Two important prayer topics occupied my mind throughout last year in regards to New Life ministry. One was to hear from God where He would have us focus our time, resources and energy in doing missions. This need was shared with you through the 234 Prayer for 2006. The other was to develop the village structure and choose and establish village leaders to help our house church ministry become more effective and fruitful.
As you know, through my sabbatical mission trip to Southeast Asia, God has clearly shown us the importance of concentrating our effort in Chiang Mai, Thailand so that we could eventually reach the surrounding regions. This has been confirmed by God when He brought Pastor Tae, who has so much passion for the same location and purpose, to New Life as our Missions Pastor. I am excited to see what God would do through New Life as we make an all out effort to reach the world by focusing on Chiang Mai, Thailand! So, let’s sign up for a short-term mission trip before the Missions Month is over and plan to be at a place where God will work mightily.
About the village structure and leaders, I felt the need to have them ever since our house churches began to number around 25. It was getting overwhelming for me to oversee and take care of all the shepherds and their house churches effectively. As a result, some house churches have been stagnant for a while, some have not been on the same page as the vision of New Life’s house church ministry but doing their own thing and some have dissolved. This triggered me to think there must be a better way to help and support all the shepherds so they could grow and thrive as Christ-followers and house church shepherds.
As the shepherds and I were sharing and praying over this need for some time, the idea of village structure and leaders was born. The Scriptural basis for this is found in Exodus 18 where, after seeing Moses trying to shepherd and take care of the whole nation of Israel by himself, we see Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, suggest to Moses to establish qualified leaders who could share the heavy load with him.
“Moses’ father-in-law replied, ‘What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone. Listen now to me and I will give you some advice, and may God be with you. You must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him. Teach them the decrees and laws, and show them the way to live and the duties they are to perform. But select capable men from all the people-men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain-appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (Ex. 18: 17-23)
If the house church shepherds are seen as leaders over ten people, then the village leaders would be responsible for fifty people or about five house churches. After praying much and asking God to show me who these qualified men need to be to serve together with me for New Life, God has impressed upon my heart these five men as village leaders: Sean Kim, Joe Yoo, Daniel Lim, John Park and Pastor Tae Pae.
I have seen and worked with most of them over the past several years and I can vouch for them that they are God-honoring men other shepherds can learn from. They have proven themselves to be loyal and committed to God and New Life, faithful and dependable in small things, consistent and steadfast when the going gets tough and generous with material resources.
With the exception of Pastor Tae who has been overseeing our college group house churches, everyone has a marketplace job. This means that they will do their best to help and serve those house church shepherds in their villages with the limited time they have as they also serve in their own house churches. Knowing how challenging and difficult it will get especially on their families and work as they serve as village leaders, I would like to thank them in advance and promise that I will pray much for them so they and their families will experience God in a way they have never experienced before.
Every shepherd knows who his village leader is, and your shepherd will inform you of your village shortly. From now on, if anyone has any question or issues to take care of, please come and see your shepherd first. If your shepherd decides more counsel is needed, then he will bring it to his village leader to better serve you. If the village leader needs further input, then he will approach me for the help he needs. I am doing this because this is the best way to affirm and establish the shepherds and village leaders. I would love to get involved in all of your lives, going to all the weddings and parties and counsel all who ask, and this doesn’t mean you can’t come and approach me. But in order for our shepherds and village leaders to grow and become more mature and also for all our benefit as a body, I am setting this structure as a guideline.
I love you all very much! There is no church like New Life anywhere in the world!
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