From the Board of Elders
Dear Members in Christ,
Church Government and the Joy in Service
“... in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
Many of our members are not familiar with the type of church government we have in Calvary Jaya BP Fellowship. It is thus important that we know and be guided accordingly.
As a Bible-Presbyterian Church, the church government is Presbyterian in nature. In the Presbyterian system, there is a governing body of Elders (Board of Elders). The Presbyterian system is the closest to the New Testament pattern of church government. It is likened to a trapezium with the shorter parallel line on top. The biblical support for this model of church government is found in Acts 15.
The plurality of Elders drives and makes decisions for the well-being, growth and protection of the church with the Pastor as the Chairman. In the absence of the Pastor, the Board of Elders, will among themselves elect a Chairman.
The Elders will lead, guide and protect the church from the attacks that may come from within and without the church. Their aim for the church is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and remain faithful until the LORD returns in glory. Their duty also includes identifying faithful men who will continue the good fight of faith.
The office of Deacons was initiated primarily in the early church to minister to the physical needs of the members of the body of Christ, Acts 6:1-6, whilst allowing the Apostles to care for the spiritual needs of the church. In the present day, Deacons, oftentimes, also engage themselves in the spiritual ministry.
The Elders and Deacons form the Session. The Chairman of the BOE is also the Chairman of the Session. Together, with the Congregation, they co-labour in the Lord's Vineyard.
Do note that the members of the Session are elected every 3 years by the Congregation. The qualifications to fill the respective offices of the Elders and Deacons are found in 1 Peter 5:1-4, 1 Tim 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9.
When a person is called by the Lord to serve, he serves the Lord, whether in the office of the Pastor, Elder, Deacon or ordinary member of the church, in any Ministry, it is a service rendered unto the Lord by his own conscience and free will.
The service to God is a personal commitment between the person and God. If the person decides to step down or“scale down his service”to the Lord, after much meditation and prayer, reasons known to him and God, it is between the person and God. Who are we to judge? God will be the final judge who will bless or judge accordingly.
We have seen in BP Churches where Pastor, Elders, Deacons and members stepped down from their respective services in the church. They continue to serve the Lord in other capacities. Who are we to judge another if the Lord opens another door for them?
There are also Ministries and Mission stations that need to be added and reviewed from time-to-time.
Let us not look at others serving. Let us answer the call to serve by stepping up to serve as well. For there are many ministries in the Church where we can serve. Let us not be weary in well doing nor look back, but encourage one another in the Lord and for the glory of the Lord as we serve.
Do not look at man but to God as we serve. Let us love one another. There will be joy as we serve heartily unto the Lord and not unto man. Let us pray for one another.
Ref: Basic Bible Knowledge (Church Government), CPBPC
Elder Choe TS
Our Unity in Christ (Colossians 3:11)
The work of Paul the Apostle shows a strong band of co-laborers from different background and nationalities. In Acts 20:4, we read that, “... there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.” What a diverse collection of fellow-workers! If the workers are so diverse, one can imagine how diverse the congregation must have been like in those days.
How are churches doing in terms of ethnic diversity? It is often said that humans tend to gravitate towards an environment which they are most comfortable with. This is true even in churches in some countries. In a recent book, Vischer (2001) remarks that almost 87% of all American churches are made up of only white or African American parishioners. However, in the South-East Asian context, churches with multiple congregations speaking several languages are not uncommon. Knowing all this, the reality is, what does the Bible teach us about the relationship amongst Christians of various races and cultures? Also, how do we show our bond of love in Christ with believers of other ethnicities?
The Common Bond of Unity – the New Man
The early Christians (though of different social and racial background) were exhorted by the Apostle Paul to be mindful of their unity of faith in Christ. He wrote to the Colossian Christians that as believers, they are to put on the new man renewed in the image of God. And he writes, “Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Colossians 3:11).”
The ancient world in the time of Paul was a vast Empire ruled by Rome within which there were people of different races and social classes in their societies. When the light of the gospel shone in their hearts, these Christians experienced the regeneration which Paul describes as one who “have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Colossians 3:10) These are genuine born-again believers, who have repented of their sins and have put their faith in the atoning death of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. With this spiritual change having taken place, Christians are now to be united in Christ. There ought to be no social barriers, no distinction between slave and master. There ought to be no race barriers, no distinction between the Greek or the Jew. There ought to be no cultural barriers, no distinction between the circumcised or the uncircumcised. There ought to be no national barriers, between a Roman, a Scythian or a Barbarian. Outwardly, the Jew, the Greek, the Scythian, may appear different, but inwardly, there is a transformation which unites every God-fearing Christian.
Our Response to the knowledge of this Unity in Christ
The biblical truth that undergirds this is that “Christ is all and in all.” Knowing then that all believers are united in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us be mindful to show a good testimony of love and graciousness always. Regardless of language, dialect or culture, all believers are united in Christ. Sometimes we are separated not just by ethnic or cultural barriers. The flesh can incite unjust hatred for someone who is just “different”from us, and the Devil is quick to exploit such weaknesses. Beloved, such things ought not to be so. Our unity in Christ ought to spur us to deeper devotion and service for Him.
So, the next time you meet a Christian of a different race or culture or ethnicity, remember these words of the Bible, “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” Let us be minded to greet them, welcome them and serve one another as children in the family of God our heavenly Father. The next time you feel that a fellow Christian differs from you, whether that difference is a matter of opinion, or thoughts or taste, remember these words in the Bible. Let there be no barriers in our fellowship in Christ. Remember our common bond of unity and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us strive to serve Him faithfully in this bond of unity. Amen.
Dn Lim Seh Beng