Highlights

Lim Kopi Time: Ideate and Network

Dec 2019    
Board of Witness & Evangelism members (from left) Ps Anthony Phua, Claire Lowe, the Rev Wendy Tay, the Rev Dr Aaron Tay (invited speaker), Nicholas Khoo, Jarold Yeo, the Rev Joshua Low and the Rev Poh Zhi Hui

Over the last three years, the TRAC Board of Witness & Evangelism (BoWE) has organised an annual breakfast event to get to know the Witness & Evangelism (W&E) Committees of TRAC churches, and to discuss and discern topics and things that will be helpful for BoWE to do. The programme includes presentations on areas for doing W&E together.

This year’s event was held on 19 Oct at Paya Lebar Methodist Church (MC). After warm fellowship over breakfast, the programme kicked off with the Rev Dr Aaron Tay (Pastor-in-Charge of Living Waters MC) sharing on “One Gospel, Yet 3 Ways”. This was followed by an “Ideate” segment facilitated by Mr Kevin Kim (Elder and Pastor at We Are Church, Executive Director of Crazy Love, Co-founder of Basil Tech, San Francisco) and Mr Nicholas Khoo (Paya Lebar MC and BoWE member).

One Gospel, Yet 3 Ways

The Rev Tay shared about three forms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the Gospel of the Cross, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and the Gospel of the Incarnation.

The Gospel of the Cross reveals the truths that God loves and accepts all despite our sin, and that through Jesus’s death and resurrection, God offers salvation from sin and its ultimate consequence.  This Gospel also involves warning people of sin. However, since the word “sin” can have different meanings for people of different cultures, it is important to identify the felt needs that arise from the sin.

The Gospel of the Cross also speaks of how God identifies with our pain and brokenness, and suffers because of human sin.  Thus, we need to bring Jesus’ healing for wounds and hurts caused by sin. This implies that love, care and empathy are key when reaching out to pre-believers.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God reminds us that we need to preach and do as Jesus did in proclaiming the Kingdom of God, including healing and performing miracles to help those in need. Referring to Isaiah 61:1—“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound”—the Rev Tay suggested that those present think about the areas or people groups that they could get involved in.

The Gospel of the Incarnation tells us that just as Jesus came as a human person to reveal God to humankind in the closest way, evangelism should be relational and concerned with the other. The Rev Tay encouraged us to simply relate and engage in conversations with pre-believers, and when appropriate, direct these conversations towards Christ when they are willing to listen. He added that we should learn about the people we are reaching out to and learn how best to share the gospel in their heart languages or even respond to their objections.

In closing, the Rev Tay shared that for different seasons of a person, we may need to use a different form of the Gospel. That form will then serve as an entry point for them to grow in the knowledge of the other forms and in their faith in Jesus Christ. We should also think of how we can train and encourage families or small groups to do witness and evangelism together.

“Ideate”

Design Thinking is a problem-solving process that is used to generate creative solutions to problems. It is the process behind the ideas and innovative products of household names such as Apple, Samsung and Google. But what does Design Thinking have to do with the Church?

Connecting from San Francisco, Kevin Kim facilitated the “Ideate” segment via video conferencing together with Nicholas Khoo. Kevin shared that Design Thinking is a tool that churches can use, while relying firmly on the Holy Spirit and remaining faithful to God’s call, to expand our vision and ideas for carrying out God’s mission effectively in an ever-changing landscape.

Over two hours, he introduced concepts and components of Design Thinking as well as provided a taste of applying Design Thinking to creatively approach the challenge of starting meaningful faith conversations.

I learnt that our evangelism must be relational (to be concerned with one another) and contextualised (to be identified with the other)—that is, we should convey the Christian message and truth using words, images, methods and forms of the culture of the listener so that they will understand as well as appreciate. And it is important that we first show genuine interest and care for our listeners, as well as an understanding their cultural worldview.

 Dialogue sessions like this can help our W&E ministry understand and identify topics and tools that are useful in equipping church members in our individual and collective outreach efforts.”—Benjamin, Kampong Kapor MC

“Pastor Aaron’s teaching on ‘One Gospel, Yet 3 Ways’ gave me a better framework within which to understand what sharing the good news means in different contexts.

 The Design Thinking strategy helps to show us that we must be creative as well as intentional in our evangelism approaches… It helps us to be focused as well as empathetic, as both are needed in evangelism.”

—Kannan, Bedok MC

 “I really enjoyed this event and learnt a lot that I can bring back to my church’s W&E team, such as compiling a list of thoughtful questions we should ask when we befriend for purpose of evangelism, which is such a good idea, as bulldozing our way with an unempathetic approach rarely works.”—Elizabeth, Covenant Community MC

“The session on applying Design Thinking to evangelism was really good. While we use this all the time with work, the suggestion on how to do this with day-to-day evangelism has definitely opened my eyes and ears. It puts you in the shoes of pre-believers and makes people think of the suitable sensitive questions and approaches when trying to invite someone to the Alpha Course.”—Adrian, Trinity MC

The Rev Dr Aaron Tay, speaker for the "One Gospel, Yet 3 Ways" segment
One of the participants shares
Participants deep in discussion
Kevin Kim facilitiates the "Ideate" segment via video conference from the USA

This article was written by the Rev Poh Zhi Hui, Assistant Pastor at Toa Payoh Methodist Church, and Pastor Anthony Phua, Assistant Pastor at Faith Church, both of whom are TRAC BoWE Board Members. The Rev Wendy Tay, TRAC BoWE Chair, contributed to the article.

 

Photos courtesy of TRAC BOWE

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