It has been 6 months since I began my internship in PSPC under the PIP (Prinsep Internship Programme). I am currently a part-time intern, as I spend half of my time as a staff with Wycliffe Bible Translators where I work as an event coordinator. Looking back, it has only been a short while, but the variety of experiences and number of people I have worked and interacted with feels like so much more than just a short 6 months!
At PSPC, I am so blessed to be able to get to know many more church members through working together in the Myanmar Outreach, Arts Ministry, Web Team, Angel Tree Project and even in other ministries that I am not directly involved in. Serving together is truly a joy and a privilege, and I am very encouraged by many members who give so much of their time and energy serving in church in addition to their full-time jobs.
The World’s way and the Way of the Gospel
For me, coming out of a secular job and working full-time in the ministry opened
by my eyes to many things which I had not noticed before. Over time, I have had the space to reflect a bit more, through observing the ins and outs of ministry and the many complexities that it entails.
In an organisation, we value productivity, efficiency, results, profit margins, KPIs. We value people who help us to achieve these goals, we take pride in the number of tasks we can check off the list.
However, when we serve in ministry, we are not trying to achieve the highest level of productivity or efficiency or returns. In fact, the way we do things may seem clunky and a big roundabout. That is because we are more interested in the lives of people than the achievement of goals. It is also not just about the people that we are trying to reach out to or serve, but the people working together who are the ones who we want to build up, edify, and build stronger relationships through serving together.
I am not saying that structures and processes are bad things, in fact, our working experience can and should be applied to ensure we are doing things carefully and thoughtfully. Many professional skills are necessary for running our weekly activities. What is different is how and why we do things. We are not driven by the world’s definition of success, but God’s definition of success.
So, what would God’s definition of success look like? Is it the number of converts we make or the amount of money we raise? In Hebrews, we learn that
“… without faith, it is impossible to please Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Faith is turning to God in prayer instead of our own wisdom. Faith is having grace to work with difficult team members. Faith patiently forgives mistakes. Faith is relying on God and not in our own strength. Faith knows that it is not us who brings the increase, but God.
To the world, it is foolish to put our faith in God, it says we should trust in our own abilities and stratagems. But Jesus has promised, that when the world sees us, imperfect Christians, coming together in love and unity, His name is glorified.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
The Mission of the Church
Thus, just as Israel was a witness of God to the nations around them, we too at PSPC are meant to be a witness to the people around us in our community. However, PSPC is just one local church in the body of Christ – the Universal Church, God’s witness to the whole world.
At Wycliffe, I’ve had the privilege to meet so many different people of different nationalities and backgrounds, yet all serving the same God, with the same passion and vision. It exemplifies the Church as God intended it to be – beyond our own little sphere of our community, our culture, and our country – we are part of a larger, greater Church, striving together for a larger, greater, purpose.
One of the most impactful experiences that I have had while serving in Wycliffe was when we had a worship session together with people all over the world. Everyone sang in their own language, their own native tongue – it was a breathtakingly beautiful experience. It was truly a glimpse of what heaven would be like:
“… and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9
Even though there were so many cultural, language, and geographical differences between each of us, what unites us is stronger than anything in this world that could possibly divide us.
In whatever we are serving in the local church, whether it is being an usher, musician, or taking care of the website, remember that what we do in our own small capacity is part of God’s great purpose for his Church in the world. If we lose sight of this, all we will ever see is our service as a task. But if we can see how big God’s plans and purposes are, we realise that it is an honour, a privilege to be a participant in God’s work in the world.
I feel immensely grateful to God for leading me into the PIP. Through it, He has shown me more and more clearly what His great plans are, and I am daily in awe of it. In closing, however, I would like to remind myself, and each of us that:
“Before he calls us to ministry, he calls us to himself.”
Ultimately, in spite of all that we can ‘do’ for God, He is more interested in who we truly are inside. It is not the ‘doing’ that God is interested in, but the ‘being’. Before we can begin to please God, let us ‘be’ a person who loves Him, and desires to build a relationship with Him. That is the mission of God’s heart that we may come to know Him, deeply, and intimately.