On behalf of the IDMC Core Team, Elder Oliver Tang’s sharing at
the 67th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service on 21/1/2018
‘Intentional Disciple‐Making Church’ Journey
On 14 January was Vision Sunday, we have started on the new sermon series: “Day to Day Discipleship – Are you in?” I was asked to share a little on our discipleship journey, in particular on becoming an Intentional Disciple-Making Church (IDMC) journey.
The CCiL discipleship journey began 67 years ago, when Ps. Stephen Wang was evangelising and making disciples for the church to grow from a humble beginning of 13 people. The baton has been passed on from generation to generation to where we are today. Growing from 1 English Service to now 7 congregations with 11 Services. This is all by God’s grace.
In the 1990s, the church was very active in planting new congregations, 4 in total: namely Soho, Croydon, Hounslow and Colindale Congregations. During this decade, the church doubled in size. Planting a church is one thing, but sustaining its growth is a big challenge.
Entering into the 21st century, we embarked on the IDMC journey. The church got very excited and we are really grateful that the then Senior Pastor Ps. Ong invited Ps. Edmund Chan to share the IDMC vision in the Easter conference in 2006. Later that year, several leaders attended the IDMC conference in Singapore, and in the following year, more leaders attended the Break-Through Weekend (BTW) in Singapore. That was the start of our BTWs in CCiL. As a church, we have tried hard to take the journey forward, but it has not been easy.
2 years ago, before Ps. David Lee started the Senior Pastor position, he issued 9 papers detailing his thoughts on church development. One of his mandates is to re-ignite the IDMC fire. An IDMC taskforce was formed, leaders working with pastoral staff to pray, to have fellowship, to share insights and ideas, to debate, and to pray even more until we come to a consensus on what is the Vision, Mission and Core-values (VMV) of CCiL. It has not been an easy journey. Praise God, today, you can see the new banners and bookmarks with the CCIL VMV, the fruits of teamwork and labour. Last summer, we had a mini-launch of the VMV completing phase 1 of this renewed IDMC journey.
By God’s sustaining grace, this was the past, so what is happening now and what is in store in the future.
The IDMC journey cannot stop with the VMV, since last year, we have formed 5 Ministry Task-forces:
- Worship & Prayer (led by Christine Lee)
- Teaching & Training Resources (led by Pui Yin Ho)
- Small Groups Ministry (led by Deacon Josiah Yau)
- Family Discipleship (led by Sinming Cheung)
- Mentoring – Investment in Life (led by Elder Ernest Wong)
These Ministry Task-forces have been tasked to spearhead into reviewing our existing ministries in different congregations, and coming up with a concrete proposal, a road-map, on how to take these ministries forward: to take them to a higher level, to build deeper commitment and to reach further and wider into the community. In other words, we are aiming to build a firmer foundation for sustainable growth into the future. You may think that it has gone quiet in the last few months, but the Task-forces have been working in the background.
Planning ahead in 2018 :
- Jan-Feb Sermon Series – on VMV (subsequent series will also focus on making-disciples)
- End Feb Deadline – Ministry Task-force Proposals
- Mar-May Task-force Proposals – to review, revise and approve (by Staff Team, Senior Pastor’s Office & Church Board)
- 23 June Congregation Council leaders – invited to join Staff Retreat (to present and discuss these proposals)
- 24-27 Aug Church-wide Servers Camp – 2 keynote speakers from US (to learn, share, discuss, ask, pray & seek)
- Sept-Dec Congregations – come up with Cong. IDMC Plan (2 prong approach: focus on outreach and building up disciples)
2019 & beyond Congregations – to implement, monitor, review and report (with measures) etc.
The IDMC journey is supported by the Prayer & Share Gathering (every odd months in SOC, WMC led by sisters: Lai Han, Christine, Katherine and Lore) & the Lent 40 Days of Prayer. Most important of all is for each one of us to live out the VMV of the church.
I was much touched by the sermon given by our brother Pui Yin on Sunday 14 January. He shared on the church vision and expounded on the Great Commission. Yes, the harvest field is so wide and vast, and yet as a church we have barely scratched the surface. With over 17,000 Chinese overseas students coming to London every year and a growing Chinese population in London, as a church, we have not even reached 1% of them, where are the 99%?
Wouldn’t it be a dream if we can fill all the empty seats every Sunday, planting more congregations with sustainable growth in years to come?
2018 is a critical year, we will either make or break in this IDMC journey. It will involve not just the church leadership, not just the pastoral team, but also everyone, the entire church family to embark on this journey together.
We are here to re-write the CCiL history of the future. God is eagerly waiting, are we eagerly praying, eagerly planning, eagerly ploughing and eagerly harvesting? Let us pray hard and work hard in the next 3 years. By God’s immeasurable grace and blessings, may we aim for our 70th Anniversary in 2021, to be a time of plentiful harvest and fruitful celebration. Are you in? This is the challenge and invitation.
This is a summary of the past, present, as well as the future of our IDMC journey. It is all by God’s grace and we thank God for your active participation.