Dear Canaan EMers and friends,
Preachers like to juxtapose ideas when they preach. It makes it easier to remember sermon points. So we use phrases like “we must love the Giver, not the Gift” or “love God, hate the world” or “desiring God is more important than doing God’s work.” But the Bible and our Christian faith is rarely that “black and white” (or “blue and red”). Because Christian faith proclaims that God the Redeemer is also the Creator, thoughtfully passionate believers should avoid sharp dichotomies or dualistic thinking. In most cases, a healthy balance between two seemingly opposite concepts (such as Creator and Redeemer) is more biblically sound. For example, we should desire God AND desire to do God’s work – and not choose one over the other.
At last night’s English Leadership Team meeting, we reflected on the English ministry members’ tendency to focus on coordinating (and service) at the expense of caring (and spiritual growth). Not all of this is our choice. When we looked at our VBS program, Children and Youth ministries, and Summer Missions, we realized that these programs are serviced mostly by English ministry people. I am sure that serving these programs gives us joy and we are all enthusiastic to take responsibility for our church’s mission.
But we observed that English ministry might have lost balance. We need to give more attention to spiritual growth and care. We need to put more energy into outreach and welcoming our new (or returning) members. But in order to restore balance, some activities may need to be dropped. Perhaps we need to take a break from VBS in 2012? Perhaps our Children’s ministry could tolerate larger classes so that fewer teachers and helpers are needed each Sunday? Perhaps we need to consolidate our youth groups so that they only meet once a week?
We need to find more time to study God’s word, grow as disciples, and build a community of prayer and praise. The synchronized Sunday decision may help. Having a second hour after worship to fellowship, hold Sunday School or growth groups, or to reach out to guests can provide a more balanced diet for us.
Last night, the English Leadership Team also talked about how we can put more effort into spiritual care and not limit ourselves to coordinating service alone. We would like all Canaan EMers to be aware that our elders and pastors are available for you. Reach out to them if you have any faith and life concerns. Shirley Tai and Ed Chen would like to be available to our English ministry sisters and brothers, respectively. And as always, I’m eager to connect with everyone about almost anything (baseball games, deep theological discussion, pre-pre-marital or vocational conversations, etc.). Also, if you are not part of a fellowship or small group, please join one. Our all church retreat will be another great opportunity to cultivate your personal growth.
Please don’t substitute service for personal growth. Tend to your spiritual health by connecting with your leaders and with one another! Please don’t wait, please don’t hold back.