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11 & 12 February 2023 (Pastoral Page) THE LORD’S WORK MUST BE DONE IN THE LORD’S WAY…EQUIPASIA

By Mr Lim Eng

The Covid-19 global pandemic has challenged and changed the conventional way of doing things. Similarly, the conduct of EquipAsia (EA) in the last 2 years was not spared. The work of God however will not be thwarted. We thank God for the provision of technology that allows us to continue blessing nations through virtual teaching. In fact, God has further bolstered our work by enabling us to strengthen the teams from Bhutan and Laos with new pastors and church leaders joining the training.

Participants from the various countries could not congregate in Singapore but gathered instead in one location in each of their home countries. Teachers taught remotely and church members interacted with the EA participants via Zoom. This hybrid model was adopted for the 2021 and 2022 EA2 training.

Covid-19 left us with a legacy of disintermediation, disruptions and dissonance in varying degrees. The Church at large is still struggling with “sheep” that have yet to return from pre-pandemic times to in-person corporate worship.

In the case of EA, continuing with the hybrid approach would be easy. It certainly makes economic sense. Logistic support would definitely be simpler. Just imagine the challenge of looking for a suitable venue to house all 20 participants from 5 different countries. Finding reasonable and reliable caterers for suitable meals and refreshments could be energy sapping. Then there are tedious travel arrangements and documents to be looked into - passports, visas and airline bookings. In-country familiarisation and various hosting programmes must also be meticulously organised and volunteers sourced. It would be much simpler to stick with the status quo. It would have been easy for us to succumb to the dictate of dollars and cents, the ease and convenience of hybrid methodology.

However, we should heed the injunction of Hebrews 10:25, “…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching”. (NKJV)

Furthermore, adopting the hybrid model would mean forgoing the value of teachers’ real-time, face-to-face interaction with the participants. The effectiveness of supervising weekly practicums would also be sacrificed. Moreover, the opportunity for participants to fellowship and forge camaraderie would be compromised. By not physically coming together, we would not be able to tap into the full body-life of our church, CARE Groups and equally caring individuals who have supported this mission initiative since its inception in 2017.

Francis Schaeffer in No Little People wrote: “We must do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way.” Human logic, economics, convenience and accepting the status quo must not have the last say.

It is therefore with grateful hearts that we welcome 20 EquipAsia participants into our midst for the next 3 weeks (India 4, Indonesia 4, Mongolia 3, Bhutan 4, Laos 4 + 1). This concludes the teaching of the remaining 3 modules (Unchanging Truth For Changing Times, The Pursuit Of Ethical Excellence, Clearing The Fog From The Pulpit To The Pew) in addition to the 7 that were taught over the last 2 years. The extra participant from Laos is a brother from the pioneering EA1 cohort who was unable to attend the second-year 2018 training in Singapore with the birth of his baby daughter. In this concluding series of training, we are privileged to have Jiak Choo, Paul Lim & Eric Goh, and Rev Dr David Wong to teach the essentials on Biblical Doctrines, Biblical Ethics and Effective Expository Preaching respectively.

EquipAsia is anchored by the prayers of God’s people. Since the commencement of the EA2 run in late April 2021, Asst Ps Gift Daniel set up the EquipAsia Prayer Support Group via WhatsApp. Some 62 members actively intercede and pray for the ongoing work in EquipAsia. These prayer warriors boldly asked, earnestly sought and persistently knocked at God’s throne of grace. God heard your reverent appeals for the effective conduct of the training notwithstanding Covid-19’s perils, the healing of participants’ sick family members and many more. To-date, we have 11 master trainers to be joined by 19 upon the completion of EA2. There are 130 graduates and more than 120 students attending our training in Laos, Cambodia, Bhutan, India, Indonesia and Mongolia. Let us continue to anchor this work on bended knees. On a bi-monthly basis, our church has brought our overseas missions partners together through an online meeting platform - Asia Missions Fellowship. Fellowship of God’s saints is critical. Communion of saints enables the Word to be preached, burdens shared, prayers offered and fellowship embraced. Through such other-centred actions, we learn to deny the encroachment of our flesh into God’s work.

Thank you, Church, for standing alongside us. We covet your continuing prayers and fellowship to complete this final EA2 training (12 February to 4 March 2023). EquipAsia is God’s work; we shall, together with you, consecrate our hearts, humbly serve and seek to do the Lord’s work in the Lord’s way. Soli Deo Gloria!

If you would like to uphold this ministry in prayer and join the EA prayer support WhatsApp group, please contact Asst Ps Gift Daniel at 9631-5193.

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