JUST HOW SMALL is a mustard seed? It is unbelievably miniscule! Smaller than the little full stop at the end of a sentence! Yet the Bible tells us faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains!
An experiment was carried out with our Pastor bringing a small supply of mustard seeds. Amazingly, they sprouted and started to grow. MCI’s Vision 2013 was born!The Vision? “To grow a healthy church with every member mobilised for God’s global mission.”
Over the years the Methodist Church of the Incarnation (MCI) has mounted various initiatives to rally members for Christ’s ministry. In 2006, the 40 Days of Purpose was adopted by the church. On Oct 18, 2008, a Leaders’ Summit was held to further examine the blueprint of a healthy growing church.
On our 17th Anniversary, on Jan 11, 2009, MCI’s Vision 2013 was launched, reflecting the spiritual heartbeat of the pastor, leaders and members of the church. It encapsulates the Passion, Purpose, Theme and Core Values for Growing A Healthy Church by 2013. This is to be girded by the twin pillars of e Great Commandment and The Great Commission.
This is our Passion – MCI shall be spiritually alive and mobilised for God’s purpose – and our Purpose is: To worship and glorify God.
A Journal was given to all with the encouragement to pen or sketch the significant moments of this faith journey. In the Journal, various members, including children and seniors, shared their thoughts on our Core Values (L.U.S.T.R.E) – Love and Worship of God; Unconditional love; Servanthood; Transforming grace; Reaching the Lost; and Exponential faith.
“Family unity became very apparent as we gathered in anticipation of each day’s activities.”
To prepare us for the faith journey, the Pulpit Sermon Series and Discipleship and Nurture Courses were organised to reflect the church theme. For example, our Bishop Dr Robert Solomon conducted a seminar, “Four Degrees of Love”, based on the book On Loving God by the saintly Bernard of Clairvaux. Global Focus Seminars were conducted to help us discover and learn to be a Great Commission church.
And instead of the usual church camp, preparations moved into gear for the MCI to organise a large-scale conference that challenged its leaders and members to put faith into action.
The overseas conference included a visit to our mission field in Doisaket, Chiang Mai. Incidentally, “Doi” means “mountain”.
Organising the “iScatter Seeds Conference 2009” presented many challenges. Among other programmes, a Prayer Service was held on May 6 to launch 40 Days of Prayer for iSSC 2009 and Vision 2013. It was amazing that 181 delegates, out of a total church membership of about 300 members, signed up. The logistics seemed insurmountable.
Notwithstanding the H1N1 crisis and several who could not make it, 174 (including three infants in arms) eventually left for Chiangmai. The iScatter Seeds Conference, held from June 16 to 19, 2009, was the largest church camp for the MCI. A non-believer who came with her family accepted Christ.
We set oﬀ for Chiangmai in two groups. What took place changed our perception of what is possible when God has a hand in our programmes. Family unity became very apparent as we gathered in anticipation of each day’s activities. The sessions for worship, fellowship, meals, the Word and workshops drew members closer in a way seldom experienced.
The theme speaker, Mr Neel Roberts, OMF Missions Facilitator for Unreached People Groups for ailand, and Ms Florence Leow, Missionary to the Shan people in ailand, together gave us a realistic picture of work in God’s mission field. We came to appreciate the reality of serving God away from the comforts of home, the excitement and challenges of sharing the Good News, and the wonderful experience of exercising faith and witnessing God’s love and amazing grace.
The highlight was a visit to Doisaket. We were touched by the work and love put in by MCI’s own missionaries, Seng Kok and Sharon, and the assistance given to them by the villagers.
Doisaket Learning House (DLH) was built in 2006 on 1,200 sq m of freehold land. The objective was to have a social platform for community outreach. Construction of a simple building was supported by the MCI. DLH has been running its ministry from a temporary half-brick half-bamboo shelter. Now DLH is expanding its ministry by building a permanent structure that includes facilities for childcare and eldercare.
We also visited a community development project by DLH to channel water to a pond near the village which did not have enough water during the dry seasons. The project was jointly supported by the MCI, TRAC Women’s Society of Christian Service, the Methodist Missions Society and the Thai Government.
Kathryn Ong is the Associate Lay Leader of The Methodist Church of the Incarnation as well as TRAC-WSCS Discipleship & Nurture Coordinator.