Category Archives: Grace Methodist Church

An Evening of Worship Splendour

IMG_1415 Miri District Methodist Choir for web
The Miri District Methodist Choir.

by James TC Wong

MIRI - It was an evening of worship splendour as the Miri Methodist Choir performed to an appreciative audience at Mei Ann MC on July 12.

Since its inception in 2009, this choir group has continued to thrive with the objective of promoting Worship Music and raising the standard of choir-singing in the Methodist churches in Miri.

Music Director Bong Wui Choo thanked Mei Ann Methodist Church for providing the concert venue.

“We thank God for His provisions and blessings. We are like an extended family performing in other Methodist churches when invited,” Bong added.

Each year the choir has a list of scheduled engagements in and around the Sarawak Northern Region.

New singers are also welcome to join the choir. “Not only will they get the opportunity to develop and practise their musical talents, he or she has to be passionate and committed to this ministry because we are serving God in the long term,” Bong reiterated.

With a repertoire consisting of classical Messiah (Handel) genre and contemporary songs, the choir also has a strong link to singing traditional hymns.

Chicago-trained and renowned Miri music instructor Lau Buong Hoo was the conductor.

Youth Sunday

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The GMC i-Youth and their Advisors.

by James TC Wong and Ashley Wee

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

MIRI - The i-Youth of Grace Methodist Church celebrated its annual Youth Sunday on June 22.

A slide show on the i-Youth activities throughout the year 2013 was shown before the President’s report.

In his speech as President, Jacky Chai thanked the Advisors and all the parents for their support. He also introduced all the committee members of the current year to the congregation.

Youths Jeremy Lee and Sharon Khoo shared their experiences on the weekly Youth Fellowship on Saturday evening. Glorifying God, both youths testified about having a great time learning The Word and while interacting with their peers.

“Church was more of a getaway rather than true worship. But participating in the Youth Convention held in Sibu two years ago made me learn good things. I promise God that I will never allow myself to fall back into my old ways,” declared Sharon.

The youths did well in the areas of Ushering, Praise and Worship, Skit and Offering.

Before the service ended, the youths gave a presentation (Awesome God) to show their love to the Almighty Father.

Workshop on Leadership

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Workshop in session.

by James TC Wong

JULY 5, MIRI – At the invitation of Grace Methodist Church, consultant and trainer Dr. Leonard Yong (PhD; Med; B.Sc) conducted an in-house workshop “Leading with Emotional Excellence” for ministry volunteers.

The renowned Malaysian industrial psychologist is no stranger to the church having conducted a similar session some years before.

Dr. Yong has gained international recognition for his research and consultancy work on creativity and emotional intelligence. He has consulted and conducted numerous workshops on EQ and Creative Thinking for leaders in MNCs.

The session started with ice-breaking activities followed by self-discovery questionnaires. Answer scores of the participants were then plotted in the chart to better understand self-behavioural style.

Based on LEONARD PERSONALITY INVENTORY (a model combining the 4 Greek Temperaments and the Big 5 Models), one can identify a person’s emotional orientation and locate a person’s preferred behavioural orientation on any of the five dimensions; Openness, Neutral, Analytical, Relational and Decisive Dimensions.

Other aspects of the workshop included Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and TENT Therapy (T-Thanksgiving attitude, E-Enjoy your work & live in obedience to your conscience, N-No coincidence in our lives,T-Thankfulness to God).

IMG_1322 for web Leo Yong
Dr. Leonard Yong explains a behavioural aspect on a scene from the movie “Gladiator”.

A lifestyle of living well, thinking well, eating well and exercising well is required to implement Emotional Excellence for relationship and innovative leadership, Dr. Yong summed up.

At the end of program, each participant received a customized personality trait booklet for self-development.

“The findings and results of the individual customised booklet have helped me and my husband understand each other even better as we capitalize on our strengths and work to improve on our weaknesses,” commented Magdalene Lee who serves in the Children’s Sunday School. “I’m so glad I’ve attended this workshop.”

Small Group Leader Jean Seow said that the training has helped church workers and volunteers in understanding better the different personalities of one another. “With this awareness, we can easily avoid conflicts and staying focussed on our church purpose statement.”

2014 East Malaysia Bible Knowledge Quiz

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One for the album!

by James TC Wong

MIRI – The 3rd East Malaysia SPM Bible Knowledge (BK) quiz was held at SMK Columba on July 5 with the participation of 90 students from various secondary schools throughout Sarawak and Labuan.

Sponsored by Grace Methodist Church Miri, the event was jointly organized by the Malayan Christian Schools’ Council (MCSC), Scripture Union and SMK St. Columba Miri.

The aim of the quiz was to test SPM BK students’ knowledge on The Gospel of Luke and The Book of Acts.

Moreover, students not sitting for their SPM BK this year were able to benefit through the experience of this event in preparation as future candidates.

SMK Methodist Sibu won the 1st and 3rd place in the Oral Quiz Category with SMK Labuan clinching 2nd place.

In the Upper Form (4-5) Written Quiz Category, Fifth Former David Chieng Kai Tung from SMK Methodist Sibu topped his cohort followed by Janice Jong Yee Minn and Benice Goh Sin Yee, both Form Four students from SMK St. Columba.

Hoo Ci Rui, a Form Three student from SMK Methodist Sibu topped in the Lower Form Category (Form 1-3). The second place went to Form Three student Heirich Huong Sheng Yin from SMK Chung Hua Miri followed by Daniel Chieng Kai Kiong, a Form Two student from SMK St. Columba.

The judges were Chua Ping Ching (Chief), Fr. Alfred Damu (St. Columba’s Parish, Miri), Rev. Lisa Ting (Grace Methodist Church, Miri), and Jacinta Lee (St Joseph’s Cathedral, Miri). Rev. Eric Hii Wen Haur of Mei Ann Methodist Church was also present as an observer.

Supang Daring, the Senior Assistant (Academic and Administration) of SMK St. Columba was present to congratulate and give away prizes to the winners.

Top pics LR – Winning teams from SMK Methodist Sibu. Bottom pics LR – Winning team from SMK Labuan. Rev. Lisa Ting receives a momento from Supang Daring.

In her closing speech, Daring welcomed and thanked all the participants and judges for their support to the event. She also thanked Mr. Phua Seng Tiong, a former Principal from Kuala Lumpur for sharing God’s Word in the opening session.

“I would also like to thank the Organizing Committee, the sponsor, helpers and students for a job well-done. I believe it is right and good for us as a Mission School to host such an important event. Let us be reminded to work closely to glorify God. If other school is willing to host this event in the future, please be assured that we will give them our full support too,” she said.

Chief Judge Chua Ping Ching took the opportunity to advise the students on the Do’s and Don’ts when sitting for the SPM BK examination. “To score high marks, you need to watch out on the spellings and your answers must be more specific instead of giving one-word answers,” she reminded them.

The top finalists have qualified to join the national finals at SMJK Katholik, Petaling Jaya on July 26. The event is expected to draw 600 to 700 participants from secondary schools throughout the country.

Serving Love Soup @ SMCGC

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One for the album – a selfie in a selfie!

by James TC Wong

SENADIN, MIRI - As the Curtin University semester exams are ongoing, two Small Groups from Grace Methodist Church took the opportunity to serve Chicken Soup at Senadin Methodist Gospel Campus Centre (SMCGC) on June 13.

More than 125 people attended, of whom mostly are Curtin undergraduates from outstation.

The Chicken Soup, affectionately called the Love Soup, is traditionally served in Chinese families. The nourishing soup is known to enhance mental alertness and energy in preparation for exams.

Pastor-in-charge Tiong Huong Ong thanked the GMC members for their love-in-action. He also emphasized the significance of the Love Soup event which has been consecutively held for the past three years.

Love Soup for Connection

Elvin Wong, a Year One Petroleum Engineering student from Sibu was visibly elated. “It is indeed a good experience for me to taste a variety of chicken soup. I would like to thank the GMC members who had spent much time in preparation and cooking because they wanted to give us encouragement during the exam. I am very grateful for God’s grace and for their love and effort,” he praised.

“Fantastic dinner for us,” said Sing Yao Rong, a Year One Chemical Engineering student. “Each of the chicken soup is filled with unlimited amount of love and care from GMC.”

Celebrating Sunday School Sunday

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Sunday School Superintendent Vivien Lim leads the kids in a lively performance, delighting the congregation.

by James TC Wong

MIRI - Grace Methodist Church held its annual Sunday School Sunday on June 15 with splendid performances from the children.

Sunday School Superintendent Vivien Lim gave an overview of activities that took place during the past twelve months, followed by a video clip. She also expressed her thanks and appreciation to the teachers and church van drivers for their love and dedication toward the ministry.

Pastor-in-charge Rev. Lisa Ting also thanked the teachers for their sacrifice and service. She also invited more volunteers from the congregation to come forward to serve as teachers and drivers.

“This is one of the best ministries we have for outreach, discipleship, ministry and fellowship. Let me plead with you to give the Sunday School the attention it deserves. Come learn, grow, meet and minister with us,” she said.

ENROLMENT SUNDAY – Are we on The Lord’s side or against Him?

IMG_4625 for web 4th Miri GB Chaplain Rev. Lisa Ting receives the GB Colour
GB Chaplain Rev. Lisa Ting receives the GB Colour.

Story by James TC Wong, photographers – Aaron IH Wong, Abel IH Wong

May 25, Miri – It is not uncommon that Christians encounter many confrontations emotionally and spiritually in their daily living.

When that happens, it is important to make sure that they are on The Lord’s side in their battles, emphasized Rev. Lisa Ting in opening her sermon during the 4th Miri Enrolment Sunday.

Traditionally, the Enrolment Sunday is an important event whereby all members of the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade are formally enrolled and re-dedicated.

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Re-dedication of Officers and Helpers at Grace Methodist Church.

Held at 4th Miri’s Sponsoring Church Grace Methodist, the solemn Colours March-In at 8:30 am was received by Rev. Lisa and witnessed by a standing congregation.

Among the congregation were invited parents of the Boys and Girls, SIB Rev. Stephen Upai and Rev. Loter Sakai, SIB Miri District Youth Workers Ervina Wong and Fiona Peter, the Boys’ Brigade Sarawak State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook and the Boys’ Brigade Officers from 5th and 6th Miri.

Using Joshua 5:13-6:21, Rev. Lisa preached on Spiritual Victory with three key points: 1) The battle is won by remembering who is in charge, 2) God’s methods are always right and 3) Victory is ours if we do not quit.

“Today as we learn about the principle of spiritual victory, we need to understand that all of us are in spiritual battle and no one can be exempted. And if we want to win the battle, we need to remember who is in charge,” said the pastor-in-charge and Chaplain of the 4th Miri GB.

Rev. Lisa pointed out that through his unwavering loyalty and faith in God, Joshua had successfully conquered the Land of Canaan.

Joshua had also faithfully followed God’s strange instruction for the Battle of Jericho. “In this incident, it really shows us that God’s methods are not man’s methods but God’s methods are always right,” explained Rev. Lisa.

“We may have been doing the right things, but simply stop. What about you? Do you just stop one round short in your conquest of your personal Jericho? Or have you walked many rounds? Do not quit or give up. The spiritual victory is coming,” encouraged the good Chaplain.

In conclusion, Rev. Lisa reminded the congregation to seek The Lord, serve Him and follow Him.

The service included reports from the respective BB and GB Captains.

Eunice Ho, in her capacity as the GB Captain, first thanked the Officers and Helpers for their dedication and service. While the GB school-based membership intake has remained stable, Capt. Eunice expressed her concern for the declining number of members joining the church-based parade. In this aspect, she appealed to the parents in the congregation to consider sending their daughters to enrol.

Capt. Roseline Lee presented her report by first thanking and praising God for the 12 years of BB in the church. Following that, she outlined the various activities carried out throughout the previous year. “The BB activity in SJK (C) Chung Hua is only held 18 times a year. To benefit more from BB, I would encourage those who are attending school-based activity to also join our Saturday Parade in church which is carried out at least 40 times in a year,” she said. In summing up, she thanked her fellow Officers and Helpers and appealed for more church members to come forward to serve. “We need more manpower – be it part-time or full-time because we need your area of expertise to train our Boys.”

Cpl. Christopher Tang received the Certificate of Full Attendance (2013) and Pte. Howard Chui was promoted to L/Cpl.

for web IMG_4729 Pte Jonah Lau receives the Certificate of Heroism from the BB Sarawak State Commissioner Hon Capt Lo Hoi Fook
14-year-old Pte. Jonah Lau receives a Certificate of Heroism from The Boys’ Brigade In Malaysia presented by the BB Sarawak State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook.

In saving a friend’s life, a special award ‘The Certificate of Heroism’ from The Boys’ Brigade In Malaysia was presented to Pte. Jonah Lau by the BB Sarawak State Commissioner Hon. Capt. Lo Hoi Fook in the presence of the applauding congregation.

The 14-year-old had performed an act of service deserving of national recognition when he pulled out his drowned friend from a pool and applied CPR on him at a local clubhouse in Miri on Nov 3, 2013.

Lau Buong Hoo and Wong Ngie Ping, proud parents of Pte. Jonah, were visibly humbled and elated with their son’s award. “We thank and glorify God for the BB. Years ago in Sibu, after we saw the amazing transformation of our mischievous nephew to becoming a church youth leader because he was a BB, we were fully convinced Jonah should join as soon as he was of eligible age,” said Wong. “I want to encourage all parents to send their children to BB without any hesitation or reservation.”

To Rev. Stephen Upai of SIB, the Enrolment Sunday Service was an eye-opener for the good shepherd. “I’m so glad to be here today. For the first time, I get a better overview of what the BB and GB ministries are about. The Boys and Girls have performed splendidly in their creative skits, bringing across good Christian messages. The personal testimony on character-building by the BB Officer was so heart-warming and inspiring, thank God,” Rev. Stephen praised.

for web IMG_4679 WO Raymond Tie gives an inspiring testimony
WO Raymond Tie gives an inspiring testimony.

Other highlights included an inspirational testimony by WO Raymond Tie and skits by the BB and GB that were well-received by the congregation.

IMG_0610 for web 4th Miri Group Photo 2014 Enrolment Sunday
One for the album – 2014 4th Miri Enrolment Sunday Group Photo

The service was completed with the Colours March-Out at 10:30 am followed by group photo-taking.

Are you Influential Parents?

Parents Day

by James TC Wong

May 11, Miri - Rev. Lisa Ting this morning preached a sermon entitled “Influential Parents” as the church celebrated Parents’ Sunday in lieu of the traditional Mother’s Day.

The pastor-in-charge of Grace Methodist Church seized the opportunity to tell the congregation not only to honor their parents, but also to recognize and accept parenting as a central vocation.

The guiding verses of the sermon were taken from 2 Timothy 1:1-5.

Rev. Lisa told the congregation that Timothy’s faith came from his mother Eunice and grandmother, Lois.

Dividing the sermon into three parts, Rev. Lisa began by saying that Influential Parents not only tell the truth but they also demonstrate what they say.

“The faith that was in Timothy was first in his grandmother and in his mother. They were an example of faith to him. They taught him the Scriptures. Brothers and sisters, how much time do you spend talking to your children and grandchildren about the Scriptures?” asked Rev. Lisa.

On the second point, Rev. Lisa reiterated that Influential Parents teach their children to honor the Word of God. “I believe Lois and Eunice taught Timothy the Scriptures since he was young.”

Rev. Lisa also quoted Rev. Dr. Tie King Tai’s style of parenting. “I remember in one of the Pastor’s School I’ve attended, Rev. Dr. Tie told us that he started reading the Bible to his children when they were young. Christian parents applying the right principles in raising of their children will know the joy of sacrificial living. The Influential Parents will know the difference between working to get ahead in life and of working for the good of the family – especially for her children’s eternal future,” preached Rev. Ting.

Summing up, Rev. Lisa said that the Influential Parents are sensitive to their children’s spiritual needs; supportive and always praying for them.

“Do not speak harsh words to tear down your children,” reminded Rev. Lisa.

She then edified Susanna Wesley and her famous Sixteen House Rules of bringing up her children including John and Charles Wesley.

“Last but definitely not least, an influential mother gives her children back to God. This is a dedication and consecration of her most precious possession. Eunice and Lois gave their beloved son and grandson Timothy to the Lord. What about us? Will you give your child to the Lord,” asked Rev. Lisa as she concluded her sermon.

Every parent from the congregation was appreciated with a key chain. Gift hampers consisting of organic foods were presented to senior church members aged 65 years and above.

The good shepherd also invited all children to pray and uphold their parents to God before the service ended.

Nigerian Home Prayer Meeting‏

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Rev. Lisa delivering her exhortation.

by James TC Wong

MIRI – At the invitation of a group of Nigerian expatriates working in an international MNC based in Miri, Rev. Lisa Ting attended a monthly home prayer meeting hosted by the Ayodele family on the evening of Apr 5.

Also present were Richard Lin, the Chairman of Grace Methodist Church (GMC) Membership and Evangelism Ministry and Roseline Lee, the Boys’ Brigade Captain of 4th Miri Coy.

Before the prayer meeting commenced, Rev. Lisa gave a brief exhortation to the expatriates and their families.

The pastor-in-charge of Grace Methodist Church first thanked the hosts for the blessed opportunity to pray with them. The good shepherd also asked the expatriates on how they viewed their posting to Miri. “Do you enjoy working here? How do you adapt to the lifestyle here? How do the locals treat you? The questions were responded with a variety of interesting answers, both from the adults and children.

In her exhortation, Rev. Lisa used Moses in the story of Exodus to convey the message of journey, trust and transformation. “I encourage you to re-think why you were posted here. Is it just because of work or because God also wants to use you for a greater purpose and plan?” asked Rev. Lisa.

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Rev. Lisa encourages those present to re-think their purpose in Miri.

Rev. Lisa then urged those present to help their fellow Christians in Miri. “Our personal struggles are the preparation for God’s call to us. Help us as we play our part in His plan to fulfil His purposes,” summed up Rev. Lisa.

During the prayer meeting, the items presented for petition included praying for Nigeria and Malaysia, and also praying for the workplace.

Refreshments were served after the meeting ended.

Forum on Church Growth

One for the album! Group photo of the participants.

By James TC Wong

MIRI – Church Growth was the central theme for the SCAC English Forum organized in Miri from Feb 7 – 8.

Held at a local hotel, the event drew participation from Trinity Methodist Church (Kuching), Faith Methodist Church (Kuching), Wesley Methodist Church (Sibu), Nyelong Park Methodist Church (Sarikei), Emmanuel Methodist Church (Bintulu), Senadin Methodist Gospel Campus Centre and the host church, Grace Methodist (Miri).

The SCAC English Forum is a biennial event for the English-speaking Sarawak Methodist churches congregation with the purpose of discussing and implementing church growth plans and strategies, training and developing leadership, providing ministry skills and the election of office bearers.

An election was conducted during the closing session of the last day. The newly-elected office bearers for 2014-15 are:

Chairman Rev. James Chin Wesley MC, Sibu
Dy. Chairman & Auditor Dr. Wong Sung Ging Emmanuel MC, Bintulu
Secretary Dr. Gracia Tiong Trinity MC, Kuching
Treasurer James Law Trinity MC, Kuching
Committee on Worship & Music Bryan Hii Wesley MC, Sibu
Committee on Christian Education Lau Mee Ting Trinity MC, Kuching
Committee on Lay Activities Jason Siew Nyelong Park MC, Sarikei
Committee on Missions Rev. Lenita Tiong Trinity MC, Kuching
Committee on Christian Social Concerns Pastor Tiong Huong Ong SMCGC/GMC, Miri
Committee on Evangelism Rev. Samuel Law Emmanuel MC, Bintulu

Top LR Rev. Lisa Ting, Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su Chii Ann, Rev. James Chin. Bottom LR Rev. Dr. Lau Hui Ming, Chang Jih Ren, Dr. Wong Sung Ging.

In her welcoming speech, Rev. Lisa Ting warmly thanked the participants for their attendance. She then commended those from outstation for taking the effort to attend the Forum in spite of their busy Chinese New Year schedule and festivity.

The pastor-in-charge of Grace Methodist Church also commented on the Forum’s theme, Church Growth. “The theme chosen is timely as we now live in uncertain and unpredictable times.”

“I do pray that these sessions will have an impact on all of us and when we return to our own respective churches, we shall able to convey and put into practice what we have learned during these two days,” she added.

Rev. Lisa concluded her speech by thanking the Organizing Committee , praising them for a job well done.

SCAC President Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su Chii Ann was invited to give his exhortation to the participants.

“We should be mindful of our purpose on why we are attending this forum,” he began.

The SCAC President gave pointers on how to accomplish the most for the event. “We need to evaluate what we are doing for the Lord and be accountable,” he told the participants.

“I hope the three talks will empower you, and you in return will encourage one another to do better. Enlist the right people for the right job. The elected committee will have to fulfill our Methodist quadrennial theme, that is – Spreading Scriptural Holiness, Transforming the Nation,” said Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su.

SCAC English Committee Chairman Rev. James Chin in his opening message gave a background on the formation of the English Ministry.

He recalled that in the year 2000, a group of Pastors from the English-speaking churches got together with the mutual purpose to network, support, encourage one another, and to share resources.

This led to the formation of the English Liaison Committee and eventually, the English Ministry Committee was formed under the umbrella of SCAC.

The good Reverend also fondly reminisced that the first Forum was hosted by Emmanuel Methodist Church in 2008 held at the Sibu Methodist Centennial Park.

Rev. Chin also mentioned the subsequent Forums and the acknowledged the respective serving Chairmen of the English Ministry Committee. Following that, he presented the report card of events initiated or organized by the English Ministry Committee.

“We have produced the Connection, a fortnightly station of the Chinese Methodist Message. We also organize the biennial Youth Convention, the Methodist Heritage event, and initiated the Short Term Missions (STM) Course in English at Sibu Methodist Theological School,” he summed up.

SESSION 1 – Equipping disciples in our churches; growth from a clergy’s perspective by Rev. Dr. Lau Hui Ming. Reference – Streams of Living Water (Richard J. Foster), Invitation to a Journey (M. Robert Mulholland Jr.)

“Is the issue here that we have not done enough to disciple our congregational members for church growth? asked Rev. Dr. Lau.

“The goal is about being conformed to the image of Christ. Growth is the outflow of this transformation and maturity in Christ,” explained pastor-in-charge of Trinity Methodist Church Kuching. “Life transformation is not just informing of minds but transforming of lives.”

Rev. Dr. Lau also quoted Mark 1:17 to illustrate the meaning of sitting loose to the world and forsaking everything that is against our duty to Christ.

Other main points of Rev. Dr. Lau’s talk included maturity of the church members, confusion by congregation over the word Discipleship, congregation’s eagerness for instant growth and resistance to long term growth, holistic spirituality, and finally total obedience and surrendering to God.

“We must let go our ego and follow the Covenant Prayer of John Wesley,” concluded Rev. Dr. Lau.

Session 2 – Equipping disciples in the marketplace; growth from a Lay Perspective by Chang Jih Ren.

Chang Jih Ren began his session by quoting The Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20).

He then showed the statistics of 2013 SCAC church attendances, various ministries and fellowship groups attendances. “Though there is a slight increase in the overall figures, the data shown in these slides are worrisome,” he warned.

“There is good reason to be greatly concerned because of the drop in numbers in some of our church-based ministries and fellowship groups.”

“What is discipling? Is it teaching a new believer? Holding his hand? Showing him how to read the Bible? Telling him how to overcome temptation? Teaching him how to obey God?” Chang asked the attendees.

He went on to explain why discipling is so difficult.

“Not only you must know the know-how; you also need time, commitment and sacrifice.”

“Jim Peterson (Author, Lifestyle Discipleship) says America has 40 years of Discipleship programs and yet they are not discipled,” Chang said.

Chang also showed a chart of Marketplace Culture versus Disciple’s Counter-Culture and bemoaned about today’s Christians’ attitude.

“You know when we are too comfortable, we think we don’t need God. Many Christians today don’t have compassion for the lost soul which means God’s salvation is no longer important to them.”

From Relativism to Marketplace Lifestyle Trends, Chang touched on Faith Privatisation and Detached Behaviour which are obstacles to getting closer to God.

Chang then showed the steps of how Jesus discipled his followers by showing His intimacy with God, integrity and love for them.

His session ended with a touching story of Taiwanese Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-Tsi (1923-2012) who in the face of life and death, showed great foresight, turning a difficult time in life as an opportunity at the service to all.

SESSION 3 – Facilitating the Two: Christian Growth Strategy from EMC Perspectives by Dr. Wong Sung Ging.

For the opening, Dr. Wong asked the floor: “Many are Christians but few are disciples? There is no difference between a Christian and a Disciple? There is a real difference between a Christian and a Disciple? All disciples are Christians? All Christians are disciples?

“Our objective is to understand the challenges we face in disciple-making today, to confirm our focus on growing people with a process and to introduce Christian Growth Strategy and share our Christian Education experiences,” said Dr. Wong.

Dr. Wong also reiterated that disciples are made in all spheres of life, within and outside the church. Christlikeless is the true mark of Discipleship, he declared.

“Disciple deficit, losing the next generation, materialism, secularism, consumerism, relativism and syncretism are challenges we face today and in the future,” warned Dr. Wong.

He also touched on spiritual growth, saying that it has to be an intentional effort.

“It requires developing habits. It is a process and is demonstrated more by behavior than by beliefs. It also needs relationship and takes a variety of spiritual experiences.”

The Associate Lay Leader of Emmanuel Methodist Church Bintulu outlined the Christian Growth Strategy into Basic, Intermediate and Advanced.

Under each category, growth objectives, expression in Life and Ministry, Short and Long Term programs were given with suggested curriculum.

After the Forum, feedback were sought from the participants on the two-day event.

Daniel Cheng from Sibu said, “It reinforces again the importance of a Christian transforming a life. Discipleship is a journey with Christlikeness attributes; it’s not about programs but relationships.”

Medical doctor from Kuching Simon Wong commented, “The Forum has allowed me to catch up with my friends. It was well-organized. More importantly, it helped me to re-ponder on the issue and the cost of discipleship at the marketplace.”

Chairman Rev. Chin summed up the Forum by reiterating on the importance of disciple-making. “We need to get back to the basics that are so important.”