Strengthen, Stretch & Spread


BY REV DAVID LEE

"Enlarge the place of your tent,

and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;

do not hold back; lengthen your cords

and strengthen your stakes.

For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,

and your offspring will possess the nations

and will people the desolate cities." (Isa 54:2-3, ESV)

Through the Prophet Isaiah, the Lord promised to bring restoration to Israel after her exile in Babylon - Israel’s desolate cities would once again be populated; she would again be great, spreading her influence abroad, possessing the nations. But the people of Israel were not to wait idly for that glorious day to arrive. They were to get ready now! They were to strengthen the stakes, lengthen the tent cords, and stretch forth the curtains of their habitations in anticipation of the great in-gathering of God’s people.

The words of the prophet resonated in my heart as I sought the Lord for the direction ahead. In particular, the words “strengthen”, “stretched”, and “spread” caught my attention. I believe they mark out three key phases in COR’s journey towards our 50th Anniversary.


STRENGTHEN To withstand the tension of the stretched cords and tent curtains, the stakes need to be driven deeper. In the same way, to prepare for what is to come, the Lord will first strengthen

our foundations. Individually, we will be challenged to review our personal commitments to the Lord and to step out of our comfort zone. Corporately, old structures may need to be

replaced to sustain robust growth. Church culture needs to be redefined and reshaped to encourage authentic relationships and loving service to one another as we build up our common life.


STRETCHED Surely this life of Christ cannot be contained within the walls of the church but will overflow as winsome witness into the community. Indeed, we are called to be the salt and light of the world, to proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvellous

light. In this next phase, our tent curtains will be stretched, as we extend our influence beyond the walls of the church. I envision members of COR taking up their stations in the public square and marketplace. I see each one, armed with a keen sense of vocation, making a significant contribution to Singapore as we seek the welfare of our city. In the heartlands, I see each family in COR bearing witness to the transformative love of Christ through loving

relationships between husband and wife, between parents and children and between grandparents and grandchildren. I see COR reaching out to our community, especially in

our parish of Potong Pasir, Toa Payoh and Bidadari, serving the needy and neglected in our midst, building an inclusive society.


SPREAD A church that overflows with the love of God and bearing effective witness in the community is one that is worth multiplying. Under the leadership of Canon James Wong, COR started as

a church plant by Church of the Good Shepherd. Church-planting was in our DNA from the very beginning. In its first 20 years as a church, COR planted five of the twenty-seven parishes in the Diocese of Singapore, as well as two extension centres. Over the last two decades, the church-planting effort ceased. But I believe God’s calling for us has not changed. COR will start planting churches infused with our DNA once again, both locally and overseas.


As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary this year, I can see that the strengthening has begun on various levels. Structurally, the church office has been reorganised to provide greater support to the staff and encourage greater collaboration within the team.


An additional layer of leadership has been introduced to what used to be a flat structure. Reverend Ian Chew now leads our youth ministries and chaplaincy works to St Andrew’s Junior College, St Andrew’s Hall and the 26th Company of The Singapore Boys Brigade. We are already seeing fruits in our outreach to the next generation from the synergy these ministries have generated. Pastor Loke Chi Shyan now provides leadership to the pastoral staff in both English Congregations (Saturday Praise Service and Sunday Worship Service). The team is benefitting greatly from his wisdom and experience as a seasoned pastor. The

rest of the staff form the corporate services team led by myself. With this new office structure, we are positioning ourselves for dynamic growth.



The cell groups in SWS have also been organised into pastorates. Grouped in similar life stages and led by more experienced lay leaders and staff, the pastorates provide the much needed support to our cell leaders and facilitate inter-cell interaction.

We are also looking into our infrastructure such as optimising our existing office space, building a fellowship hall, creating a cry room for nursing mothers within the sanctuary and making our facilities more elderly-friendly.


But more important than the structural and the hardware is the heartware. I see God working in different ways here. The Celebration of Hope evangelistic rally this year has encouraged the Church in Singapore to press on in our gospel proclamation. Many in COR are feeling the burden to preach the gospel especially to our aged parents and our family members. This August, SPS held an evangelistic service for our family members involving every generation in the congregation. I also see members in SWS introducing their friends to our church community. In October, our children invited many friends to a special outreach on Children’s Day. Our youths in Mustard Seed Service will also be holding a special outreach service for their friends in November.


This year end, COR will be jointly organising a Christmas carnival and concert with the Citizen Consultative Council of Potong Pasir. This will be the first year since our relocation that the English congregation is stepping out into the heartland in Potong Pasir. More than just strengthening the kampung spirit in this community through the fun and cheer of the carnival, we will be sharing the Christmas message through songs, skits and other forms of presentations. More than half the church has signed up as helpers for this event!


But what is most exciting for me this year is a new culture that is taking shape in COR. The series of conversations amongst members and leaders saw some deep and open sharing across all congregations and generations. Participants called the church to a deeper commitment to our common life. A common theme that surfaced in the conversations was to make COR an inter-generational, cross-congregational and inclusive community. I believe that any walls that divide us are beginning to crumble.


So as we draw our 40th Anniversary celebration to a close, let us be inspired by the words of the Prophet Isaiah. Let us hold on to the promise of God as we see the Lord strengthening, stretching and finally spreading our influence far and wide for His glory. Up and on towards our 50th Anniversary.


坚固,张大,开展 李炳煌牧师 “要扩张你帐幕之地,张大你居所的幔子,

不要限止,要放长你的绳子,坚固你的橛子。

因为你要向左向右开展。你的后裔必得多国为业,

又使荒凉的城邑有人居住。“(赛54章2-3节) 通过先知以赛亚,主应许以色列被掳到巴比伦后,必重建以色列国————以色列荒凉的城邑将充满人口。她将成为大国,她的影响力将扩充海外,统管万国万邦。但以色列百姓不应该安逸地等待那荣耀日子的到来,她们应该现在就开始准备!她们当坚固她们的橛子、放长她们的绳子,张大她们居所的幔子,来为神子民的大聚会做准备。

当我向主寻求前路的指引时,我的心与先知的话产生共鸣。其中“坚固”、“张大”和“开展”这几个词引起了我的注意。我深信它们代表着复活堂迈向50周年的三个阶段。


坚固

橛子必须扎得够深,才能承受绳子和幔子之间的张力。同样的,为了预备将来,神“要扩张你帐幕之地,张大你居所的幔子,不要限止,要放长你的绳子,坚固你的橛子。因为你要向左向右开展。你的后裔必得多国为业,又使荒凉的城邑有人居住。”(赛54章2-3节)会先坚固我们的基础。从个人层面,我们要检讨我们对神的委身,并踏出我们的舒适圈,这是一项挑战。从组织层面,旧的制度可能需要更新,以支持强劲的增长。我们需要重新定义、重新塑造现有的教会文化,以助我们在共同生活时,能够建立更亲密的关系、以爱心彼此服事。


张大

基督的生命绝不能被教会围墙所限制,它应该以温柔的见证浸入社区当中。是的,我们被召作世界的盐和光,就是为要宣扬那召我们出黑暗入奇妙光明者的美德。接下来,我们居所的幔子要被张大,我们要冲破教会围墙,扩大我们的影响力。我预见复活堂会友在公共领域和职场上负起职责,坚守岗位。当我们为新加坡的福利奋斗时,我看见每一个会友,具备敏锐的职业意识,为新加坡做出重大贡献。在社区里,我看见复活堂的各个家庭将基督的爱转化为夫妻、亲子、祖孙的爱,通过这些爱的关系,为主做见证。我看见复活堂向我们的社区伸出援手,尤其是我们的牧区波东巴西、大巴窑和比达达里,为我们当中有需要和被忽视的弱势群体服事,建立一个具包容性的社会。


开展

一个被神的爱满溢,在群体中活出见证的教会,是值得倍增的。在黄锐觉法政牧师的领导下,复活堂是由善牧堂植堂的。因此,“植堂”最初就已存在我们的基因里。在教会发展的前20年,圣公会教区的二十七个牧区中,复活堂就植了五个牧区,外加两个扩展中心。过去的20年里,植堂的努力停止了。但我相信神对我们呼召仍旧不变。复活堂将在国内外继续植堂,并且重新注入我们“植堂”的基因。


今年我们庆祝40周年,我看到不同层面的强化工作已开始。在结构上,教会的行政已重新组织,为同工们提供更多帮助,以及鼓励团队间更好的合作。


我们在原有的平面结构上增加了多一层的领导人。Reverend Ian Chew 会带领我们的青少年事工,以及担任圣安德烈初院、圣安德烈宿舍、 新加坡基督少年軍第二十六分队的牧师。通过协同办理这些事工,我们在下一代的外展活动中已开始结出果子 Pastor Loke Chi Shyan 会领导两个英语堂会(周六成青敬拜聚会和主日聚会)的牧者。这群牧师们从这位资深传道的智

慧和经验中获益良多。我将带领其他的同工们提供企业服务。通过这新的行政结构,我们为教会蓬勃增长做好准备。


主日崇拜聚会的细胞小组也按照“牧养群体”重组。细胞小组将按照年龄层组成,由较资深的教会领袖和同工带领,牧者将为细胞小组组长提供急需的支持,并促进小组之间的交流。


我们也将探讨教会的基础设施,例如:如何充分地使用办公室空间;设立一个团契厅;在大堂内为育婴妇女添一个婴儿室;以及为年长者提供亲乐龄设备。


除了改善教会结构和硬体设备外,我认为最重要的是“心”。我看到神在这里以不同的方式运行。今年的《希望与你有约》宣教集会鼓励新加坡众教会坚持宣扬福音。复活堂的许多会友也以传福音为己任,尤其是对我们年迈的父母和其他的家庭成员。今年八月,周六成青敬拜团契

也为我们的家人,举办了一个福音崇拜聚会,参与服事的人员包括教会里各年龄层的群体。十月,我们的孩童也邀请许多朋友来参加为儿童节特别安排的外展活动。芥菜种子聚会的青少年也为外展尽一份力,他们将在十一月举办一个特别的崇拜聚会,邀请青少年朋友来参加。


今年底,复活堂与波东巴西居民委员会将联合举办圣诞节嘉年华和音乐会。自教会搬迁到波东巴西以来,这是英文部首次踏入波东巴西社区。除了通过嘉年华的娱乐与欢乐声来建立柑榜精神外,我们也将通过歌曲、小品和其他表演来报佳音,已有超过半数的会友以义工身份报名参加这次活动!


今年,最令我感到兴奋的是教会新文化的雏形已开始成型了。由教会领袖与会友之间一连串的分享会中,我们看到跨堂会跨年代,深入且开放的交流。参与者表示希望教会能够丰富我们的共同生活。从这些分享中,浮现出一个共同的主题:复活堂将成为一个跨年代、跨堂会,和具包容性的群体。我相信分裂教会那无形的墙已开始逐渐倒塌。


因此,当40周年庆祝活动即将落幕的当儿,让先知以赛亚的话再次鼓励我们。让我们紧紧地抓住神的应许,祂必为着祂的荣耀坚固我们,使我们的影响力张大、开展至更宽更远,直至我们迈入50周年。

REV. DAVID is married to Veronica and they have two lovely daughters, Alethea and Clara. He is currently serving as the Vicar of Chapel of the Resurrection.

李牧师与Veronica女士伉俪育有二女Alethea和Clara。李牧师现在在复活堂服事,担任牧正一职。

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