From the General Director
The vision of COCM is to see mature Chinese believers working together in Europe to Mature in Christ bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. Over the years, our evangelistic efforts have ~Editorial Committee brought fruitful results as Chinese Christian churches and fellowship groups have come into existence in the UK and continental Europe. While the transient nature of the Chinese Making Disciples diaspora opens a wide door for us to reach many more people than in the past, it also presents a huge challenge to the ministry of equipping. Throughout Europe, most Chinese ~Faye Lee churches are still struggling to grow because very few mature Christians can stay and serve in one church for a long period of time, not to mention the perennial problem of lacking Disciple Making—Fellowship full time pastoral workers. There is an ever pressing need to provide effective training to with the Lord in Daily Life help believers to mature in Christ. ~Tim Li How do we change weak Christians into strong believers who are genuine in heart, independent in life, active in service, and passionate in sharing their faith with others? I Training the Next Generation think the answer can be found in the ways Jesus trained his first disciples. When Jesus ~Ian Ma called Andrew and other young men, he wasn’t asking them to join a group or a church, rather he was taking them on the journey of his ministry. He turned these ordinary people into fully equipped disciples by inviting them to “come and see”, COCM Finance challenging them to “follow me”, and making them “fishers of men”. ~James Lo “Come and see,” Jesus said. He showed the first disciples how he would live his earthly life in an intimate relationship with the Father. He showed them how he would act and react when he encountered people with different backgrounds and problems. He showed them how to overcome their own personal weakness, selfish desire and sin. Likewise, our first step in the training process is to invite people to come and see and get to know Jesus, just as the first disciples got to know Him. Believers need to learn the mind of Christ through the study of Scripture and respond to His teaching by the act of obedience. The most important lesson to learn is to commit their lives to be with Him. “Follow me,” Jesus called. He took his disciples along his ministry journey and trained them through practical experience. He prepared them ahead of time for outreach, sent them on short-term mission trips, and afterwards discussed what they had done in private, often one-on-one. Today, we use the same model to invite others to “follow me as I follow Christ” in various schemes of our training ministry. This can be thought of as mentoring, assigning a mature Christian to guide one or more believers through regular and intentional interactions to encourage growth and maturity in Christ. The mentor will help the believers to find God’s unique purpose and plan in their own lives, to develop spiritual disciplines such as prayer, meditation, personal Biblical study, reflection and confession of sins, as well as to encourage them to grow and develop in other aspects of life. “I will make you fishers of men,” Jesus promised. After Jesus finished his earthly ministry, his disciples became missionaries to go out to new frontiers to preach the gospel, and they became disciple makers. Today, effective training ministry must also put emphasis on the preparation of a new generation of missionaries who will be makers of the next generation of disciples. Please pray for us as we labour in the ministry of disciple making, that we will continue to know Christ, to follow Him, and to allow Him to make us fishers of men.
Rev. Henry Lu
Reaching the Chinese to Reach Europe
Mature in Christ
In issue 4 of Link 2011, we introduced the COCM Training Team and the strategy of creating a holistic training ministry model to equip believers to take root downward and bear fruit upward in their faith. Over the past two years, we have been developing various training programmes and adapting them to better serve the needs of today’s Christians. Our training programmes are scheduled within a one year cycle. There are lecture based training events that focus on teaching Bible knowledge and ministry skills, such as the week long Bible camps in June and September. Those who attended past Bible camps found the intensive study extremely beneficial to their spiritual growth as well as being equipped to serve in their local Christian community. This year, we are adding two more Bible camps in November. They will be conducted in similar format but each camp covers only one weekend, therefore those who have to work during the week will be able to come. Programmes that offer practical training are tied to the ministry of the COCM Gospel Team as well as the camps organized by COCM throughout the year, such as the YearEnd and Easter camps. Young believers recruited to join the Gospel Team will be prepared ahead of time to get ready as team players to hold evangelistic events on university campuses. Those who serve as small group leaders at COCM camps will receive special training so they know how to be active partners in the gospel. We are seeing a larger number of young people coming to serve alongside our ministry team, and they are becoming younger in age. As a result, we have expanded our previous training days into training weekends so young people can have more time to go beyond the learning of knowledge and skills, to have deeper fellowship in the Lord and let God shape them into better vessels for service. In addition to the series of training week, training weekend, and training day events mentioned above, we have also developed a volunteer scheme for young people to spend a longer period of time living and working with our staff workers at the mission centre. This successful scheme gives young Christians the opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the daily life and work of our missionaries. It becomes an effective channel to offer a source of encouragement and inspiration to those who feel the call to enter fulltime ministry. This year, we also initiated a ‘Missionary In Preparation’ scheme to accept qualified candidates who are committed to join COCM as missionaries but need to have formal theological training. The MIPs will be mentored by COCM missionaries and will also be placed directly into our field ministries while they are studying for their theological degrees. Praise the Lord, we had our first group of 6 MIPs who started their fulltime seminary study this past September, and 3 of them had responded to God’s call to mission during their time of volunteer service at COCM. Mission is more than the work of frontline evangelism. We must equip new converts to grow into mature Christians and encourage them to get involved in the long term development of global mission. We hope to see more young people with a hunger for the truth, a heart for service, and a passion to see the kingdom of God being expanded from one generation to the next. May the Lord prepare His people to take on the challenge of the Great Commission.
need of ministry or stage in life, then not only can we help people to rise up to the challenge but also through this opportunity make them into disciples.
The word training or discipling is defined in the dictionary as taking people to a certain level of skill or proficiency through teaching or constant practice. In English, the word discipline is even more appropriate. Discipline is training through teaching, instructing and practising, which includes demonstration, supervision, correction and punishment. The person being disciplined is called a disciple.
such as parents who need to learn how to bring up their children according to the teaching of the Bible. If we can train and disciple people, be it according to the
In the church, singing is one area that always attracts people to participate and usually these are believers who think that as long as you can sing or play an instrument then you can serve and lead worship. Apart from knowing the ‘how’ of worship, the worship leader, singers, pianist and other musicians, need to know even more what With this definition, training is nothing more than worship is and why we worship. However, in order to disciple making which includes reading the word of have depth in worship, it is most important that those God (Bible reading and Bible study), prayer, fellowship involved in worship ministry lead a life of worship. (relationship with other believers) and witnessing, and Leading a life of worship would of course include through all this to live an obedient, Christ-centred life (see the aforementioned Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, Figure 1). When the wheel of life turns, people will not see witnessing and a Christ-centred life. I was once involved the disciple reading the Bible, praying, fellowshipping or in training for music ministry in a church. In addition witnessing. They can only see the Lord Jesus Christ, which to teaching how to choose songs, how to lead worship is indeed the goal of discipleship. and the relevant techniques, I would usually, before the But in the context of disciple making within rehearsal, require the members to have a 30 the church, we must also take into account minute sharing about their devotional life N T E I C the different situations of the people, the HR ED B I in order to check and encourage one S challenges they encounter, their different TI EO another in their prayer and devotional H life stages and the corresponding life. Such sharing facilitates fellowship responsibilities. In order to serve in the and intercession and also trains one church, such as in the area of music, to witness. Only those who worship some brothers and sisters must with their lives can bring out depth learn special skills and techniques. WITNESSING CHRIST FELLOWSHIP and anointed worship. Worship Then there are others whose need training can make disciples who to learn arises out of their stage in follow Christ. life and the tasks that come with it,
I N A C TIO N
The same too holds true for parenting education. Through courses on ‘how to bring up children’, we can lead parents to live according to God’s
Figure 1 (The Navigators)
Equipping will, to first build up a good marital relationship, to be a right person and in order to be a right person, it is necessary to understand God’s will through Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and witnessing, which is to be the Lord’s disciple. A right person can then become a right husband or wife and then a right parent. In short, the goal of all training and discipling in the church is to make disciples. All the techniques in the world can only address surface issues; the ultimate solution is to be a true disciple. The two examples cited above are only opportunities that I have seized to give further more fundamental training according to the needs of the life situation of different people. Training enables them to rely on God themselves, through reading the Bible, prayer, fellowship and witnessing; we are just intermediaries or helpers in disciple making.
Disciple Making— Fellowship with the Lord in Daily Life Tim Li
Churches often disciple believers through adult Sunday school and discipleship training classes. The first thing that comes into our minds may be a series of textbooks, curricula and materials. However, when it comes to discipling believers, in addition to the necessary biblical teaching, we should also pay attention to fellowship with the Lord in our daily life. As I am myself a student and the people that I serve are mostly students from mainland China, I would like to share some of my observations and reflections about this group. As co-workers in the small group, we are all overjoyed when new comers make a decision for Christ; but then we have to disciple the new believers and accompany them on their journey of spiritual growth. Ideally, these spiritual newborns will ‘like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk.’ So we expect them to love reading the Bible, to pray, and in addition to attending Sunday worship to also go to prayer meetings and adult Sunday school. The church seems to have prepared a huge gift bag, set in action a certain process, that can produce an outstanding worker as the guaranteed end result. But reality tells a different story. All churches face the same problem, namely that acquiring knowledge of the Bible, including some theological concepts, is a quick process, but digesting it and incorporating it into one’s life cannot be accomplished overnight. It requires constant thinking and application. This has resulted in a phenomenon: the actual growth of the believer cannot keep pace with the reserve of theological knowledge in the intellect. So once he starts to serve, the pitfalls arising from this phenomenon are gradually exposed. Truths that are only understood intellectually, but are not thought through in fellowship with the Lord, cannot withstand the questioning of seekers and may
actually end up creating doubt in one’s own mind. A thoughtful seeker once raised a query in a Bible study group: “Since Jesus, by his death, can save all people then he should of course go to the cross, all the more since he also knows that he will be resurrected. If I were Jesus, I would do the same. So for me this is not as you say ‘grace’ but what Jesus should do. He should save me because the Bible says ‘for God so loved the world’.” When he finished, a three minute silence descended on the coworkers in the small group. Then we took turns to analyse, explain and use different ways [examples, analogies] to clarify grace. Yet not one answer proved satisfactory to the seeker. I could not give a definite answer myself so I promised the seeker that I would give more thought to it, do some research and get back to him. After the Bible study, two co-workers and I were still discussing the issue. We couldn’t come up with an answer and even one of the brothers said, "there is no explanation to this; you can understand only when you believe." When we got home I invited them to pray together for this seeker and regarding the query. As we prayed we thought of the many seekers in the church who were very enthusiastic in coming to meetings but who still did not believe and had similar questions. As we prayed we were reminded about how self-centred we were as sinners and from the standpoint of God’s righteousness and goodness; we truly
deserved death but God still loved us so much. In prayer, we suddenly discovered that the fact that we could be aware of God’s grace and experience it was in itself God’s own power. So we prayed for these seekers, asking God to change them by His power. In that time of prayer I saw the urgent cries from the brothers’ hearts for the salvation of lost souls. I saw their burden for souls and also their lives being transformed by God’s grace in the process of growing. I was deeply touched by this experience. ‘Jesus died for sinners and rose from the dead. We are justified by faith. It is all by grace’ are clearly standard answers. Yet when we were confronted with them, we were struck dumb. Perhaps you already have a watertight answer or you can analyse the question from every perspective, but for me it was more precious for brothers to be praying together, looking back and reflecting, in fellowship with the Lord. This allowed us to surrender ourselves to God’s power and also let us know that we needed to constantly meditate on the truth of the Bible and to apply it in our lives. Disciple making is not measuring effectiveness against a course schedule, nor is it about the number of co-workers in a team, rather it is a matter of guiding and accompanying these new lives in fellowship with the Lord every day, to meditate on His Word and to put it into practice.
Training the Next Generation
COCM used to depend heavily on short-term missionaries for its Next Generation Ministry. PHAT Camp owes its early development to seasoned workers from countries like America and Canada who, back then, did everything from conference speaking to staffing the entire conference. In recent years we have noticed God raising up an army of local leaders, making us less dependent on outside help. For instance, PHAT Camp this summer saw the ratio of leaders to campers being larger than 1 to 2. The staff of 50-plus members was, except for two of the camp speakers and myself, mostly “home grown”. In addition, it was obvious the leaders were not there out of obligation, but each yearning for an opportunity to be trained and given a chance to serve. As much as PHAT Camp targets secondary school students, we are now gearing it to become a platform for leadership training. Staff members are expected to attend 3 training sessions throughout the year, the actual PHAT Camp being the final handson experience. The curriculum covers a multitude of topics that include the philosphy of ministry, adolescent development, inductive Bible study, and upfront leadership. In the future we plan to provide training that focuses on church leadership and missions. Th training aspect of the Next Generation Ministry is still in the early stages. However, we have caught a glimpse of its potential impact on Christendom and plead God to raise up the next generation of Chinese church leaders.
The next generation of leaders are extremely passionate for the Lord
Campfire at PHAT Camp 2013
Itâ€™s a race to reach the next generation
The next generation of worship leaders
A young leader praying for young people
HEADQUARTERS General Director: Rev Henry Lu 2 Padstow Avenue, Fishermead, Milton Keynes, MK6 2ES, UK Tel：+44-(0)1908-234-100 Fax：+44-(0)1908-234-200 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocm.org.uk
HONG KONG OFFICE
Rev Tang Chi-Ming Room 522, Metro Centre II, 21 Lam Hing Street, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon, Hong Kong Tel：+852-2549-5288 Fax：+852-2549-5155 E-mail：email@example.com Web Site：www.cocm.org.hk Chairman: Rev Cham Nai-Bun
James Lo - Treasurer
Income & Expenditure Account for 6 months to 30/6/2013 Currency: £ (GBP)
Mr David Liew Unit 697-2-2, Desa Kiara, Jalan Damansara, 60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Tel：+60-(0)3-7722-3670 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Web Site：www.cocmsea.org Chairman：Mr Bryan Lee
SINGAPORE OFFICE Chairman：Professor Hanry Yu 420 North Bridge Road #05-07 North Bridge Centre Singapore 188727 Tel：+65-6338-6283 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocm.org.uk
USA BOARD We continue to thank God for his generous provision in the first half of 2013. We record a small deficit of £21,204 for the period. Let us look to Him to p ro v i d e a l l o u r n e e d s . We a l s o want to thank all our mission partners around the world for your sacrificial financial support.
COCM Link is a quarterly publication reporting on the work among Chinese in the UK and Continental Europe. It is free upon request. Please provide us with the following information Church name or your name; Address/Postcode; Telephone/Mobile; E-mail address; The number of copies of COCM Link in Chinese or in English; Ways of delivery: paper copy by post or PDF format by e-mail You are welcome to view current and past issues of COCM Link on the website: www.cocm.org.uk
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Chairman：Rev Daniel Chan c/o Mr Guang Xu, 611 Belchertown Road, Amherst, MA 01002, USA Tel：+1-860-413-275-4718 E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org Web Site：www.cocmusa.org
Published by the: Chinese Overseas Christian Mission. Registered Charity No.1135892 Company No.7106567
Editorial Committee： Rev. Henry Lu．Ling Lu．Min Yin． Yu-Mei Wu
Translator: Monica Li
God called us to serve in Europe, and we are thankful for the ﬁnancial support from individuals and churches around the world over the years. The vast majority of people living in Europe have yet to accept the Gospel, hence we ask humbly for you to work with us. If you are moved to support us ﬁnancially, please get in touch. Credit / Debit Card Donations from UK Online Donation >By Cheque Cheques made payable to “COCM” may be sent to: >Download Gift Aid Declaration and COCM, 2 Padstow Avenue, Standing Order Form from: Fishermead, Milton Keynes MK6 2ES http://cocm.org.uk/en/provisioin >By Bank Transfer or Standing Order Account name: COCM Donations from overseas Bank name: CAF Bank Ltd Please contact Your local COCM ofﬁces / boards or Sort code: 40-52-40 COCM Headquarters Account number: 00006767 >By Credit/Debit Card Online (Please see the contact information at the right-hand Please visit http://cocm.org.uk/donation column on the back page.)