Tradition is a practice that has been passed down from generation to generation, be it a procedure, protocol, dress code, expression, etc. As well as other social institutions, e.g., family, education or employment, church is an institution that is not without traditions.
Tradition is beneficial as it guides one’s practices on certain occasions. As a result, one does not have to figure out on the spot how to conduct oneself. Nevertheless as time goes by, certain traditions might become irrelevant and should be adjusted. Certain traditions that have only been reduced to a form without function should be abolished or modified. Importantly younger ones nowadays do not look for traditions. On the contrary, many of them wonder what is the point of maintaining them, whether they are useful or help people to know God more. When people go to church, they want to experience God and not embrace church traditions.
Church will grow if its people are concerned not just about believers or its internal affairs. Church should not be a closed group. But it should open itself to touch the society and bless them, not only in spiritual but also physical matters.
God cares for every area of people’s lives. Jesus and His disciples did not only go out to preach the gospel of salvation. But they also blessed those around them by giving them help and meeting their needs though healing, works of miracles or even feeding.
God has an agenda and He works it out to fulfil His plan. We should discern where He moves so that we can follow Him. We should become like those who observe the direction of winds and waves and ride on the waves that would take them.
This does not mean we should not make a plan but simply wait for God’s leading. In fact, we should play our part in planning. At the same time, we should discern God’s direction, too. And if God would lead us in a path that is different from ours, we should realign it to His. Just like Paul who went ahead to devise a mission plan without the Holy Spirit’s revelation of His plan. But when the Holy Spirit forbade him to enter Asia but instructed him to enter Macedonia, he adjusted his plan accordingly and saw fruit.
Leadership is not a position but a quality. Some people are in a leadership position but do not lead or have any follower. On the contrary, some people are appointed as leaders but their lives and words influence people around them. As a consequence, these people follow them. They lead people by example.
Some people are born with leadership quality. They lead intuitively without training. However, leadership can be learned, especially from successful leaders. Hearing leadership stories can be motivating and causing some who never led or dared to lead to become passionate in leading. Moreover, experiences in leading can make those leaders lead even better due to their accumulative wealth of knowledge, wisdom and confidence through their extended service.
Humans are the most valuable assets. God uses people and sees potential in them. Before He launched His ministry, Jesus selected His disciples, many of whom were merely ordinary people. Many of them seemed useless but Jesus saw potential in them and trained them to be new people who could do mighty things. God called someone like Saul, a great enemy of the church, and turned him into Paul, a fruitful church planter. This is because He saw potential in him.
Do not see people as who they are today but the inner men in them. Leaders must see people’s potential and help to unleash it. Sometimes we think we do not have enough man power. But God might have provided us with good people. What we only need to do is search for them. Once found, we have to work hard to refine their lives until they are ready to be used.
No church is without strengths or only has weaknesses. Every church has strengths and weaknesses. The question is-How well are its leaders aware of them? Oftentimes when people see other churches become successful, they want to imitate them, forgetting the fact that imitating others that are strong in the areas that are not their strengths could weaken rather than strengthen them.
Every church should therefore identify its strengths which comprise the strengths of its pastor, elders, leaders and members who make up the church. It should use its strengths to edify its faith community and make it grow.
I used to think that theory governs practicality. We need good principles to be implemented in our ministry. This year I have learned that principles are also formulated or altered through what we learn from our practice. Especially when the context is changed, principles that were accepted or thought to be true might need revision, too. The actual practice in fact tests if that theory is correct or workable. A theory that is not tested through implementation might sound good but be useless.
Theory and ministry therefore influence each other.