Small Group

Many of the small group members I have been going to small group have stopped going to small group and Sunday worship all together. It is disheartening because they are motivated individuals.

I think there is a lack of ministering and nurturing. First we had a pastor who was suppose to be our small group leader leaving. Then the temp head pastor and seminary student intern kind of became our group leader. It was okay then but when the head pastor officially became our group leader people started be less motivated.

The first thing is lack of pastoring, caring and nurturing. Usually in a small group the small group leader is the one who lead by caring and nurturing group members,  being the big brother or sister, the uncle or auntie by having “fellowship” with the members. Fellowship doesn’t just mean going to small group and having Bible studies together but to share lives, “live” together. It’s not happening. I think the temp head pastor is too busy, that was what the seminary intern told me. He doesn’t have time even though I think we could totally have lunch together with his family once every month. That would be doable.

The other thing is there is little caring. The temp head pastor would spend time with you if you make an appointment with him but he’s not going to initiate anything.

And one big thing that I found out that at least one person got turned off is because the temp head pastor pushed his agenda in the small group. He started running the Alpha Course in small group without discussing and planning it with the small group members. It wasn’t a group decision, it was something he wanted to do and he pushed it and he has two seminary interns from his alma mater to help him run the small group.

Personally, I feel that it is the wrong time to run the Alpha Course when people are not even caring about others in the small group, when there isn’t really a community.

It is not something the people signed up for when they decided to join small group. They didn’t sign up for an Alpha Course, they signed up for small group.

One of the seminary intern brought four of her friends and they come regularly but at least three, four regular stopped coming.

I find that the small group is no longer ministering the small group members but is becoming an evangelizing ministry. It’s not wrong but it’s not small group. We didn’t get to decide what we wanted to do as usual. We used to plan our small group activities and schedule together, now there is no schedule and pastor just tell people to serve as worship leader. I don’t know where it is heading. Pastor is just picking people to serve who is available.

I feel like it’s a bit messed up. It is just disheartening.

I am disappointed that the temp head pastor is putting his own agenda ahead for what’s best for the small group. We are his flock. It should always be catered to the people.

I am guessing that he wants to run Alpha Course at church and he is using the small group as a testing ground. Alpha Course is good for evangelizing and increasing attendance, but it shouldn’t be run as small group program and some people are voting with their feet by not coming.

I find it tough because the people who I had started to bond with are stopping to come and discouraged. I don’t blame them.

I asked the pastor again and again if I could serve with the youth ministry and he told me several times that I have to be a member but I find it hard to be a member when I don’t even feel comfortable in small group least the sense of belonging which I don’t really have. I told him that I can’t get plucked in with not serving with others whatsoever. It’s just not working.

I don’t know if he understand that. I think he does, he is not stupid and he told me that I shouldn’t be without any service or I will just have a lost of identity but if the condition is become a member, then I find it kind of wrong and unnatural. It is unhealthy.

After AGM today

At the AGM today, we found out that it was very difficult to rebuild the church building with some new regulations and judge decision in 2013. Property price is expensive and church’s treasury is at one of its weakest state. I was talking with a former deacon and I told him that God provided for us and that we missed out of chances to purchase a new church building before.

He told me not to misuse the name of God.

I was a bit taken back.

About 6-7 years back, another former deacon of the church somehow found a site suitable for our church and he got really excited and called my dad the head pastor, the head deacon which was him at the time and a few others to look at the site.

A man who worked for developer looked at it and wrote a report on why it is such as good place. The deacon board looked at it but never said anything about it.

Now I found out what the reason was. He told me that it wasn’t the right time because we had no spiritual leader.

I was taken back, my dad was the head pastor and he was an experienced pastor who founded kindergarten, built churches up with a good record.

The former deacon revealed further that it was because there was fighting and arguing inside the church. It wasn’t the right time and that was why my dad had to leave.

I told him that there was fight because one of the deacons, let’s call him Wang, was attacking the head pastor. Wang had a personal revenge agenda to oust the head pastor because he blamed the head pastor for his cousin resignation as the pastor at the church.

What happened was, an old lady past away and as part of her dying wish, she wanted the group to say hymns to wear choir uniform in her funeral . Her daughter told her mother’s wish to choir head at the time if that was okay. The choir head then asked the head pastor if it was alright and the head pastor told the choir head to use the old choir uniform.

However, when one pastor found out, let’s call her, Pastor Ho, she marched into the head pastor office and demanded that the decision be reversed, and that only the choir can wear the choir uniform and that it is unbiblical and wrong. The head pastor disagreed and asked her if she could find a passage in the Bible to prove her point. She couldn’t.

The night before the funeral, Pastor Ho called the daughter of the sister who passed away angrily. The sister felt abused and wrote a letter to the deacon board about the ordeal.

For some strange reason, Pastor Ho along with another pastor then said that they would resign. And they did.

To me it seems to be a problem that was blown out of proportion. Well, anyway, now Pastor Ho is the cousin of Wang and he got an earful from Pastor Ho. Wang got angry and decided to make it his personal revenge mission to oust the head pastor, my dad.

So Wang is an influential guy because he is a second generation at this church. He started talking behind the pastor, influencing others to oust the pastors.

And ever since, for about 6 years, Wang had a campaign against the head pastor because he blamed the pastor for his cousin resigning the church.

Now the former head deacon told me that it was best that the head pastor left. Then I realized the tragedy of this old fool. He still hasn’t learn from his mistakes. It wasn’t the head pastor that was the problem, it was Wang. Why wasn’t Wang disciplined? Why wasn’t he confronted for attacking the pastor. He was visiting people and I knew from another deacon that he went to her house and tried to convince her to oust the head pastor.

Wang shouldn’t be a deacon in the first place. And one time the whole clergy staff

 

Back for Baptism

I went back to my old church the past Sunday for a baptism ceremony because a youth that I watched growing up was getting baptised.

I knew him for a decade now and first knew him when we played basketball together as part of our basketball ministry.

He matured and in some ways I must say is more matured than I am. It took him a long time to finally baptise. I knew that he believed for a long time already.

Going back there  gave me a lot of flashbacks and thoughts. Not much people from my fellowship went. There were Her, Kant, Shir because she is a deacon, WK and Pig because their family member, Vic and LH, Queen and …I actually forgot one of their names.

It was good to see some of the youths I haven’t seen in a while since our basketball days a few years back and they have all graduated since then and are now working.

It was a bit awkward because some of the people kind of avoid me. It hurt because we should be better than this. We were brothers and sisters. I still think we are but not them.

It’s the youths who acted more normal like human beings, friends and as brothers and sisters.

It’s a bit ridiculous because you would think older people act more mature. No.

Queen asked me why I am back and I told her that I watched M grow up. Queen was probably one of the few people who made attempt to reach me but she is a bit brainwashed. We used to be tight, we came to this church at around the same time, went to the same small group. I somewhat regret that I welcomed her to this church.

As I was leaving, Shir talked to me about my trip in Japan. We small talked a bit about traveling in Japan. It’s weird because she is a deacon now and I wonder how much she knows about all the nasty things that is happening. She is the recorder of AGM and deacon meetings, and at the last AGM a brother and I raised problem with vague record of the past AGM on how the printed record doesn’t say what the former head deacon state about what were the offences of MS.

I think some people care and they are checking on me on Facebook but they don’t show it. It’s almost like a guilt to show care or interest in me.

I feel sad when I think about this, we had such a great group of brothers and sisters in Christ. And I get angry because some stupid selfish people with nothing better to do decided to take advantage and use others to get power and control others and destroyed this community, this fellowship we had.

I wasn’t sure what happened since last time but the new head pastor this time seemed like he was trying to avoid contact with me. It was a very different gesture from the last time we met when he actually came over and shook my hand.

I am guessing that somebody told himself or had him aware of something.

 

Good Friday.

I usually go to a church’s Good Friday service except this year, not because of any particular good reason, it was only because I didn’t want to go all the way out to the church in the city. And by the time I was looking for local churches to go to, I was going to be late. There was one I could go to but I really didn’t want to hear my dad preach because I know I will not be able to be focus but be critical of his preaching and being nervous about him.

I am probably my father’s biggest sermon critic.

So I ended up watching the Harvest’s Greg Laurie Thursday Good Friday service online. I wonder if it is for people on the other side of the globe a day early?

It is funny and the situation shows how detached I am, what a struggle I am in and how dry I might be in. I feel like I am in the winter of my spiritual walk.

When I was part of a church community, I would know when the Good Friday service was. My friends, brothers and sisters will ask if anybody want to get a quick dinner before. I would have fellowship.

Greg Laurie’s message was alright. Yet I feel it is so, how can I describe it, “rehearsed”? That’s not a very good word to describe it. Greg Laurie is so smooth and at a speed which I feel like he was keeping pace. It is so “standardized”, feel a bit cliche. Somewhat unreal. I feel like it doesn’t go into the guts. It was alright.

And it’s strange watching it on the computer. I miss live sermon, the live worship, some real fellowship, talking with friends about sermons and the message. But at the same time, I remember that I hardly talk to my brothers and sisters about the sermon even though I wanted to.

There were only a few who would do that with me when the condition was right.

I think most people have other things on their mind or they just don’t want to share. I remember that some people get emotional when they really do share.

Whereas I think the guys at my old church were rather good. When we were together, we were honest and open to share.

 

I haven’t been to my old church for probably a year now.

A good friend of mine asked if I would come on Saturday for fellowship night. I went. I went despite being quite tired from a day of work and a pile of papers to grade.

I think it was a good gesture from the new head pastor to have a fellowship night with the activities. He was trying to help people reflect by making line graph about their fellowships for the following rating:

  1. Welcoming-how does the fellowship welcome new people
  2. Worship-including personal spiritual growth
  3. Word-learning about the Bible
  4. Work-evangelizing and outreach
  5. Number of people

According to the graph we peaked at around 2006-2008 and then went down from there. It was in 2009 that we started splitting as Ming and Shilee tookover as mentor and started a new order. Sounds funny but that was what happened. Without consulting the pastor at the time, there was a major restructuring. All small group leaders were let go. There was no longer small group leaders and no more small group leader meetings where we used to discuss things like programme and shared about each groups.

The new structure was the mentors and senior group members at the top excluding the pastor to decide on almost everything. It was a new executive head or something. Below it was a new middle management group with people my age but most of them not the small group leaders of yesteryears to implement what the mentor group decided.

Min started some really bad theology and was basically using the Scripture to have people follow him. At the same time, him and his cronies were ousting the head pastor, who was the pastor overseeing our fellowship.

I would say that was the time when the leadership was rebelling and walking away from the Word of God.

We were divided because Min and Shirli, and her cronies were starting to show favouritism toward selected people who they could control and lead. They only invited certain people for eating dim sum together after Sunday service. They only invited certain people to their homes for dinner while telling others that we shouldn’t just think about having fun and eating out during fellowship.

Min and Shirli had their cronies and their favored people be in most of the positions in fellowship and lead worship, prayers and be chairman of worship.

They were just full of themselves and became echo of Min and Shirli. A lot of relationships were destroyed. We were divided. Many followers of Shirli stopped interacting with others.

I wanted to talk more but people were just noisy. Ki took charge of drawing, I think she likes the attention. I think of some girls at church who like to takeover and yea, guys just let them be. Guys don’t want to be aggressive because you don’t really want to see guys being aggressive.

When it was time for us to present.  Joe and Shirli went up and Shirli was right in saying there’s something we need to reflect and she felt something when looking back. She was more honest.

Going there I wasn’t really welcomed by my fellowship members except for Sal, my good friend and that was it. None of the so called “leader” and deacons said anything to me.

At the end, I was very surprised that Lem from another fellowship came all the way from the middle to where I was. He said my name and held out his hand for a handshake.

Memory Lane

My fondest memory of church is actually from Australia, Sydney to be more exact, but every few years I go back I get some bad news. When I go to church I see less and less of my friends.

During my past visit, I found out a girl I grew up with stopped going to church, the same church her whole family for the previous generations have gone to. It was surprising for me because she grew up in a pretty much perfect Christian family. I know her grandmother well and she is a lovely, kind, caring and kind old woman. I know her whole family well.

I was like why? There’s no bullying or anything that I experienced as a pastor’s kid with church politics, bullies and abuses. Everybody likes you and appreciates you there. Later I realized that it was because she couldn’t find a good Christian mate. She is dating a non-Christian guy. She knew that was not right.

She is actually no the only one. I knew a few who left church because dating and marrying non-Christian guys. They are still friends of most people at the church. I guess the thing is you can’t serve anymore at church because it is just bad witnessing.

For me, I understand this need for sisters to find a mate. It’s natural for us. However, it’s hard for some of the sisters.

The solution seems to be to get more guys to go to church. However, that’s hard, especially in Australia. The churches are ageing and not many young people go to church. It’s sad. However, I do see hope in the young Christian scene in Australia. There are some great young people in Australia and the training is quite good really.

I studied at Australia and the AFES has a pretty good model and the young Asian Australians in Sydney has something called RICE. I hope there is a revival in young Australia churches and the decreasing Christian population.

Australia is somewhere between New Zealand and US. In New Zealand, it’s such a good place and people are satisfied that they don’t feel the need for God. Why spend several hours at a church building?

Frustration of Faithfulness

I kind of just bumped into this sermon from Elevation Church.

Paul was frustrated. Many pastors are frustrated. My dad was very frustrated. I am frustrated.

Often time we try to run away from frustration. We don’t get frustration if we don’t fight in our faith. Frustration is that “thorn” that bothers us like how it bothered Paul.

That frustration may help us focus, identify the problem, make changes.