Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Vision for the Team

Aloha from Malaysia. Peace and grace to you, fellow kinsmen. It is finally that time of year again, the legendary season of the Children's Institute in South East Asia...this year, 2013. This is about my 7th or 8th time joining the team as a member, and out of that the 3rd year being on staff. CI's have always been a highlight of every year of my life since I started joining at the age of 15! You know how years pass by so quickly and you just can't seem to remember what was significant about each one? Well, I thank God for the privilege and opportunity to be apart of CI for these 8 years, because every CI has been a major season of growth for me spiritually and mentally, it has been a platform that has forced me to get out of my comfort zone and explore the gifts that God has given me, and to refine them to perfecto!

CI's have significantly grown me, and greatly contributed to the man I am today, and here marks one of the most interesting trips yet to be experienced. Most interesting for me as a team leader, because of all the things God has been doing in my life both in CI's and back home at my local church. Being able to bring out the best of both worlds and fuse them into one single significant powder packed mission trip in one month is an AMAZING experience for me! I remember vividly in my early CI experiences, doing all the CI duties expected of me, crafts, songs, stories, kids, fun, devos, I knew the drill.

How was every year different and significant for me then? I would have to say It came back to my own personal spiritual growth and relationship with God! It took me about 3 years to find my identity in Christ, and another 4 years to learn and discover how to pass down what I knew in the most effective and efficient way. I like to be honest whenever I talk to people, or write, so I am going to be saying some...well..interesting things in this post!

You know how as ministry leaders, we so often get so concerned and caught up with planning details of activities, filling up calendars with to do's, saying the right "leadership stuff", giving text book answers and even planning 'devotions for the next day or week? I honestly felt that being in that leadership world with my comrades made me feel like a dull and dead slave to Christian leadership! When ever should I have to "make something up, or come up with something to bless others? Shouldn't that naturally flow out of my life if it is authentic? If I as a leader need to solve problems, there are literally thousands and thousands of problems to solve. I rather solve just one, and that is: the Crisis of Spiritual Leadership today.

Now finally, God has changed my perspective. How often I would ask God to teach me new things, fix my leadership problems, make me better at this or that etc. But how strange, and what a wonderful relief to see how a change of perspective changes everything! At last, coming out of the "leadership" rut has finally changed everything for me.

What am I trying to say? I heard these words from a wise friend early this year. He said: "you cannot know the now, if you don't have the end in mind" WOW. Though that statement may be packed with theological truths...however, a milder angle to view it from would be the fact that we leaders try so hard to go through the now, with only the middle in mind. Or even worse...just the now.

It all starts with a vision. Definitely not mine, or any other's leader's...but the simple question that points us and our followers in the right direction. "What is God's vision for the Church?" That single question, now has been the at the centre of my heart and core of my leadership. What makes Christian leadership DIFFERENT from just excellent leadership? I had to get straight with myself. My goals and agenda's in leadership MAY NOT have anything to do with God's vision for His Church more often times than not! Even in ministry. I need to try and wrap this up, because this is just the start and I can go on and on forever. In short, I was recently blessed and privileged to attend a global discipleship congress in manilla just a week ago. I felt so encouraged to know that there were many other Christian leaders with a burden for not just the lost, but the church today. One of the speakers said this: "shoe shops produce shoes. Clothes shops produce clothes. What SHOULD the church produce?" Funny how many answers may emerge from that one. But the answer, from Jesus Himself throughout scripture is: DISCIPLES!!!! That's it! For far to long have I been in successful Christian programs that produce every kind of success EXCEPT the success of producing biblical disciples. I'm back to the main question: "what is God's vision for the Church?" To know the now, we must have the end in mind. This is referred to as Eschatology. My epic leadership ends in myself, but God's epic leadership ends with every tribe, tongue, and nation standing before Him accountable to God's revealed word and to the things that they have done without excuse Romans 1. God's epic master plan for the CHURCH ( body of biblical disciples) is the biblical blue print that we as leaders need to return to. The word of God has given us a target. It's time to stop drawing up our own targets, and celebrating short sighted achievements.

The Church of Jesus Christ is pure, lovely, radiant and awaits her glorious final redemption. The Spirit of God sets this sanctifying process at the heart of every true believer and disciple who has an intimate walk and relationship with Jesus Christ. There is a CERTAIN kind of disciple that Jesus is looking for, and that certain kind of disciple is now also my desire to call, mould and build, and raise up. I'll end with this: TRUE DISCIPLES always make more TRUE DISCIPLES, with God being at work with His grace, in every one of us. I have left the random devotional topics behind, and what a joy to work on an intentional 22 session discipleship program with the team this month! My hope and prayer is that the students on this team will not leave this CI with just a traveler's experience, but leave CI called, challenged and equipped to respond to Christ's call to be a disciple, and make disciples of all nations :)


"Our Faith can only grow when It's challenged, not enticed!" Philippians 3:7-9

Victor Peh
Leader of the CI Team from Malaysia

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