October is Pastor Appreciation Month! In celebration of our favourite leaders, City News posed three questions to cell group leaders about their pastors. In this first instalment, we see what leaders have to say about Pastor Aries Zulkarnain, Pastor Audrey Ng and Pastor Wu Yuzhuang.
Jeremiah 3:15 calls them “shepherds after my (God’s) own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.” Pastors are the important, often sacrificial leaders in a church who teach the flock the Word and the ways of God. In 1992, the second Sunday of October was earmarked as Clergy Appreciation Day, and the whole month of October as Clergy Appreciation Month, for the purpose of encouraging pastors, missionaries and religious workers.
At City Harvest Church, our pastors work tirelessly to bring the Word and the presence of God to every demographic across our congregation, from youth and adults to the elderly and the children.
Throughout this month, City News celebrates all the pastors of CHC. We asked a cell group leader to answer three questions about their pastor.
PASTOR ARIES ZULKARNAIN, AS DESCRIBED BY BERNARD RICARDO
1. One thing my Pastor always says is…“We need to be balanced.” One thing I love about Pastor Aries is that he always emphasises our well-rounded development. In all his sharing and sermons, both onstage and off-stage, never once has he been narrow-mindedly focused on a single issue while neglecting things of equal or greater importance. Even in the leaders’ meetings, he always encourages us to spend more time with our family, to take care of our health and to better manage our finances. He does all this in the spirit of reminding us to love God and love people, to be a good steward of whatever God has gifted in our lives.
2. I’ll never forget when Pastor said… “Bernard, you need to lose weight.” Two years ago, I had back pain. I was expecting Pastor to open his Bible, say some verses about healing, and pray for me after I told him my problem. But lo and behold, he pointed his finger at me and asked me to lose weight and to take care of my health. I was stricken by his words, and I came to realise how unhealthy my lifestyle had been up to that point. I was so grateful to have a discipler who is so concerned not only about my family and ministry but about my health too! Of course, he prayed for me afterwards.
3. Most sacrificial thing my Pastor has done is… to avail himself to us. I think everyone around me can testify that Pastor Aries is always there for us when we need him. Even amidst his busy schedule, he would always squeeze in some time to talk to us. Pastor takes a personal interest in your life and empathises without judgment. No stereotypes, no pigeonholes, no labels. He cheers for your progress, rejoices in your success and stands beside you in your failures. There was one time I couldn’t sleep for the whole night due to anxiety, and I texted Pastor at 3am, without expecting any reply from him at that time of the night. To my surprise, he replied and assured me that everything would be alright. I fell asleep afterwards.
PASTOR AUDREY NG, AS DESCRIBED BY JOSEPHINE CHUA
1. My first memory of my Pastor is… her being a “Nazarite” working in our church office. She was fresh out of college and made the decision to serve full time without a salary. She was my idol! To me, that was so commendable and sacrificial. I looked up to her so much.
2. If my Pastor was a food she would be…a plate of bacon Aglio Olio, topped with lots of parmesan cheese! That’s her favourite dish and it speaks so much about her: nothing fancy but classic—your all-time favourite, go-to comfort food. To me, Pastor is like that: she’s your go-to wisdom guru, faithful friend and loyal listener.
3. One thing my Pastor will never say is… “I’m too busy/too caught up/don’ t have not enough time…” Pastor Audrey is a firm believer of being present and showing up. She teaches us that it’s what you do with the time you’ve been entrusted. She always makes time to do what is important and she is never be too busy to meet a person in need, especially if they are in transition. What you trade your time for is key.
PASTOR WU YUZHUANG, AS DESCRIBED BY SAM LOK
1. The word/phrase my Pastor uses the most: Pastor Zhuang likes to start his sentences with “You see, the thing is…”
2. That time my Pastor conducted spiritual warfare: Now that our zone members have grown older, our concerns have naturally shifted to more adult matters. It’s not so much the laying on of hands and casting out demons, but during leaders’ meetings, Pastor Zhuang would take time to lead the leaders in praying earnestly for our members’ marriages, their families, their children, their careers, their finances, their investments, even their dreams and aspirations. It has become such a regular thing that we WYZ leaders are now very mindful to fight for our members both in the natural and the supernatural.
3. I will always be grateful to my Pastor for… simply being a pastor. It’s not just a title, but I personally feel that Pastor Zhuang personifies “the pastor” in the fivefold ministry. Anyone who has interacted with Pastor Zhuang will agree that he is very friendly and approachable. He has celebrated my achievements, but he has also been with me during my lowest, and sometimes not so dignified moments. Through it all, he listens and he empathises. Over the years, I have personally experienced how that fiery “youth pastor”—who is still as fiery, if not more passionate for God—has come to season his words with so much more love and grace.