Witnessing the Amazing Journey of the Growth of a “Family”
By Rev James Hon
November 12, 2023
The other day, I met a familiar young man at the founding ceremony of a college fellowship. This reminds me of the time when I and his parents served together when we were young. Then his parents started dating, and sometimes my wife and I became “consultants” of their relationship. We also sang in the choir for their wedding. Later on, we even witnessed the conversion to Christ of the four grandparents on both sides one by one. Time passed. And now their son is a university student! When I looked carefully at the college fellowship, I realized that I know more than half of the members from their childhood. I am so grateful that through the years, I have witnessed the growth of many families and their extended families. All three generations of some of them are friends of mine. That gives me a truly amazing feeling.
There are a number of three-generation, even four-generation families in the NPAC family, but they are not easily noticeable. It is because their family members are scattered among different ministries and worship services. They do not usually tell people they are the parents or the daughter or the grandfather or the brother of whom. But when you discover their relationships, you will be quite surprised, “O, so you are…” I still make such surprising discoveries every now and then.
And yet we have another kind of family members.
This is my 39th year at NPAC. As I have never left this church, I have got to know many in the NPAC family over the years. They are treasures in my spiritual life.
When I was young, I often grumbled why this family organized so many events. This time of the year, for example, we have the Annual Members Conference in November and the Winter Retreat in December. It is like that year after year, which makes me feel that these are sort of routine. But every time I attend these “events,” I find myself among a sincere, friendly community. And gradually, I came to realize what is meant by “the NPAC family.” “The NPAC family” is not a slogan. It really exists. Occasionally, I heard it said that use of the term “the NPAC family” in worship services does not sound sincere for “I” do not feel the presence of the family. Well, no one is to blame. It is true the church is big. If we just attend it without active participation, it will be difficult to feel that it is our home. And if we only take part in our own small community and not willing to actively participate in church-wide community, I believe it will also be difficult to feel that it is our home. In that case, it would be quite meaningless to say “the NPAC family”.
Why do we take part in the church-wide community? Can we not just take part in our own small community? I had taken part in serving in the worship services of large congregations. Then I served at TC5 youth adults worship service and the present Sun+ worship service. I have found that they are all marvelous. Thanks to the church for letting me know the many different facets of NPAC. I have also joined many short-term mission trips. Each time, I serve and share with brothers and sisters from different communities of the church. Gradually, I came to realize that a real church should not consist of just one kind of people. We need many different types of people to create sparks. That will be the church mentioned in the Bible.
All of this is my genuine experience and reflection over the years. Now I am proud to be a member of the NPAC family.