I officially entered full-time ministry at Living Praise on 3 July 2015. Since then, many people have asked me what it’s like and how it’s been. There is still a long road ahead, and I have much to learn, so far be it from me to pontificate about my experiences. However, I do hope that the brief reflections that I share here may encourage you in Christ.
My main area of ministry is to help in the children’s ministry, namely the Sunday School and School Ministry. It’s been an interesting three months. Trying to teach the Bible in a simple way to kids can be a struggle. In many ways, it is even harder than teaching youths or adults. But I consider going through this struggle a privilege because of how it humbling it is. Sometimes it is not obvious to me that anything is getting through to them. Sometimes they are more interested in my stories and illustrations than in the gospel. All of this shows me how completely dependent I am on God’s grace to move the kids to love Him and His Word. It humbles me to remember that we may plant or water, but it is God who ultimately gives the growth. At the same time, there is much encouragement. For instance, the innovative Word-centred crèche ministry started by Karen and Shu Yan to minister to the younger kids makes me hopeful that God will continue to work mightily to deliver our kids into his kingdom and keep them abiding in Christ. It inspires me also to see God sustaining the Sunday school teachers, many of whom have steadfastly served in the ministry for years. I thank God for the opportunity to work with and learn from other staff who have been in the ministry longer than I have such as Pastor Carol and Gerard. As someone who has only served for three months, I can only prayerfully seek God’s grace to sustain me in the mission to bring God’s Word faithfully to the kids in LPPC and KCPPS. Indeed, my prayer is that God may give the growth.
God has been very gracious in working through the Word and difficult ministry experiences to point out areas in which I struggle to submit to him and still have so much room to grow in Christlikeness. I have often found myself reading my Bible in agony because I had to preach something to the kids that I myself could not claim to have lived out well. Last term, I had to give a message on the topic of “Self-Discipline”. Reading through 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 as part of my preparation was an intensely convicting experience. However, I am glad that the gospel frees me to admit to the kids that I won’t be perfect this side of death and I will always be dependent on God’s grace to make me more like Christ. However, there is a perfect one whom I can point them to, the Lord Jesus Christ, who can save them and help them to be more like him as they turn to him in faith and repentance.
In all honesty, the past three months have not been easy for me and Shu Yan, to say the least. But at the same time, I can say that there is a profound joy which can be found in experiencing low points in life. The joy that can be found in Christ through deep sorrow is better than a simplistic, ‘happy-clappy’, Christ-less type of joy which is purely based on one’s circumstances. The good folks at Sovereign Grace Ministries have made a song out of a Puritan prayer that expresses this paradox better than I can. So I’ll end my reflections with the lyrics of the song “Valley of Vision”. May the glory of the cross encourage you to keep trusting Jesus through your own personal struggles, whatever they may be.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9
The Valley of Vision
When You lead me to the valley of vision
I can see You in the heights
And though my humbling wouldn’t be my decision
It’s here Your glory shines so bright
So let me learn that the cross precedes the crown
To be low is to be high
That the valley’s where You make me more like Christ
In the daytime there are stars in the heavens
But they only shine at night
And the deeper that I go into darkness
The more I see their radiant light
So let me learn that my losses are my gain
To be broken is to heal
That the valley’s where Your power is revealed
Let me find Your grace in the valley
Let me find Your life in my death
Let me find Your joy in my sorrow
Your wealth in my need
That You’re near with every breath
In the valley