IT IS no small thing to serve the Living God, and the core duties of pastoral ministry are prayer and the ministry of the Word.
So saying, Bishop Dr Robert Solomon reminded Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) ministers that the pastoral ministry is an especially heavy responsibility and a great privilege.
The Church needs great models to discover and maintain the great dignity of the office. Scripture has many models, but there is no doubt that Jesus Christ is the greatest model. He is the Good Shepherd, after whose shepherding ministry all pastoral ministries are shaped.
“Our calling does not begin when we say ‘yes’ to God,” said the Bishop. It begins with God’s choice of us. “God was at work before we respond to Him …
All the more our calling is sure, wonderful and such a great privilege.”
He was delivering his ordination sermon at the Closing Service of the 30th Session of the CAC at Geylang Chinese Methodist Church on Nov 17, 2005. His message was interpreted in Chinese by the Rev Louis Chai, Assistant Pastor of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church.
Later, the Bishop ordained the Rev Ng Beng Keow as an Elder and Pastor Louis Ng as a Deacon, but not before he told them: “You have been called. Know who has called you. The success of your ministry depends more than on your own commitment and choice. It depends on God’s ancient choice and His grace that has brought you thus far, equipping you with many good gifts. Be faithful to this calling.
“Know the core of your ministry – prayer. Bathe your life in prayer. Lead by praying, serve by praying.
“And focus on the ministry of the Word. Study, obey and teach with faithfulness and courage. After ordination, the Word of God goes to the people, and your public ministry begins.”
Emphasising how important prayer is, he said it is one of the greatest duties in pastoral ministry, the other being the ministry of the Word. In fact, both are the core duties of pastoral ministry.
Prayer is a relationship with God, and so it is important that pastors be given time to pray. Prayer is a ministry, and the pastor’s primary task is to pray. Prayer is a two-way conversation – it is the priestly duty of bringing God’s message to the people and vice versa.
Bishop Dr Solomon, who based his sermon on 1 Samuel 12:23 and 3:10-21, highlighted similarities in the way Jesus’ and the prophet Samuel’s childhood were described, and examined the life and ministry of Samuel.
One of the things that characterised Samuel’s ministry was that he fed on God‘s word. The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel through His Word. “There is no short cut. In the age of Internet information, it is easy to reheat prepackaged food. But true ministry of the Word comes from diligent study and obedience to God’s Word.”
Samuel was also faithful to God’s Word. He told all that God had told him. The third point to remember is Samuel’s courage in the ministry. He told the truth, bad news and good news.
“Ministry of the Word must be grounded in a life of prayer, and arise as a result of diligent study and obedience, and exercised in faithfulness and courage,” said the Bishop.
The Ordination Service was attended by a full-capacity church. After the service was over, family members and church members of the two ordinands posed for photographs in between rounds of congratulatory handshakes.
Fellowship was extended late into the evening as church members stayed behind for light refreshments. A Memorial Service for the late Rev Andrew Jack Williamson was held on the second day of the conference. The Rev Goh Aik Hiang offered a prayer for the family.
The Rev Williamson, who died on Oct 4, 2005 in Illinois, the United States, after a long illness, served as a missionary and later a pastor with the CAC. He first came to Singapore in 1952, and pastored Toa Payoh Chinese Methodist Church and Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church between 1977 and 1987. He had also pastored churches in Malaysia.
Peter Teo is the Editor of Methodist Message.
Two new Elders and 5 Deacons ordained at TRAC Session
TRINITY Annual Conference held its 30th Session at Trinity Methodist Church from Nov 21 to 24, 2005. At its Closing Ordination Service, two new Elders and five Deacons were ordained.
The Elders ordained were the Rev Dianna Khoo of Pentecost Methodist Church and the Rev See Swee Fang of Aldersgate Methodist Church. The Rev Khoo will continue to serve at Pentecost Methodist Church while the Rev See has been posted to Barker Road Methodist Church.
The five Deacons ordained were the Rev Lai Kai Ming of Trinity MC, the Rev Raymond Sim of Toa Payoh MC, the Rev Daniel Tan of Wesley MC, the Rev Tay Kay Leong of Paya Lebar MC, and the Rev Joel Yong of Bedok MC.