Connect group coordinators learned the Ten Commandments of connecting with people, before being commissioned to serve.
By Foo Cechao
The night of Apr. 3 was a memorable one for the 2,065 connect group coordinators from City Harvest Church—after three sessions of training, they were finally commissioned by their senior pastor to serve alongside their cell group leaders.
The training sessions, first with the co-founder of CHC, Sun Ho and executive pastor, Tan Ye Peng, then with their respective district pastors, came to a finale with a session by their senior pastor Kong Hee.
“Jesus is a connector,” said Kong as he addressed the CGCs. “He is the way, He came to connect us back to God, and since we are followers of the way, we should all be connectors too!”
Reading from Luke 15:1-2, Kong shared that the way Jesus showed love to people is to visit their homes and fellowship with them. Through these actions of love that Jesus demonstrated towards tax collectors and sinners, He connected people like Zacchaeus to Himself and eventually to God the Father.
“Jesus is accepting, but not necessary approving,” Kong taught the CGCs, using the father’s acceptance of his prodigal son as example. “To be a good CGC, you must learn to accept people.” Kong shared that before he stepped into a member’s house during visitation, he would often pray that for the love of the Father to come upon him, so that he would see the people he is meeting through lenses of love instead of a judgmental eye.
The senior pastor also shared how he wins people over just by being with them during their periods of transition. These people are eventually touched by his actions and drawn to the kingdom of God. One example was the son of a friend who had to return to Singapore to serve the National Service. The boy had lived in Hong Kong all his life and was full of anger and resentment when he first returned to this unfamiliar place. For a year and a half, Kong would rush to Starbucks after conducting service once every fortnight, just to listen to the boy’s grievances and complaints. His efforts paid off when he won the boy over to himself and eventually to the Lord. The boy is now a fervent Christian serving in his church in Hong Kong now.
“Do you know who are you connecting the members to as a Connect Group Coordinator? We need to connect our people to God, to the church and to people,” Kong said. “Connecting people to God consist of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit carries a presence. When I fellowship with people, I want them to walk away feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit.” He encouraged the CGCs not to rush over visitations and prayers, but to take the time and bring the presence of God into the members’ lives.
Kong taught that connecting people to the church is important because “when your life is planted in the House of God, it will flourish.” CGCs should connect people with other people because everyone needs relationship. “When there is a love relationship, people who come will stay,” Kong said. With that, he shared with the CGC the Ten Commandments to connect with people.
Firstly, communicate. “Communication is two-way; we need to let others talk too!”
Secondly, esteem others better than yourself. Quoting Philippians 2:3 from the Bible, Kong said that Christians should honor people, “There is always something good to say about people if you bother to look hard enough.”
Thirdly, be interested in people’s interests. “By showing interest in other people, you are showing love. Love is not self-centered.”
Fourthly, make people feel important. Kong believes that everyone has a unique story to tell; whenever he meets an elderly person, he would always ask them to share their personal war stories–an experience every elderly person is proud to share.
The fifth commandment is to smile. Smiling creates a solid first impression in the first five minutes!
The sixth commandment is to be encouraging. To encourage is to put courage in people and believe in them.
The seventh commandment is to be longsuffering. Being longsuffering also means not to jump to judgmental conclusions. “Don’t assume the worse, but assume the best,” Kong said. “Choose to take a long time to be irritated by others.”
The eighth commandment is to respect people. This includes respecting their titles, time, private space and family. “Don’t be over-familiar with people,” Kong reminded the congregation.
The ninth commandment is to use people’s names more than usual. “This is Scriptural. God loves us so much that he writes down our names in the Book of Life,” Kong said.
The tenth commandment is to be complimentary. Kong encouraged that we should be genuine in our compliments and to go all the way in giving them.
Kong ended the session by commissioning the CGCs with a prayer and an impartation of anointing over all of them. Many CGCs left the meeting feeling challenged to connect with the people they are shepherding.
“It was a good session—it gave me greater courage to step out to connect with other people,” said Tan Huizhen, 23, a student who serves as a CGC. “Personally, I am not a very talkative person. Learning the ‘Ten Commandments’ teaches me ways to push myself out of my own comfort zone, and connect with people I am meeting for the first time or those I am not very close to.”