23 Jan 2023

Church-Planting [Matthew 28:18-20]


The preacher Charles Spurgeon said in 1865:“We encourage our members to leave us to found other Churches;nay, we seek to persuade them to do it. We ask them to scatter throughout the landto become the goodly seed, which God shall bless. ”He believes that church-planting is the venture of faith that God will bless. Indeed, when we look at the movement of the gospel in the book of Acts, we see that the Apostles believed that local congregations with qualified leaders is key to gospel expansion. They believe that the local church is the best vehicle to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This sermon seeks to show why it is so. It also clears up some common misconceptions regarding church-planting, like an unhealthy obsession with property or real estate. This message will also clarify the pragmatics of church-planting- the who, what, where, when, why, & how.



Sermon Transcript

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Once again, a very good morning to all of you and welcome to Gospel Light, our first English worship service this Sunday morning. Obviously, this is a special Sunday morning, in that this is also the first day of the Lunar New Year. So I'm glad you can join us today in congregational worship. We can begin this day, this week, and this year together as one. Most importantly, this is the Lord's day. And I think it's great that we can worship Him together.

Now I'm very thankful for our younger preachers who took us through this Know, Grow, Go series in the past three weeks. We are thankful for the ministry of the Word amongst us, and today my job is to kind of tie it all up and to lead us to a necessary application and extension of Know, Grow, Go.

I believe if we as a church, really understand what it means to help people know Christ, and help people grow in Christ, and really encourage people to go for Christ, then this must be in our minds. And this is a message that has been on my heart for a long time, I think about four or five years already. So I'm glad on this Lunar New Year - first day, I can share with you some of the thoughts on church planting.

I believe, if a church, a people of God really understands the Gospel, and wants to spread the Gospel, we must be a people who understand and will pray intentionally about church planting.

What does this mean? What does this look like? Why do we even want to think about it? Well, that's my job this morning to share with you. But let me begin with a simple story.

Years ago, there was a dangerous sea coast, notorious for shipwrecks. Many, many lives were lost at sea. Then there came a group of men and women who wanted to devote themselves to saving lives. So they built a simple life saving station - nothing very special, just a small hut with a few lifeboats. But they would keep a constant watch over the turbulent seas. With little thought for themselves, they will go out day and night, tirelessly searching for those in danger, or lost in sea. And as a result, many, many lives were saved.

Over time, this life saving station became famous. So people from all over came to visit this station and wanted to play a part or be a part of this life saving station. They gave money. They built the life saving station with many more rooms; they added beds, and sofas and carpets, and rugs. And this became a comfortable, spacious location for people to gather, to have parties and to celebrate, they loved being together. But as a result of that, they were not going out to sea as much anymore.

One day, there was a massive shipwreck and boatloads of people were brought into the life saving station. They were wet, they were sick, they were dirty, they were messy. And so the people in the life saving station, many of them said they wanted to put a stop to their life saving activities. A heated argument ensued, and they had to kind of put a vote, cast their votes. And eventually those who wanted to carry on the life saving activities were voted out, and they had to start another life saving station further down the sea coast.

Years went by and the same changes happened in the new station. History repeats itself and another life saving station has to be born even further down the coast. So now if you go to visit the sea coast, today, you would see a string of expensive clubs. Shipwrecks still happen, but many drowned because there's little life saving activity and few even seem to care.

This story of the life saving station and the sea coast of expensive clubs, can be a picture of the Church of Jesus Christ, isn't it? Because the church is formed with a mission to follow Jesus and in a sense to seek and save that which is lost. God has entrusted to His people a life saving message to rescue those who are in the sea of sin, messed up, dirty, wet, going to die, perish before God. But we have the life saving message to rescue them.

And many churches, when they start out do very well. They were faithful and maybe even aggressive in reaching people with the Gospel. But after a while, when more people come in, we begin to consider more about our comfort. We build bigger buildings, we have nicer seats, wonderful air conditioning and beautiful lights. Nothing wrong with some of these things. But everything wrong if that is our main consideration; we want to have our parties and our gatherings and our celebrations. And we are not going out to sea as we should.

So soon a church does not continue its life saving activities as it should, it becomes a country club. A church like Gospel Light Christian Church, many people say, can be more like Gospel Light Country Club. Except that over here, you don't even have to pay membership fees.

And so in a sea coast of church life, we see many, many expensive clubs. Shipwrecks still happen. Everyone born into this world is born in sin and they need to be rescued. But many drowned, because few care. We omit the mission of the church.

It is with a story like this that we must remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the last words He gave to the disciples in the book of Matthew. We often call this the Great Commission. That is the great mandate of the church. That's what we must obey.

Sadly, for many, it becomes the great omission. We care about our comforts and conveniences, and we forget the mission that God has given to us. It's great, in a sense, we see these are the last words and we also see the all encompassing nature of this Great Commission - All authority, for all nations. The word there is ethnos, or peoples; to teach them to observe all that I've commanded you. And behold, I'm with you always - the Great Commission.

In essence, the central command, now it's not so obvious in the English, but in the Greek, I think you already know, the central command in these verses is this imperative, this command, which is to make disciples.

In a nutshell, the Great Commission is Jesus' mandate for the church to go and make followers of Jesus Christ. This is particularly important because if you remember Jesus' first words to the disciples, in Matthew Chapter 4 is, follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.

So the central desire of God, of Jesus for the people, for the apostles and for the disciples who will follow after is that we must be about lives, rescuing people, saving them and helping them turn from sin to follow Jesus. That's what we are called to do. The Church must be making disciples of Jesus Christ, otherwise we fail.

A school produces students, but kitchen produces food, an army produces soldiers, and the church must produce disciples, followers of Jesus Christ.

Suppose today, you are a manager; you're hired as a manager of a shoe factory. Your boss says to you, John, I'm going to give you three years, I'm going to give you a lot of money. And I want you to make a lot of shoes, good shoes. And say Yes, sir, I'll do it.

At the end of three years, he comes by and he asked you, how are you doing John? How's the business? You say, Sir, we have done very well. I've procured the best factory in the world. I've gotten the best materials. I've hired the best engineers, we have the best workers on the ground, we have wonderful technology. Sir, our marketing is top notch.

Very good, John, you've done very well. How are our shoes doing? Shoes? I have not made a single shoe. I have good factories, Sir; I have good training, Sir. No, no, no John, where's the shoes?

If you are that manager, I think you deserve to be fired, isn't it? I told you in three years I wanted shoes but you have produced nothing.

Isn't that possibly true also for the church? Oh God, we have a wonderful building! Look at this building! We have wonderful funds in our, in our bank accounts with a lot of money, a lot of months of reserves. We have great classrooms, beautiful events. Look at our program sheet, it's so well structured.

But the question Jesus will ask is, have you made disciples? Because you can do all these things well, and still absolutely miss the mark.

That's why in our church, we must be very clear about Know, Grow, Go. That's what it means to make disciples of Jesus Christ.

I know some of you are very afraid of our interview processes. Eh, some of you want to sign up for baptism. Some of you want to sign up for membership and you heard, wah got to meet with the pastor, he's very scary. That is totally wrong, ah. That's a bad rumour. I do not know where that's floating around.

But please understand, the reason why I would love to meet with you one on one, is not because I'm conducting a exam viva, oral examination, as if I'm here to pass or fail. I, I'm, I'm, I simply want to hear from you and to understand if you really know the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we don't want people to be falsely baptized, to imagine that because you're not yet a Christian, baptism will somehow make you a Christian. No, we, we don't want to delude you.

Now it looks good for us. Of course, it looks good statistically to have how many how many people baptized, but I think that's totally dishonest if I've never heard from you, or no one has ever ascertained if you really understand the gospel and personally know Jesus. We are very clear, this is important for us. We don't want statistics, for statistics' sake. We want to be faithful in making disciples, really helping you believe the gospel.

So it's an opportunity if people are not clear, we will have others who will come along and journey with you that you may really understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And that's true even for children who grew up in Christian homes. We don't want to assume that, we want to ensure that, as best as we can.

That's why we have our seekers class. That's why we have that life issues booklets. That's why we would want to invite you, welcome you, if you're not sure, not clear about the gospel, let us know and we'll have people who would be most happy to journey with you one on one that you may really know Christ. That's, that's our mission. That's our desire, that's our passion.

And then we want to help you grow. That's why we have care groups, discipleship groups, preaching ministry.

Why? Why, why do we gather for prayer meetings? You know, prayer meetings, sometimes we can pray about the sick and about problems. I think that's fine, no problem. But more than that, we are praying for you to know Christ, and to grow in Christ. That's what we are all about. That's why we do what we do. Make disciples to help them know, help them grow and to encourage them to go.

Gospel Light is not a church that puts a lot of pressure on people. I don't like to compel people, I don't think we should force people. We should encourage people.

We want to pray for you that you would find opportunities to serve because as you serve God, that's where you discover your spiritual gifts. You grow your or develop your spiritual gifts or muscles and you can deploy them for the glory of God. We want to help you know, grow, go.

That's why we do what we do. That's why worship service today. That's why DGs, CGs, ministries. It all revolves around Jesus' great mandate - make disciples.

Did the early church follow, did the early church stick to the task? Well, let's look at the pattern in the New Testament.

We read in Acts 11, you know that there was a great persecution that happened in Jerusalem. The Christian faith was largely in Israel during the early days. But God sent a persecution or allow a persecution, and many of the disciples were scattered. They went to foreign lands, foreign cities. They went to Antioch and in Antioch, when they heard, people in Antioch heard the gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, they turned from sin and believed in Jesus. They wanted to follow Jesus, they became the disciples.

And now there's a new name given to the followers of Jesus Christ - Christians. Interestingly, that's the term that is most associated with followers of Jesus Christ today. We don't usually call one another, are you a follower? We ask, are you a Christian, but that's where it all began.

That little city, faith was born in many hearts. Christians, followers of Jesus Christ were made; the Great Commission is being fulfilled. And we see that they are somewhat organized as a church.

The word church means assembly, a gathering, a congregation of people; so people were getting saved and people were meeting together, fellowshipping together, sharing life together, they were organized as a church. So, the early church went about preaching the gospel. And when there are people who believed, they form a church, a local assembly or congregation that will be led by qualified leaders.

We see in Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas, the missionaries par excellence. They, they, they preached, and they then appointed elders for them in every church. So a church should not be just a random group of people with no leadership. There should be proper, qualified elders in leadership. That's what they did in the early church.

In Acts Chapter 20, we read of Paul, commanding the people in Ephesus, the elders, pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God; there must be qualified leadership.

Paul himself said, I planted the church in Corinth, Apollos watered, but it is God who gave the growth or the increase. Paul said to Titus, this is why I left you in Crete so that you might put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town as I directed you.

So I see that in the New Testament the strategy that the early leaders employed to ensure sustainable, indeed exponential disciple making is via the local church. The strategy in the New Testament, I think, is church planting. What is church planting? It means establishing local congregations with qualified leaders. In essence, that's what they did.

Now, let's be clear. Jesus actually didn't say go and plant churches, right? Jesus says, Go and make disciples. We must be clear about that. But it is also important to note that the early church, the Book of Acts, and in New Testament, the epistles, we are told that the leaders planted churches. They gathered people when people believed. They formed the local church, they cared for the people with qualified leaders.

So I see that the local church is the best vehicle to make disciples. It's a wonderful carriage to ensure sustainable, effective, successful disciple making. I'd like you to consider the veracity or the truthfulness of this statement. It is the best vehicle to make disciples. I think so, I believe so.

We today, are very thankful for people doing evangelism, sharing the gospel in many ways, amazing ways. Some people share the gospel using the internet, youtube, wonderful, isn't it? It's great! You get to hear a lot of good gospel content on social media and on the internet.

People in time past used to hand out tracts. Some people here may even be saved because you read a tract. Someone wrote something, you read it and you, you repented and believed. Praise God for these ministries!

There are many good parachurch organizations that do this, but I think it will be wrong for us to think that evangelism is best done via these methods only, and not via the local church. The local church is the best vehicle to make disciples, including helping people know Christ.

You see, a lot of times, when someone hears the gospel for the first time or for the first few times, they may say, Yes, I want to believe. Maybe they raise their hands. Maybe they follow you in a prayer. Whatever that may look like, it may be two things. One, this person says a prayer, this person raises his hands, because he now truly believes in Jesus, he is saved. That is very possible, correct?

But there's also a second possibility which we don't often consider, and that is this. When he raises his hands, he says he wants to believe in Jesus. He's saying I want to, but I may not know how to, as yet, but I desire to. In other words, that's the beginning of a journey.

So often, we take that beginning of a journey to be that he has already truly understood and believed. May not be so. So what I'm saying is that it does take time. It does take personal attentiveness to help this person and to follow him up, and to point him to Jesus until truly one day he crosses that line.

You need a local church to do that. You need people to do that. You need brothers and sisters to do that. The local church, not a tract, not a video, is often the best vehicle to make disciples because there is that personal attentiveness that can be afforded.

I think the local church is the best vehicle to make disciples, because that's the place people grow. There's a saying, it takes a village to raise a child. If your child only has parents, but no friends, no aunties, no uncles, no government, no society, he doesn't grow that well. It takes an entire village to grow a child.

And I believe it takes an entire church to grow a Christian. Oh, we thank God for pastors, preachers. We thank God for CG leaders, but you know that's not all that you need, you need one anothers. You need your wife to agitate you. You need your husband, to irritate you, because those are opportunities for sanctification, for growth. So thank God for your irritating husband, we often say that.

We, we need one another to, to test us, provoke us. We, we need to see examples of faith, we need to be encouraged by someone's passion and fervour. And you see all that dynamism, you see all that life in the local church. That's why to us it's super important for you, we hope, not to just sit in this auditorium. I'm glad, glad you're here but I hope that's not your Christianity alone.

Because when you sit like this, the only person you see are the people on the stage. But when you get down to level one, and today, no tables and chairs ah. But usually, if you get down to level one, when food is served, we, we sit facing each other, we, we, we interact one with another. We learn, we grow, because we are encouraged and we are provoked by one another.

When we get into our care groups and discipleship groups, we sit in circles and we provoke and encourage one another. When we serve, we see one another. It's so important to be with one another because it takes a village to grow a child. And the local church is ideally designed to do that. And it's in a local church that you learn to go for Jesus.

If you're by yourself, you can't serve. How to serve? You only serve yourself. But when you're in a church, you see needs, you start to serve, you start to meet needs. And in that meeting of needs, you discover your spiritual gifts. You develop them and you deploy them.

The local church is the best vehicle to make disciples so it's so important for us to understand that the expansion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must take on that vehicle of the local church.

I'm thankful for Gospel Light. We are 35 years old. It's, it's a good age right? I mean, 35 is like the prime age of anybody's life. You're still young, you're still not lose..uh.. if Daniel is correct ah, he, he told us last week - after the age of 40, you start to lose your muscle mass, uh 35, still okay. Still strong, still fit, you're not gong gong. You're, you're, you're sharp in your mind. It's a good age. Thankful for 35 years.

But let me ask you, what do you think would be God's will for our church? I, I, I have thought about it for the past few years. Is it so that Gospel Light would see this hall packed? Today doesn't look too packed. Chinese New Year, we totally understand that. But is it to see this hall packed for two services? Maybe you say, let's stretch it - three services. And we say, job done!

Pastor, good job! Now we can have our country club. We can pull our rugs and carpets and sofas and beds and have our parties and gatherings because you know what, KPI achieved. Filled Shine auditorium, packed halls every Sunday! We cannot expect you to preach too many times, so three times gao liao, this is our KPI. It, do you think that's God's will for us?

I, I, I had that thought before and it shocked me. I, I'm scared to think along that line. Because where in the Bible does it say, pack the halls and job's done. Where? And where in the Bible does it say, just Punggol.

I believe if we are humble, we keep walking with Jesus, we are faithfully teaching His Word and discipling men, God will bring more people in. And even if we don't do anything special, the Singapore government will bring more people in because they're building things beside us. HDB will help bring them in for us.

Is that anything special? Do, do you think that's God's will? Well, good, you have packed halls. I really do not think so.

In our shepherds' discussion - the shepherds are the pastors, leaders who are actively teaching, shepherding the flock. We, we gather and we talked about church planting. We actually talked about this before COVID. But of course COVID came and we didn't dialogue further.

But in our most recent conversations, we, we talked about church planting and you know, Pastor Kay Hong, uh, he gave YuFei that pot of plant, right? He likes...he likes planting. He likes...he has green fingers. He makes things grow, so he enjoys this.

As we were talking about church planting, he says, it's just like my... hobby, it's just like my... I don't know what you call ah at..what, and horticulture, don't know what culture lah, hobby lah.

When you want something to grow, you break off a branch and I don't know whether it's a branch or stem, please correct me if I'm wrong. But stick that thing into another pot, and another plant would emerge from it. We thought about that and say yah, that's like church planting. From this local congregation, a group may start a ministry somewhere else, it's like breaking off a stem, a branch and sticking it into another pot and seeing it grow.

And actually if you do that, now we don't rush it. We don't want to make this whole tree botak. And then the tree dies or the plant dies. But if we do it in a healthy way, sustainable way, actually if you say, take a step back and think 15, 20, 30 years down the road, well we may see many other pots. Not just one pot, not just one giant pot but many healthy pots. That's I think, better, isn't it?

I mean I'm quite young, ehh...quite young. And I hope to see the flourishing of the gospel and I hope to see more people come to Jesus. And I think the best way is not have a giant pot here at 39 Punggol Field Walk but to see many churches, healthy local churches, faithful in fulfilling the Great Commission.

So we say, we, we want to have from pot to pots, or from pot to a plot of pots. Whatever you want to call it, I hope you understand what I mean. A pot, pot, pot, pot, yeah pot, pot to pots or pot to plot of plots or pots.

Now I know some of you may be thinking, well, church planting sounds good but are you asking for money for a new building again? Huh...we just finished paying off this building five years ago. Are you asking for money? No, no, no, no, please let me get this clear. Church planting is not a property search. Church planting is not going into the real estate business. Please...No!

Now we are very thankful for this building. I don't minimize the value this place holds for us. It's a gift from God, it truly is a gift from God. But let's go back to the Bible. Church is not building, it's not bricks and mortar, church is people! And if you read the New Testament, nobody bothered about buying a piece of property. The priority is not in these things. It's about people.

And when we think about church planting, I'm not thinking about getting another piece of property. I'm thinking about a local congregation, a core group, a missional core group, led by qualified leaders who want to start a life saving station, because there is a dangerous sea coast where people are drowning. And they want to be nearer the people who are drowning there.

It can be a little hut. It can be a HDB unit. It can be a little shop house, it doesn't matter. It's the people that matter. That's what we are thinking. So this is nothing to do with fundraising. This is about a missional focus.

Some of you may say well, aren't there enough churches already especially in Singapore. You look at the directory, thousands of churches maybe. There are many churches, many buildings.

But it is my opinion that perhaps there are not enough gospel centred churches. There are many churches that teach about health and wealth and all the... I think deviations from the true gospel. But we want people to know Jesus through the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and I don't think that's enough. I don't think there is enough.

And you know, the thing about new church plants is that you always get to reach new people that the older churches, established churches may not be able to reach. That's why there aren't enough. Because the number of true followers of Jesus Christ in our nation is really quite low.

But it's going to take a long time, I totally agree with you. Huh, it's going to take a long time.

You know, when I look at my son, Shawn, he's so tall ah. He's amazingly tall like a, okay, don't say but he's very tall. But I always remember, when I was in our first place with my wife, I, I carried him with one hand and, and bathe him in our kitchen sink. Like that is so small, so cute. Then I don't know what happened overnight, he becomes so tall!

But when I look back it's just like a flash, like a twinkling of an eye. That little baby in my hand is now someone I have to look up to.

Oh it's going to take a long time. But I think 10, 15 years down the road, you'll look back and say it was absolutely worth it. It flew by. And I'm glad we did it.

Jesus had only three years, do you know that? He didn't say, God, three years bei gao lah, let me just enjoy. No, He made the best of His three years, laid down a long lasting legacy that outlasted His own life up till today.

The apostle Paul didn't say, oh, it's going to take a long time and therefore did not preach the gospel. He preached the gospel, he gathered the people, he installed the right leaders. That's what he believed in. And I hope as a church, we'll have that kind of a long term vision to believe in it, even though it's going to take a long time.

And maybe the last one is the most relevant one. And that is, it's so uncomfortable. We are very happy here what, why you suddenly want to get people to go out and leave us and we won't have enough workers here and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah and... I totally understand what you're saying.

But I hope that will not be the major consideration for us, the priority consideration for us because we would be following that Country Club in the sea coast of life, if this is our major consideration.

I want to end with just some pragmatics for you - who, what, where, when, why, how. Very simple, who? Who should go church planting? I think the key is qualified leaders. Now what do you mean by qualified? Must I go Bible School, must I go seminary training, must I score distinction in my bachelor's degree, whatever.

No, the qualifications are very clear in the Scriptures, First Timothy Chapter 3, Titus 2. The qualifications of an elder. You see, a local church must be led by qualified elders, and the qualifications of an elder are not left to our imagination. It's clearly laid out in the Scriptures and that is what we need to follow. That's what we need to pray for. There is no local church without qualified leaders. There is no church planting possible without potential qualified leaders. And I think this is key.

The qualified leaders probably could be supported with a good core team who have, who shares that same missional purpose. But the who is really the qualified leaders.

I was speaking to one of our ushers here, and he was thanking God for the younger preachers in our midst. He says, he says, very thankful to see a younger crop of shepherds and preachers who are handling God's work in a faithful way. I say, ya wonderful. But I say not enough. I say if it is for Gospel Light in 39 Punggol Field Walk, more than enough. But if you're thinking beyond Gospel Light, then not enough. And he said to me, yah, who says the Great Commission is for Punggol only?

He's absolutely right. We need more qualified leaders, because Jesus didn't tell us 39 Punggol Field Walk is our mission alone.

What kind of churches do we want to plant? Do we want Gospel Light Christian Church (Punggol), Gospel Light Christian Church (Tanah Merah), Gospel Light Christian Ch..err derr.. You know wah, beautiful branding ah, GLCC ABCD, like your franchise like that?

I, I'm, I am not absolutely dogmatic here but I think at this point of time, I'm looking to independent churches. Several reasons. One, what makes anybody think that the pastor here knows better than the needs of the people in Bedok, or in West Coast, or in Jurong, whatever that may be; or in Malaysia or in Cambodia or in China? Why does that, does any leader, it may be myself now, maybe someone else in the future. What makes us think we know the situation better there and therefore we have the right to control the proceedings there.

Moreover, I have no desire to become a pope. And I hope none who will follow after this would want to be a pope who says, ah.. I want to have a control. I, I want to lead a denomination. Oh, God help us if we think like that.

Now, when we say independent churches, I hope you don't think also that the churches that are started, are churches that hate Gospel Light. Huk, I want to be independent. No, no, no, it's not the idea. We want you to be leading your own flock. But we retain that friendship, and fellowship. Maybe amongst all the churches, we are the closest friends. I hope that will be the case. I hope we will have, I.. I think similar values and goals. I, I hope we will not depart from some of the fundamentals.

But at the end of the day, I don't think we want to have a mother church that controls daughter churches and so on. That will be a monster after a while. Pride creeps in and it can turn quite unhealthy.

Now, surely, if the churches are to be independent, there will be a period of support and accountability and encouragement. And I'm, I'm sure, I'm sure this congregation will be most happy to provide that. But at the end of the day, the vision - independent churches.

Where, where should church planting take place? Somebody asks Malaysia can or not, Indonesia can or not, West Coast can or not, Jurong, I stay very far, Pastor. Jurong lah, Jurong, Jurong. I say, anywhere but Punggol. I, I think wouldn't be very smart. I don't think it will be very strategic if we say we start another church in Punggol. Why? When we say anywhere, it means not just Singapore. It could be elsewhere. It could be overseas but it could also be in Singapore. I think that's, I hope that allowance and when?

When should we go? When we have enough money? When we have found another property? No, the key, like I said, is leadership. The key is people. We go when there is a team ready to do so.

What does readiness look like? Well, it's quite subjective I would say, but I would say at this point of time, amongst the shepherds, we've talked about this. And I'd like to let you know because you can start praying. Pastor Kay Hong, Brother Lucerne are praying about, now it's not that they are definitely going to do it. I, I think that will be quite presumptuous, but they are planning to, they are preparing to, they're praying about God's will in this regard. Kay Hong would be a lot earlier.

We, we, he.. he is amazed at how God is leading his life. He had been ministering in China for many years. Many of you know that he's an overseas missionary there. He, he has that connection, that understanding of the Chinese culture, I think, a lot more in depth than I do. And he had this one year of standing in for Pastor Chee Kin, pastoring the flock, preaching the Bible.

And for the next phase of his life, he is, he's seriously seeking God's will and his wife May is supportive of this venture. So if you may, please pray for him, in particular, he's thinking about starting a Chinese church plant. He's more adept or conversant in the Chinese language. And with his background with the Chinese nationals, I.. I think that makes good sense. But still not cast in stone, please pray.

Lucerne will be a few more years and I think we will share that in time to come. But the 'who' is critical.

Why? Great Commission. That's what I began with. That's what I end with.

I hope we start churches not because everybody else is doing it. I hope we start looking at church planting not because we want to go on an ego trip to look good. I hope we start church planting not because this group of people don't like the other group of people and we kick them out and they say, go and plant a church somewhere lah, please lah go lah go. I hope that's not the motivation.

The only thing that would really propel you through difficult times and church planting is no mean feat. It's when you have a clarity this is Jesus' call for us as His people to make disciples of all people.

Finally, how, how do we do this? I don't think there is a formula. I don't think there is a Step 1 to Step 10 in the Bible. I think there will need a lot of dialogues and conversations and, and a common understanding of theology especially for the core team.

There will need to be a lot of support and encouragement from one another. But perhaps one actionable step is maybe as a church we can pray. I hope we will pray this in our CGs. I hope we will pray this in our prayer meetings, that God will lead this church to not just look at one pot, but to look at pots or a plot of pots, if I may.

Hundred, two hundred years ago, Charles Spurgeon said, we encourage our members to leave us to found other Churches; nay, we seek to persuade them to do it. We ask them to scatter throughout the land, to become the god goodly seed, which God shall bless.

So here's wishing you a Blessed New Year. What does it mean? Not Gong Xi Fa Cai hah, Hong Bao Na Lai ah. What does it mean to be Blessed New Year? I believe a blessed new year is when we are a church that will really know Christ, grow in Christ and go for Christ. A church that will be faithful in making disciples. And I may add this, who will themselves also make disciples. That's what it means, right?

And by God's grace in the years to come, to plant churches that will plant churches. I think, if in my lifetime, I can see this happening, I can die happy. I don't think my goal as a pastor is to see packed halls here. I may fail the Lord that way. But if we do this, by His grace, I think we can have a wonderful time meeting with Him, discharging our responsibility faithfully.

May God bless you and may we be a church in His will. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.

Father, thank you so much this morning, for Jesus Your Son. He was absolutely missional. He did not stay in the glories above. But He's..He set aside His glory, His Majesty, took on the form of man, that He might seek and save that which is lost.

Thank you He left, if I may say comfort zone, to suffer and to die, to pay for our sins. Thank you, He is the Ultimate Missionary. And Father, we pray that Gospel Light will not be stationary. But we should also be missionary.

We pray that You will lay upon our hearts a desire, and indeed a commitment in our own lives to know and to grow and to go. I pray each one of us would be thinking about making disciples who will make disciples.

And that together as a church, perhaps, really in its infancy stage right now, to pray about being a church that will plant churches that will plant churches.

We thank you for the clarity of teaching and example in the New Testament. Help us not just to be hearers, but to be doers.

This morning, I want to pray for friends, guests, who may be here for the first time. Maybe this church planting thing is all too foreign and distant for them.

But I pray, Dear God, that they would see their need for Jesus this morning. To see their sin, their rebellion against You, to see the emptiness of life as a result of alienation from You. And Lord, we pray that You will even from this day forward, show them their need for Jesus. And He alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life to lead them to You. That He alone is the One who takes away the sin of the world. So grant again to them repentance and faith.

Thank You for this day. Thank You for this time of worship. May Gospel Light send that Gospel light. We ask in Jesus' Name, Amen.


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