Pastors with integrity and skill ‘can be shepherds after God’s heart’

Bishop tells Church at Ordination-cum-Closing Service of 32nd Session of CAC


‘Integrity can be affected by temptation, and also by suffering and trials … Satan does not like upright men of integrity. He will use evil people to persecute and torment people of integrity. In such moments, one could give up having a heart of integrity, either by becoming political, revengeful or skeptical.’

PASTORING can be very difficult, but pastors with integrity and skill can be shepherds after God’s heart.

David shepherded God’s people with integrity of heart. Integrity refers to character, and character is about sincerity, honesty and simplicity.

“This means our response to God must be wholehearted,” said Bishop Dr Robert Solomon.

Delivering his sermon based on Psalm 78:69-72 at the Ordination-cum-Closing Service of the 32nd Session of the Chinese Annual Conference at Kum Yan Methodist Church on Nov 15, 2007, he told the four ordinands and the congregation: “David prayed for an undivided heart. An undivided heart means that there is only one Lord in the heart. Self is dethroned. Fear of God is present. There is only one clear unadulterated purpose – to glorify God’s name, without reservations, no holding back.

“Integrity is something very important to God. Without it, we cannot serve God. “Watch your heart. If it is not right, ministry will go wrong and not bear fruit. Character is important. Ministry is not a profession.”

The Bishop went on to warn that integrity can be affected by temptation. It can also be affected by suffering and trials.

“Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.” (Prov. 29:10).

He added: “Satan does not like upright men of integrity. He will use evil people to persecute and torment people of integrity.

In such moments, one could give up having a heart of integrity, either by becoming political, revengeful or skeptical.”

Turning to the importance of skill, he said character must be complemented with competencies.

It is God who chooses us. We simply respond. This is primary. Institutional and personal choices are secondary to God’s choice. This is of critical importance as it will make clear your levels of accountability, he told the ordinands. The people we are to shepherd belong to God. Hence the sacredness of the task. It is His sanctuary, His people, and we are only the servants.

David was a shepherd of the people, a servant of the Lord. Without being a servant, he could not be a shepherd. Leaders must have skill and be obedient followers.

David led and ministered with skilful hands. The shepherd’s hands are important.

The Bishop said that a pastor needs to have: Praying Hands: The most important use of the pastor’s hands is to use the hands in prayer, to lead as a man of prayer.

Preaching Hands: Hands are connected with preaching and teaching.

Healing Hands: Hands are also used to heal.

Guiding Hands: A pastor is a spiritual director.

Equipping Hands: Hands are used to mentor and ordain.

The Bishop’s 40-minute sermon was interpreted by the Rev Louis Chai.

The service saw the ordination of Pastor Paul Thian Moon Hee and Pastor Jasper Sim Sheng Chyi as Deacons, and the Rev Herman Kan Man Shek and the Rev Susan Lim Bee Yong as Elders.

A retiring Elder, the Rev Tan Lye Keng, was also recognised at the service. He had served the Chinese Annual Conference for 25 years, and is leaving to serve at the One Hope Centre as its Executive Director. The centre, at which he was a volunteer for the past two years, counsels gambling addicts and helps affected family members.

After the benediction was pronounced by Bishop Emeritus Wong Kiam Thau, the congregation proceeded to the ground floor for refreshments where excited family members, guests and church members posed for photographs with the ordinands.

THE Closing Ordination Service Aof Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) at Pentecost Methodist Church on Nov 22, 2007, TRAC President Rev Wee Boon Hup issued a challenge to church members to find the “lost sheep”.

In his sermon entitled “The 100th”, he asked, “Who is the missing 100th sheep?” A simple answer is: The one sheep who is lost, the one missing from the flock.

We will never know whether a person is really lost, he said, unless we go out to
find him or her.

Basing his sermon on the familiar Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:1-7),
he further asked: “What if that person has lost his faith?”

“We won’t know until we find him,” he said. “The 100th is about ministering to the one who needs to repent.”

The Rev Wee told the congregation that he himself was once a lost sheep. In fact, he was lost three times, and each time he was led home.

And who is this person who goes after the lost 100th?

“The shepherd, not the hireling or the hired employee. Every sheep is important and precious to the owner, the shepherd.”

And what joy he has when he finds the lost sheep. He added: “The majority of our church members have not gone out on behalf of our Chief Shepherd to look for the lost 100th.

“We are not hired hands or employees of our Lord Jesus; we are the undershepherds of Christ Himself and we are under His responsibility to look for the 100th.

“We have to look for the person who was in church and who is no longer in church.

“Today as we come to celebrate, let us hear the voice of our Chief Shepherd to reach out and save the lost 100th.”

He said that if “the world is my parish”, as told to us by our founder John Wesley, then “I am the shepherd to the world.”

Earlier, he warned of hearing the voices of strangers who could lead us astray, and hearing the Voice of God.

“A lost sheep is lost by choice. This is a warning for us,” he said.

Peter Teo is the Editor of Methodist Message.