主題是：「生之追尋」。日期是：三月13 至 16日，講員有三位：為華府來的袁曉牧師、田納西州曼菲斯的陳達牧師、及加州聖荷西的許學舜長老，並有南谷基督徒會堂及科羅拉多州的短宣隊一起配搭。地點在基督工人中心。費用仍是自由奉獻。詳細內容及報名單請上中心網站查看，福音營不要求全時間參加，教會或查經班負責人可以「團體報名」。
6. 為五月門徒訓練及帶職信徒訓練營禱告 (報名表請按此)，求主賜福同工的工作，好建立更多人進入神的國。
7. 為已報名八月讀經營及各地讀經小組禱告 (報名表請按此)。這次將讀「大先知書」。
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Greetings in the Lord! Happy Chinese New Year! Time runs fast, one year after another. In the time we have, may God help us grow spiritually that we may be His witness and be able to stand steadfastly for Him in His power. Also, may we bear more fruits for our Lord in all kinds of situations.
One of the challenges for a campus church is ministry to children. Children’s classrooms often look like a playground. Children are running around and around with much noise. Children’s ministry in many suburban American churches is different. Church classrooms are more like school classrooms. Children learn with obedience and grow fast in the Lord. One of the many explanations for this difference is that, in campus churches, Sunday school teachers change often. It is hard to find people to teach for one year. Teach children effectively tends to be harder than teaching adults. The superintendent often must change the term of teaching from yearly to quarterly. Many teachers only serve one term and will never return to the Children’s Church again. It is a big challenge to teach children. Children often have new and inexperienced teachers. The teachers suffered and the children suffered. Children’s ministry will never be able to operate well when it is hard to find a committed teacher. When we see the Sunday school teachers in many American churches, they teach for tens of years or even their lifetimes. They start inexperienced and make mistakes, but with time gain experience in teaching. Children are blessed by their service.
Likewise, workers in any service who are committed for the long haul will become well-equipped workers. Their faithfulness in the ministry will lead many people to Christ and build up other people to grow and be equipped to serve the Lord. The revival of a church or a Bible study group depends on a group of people who are willing to commit to serve and to lead the group. If there are group leaders who are willing to lead Bible study faithfully for years, the groups most likely will grow. The churches and the Fellowships will become a place loving God and loving people. Chinese churches are often troubled by challenging personal relationships. Likewise often the best way for a pastor to escape from conflicts is to transfer to a different congregation. They stay only two or three years and move to other churches. When pastors change often, brothers and sisters often get hurt. The church can not be built up healthily. If a pastor can trust in the Lord, keep learning in all difficulties, faithfully serve Him and His people, and stand firmly with his own flock, the churches and the pastors will be blessed by the Lord and keep growing in spiritual maturity. His grace is sufficient for us. God will change the suffering to the benefit of everyone. Revival will come to the church. Pastors will be able to sing: “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter he grows!”
Unsurprisingly then, people ask me, how can I serve in the Christian Witness Center and Columbia Chinese Christian Church joyfully for over 30 years? My answer is this. One: I have focused on the vision. Two: I turn enemies into friends. Three: I serve with a servant’s heart. Four: I am never afraid of the hardship. (For more details, you can check the article I wrote and published in January, 2015 “Behold” Magazine, issue #71: http://behold.oc.org/?p=25403)
Spring Break Gospel Camp:
March Gospel Camp is an important moment to reach out to unbelieving students before they graduate in May. Many students have already heard about the gospel for a while. It is time for them to make a decision. When the students graduate and start to work in the society, it is harder for them to be saved. We pray the Lord that we can take this golden opportunity to reach people for Christ and invite them to the Gospel Camp.
The best way to invite them is this: we ourselves apply for the Gospel Camp first. If we believers do not plan to come to the Gospel Camp, why should nonbelievers come? Let us apply earlier, start to pray for their salvation earlier and do the invitation earlier. The theme for the Gospel Camp is “Life Seeking”. The camp date is from March 13 (stay overnight) to the noon of March 16. We have three speakers: Pastor Xiao Yuan (from Washington D. C), Pastor Timothy Chen (from Memphis, Tennessee) and Elder Rupert Hsu (from San Jose, CA). Short term mission teams from California and Colorado will come to help. All the forms have been posted on our website (Please click here for more information). Group registration for the church leaders to submit is also posted on the web site.
1. Pray for the brothers and sisters who accepted the Lord in the Winter Conference, so that they can continue pursuing the Lord and grow in the Lord.
2. Pray for the preparation of the Gospel Camp.
3. Pray for the invitation work for the Gospel Camp. Pray the Lord to move the hearts of those nonbelievers so that they will come.
4. Pray for the speakers and the mission teams of the Gospel Camp.
5. Give thanks for Brother Liyu Tu who will get married in Mid-February. May the Lord bless his new family and also lead their future ministry.
6. Pray for the May Discipleship Training and the Lay-Minister Training (please click here for more information). Pray the Lord to bless the coworkers’ ministry so that more can be equipped in the Kingdom of God.
7. Pray for those who have applied for the August Bible Camp and their Bible Camp small Bible Study group in their churches (Please click here for more information). This time we will study “Major Prophets”.
In the New Year, may our Lord bless you and your families.
In His service,
Director and Pastor