Thoughts on a Recent “Macedonian Call”…
By Rev Wayne Cheung
March 12, 2023
It was earlier known that the leader of a small group was planning to emigrate overseas. It gave rise to doubts about how that group would continue to “operate.” After some deliberations and encouragement, two members were moved by God and were willing to be the group leaders finally. The rest of the group also know that they would all have to share the responsibilities and complement each other in order that the spiritual fellowship that had been built up in the Lord over the years can be sustained. However, the group members still had worries that they would not know how to lead Bible studies and were concerned and anxious about the arrangement to take turns to lead. The 10 members therefore invited the pastor to train them up in leading group Bible studies.
Knowing that some were willing to receive training, I should be really eager and glad. But I was in a dilemma when I thought about my “fully packed” work. After praying and careful assessment, I considered the invitation as a modern version of the “Macedonian call.” Then I immediately started planning a special group leader training on four evenings. The participants committed themselves to not take leave, to fulfil their responsibilities and to hand in their assignments. All this showed their wish to take mutual responsibility. I was excited when I knew this. In the old days, Paul saw in the night a vision from Macedonia which asked for his help in preaching the gospel (Acts 16:6-10). Paul and his companions obeyed the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which saw the start of the spread of the gospel in Europe. It marked a turning point of the advancement of the church westward.
In today’s context, there are three noteworthy points in the equipping ministry of the church. First, we need to strengthen the basis and plan for the future. The church is the epitome of society. At a time of drastic changes in the overall environment, our equipping work needs to have two objectives: nurturing of faith and training of believers. In particular, the nurturing of new believers, Christian education for various age groups, discipleship and leadership training will need to develop further building on the past. Related training needs to be planned and promoted with a mindset that is innovative and appropriate for our age so that the training will meet the actual spiritual needs of the church and believers.
Secondly, we need to be flexible and adaptive to needs. On top of regular shepherding and training, we have to be sensitive to believers’ actual longing and needs. We need to be more effective in the deployment of resources and develop more suitable training to equip believers. For sure, for the equipping ministry to achieve the above effects, pastors and leaders, believers and trainees must all be committed. The trainers, in addition to providing appropriate training materials to facilitate interactive learning, need also to provide timely responses to needs. Learners should be humble and willing to learn, putting in effort and time.
Finally, if the equipping ministry can take advantage of synergy and Internet packages, church ministries will no doubt be more fruitful. With the rapid development of science and technology, new artificial intelligence software has even become the focal point of the market. But that said, the overwhelming amount of information is hard to absorb or digest. The challenges arising must not be overlooked. The crux of the matter is whether we have provided more spiritually rich information to consolidate and deepen the faith of believers. Therefore, the church’s Equip Department needs to know what it is doing, and make good use of the Internet and social media.