我們的教會隸屬於美國和加拿大的華人浸信會聯會。上星期鍾卓權牧師和我到匯點教會參加會議。我們聽到 David Allen 博士講授他講道的方法：「文字信息驅動的講道」。一大群牧師也談到了我們所知道作為華人浸信會需要面對解決的話題。儘管單程也大約需要一個小時的車程，從我與許多牧師和宣教士交談中，這次活動令我精神煥發和精力充沛。
這次絕對是一個華人形式的會議活動，我們每頓飯都有中國菜。不是每個人都理解羅伯特的會議秩序規則 (Robert’s rules of order)。為了給李英柏牧師一份感謝禮物，我們花了頗多的時間去計劃該買什麼給他（我們最終交給了董事會作決定），正如我們所做的那樣，試圖弄清楚如何正確地寫入會議記錄中。
美國和加拿大的華人浸信會聯會發現一個重要的情况，就是教會需要在教會整體內給予讚美和支持。 核桃市第一華人浸信會的 Terence Shay 牧師主持了會議，討論教會領導層如何為教會整體的更大利益而相互支持。年長一輩會友為教會奠基的艱鉅工作付出了，應該受到年輕後輩的讚揚。反過來，年輕一代也就獲得一個奠基平台並去領導的機會，從亞洲人的角度來看，這將會有困難的，因為我們的文化強調尊重前輩，即是說現有的領導層不願意被接管或篡奪。許多亞洲教會所面臨的掙扎就是如此，這樣領導層的轉移往往不能夠實現，因為年輕一代不被容許有犯錯的機會。即使犯了錯，仍然得不到年長一輩的包容。總結是，如果我們回頭看，即使是年長一輩在教會的早期的階段中也曾犯過錯誤。然而，當我們回憶過去時，我們會專注於我們的成就。最總的教訓是：如果我們想看到個別教會成長，就必須為當代和下一代提供同樣的機會。我們不拒絕這些掙扎，但我們讚美和鞏固這個奠基讓教會下一代在愛中取得的更多成功。我知道我們整個教會都想這樣！
Future Generation of Heirs in the Gospel ~Pastor Benjamin Chung
Our church is affiliated with the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of Canada & US. Pastor Bernie and I went last week to Crosspoint Church to participate in the conference. We heard from Dr. David Allen, who taught on his method of preaching: “Text Driven Preaching”. A whole host of pastors also spoke on topics that we knew we as Chinese Baptists needed to address. Even though it was about an hour of driving each way, and I spoke to many other pastors and missionaries, I can be refreshed and invigorated from the event.
This was most definitely a Chinese affair. We had Chinese food for every meal. Not everyone understood the Robert’s Rules of Order. And in order to give Pastor Amos Li of CCIC-SF a gift of appreciation, we spent just as much time trying to figure out what to give him (we eventually gave it to the board to decide) as we did trying to figure out how to properly it into the minutes.
A topic that CBF found important enough to address was the need for churches to give praise and support within the church body. Pastor Terence Shay of Walnut First Chinese Baptist Church facilitated the meeting regarding how church leadership can support one another for the greater good of the church body. The older generation is to be praised by the younger generation for the difficult work of laying the foundation for the church. In turn, the younger generation is to be given a platform to also lead, which can be difficult from an Asian perspective, as our culture emphasizes a level of respect where leadership is not taken or usurped, by handed over. The struggle that many Asian churches have is that this transferring of leadership often doesn’t happen because the younger generation is not afforded the opportunity to make mistakes. And even when it does, to still be supported by the older generation. The summary is, if we look back, even the older generation made mistakes during the infancy and early life of the church. However, when we recall the past, we focus on our successes. The concluding lesson is: current and future generations must also be provided the same opportunities if we want to see the individual church grow. We don’t deny the struggles, but we praise and platform even more of the successes of the church’s next generation, in love. I know we all WANT this!
Lastly, we must remember that the younger generation is not young anymore. The next generation of pastors and leaders are already older than when the first generation took the helm. The next generation of leaders are already looking at their own next generation. Therefore, as Paul wise advises Titus, let us consider: “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray… 4 But … the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior … 5 … saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit … 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:3-7 ESV).