Minutes of In-conversation session held at NLBPC on 15-Aug-2015
Meeting commenced at 4pm with 34 members present.
Henry Lim, Ruth Lim, Lilian Lee, Isaac Kua, David Lim, Joel Yap, Freddie Tan, James Goh, Pei Lin, Bee Bee, Ken Tay, Anne Poh, James Pang, Ronnie Pang, Amy Lim, Puay Loon, Ming Wei, Mrs Nathan, Mohan, Belinda Soon, Steve Tan, Lynda Kuan, Chin Hong, Beng Suat, James Ng, Aaron Tan, Carol Tan, Dn. Ronnie Tan, Dn. Ivan Lim, Dn. Wee Boon, Eld Sim, Eld Yap, Ps Lim, Ps Nathan and Ps Gan.
Apologies: Eld. Prasad, Dn. Gumapon, Dss Dorcas Chionh and Dss. Indravathy
Agenda of meeting:
- Address the proposal of reinstating Christmas Eve Service
- Discuss the follow up action plans from the last in-conversation on 11-Apr-2015 about:
- How to build inter-personal relationships/skills
- How to fulfill the Great Commission as a church
- How to encourage members to join small groups or start new ones
- Discuss Changes for 2016
Pastor opened the meeting with prayer. He then read from Romans 14:1-10 and gave a short exhortation.
Reinstating Christmas Eve Service discussion:
Pastor reminded the participants that having a service on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day is not a doctrinal issue but a non-essential and emotional one. Colossians 2 warns us that if our focus is not on Christ, we’ll spend too much time arguing over non-essential things. We must learn to manage our disagreement with self-control and love.
The floor was opened for members to voice their views. Below are some of the opinions:
- Unsaved friends and families are keen to attend Christmas Eve service. If we remove this, it’ll be a lost opportunity for outreach
- Caroling on Christmas Eve is a tradition and many people miss this
- Does not matter which service because people will respond to which ever day the service is held based on the person who invite.
- It will be ideal to have both services: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but do we’ve the manpower and resources to maximize outreach opportunity?
- There should not be a “trade off,” that is, because we have to do a service on Christmas Day, then we cannot do a service on Christmas Eve. We should not be worried about resources but focus on the need to hold two services instead.
- Have it on both days but with different emphasis: a gospel service on Christmas Eve for outreach and a worship service on Christmas Day
- Yap added a word of caution that we should not be flip-flopping or changing the events as we listen to various groups with opinions on when we should observe Christmas or Easter.
- Some have no preference but we should not waver on the decision
Pastor wrapped up this topic by stating that he would bring this feedback regarding whether to have one or both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services to the session. The mechanics or details can be worked out later. He reminded that whatever the session decides, let us be united and be committed to it. Any changes will only take effect from 2016 because the Tamil service had already booked the sanctuary for an event this coming Christmas Eve.
Follow up action plans from the last In-Conversation
1. How to build inter-personal relationship / skills
Brother Chin Hong states that leaders and members need to be equipped with communication and interpersonal relationship skills. In order to do that, he proposed:
- Conducting mini workshops, seminars or training. The content and outline will be discussed and approved by the session before rolling it out to members. Sister Pei Lin is willing to help facilitate.
- Please send any feedback to Brother Chin Hong or Sister Pei Lin.
2. How to fulfill the Great Commission as a church
Elder Sim covered his update in 3 areas:
- Positive examples of outreach
- Identified shortcomings that has remedial actions
- Areas for further improvement
6 positive examples of outreach summarized as below:
- Gospel nights in English, India and Chinese Congregations
- Overseas missions to Cambodia, Philippines, India and China where we see active participation whether among the young or old New Lifers
- Parents’ Appreciation Night for English and Chinese Congregation
- ROF to neighboring housing blocks led by Deacon James
- Home visits of new visitors and members in Chinese & India congregation led Deacon William and Rev Nathan respectively
- Recent Church support at Vigil service of Pastor Gan’s eldest brother had encouraged his relatives and they have expressed an interest to come for the Chinese service
4 shortcomings that the Session has taken remedial actions:
- To be a warmer and friendlier church, we need to have a team of greeters or befrienders (volunteers required). At the same time, a new visitor table has been setup at fellowship hall, led by Deacon Wee Boon to reach-out to new visitors
- Seeking to help others e.g. Sis Ivy – there’s a volunteer group setup to rotate transportation duties (we need more volunteers still). Session has also agreed to reinstate her monthly financial support
- Neglect of Ju Eng Home ministry: Situation has improved. Elder Sim commended Bro Joseph Ng’s good example for attending Ju Eng home service every Sunday without fail. More help is still required, please continue to volunteer
- We need New Lifers to be on the lookout and reach out to those who are unsaved, to hurting brothers and sisters, to those in crisis but are keeping quiet. Or we can bring such person to the attention of the pastoral team or session
1 important area for improvement: Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade
- Elder Sim thank those who are presently helping out in BB/GB. More New Lifers are needed to support this ministry. The BB/GB are a group of young people who are a ready source for our gospel outreach. We hope to mobilize the YFers to have combine monthly activities with BB/GB to encourage friendship and fellowship among the youths.
In closing, Elder Sim would like New Lifers to reflect on the word “Missional”. In the simplest form of definition, “Missional” refers to one who knows he or she is on a mission for God (Matt 28:18-20) and who, like His Son Jesus Christ, seeks out every opportunity at home or in community, at work or at play, to share the Gospel and strives to live a life that glorifies God. To be missional is to know, to live as a missionary or disciple of Jesus Christ wherever you are and in whatever you do. “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21) “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel” (1 Cor 9:16b)
3. How to encourage members to join small groups or start new ones
Pastor Gan remarked that ideally everyone is in fellowship groups or NBCs, especially for young believers. This can be encouraged during Catechism class. Pastor also hoped to see all fellowship/NBCs be more encompassing to include new members. In addition, he would like the church to pray regarding a revamp of having a mixture of members in each group rather than to group by age, this can make the church more effective and to reach out to people of different needs.
Changes for 2016
Pastor Gan gave an update on what changes we can expect from 2016:
- The session has accepted the proposal to conduct the church camp bi-annually. This will free up time and finances for (i) the session to strategize on the leadership and direction for the church in the next 3-5 years (ii) fellowship/NBC group will now be encouraged to plan their own retreat for bonding among members.
- On the matter that the Church Camp will be conducted bi-annually, Brother Ronnie Pang sought clarification and mentioned that some session members were unaware of this. Pastor Gan commented that the session has already approved this. There were others who also indicated that they preferred to have an annual church camp.
- Pastor Gan explained that the priority of the church at this point is to focus on leadership and future leadership development. In order to do that, a bi-annual Church camp would free up time and resources for them to strategize for the church. He will review the bi-annual camp decision in the future once the more critical matters of the church are settled. Pastor Gan expressed his gratitude for the unity and support of the new session.
- Elder Sim shared that he now attends session meeting with joy. He added that he was witnessing changes and transformation which are positive. He requested New Lifers to give constructive feedback to the session so that they can be a better group of Christian leaders. Elder Sim also requested for us to be patient and to trust the session, whom we have elected.
- Pastor Gan announced that Brother Ronnie and Sister Bee Lan have expressed their intent to step down from BB/GB at the end of 2015. Pastor Gan thanked them and also the group of ladies – Sisters Katherina Leong, Julia Ong and Mavis Goh. Brother Justin has stepped up to be the new captain in 2016, and Pastor Gan requested Ronnie Pang to be Justin’s mentor and guide him along.
- To effect changes & improvements in the church, Pastor Gan raised 2 points:
- To setup an English Committee made up of at least 2 members from each fellowship group. Pastor appeal for volunteers to step forward to join this Change Task Force.
- To pray for God to raise up young adults to answer the call to serve full time in all the 3 congregations
Pastor thanked all for the healthy sharing session. He asked for us to open our hearts and work with each other.
Pastor Nathan closed in prayer.
Members were dismissed at 6.15pm.
Note: Many thanks to Sis. Bee Bee for taking notes for this In-Conversation!