Think, Think

Reflections of a Conference Lay Leader

Kwok Wan Yee (middle) with incoming Conference Lay Leaders

From 2014–16, I was Vice President of the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS), and subsequently was elected as the 2017­–20 CAC Conference Lay Leader. I have just stepped down as Conference Lay Leader for the next Quadrennium.

During my tenure as Conference Lay Leader from 2017­–20, my focus was on raising the capabilities of the lay leaders in our local churches, and building closer relationships amongst the lay leaders of our 17 CAC churches, to support one another and to build a stronger and better CAC. By encouraging communication and open discussions, lay leaders can pray more meaningfully for each other’s churches and rally support through manpower or donations.

For example, we rallied behind the Fundraising Dinner for Punggol Preaching Point in 2018, and also encouraged stronger participation in CAC programmes such as the annual CAC May Day Seminar by the Board of Laity and the annual Day of Prayer for Families by the Board of Family Life.

To effectively represent the laity, the Conference Lay Leader also sits on the Conference Executive Board (EB), the Boards of Appointments, Nominations, Finance, Human Resource and the General Conference (GC) Executive Board. I was also elected to the GC Executive Council and the General Conference, as well as acting as CAC’s Lay Representative to the Inter-Annual Conference Structural Review Task Force led by Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung. Through these various discussions, we represent CAC’s participation in the various inter-AC dialogue and display the spirit of One MCS.

We also opened our lay leadership training programmes to the other Annual Conferences and it was especially enriching to learn together with the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) and Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) leaders, for example in the Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) Induction Programme, which was described as “kilat” (excellent) by Kim Seah, the TRAC Conference Lay Leader. We now have training for Nominations Committee, Pastor-Parish Relations and Staff Committee (PPRSC) and Lay Leaders.

With the support from the Executive Board, I also urged the setting up of the Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) Task Force to educate, equip and engage pastors and lay persons. We organised systematic training for pastors and laity. It will need an inter-disciplinary approach.

The Conference Lay Leader needs to have their finger on the pulse of the members so as to lead more empathetically. For example, the Conference Lay Leader could join in the Lay Ministry Staff Retreat and also find opportunities to get to know all the pastors better, and to love them as you love your own pastors.

An important role for the Conference Lay Leader is in the Board of Appointments, where we are able to focus on matching the needs of the local churches with the talents of the pool of pastors.

As leaders, we often face situations that are grave and complex where our secular experiences will be an inadequate reference. At such times, only Christ, the Way, can bring us peace. Seek the Lord always and stay close to Him. May God bless you in all you do in His name!

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor 15:58 NIV)

Kwok Wan Yee is currently serving as Local Preacher in Charis Methodist Church and also in Discipleship & Nurture (D&N). She is also serving as a member of the CAC Executive Board, and as a CAC delegate to the General Conference Executive Council and General Conference. / Photo courtesy of Kwok Wan Yee