By God’s grace and provision, I am honored to have served you guys as part of committee for 2016–2017. While it was perhaps the toughest year I have endured so far, I thank God because He sustained me through this time and further refined me to be a servant in His Kingdom through the trials I went through. In this letter, I have penned three main thoughts that I learned from my time on comm that I would like to pass down to you.
I am powerless to do things by my own strength…
Quite the brutal truth, isn’t it? You only have 24 hours in a day. A whole chunk of it is used for sleeping. Then there’s school, eating, cooking and other commitments you might have. When comm is added into the picture, I quickly realized that I had less time than I thought. There’s also only so many things that I can influence in the fellowship given the limited time and resources we has as a committee. Ultimately, I cannot change the way people think or embrace the Gospel — that is a choice that they must make for themselves. Also, only the Lord Himself can transform a person’s heart such that he can make the choice to embrace and live the Gospel.
There were a lot of things I wish I had more time to do — I always wonder if I could have done more. Could I have spent more time with the men in CCF to identify any persistent issues hindering them from their walk with Christ? Could I have invested more time in members in the hope that they would serve at CCF in the future? There’s always a desire for control that I wanted to be the one to change things for the better in a fellowship. For me, what drove this was doubt that God could truly change this fellowship to become unified in the Spirit. Change doesn’t come overnight, or even over a couple of weeks. It’s all in the Lord’s timing when He carries out His good works, which could be instantaneous or take even years. Either way, it continues to be a thorn in my side to surrender such a desire to the Lord. As a fellow comm member puts it, we always need “more faith” !!
When I first started on committee last summer, I was pretty overwhelmed with my role of taking care of all the boys/men in the fellowship. There was a fear that kept clouding my mind that I would forget to take care of this one person that was struggling mightily until it was too late (as in they left the fellowship or had gone past the point of no return). As I struggled to overcome this fear, I had to be reminded about surrendering one’s fears to the Lord, as He will provide the right people and situations to those that are struggling so that they will draw near to Him, according to His plan and glory.
Through these experiences I have shared with you, I encourage you to surrender your fears, desires and any goals you might have for your ministry. The Lord uses us as His vessels to show His glory in the ministries we serve in. All we have to do is try our hardest in the work we carry out for His Kingdom. Serve your people and your fellowship. Rest assured that God will take care of the rest!
“Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established” — Proverbs 16:3
“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” — Psalm 127:1
…but God can do more than I ever asked for or imagined.
I remember in the winter term we emphasized prayer a lot — every meeting we had prayer was involved for sure. The first 20 or so minutes we’d take time in prayer for the fellowship that God would make His glory known to the people there. There were definitely times where I doubted that the prayer would make an impact on the fellowship, but if was often during Friday nights such as “Sharing Night” that God revealed to us that He was active and He was working in the fellowship. Some examples:
- people recovering from broken relationships or trials in general
- new believers
- members growing through their serving or other stuff that term
I knew from the people’s testimonies that our prayers to God, that at least some of them were answered. In the end, you’re reminded that God is using you as a vessel, and it comes a solace because you know He’s in control.
Prayer really does go a long way. Sometimes when we focus too much on our mistakes we forget to take a step back and see the wonderful deeds and miracles God is doing in this world and more specifically, in CCF. Perhaps it’s when we focus too much on the day-to-day aspects of fellowship that we forget to look at the big picture and marvel at the many blessings God has poured down on this fellowship.
I write this as an encouragement to anyone currently serving or considering serving on fellowship, whether that be on committee, SG, DG, etc. It’s going to be tough to see how God is working in the ministry you’re serving in, especially when change/growth is difficult to see short-term. Trust in the Lord — He will show you much more than you can ever imagine and show you He is working in His people in ways that you did not fathom were possible.
“ Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” — Ephesians 3:20–21
You’re not in this alone.
There were times where I failed. I clearly remember one time where some of the committee members were preparing for a Bible Study last summer. I clearly remember not being focused at all that night because of the midterm the next day…perhaps it was my own fault that I had not prepared beforehand for this occasion to come. Nevertheless, the point I want to make for this is that during that night I was exhausted and I knew that my heart was definitely not in this Bible Study at all. Somehow, I didn’t want to tell my fellow comm members that I could not do the Bible Study prep with them.
Perhaps it was a matter of pride; maybe I wanted people to have the impression that by balancing multiple commitments I was capable of handling lots of challenges in my life. Perhaps it was the desire not to burden my friends with my struggles that kept me from telling them about it. Perhaps it was the desire to get the preparation finished that I did not want to delay any progress made lest we procrastinate in our task.
There was another time this past February where we had a committee retreat at the chair’s house (kudos to Bryan). It was quite late and we were going through a Bible Study. All of us were weary to the point where we barely made any meaningful contributions to the study. I remember we eventually made it through I myself was exhausted, both mentally and physically as I had just come back from Ottawa trip with some friends and at the same time, I was struggling to deal with feelings for a girl I had at the time. In hindsight, I did not tell anyone of my struggles as I thought I needed to handle them myself. I desired to fight my own battles rather than have people help me out.
Anyways, the point I’m trying to get across is that when you’re serving, you’re going to have a lot of burdens you’ll have to shoulder. It can be tempting to keep it to yourself for the reasons listed above. However, there are fellow believers that are more than willing to listen to you and support you in your trials. Perhaps they might have gone through those trials before. Do not be afraid to share what’s going on in your life with them. Pray with each other on a regular basis and follow up with each other on the challenges each of them are facing at the moment. Christians are called to support one another and bear each other’s burdens as we run this race together for Christ. After all, we have a helper in the Holy Spirit that God sent to remind us of His commandments, promises and reassurances.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” — Galatians 6:2
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” — John 14:26
From being just a regular attendee to serving on Committee, my Lord has definitely shown Himself to me through UWCCF. Thank you for allowing me the privilege to serve you guys — after all, it was only through the Holy Spirit and the fellowship that I was elected on comm this past year. I hope this letter encourages you, whether you are serving or contemplating doing so in the future. Keep running the race for His glory!
Men’s Internal Care