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“Baseline Sketches” of [email protected] thus far

“Baseline Sketches” of [email protected] thus far

At our AGM on 1 January 2014, we presented [email protected] to the church. Our purpose is to rally all members to unite and help grow Carmel to our next level as we approach our 50th Anniversary in 2017.

In some ways [email protected] is like a “charter document” that seeks to provide clarity on:

(a) why we exist; (b) what we aspire to be; (c) what are our shared beliefs; and (d) how we can grow to the next level. It also defines what we mean by phrases such as “a community of disciples”, “impacting the world for Christ”, “Spirit-formed to transform”, “authentic community”, etc.

As it stands now, [email protected] is not an architect’s blueprint that has already worked out all the steps needed to grow our church towards 2017. It is more like a sailor’s compass to navigate us in the right direction. It points the way by identifying key priorities we need to focus on to continue in the path of growth. Even then, they are tentative and not irrevocably
cast in stone.

Among the priorities identified for us to focus on are:

  • mobilizing church-wide prayer support for [email protected];
  • discerning how to be more open to the leading of the Holy Spirit;
  • improving our integration of newcomers;
  • nurturing deeper passion for evangelism;
  • developing a ‘pathway’ for more intentional discipleship;
  • helping young couples to grow healthy families;
  • mentoring our next generation for future leadership;
  • improving the quality of all ministries, etc.

Think of [email protected] as a picture we are trying to paint on canvass. What we now have on the canvass are baseline sketches (which can still be altered as the artist starts to paint). You can see the sketches of two characters in the center, with others on the side. But the finer brush strokes and intricate details to complete the painting and turn it into a masterpiece (such as “Return of the Prodigal”) are still undone, as of now.

Likewise, we currently have some baseline sketches of what Carmel could look like by 2017. But the finer touches and intricate details to complete the picture (= what we must do, and how to get there) are still undone.

This is an intentional decision. We don’t want to convey to our members: “This is it. Our leaders have already thought out the whole process and worked out all the steps. All you need to do is to follow this blueprint.” Such an approach will come across as a top-down decree. It is the surest way to discourage group ownership. It is also not the way to promote
church-wide participation.

So let me summarize our process thus far.

– 5 –

1. At our ACM on 1 January 2014, we have presented [email protected] to the church.

2. Since then we had put it ‘on hold’ to await your feedback. We want all members to have the time to digest this document, tell us what you think, and offer suggestions.

3. Our pastors and elders have promised to visit all Care Groups from January until the end of April. We want to hear your views and clarify any issue regarding [email protected]

4. We are please to announce that the visits to CGs are now completed. Session also had a chance to discuss your valuable feedback (I will share some of the findings in another editorial).

5. We have also arranged town hall meetings to hear from those who are not in CGs.

6. The original document presented at ACM is now being tweaked to incorporate feedbacks that are helpful.

7. The next milestone coming up is our 47th Anniversary Service on 25 May. The updated version of [email protected] will be presented then. We will also officially launch and endorse [email protected] during that service.

8. At the Anniversary Service, members will be invited to signal your support by filling a pledge card. By filling this card, you are not making a promise to serve in a certain capacity at this juncture (not yet). You’re only signaling your personal support for this initiative, and your openness to consider helping out in selected areas (this is done by ticking the boxes for the areas you are interested in, according to your passion and conviction).

9. Once you have ticked the box for a selected area of interest, we will invite you to meet others who share the same interest. This will happen from July 2014. Hence for example, if your interest is to help in family ministry, you’ll be invited to join others to explore how this can be developed. It is a process that will take some months, but we would love you to be part of it, and to pray for this process. You’ll be addressing questions such as: What does a church with healthy family ministry look like? Why the need? What are the key ingredients that must be in place? Are there some churches we can learn from? What are the resources we can use for teaching purposes? Etc.

10. We intend to form a separate task force to work on each of the priorities identified. Our goal is to turn the baseline sketches into finer brush strokes so that together we can have greater clarity on how to grow our church!

11. Obviously, the whole process must be soaked in prayer, prayer, and prayer. [email protected] will fail if it is just based on human effort. Not by power, or by might, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.

12. We invite all members to be a part of this endeavor so that with God’s help, we can together to grow Carmel to the next level.

(to be continued in subsequent editorial)

Pastor Daniel Chua

4 May 2014

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