English Ministry (EM) and I
It has taken me nearly 15 years to appreciate the value and importance of the English Ministry (EM) in Vancouver Christian Logos Church (VCLC). EM is essentially about drawing youth and children to Christ at an early age. The revelation that it is key to the sustainable growth of the church came to me about two years ago when young people who had grown up and matured in this ministry, including my own child, left Vancouver Christian Logos Church (VCLC) for various reasons. The VCLC family was losing a generation of young people and children who are the future of the church and through whom God will sustain and expand His Kingdom, as Jesus said, in Mathew 18:5, “Whoever welcomes a little child…welcomes me.”
When Pastor John Kwok first established the EM in VCLC about ten years ago, I was one of those who did not believe that we were ready for such a ministry. I argued that with limited resources, the EM would drain the Chinese congregation which was picking up momentum. Now as I look back, I ask myself how on earth, as a mom of a teenage boy then, could I not see the need and importance of an EM?
Praise the Lord that His work was not stalled because of my lack of faith. The EM took off through the grace of God, moving many brothers and sisters to pour their love, time, and energy to nurture young people in His ways and teachings.
For years I remained focused in the Chinese ministry participating in worships, choir practices, Sunday School classes, fellowship activities, and summer retreats. However, the Lord’s calling for a shift in my service came in January 2011 when Pastor John asked Carol Chow and me to assist Pastor Anthony with the EM. My first assignment was to co-lead the study of the book “Purpose Driven Life” with the youth fellowship group.
I remember vividly the night when I first joined the English youth fellowship. We had a pot-luck dinner at Pastor Anthony’s house followed by a kick off to reading “Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. I was both excited and apprehensive not knowing what to expect. Would young people resist having me, someone older than their moms? I walked into a house full of young faces and lovely kids. The first challenge I encountered was to learn the names of my new friends and remember who was who. However, I was amazed at how easily it was to blend in with the group. Everyone was sincere and friendly. After eating, we separated into two smaller groups. I along with Pastor Elizabeth (Pastor Anthony’s wife) sat with all the girls to start thinking and talking about the purpose of life. We each drew our life goals on a big piece of paper followed by a show-and-tell of our stories.
I was bad at drawing so I simply sketched a heart and a clock to share a line in Rick Warren’s book that was etched in my mind. Rick says, “The greatest purpose in life is to LOVE, the best expression of love is TIME and the best time to love is NOW.”
A couple of the girls mentioned that they wanted to glorify God through their studies and their jobs. What they said warmed my heart and that evening marked the beginning of my involvement with the EM.
Presently, serving with Pastor Owen Leung, Deaconess Cathy O’Young and others in the EM, I have experienced great joy and revival. These young people have renewed my hope in God’s ministry and service. I see in our little brothers and sisters their gifts in leading worships, planning and organising activities, and reaching out to their friends and neighbours for the gospel. We need more adult members willing to be their counsellors, acting as their guides on the side, and caring and praying for them as they journey through faith and life with us.
As we take stock of God’s blessings for VCLC over the past 15 years, I feel that in the midst of all the changes and struggles that come with building the church community, God has kept watch over us by preparing people and providing resources at those most critical moments of our needs. I would like to adapt the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9) for the EM: “Oh God that you would bless VCLC EM and enlarge our border! Let your hand be with us, and keep us from harm so that it might not hurt us!” The bible says that God granted Jabez his request and may we experience His everlasting promise in the same way.