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.

Men and Women Leadership for Young Adults

When I look at the leadership at my age group, I just kind of sigh. It’s not pretty.

I am not sure if it’s just the churches I go to, but it seems women play big roles.

I have a lot of young women becoming small group leaders and being in charge of ministries at church and I don’t think they are there yet. I am not against female being in charge but I see a trend where a lot more women are in leadership roles than men. I see another problem where some of them are not really mature enough, not there yet, to take these leadership roles. Putting them there gives them a false idea about how ready they are.

I can see several logical reasons why women are taking more leadership roles at church. Men, especially young professional men, are more focused on their work/career than serving at church. Traditionally, a man proves his worth with his earnings and career.

I find that women are more industrious when it comes to serving at church. They are also more obedient to church leadership. Men are more independent. They are more pone to having their own ideas and going their own ways. There is also the difference that women are more social beings than men in general and are better at organizing events and fostering relationships.

I find that young women are in a lot of ways, more mature than young men their age these days. It is especially true in Hong Kong and it seems that many young women at church are more educated than the young men at church. I think it has to do with the education system in Hong Kong and also I wonder if the church is failing to attracts more young professional men. Women are more organized, reliable than men in general. Women are also more sensitive and and have better sense of what other needs (more nurturing) and what people are thinking. They can have blindsides too (everyone has) but women seem to be better at being civil, not offending others, keeping a nice outward appearance and keeping it to themselves. Men are often more opinionated.

But I am not sure if that’s more of the problem of young men at church these days who seem to act a lot like big, old boys. We have a term now, “kidult.” It is used to describe adults who still act like kids, think and behave like kids. I have part of that in me too and it can be unleashed at the right moment. Young women are more controlled. It makes women look more matured.

We all know that girls mature earlier. They can concentrate for longer, sit for longer, more sensible than guys and in early high school, usually perform better than boys academically. Guys catch up late high school and in college/university level. It takes longer for men to develop.

Yet, I also see how church is not attracting the mature men. I am not seeing a lot of mature young men serving at church. It’s hard to find any exceptional and intelligent godly young men. There are many smart men out there but they are not at church. They are working hard somewhere. And I can understand that to a logical, practical and successful, goal and success orientated men, church is a bad investment of their time.

Being who they are, they can go to church, go to service, listen to sermon, go to Sunday school even but that’s kind of all they need. They don’t want to be getting too involved in church because it is time consuming, difficult and complicated. At their work place or company, they can be very effective, church is a different place. It’s not boss say this and we all follow.

At my old church, we do have an exceptional, intelligent, charismatic Christian leader at church. He was a decaon and an active member of church and a good friend of the pastor. However, one day, a missionary and his old friend asked if he would take over his missionary organization. He said yes. And he’s doing great work but the church needed someone like him so much, yet he himself knows that he will be a more effective person leading a Christian organization than going through all the mess and personalities at church. It’s tough at church because you have deal with a lot of personalities who don’t really have to follow the leadership. There was also the complicated relationship web, it takes a lot of work and convincing to advance.

Despite the overwhelmingly female domination at the lower leadership level, all in all, the senior leadership in church is more half and half with slightly more men and women. It seems to me that men, in general, takes longer to mature. But men usually has one thing that women lack. Men, those in leadership, have grander visions. Women often seem to be more detail-orientated.

Women are great at tackling numerous things, logistics all at once. Women in Hong Kong generally are less pronouncing. Men are more willing and are more pronounce about confronting issues and addressing issues or problems.

In all this, I can see God’s design in the characteristics of men and women.

However, I am still worried about Christian men. There just seems to be a void, especially in Hong Kong. I don’t think it is as bad overseas from my experience.

I think it has a lot to do with the education system, culture and the work environment here. And I must say that women with the communication skills and better social sense have the advantage in the 21st century over the men in this fast-changing economy/society.

With the high cost of living and housing in Hong Kong, men has tremendous pressure to provide and they would put more time and energy to advance their career than be involved in church because church does take time, energy, sweat, heart and the whole nine yard.

Hong Kong education is a one-size-fit-all system that gives the slight advantage to girls because it is not activity-based. It doesn’t encourage and take account into the stronger motor skills and other areas which boys are more developed in than girls. Girls are naturally better at presentation, speaking and communication which guys are naturally not as good at (wiring of our brains shows that).

I find it vital that church develop godly, determined, mature male leadership. But because of the lack of men in church, I see the difficulties as well. There aren’t much male mentors and leaders to help the younger men in church.

I find that the girls get a lot more attention at church. There are more older women to provide advices and mentorship. The female mentors are also especially concerned with finding mates for these young women because there is a biological watch.

I actually find it troubling that mentors are too concerned with hooking up young church going women than building up young men at church. Many young Christian men are underdeveloped and underguided. They are just wandering on their own with little instructions whereas girls are better at sharing their feelings, getting the help they needed. They are more resourceful. Young men are more likely to find their own solutions on their own and by themselves.

Of course there is always the social context. Hong Kong is a busy place with the longest working hours on the planet. The older men who probably have greater responsibility at their work find it hard to spare time to mentor and men are generally less open.

I see the classic Chinese men at church who are quiet, nice and industrious. They don’t really talk. The more open, talking one are usually more immature. It is hard to find well-rounded men.

We need to grow them really.