SINGAPORE, 22 NOVEMBER — EMBRACING CHANGE WITH a renewed mindset, loving others despite differences and building strong relationships — these were the emphases of
Tan Ye Peng’s message to the Malaysian delegates during a Meet-the-Pastors session on Saturday.
Tan, who is City Harvest Church’s deputy senior pastor, brought every delegate to a higher, more contemporary level of thinking when it came to evangelism and focused on City Harvest’s core message: The Cultural Mandate.
He made special mention of O School, a dynamic dance school which was formed for the purpose of reaching out to dancers by building relationships with them and inviting them to church.
In order for churches to see exponential growth, a church’s leaders need to focus on five aspects: prayer, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. The quality of lives is valued far above the quantity of members.
“In raising leaders, you need to invest and believe in them, grow with them. That’s just the way Phil Pringle from Christian City Church saw our church leaders in City Harvest Church grow to what they are now,” Tan shared.
There was also a spirited exchange about the controversial topics of dressing, hair color and tattooing. Tan stated that dressing up was not a compromise of values. The method and style may change, but the message should always be sacred. Instead of expecting the world to be like the church, the point of change can start the other way round.
|PHOTOS: Michael Chan|
However, Tan stood firm on his Christian values and stressed that a person should not compromise just to reach more people.
He also shared that in carrying out projects on a bigger scale such as community involvement programs, it was necessary to build a network and ensure program sustainability. It was important to have a point man who could carry the responsibility, and to have sufficient finances for the program to hold out.
Matthew Foo, youth pastor of Damansana Utama Methodist Church in Petaling Jaya, said that the session changed his mindset and that he now saw that there was so much more to be done. The challenge was to bring the message to the senior leaders of the church — the youths were more receptive to change.
“The session also gave us a new mindset, as we lead a Tamil church of people with traditional thinking and all. We now need to train and change not just their dressing but also their thinking. However, in reaching more people, we cannot be critical just because they look different, but to love and include them,” remarked David and Rebekah Simon, pastors of Jirehs House of Prayer.
Indeed making a difference is a massive step to take, but the Malaysian delegates were convinced that results spell hard work. With spiritual discipline and transformed minds, they went home from Asia Conference, ready to take their churches to a whole new level.