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Unchanging Mission, Renewed Methods

The COVID-19 onslaught had expedited many transformations, and we were compelled to start living future digital lives now. Our CAC Boards have also had to make adjustments to continue to serve its mission. Some of our Boards tell us how they are keeping their ministry going during these very unusual times.

Board of Communications (BOC)

Rev Ling Tieng Ngung, BOC Chairperson

In the new normal of COVID-19, BOC has needed to rethink how we can better connect the 17 CAC churches, facilitate the sharing of resources and deliver key information to our congregations. Each issue of CAC News is now available online on the CAC Facebook and website, with links to encourage the sharing of articles. We are also expanding our library of devotional resources and theological publications for CAC members.

With social distancing restrictions, the church’s physical activities have been much curtailed. Church pastors, co-workers and volunteers are now expected to have a mastery of technological skills as ministry work moves online. BOC will introduce more training to help churches upskill themselves and become more effective in promoting church activities online, and ensure that the Gospel message continues to flourish.

Many new opportunities open up when we start offering worship, Bible classes or videoconference fellowships online as alternatives to physical meetings. But this may also present a risk of some forgoing physical church worship. BOC will closely monitor how we leverage on such digital platforms to use them effectively for more efficient dissemination of information to a wider audience, and to encourage our church members to stay connected through a more interactive experience.

 

 

Board of Family Life (BOFL)

David Ang, BOFL Chairperson

Although we were disappointed when the circuit breaker led us to suspend our plans and cancel our programmes, we came to an interesting revelation: when church members were forced to stay home, couples drew closer to each other and parents spent more time with their children, which had always been the purpose for the Board’s activities. Regardless of whether our events could be organised, it was far more important that families were bonded in Christ.

These times have proven challenging as families needed to adjust to prolonged hours of spending time indoors together, and working and studying from home. In May, BOFL organised two series of family webinars in English and Mandarin with the support of various pastors and volunteer speakers. The topics centred on family relationships, parenting and COVID-19 challenges. The response was very encouraging and we saw how technology has enabled us to reach out to participants outside of our usual CAC community. Recordings of the webinars are available on CAC’s YouTube page.

We plan to jointly hold the 2020 Day for Prayer with the Board of Seniors Ministry (BOSM) on 31 Oct 2020. As we are still not able to gather in large groups, we will conduct this via Zoom. Look out for updates on the CAC and BOFL Facebook pages.

God allows all things to happen for the greater purpose of us knowing Him and His will. We hope the things will soon return to normal and that we can resume face-to-face meetings, as it is the more natural means for the body of Christ to fellowship, grow and strengthen.

 

 

 

Board of Discipleship & Nurture (BDN)

Collated by Hannah Tan, BDN Staff

Although classroom trainings had to be suspended due to the circuit breaker, we are thankful that the discipleship ministries of our churches quickly transitioned online. While it took time for everyone to familiarise themselves with the new technology, most soon discovered its benefits. Church members who could not participate in physical classes previously due to geographical constraints could now participate in the digital space. Fellowships, Sunday Schools, Bible Study, DISCIPLE and Companions in Christ courses have all successfully moved to online platforms.

Whether it is dealing with the CB or the new normal, BDN is already preparing for the classroom of the future, which traverses time and geographical limitations. It is exciting how the channels for discipleship nurturing have multiplied. The training of the future may mean a blend of physical classes and online learning. As a classroom without walls, our churches can share even more training resources to strengthen the body of Christ.

However, we are mindful that the fundamental purpose of discipleship training involves a nurturing of the spiritual growth of believers in thought as well as in action. We should also be careful not to marginalise those who may not be able to attend digital learning due to factors such as one’s environment, age and mode of learning.

With training transcending local church environments, we recognise that our people are now exposed to a plethora of spiritual courses on the internet, some of which may be unorthodox. Since the Church cannot always filter and ensure the legitimacy of resources believers are exposed to, we must pray that all our believers will be discerning in what they come across.

 

 

Board of Worship & Music

Dr Yeo Teck Beng, BOWM Acting Chairperson

All over the world, COVID-19 has greatly affected the way churches conduct their worship. CAC churches have given feedback that while they fully support bringing worship services online, some elderly church members who are less digitally competent or who do not possess a digital device may not be able to join in. To this end, our pastors and church leaders have provided training and offered necessary assistance to the seniors.

Another area of concern has been on the etiquette and posture of worshipping at home. Worshippers must have the right mindset and attitude to have a meaningful and genuine communion with God in worship.

BoWM feels that online worship will continue to be the norm even after we resume on-site worship. As congregational singing may still have to be restricted, churches should make preparations for alternatives, such as reciting the lyrics of the hymns, meditating on the messages, pre-recording songs or having instrumental interludes by worship teams could evolve worship into a silent but more contemplative mode.

Regardless of whether we worship corporately on-site or remotely online, when we gather reverently in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to worship, we firmly believe that God’s spirit is in our midst to inspire and empower us to worship the Triune God in spirit and in truth.

 

 

Board of Witness & Evangelism (BoWE)

Rev Glenn Tan Tze Meng, BoWE Member

In his video address, the Rev Nicky Gumbel, the founder of the Alpha course, highlighted that even though the pandemic has forced churches to be physically closed to congregations, online evangelism has opened a valuable opportunity for many to hear the gospel. There is not just a “physical hunger that the church needs to run towards, but also a spiritual hunger. In this situation you have to pivot very fast… We found that a whole load of people who would never have come to our church are listening in online.”

The Alpha Course was started in 1990 with the Rev Nicky Gumbel explaining the basic tenets of the Christian faith in an engaging and easy-to-comprehend manner over 10 weeks. The course has since evolved to include a youth video series, a documentary-styled Alpha film series and a soon-to-be-released Chinese Alpha Film series produced in China.

On 14 and 15 Aug 2020, BoWE partnered with Alpha Singapore to organise “Ignite: CAC Alpha Conference” to introduce churches to the sharing of the gospel via Zoom. Sixty-two members from 12 CAC churches were joined by participants from other local churches, as well as those from New Zealand and China. In his opening keynote address, CAC President the Rev Dr Gregory Goh Nai Lat urged participants to consider the fact that many people have not had the opportunity to hear the gospel. He exhorted churches to not only devote more resources to evangelism, but to exhibit a zeal for evangelism that characterises the Methodist movement.

Another address by the Rev Pan Hung Yi from New Zealand emphasised that the essence of the Alpha Course was for it to be a vital component of discipleship that enables the Church to build up a culture of respect, honour and teamwork as opposed to just being a tool for evangelism. An Alpha practitioner for the past 20 years, the Rev Pan is convinced that “Alpha can be used to transform the culture of the Church”.

At the close of “Ignite”, Angelic Cheah, executive director of Alpha Singapore reflected that “the CAC-Alpha collaboration is a start of our journey to set the stage for this new season…and to bring pre-believers to encounter the Love of Christ”.

Following the conference, a number of CAC participants joined Alpha Singapore’s online labs to learn more about the practicalities of running an Alpha online. Alpha Singapore is committed to customising trainings for churches and is planning for an Empower training in Nov 2020 to prepare churches who are planning to run Alpha in 2021. More information can be found on Alpha Singapore’s website at https://singapore.alpha.org/

Photos courtesy of CAC

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