It is very easy for pastors to discriminate church members based on their educational, professional or socioeconomic status. James warns us about this.
“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here is a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:1-4)
The reason why pastors make this mistake is obvious. They think in their mind that rich and educated people will give and contribute more to their church than poor and uneducated people. However, my experiences here at New Life have taught me otherwise. When we needed resources to build the facility or do some God-sized tasks, it wasn’t the rich and educated but the faithful people, whether rich or poor, who stepped up and made things work. Therefore, when I need people who will participate in doing God’s work, I don’t look at how rich or educated they are. I look at their faithfulness. People who show up day in day out are the ones who get things done. In fact, I heard one doctor couple in New Life saying to me, “Pastor Eric, you treat us more strictly than any other people at New Life! J” I take this as a great compliment.
As your pastor, I am required by God to help you develop this faithfulness in your life. And often times faithfulness gets developed in us when we do the things that we don’t want to do. Anybody can do what they enjoy doing. This is called a leisure activity. But it takes humble and faithful people to do what they don’t enjoy doing that must be done. This is called spiritual discipline.
There are two ministries here at New Life that every member must serve in. There is no exception to or exemption from these. One is 3G Sunday and the other is Sunday Refreshment Ministry (SRM). 3G stands for “Garbage, Gardening and Grass.” A long time ago, New Life has decided to take care of these three things for the entire church campus including the KSC area. Therefore, on the last Sunday of every month after worship, each village takes turns to pick up garbage all throughout the campus. Everyone participates and must participate in this. This overrules any meeting you are asked to come to if it takes place at the same time.
Also, as long as we have Sunday refreshment, we will always have SRM done by three house churches one month at a time. Since we have 50 plus house churches at the moment, each house church will be responsible for SRM one month out of every 18 months! Therefore, if you miss serving in this ministry when it is your house church’s turn to do so, you will not get to serve in SRM for another year and a half.
Some parents think that they are exempt from SRM when they serve at NLK. Again, SRM overrules every ministry and meeting including 3G if your SRM and 3G responsibility happen at the same time.
Why are 3G and SRM so important? As we walk on our church campus picking up the garbage and as we prepare Sunday refreshment by peeling, cutting, chopping, slicing, boiling, serving, sweeping, mopping and doing the dishes, we become humble as servants of Jesus Christ. We learn to love our own church. And we get to fellowship with those members who are not part of our own house church. This is the beauty and blessing of 3G and SRM!
Therefore, please understand that no one will skip on serving in the kitchen when it is your house church’s turn to do so. If you are scheduled to serve in NLK in the same month, tell Pastor Chae about your situation and swap your NLK responsibility with another couple. If you have two or more little children to take care of, then alternate between husband and wife to serve in the kitchen so that each spouse will serve at least two Sundays during your SRM month. If you have just one infant child, tie him/her in your front or back and serve by simply doing what you can. This is how people used to work in the past. And if they did it, we can do it too.
“Those who carried materials did their work with one hand and held a weapon in the other, and each of the builders wore his sword at his side as he worked.” (Nehemiah 4:17-18)
By the way, we have several SRM coordinators who are volunteering their time and cooking expertise to make this ministry much more doable and enjoyable. Please listen to their instructions well remembering that a good follower will make a good leader.
Let’s make a joyful noise in the kitchen! If the kitchen is happy, then the whole church will be happy! J
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