Imagine spending an entire day with 69 ladies. Well, that was what happened on Saturday 4 July 2015 when I was the proverbial “thorn” among the roses at the General Conference Women’s Society of Christian Service (GC WSCS) Leadership Development Seminar held at YWCA Fort Canning Lodge.
This is no small matter as traditionally, only women speakers are invited to address the leaders and officers of the GC WSCS, the most recent of whom were Rev Dr Naomi Dowdy and Dr Thio Su Mien. Vice-President Lee Li Bee had to submit my name for consideration before it was finally approved for me to be the speaker of the annual Leadership Development Seminar.
The General Conference comprises representatives of the three annual conferences of the Methodist Church in Singapore, namely the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC), the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) and the Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC). A total of 23 Methodist churches were represented that day:
TRAC: Wesley, Ang Mo Kio, Barker Road, Bedok, Kampong Kapor, Fairfield, Christ, Christalite, Living Waters, Holland Village, Paya Lebar, Agape, Trinity, Pentecost
CAC: Ang Mo Kio, Geylang, Grace, Telok Ayer
ETAC: Jurong, Pasir Panjang, Sembawang, Seletar, Short Street
The seminar theme of “Awakened. Aligned. Assigned.” was selected by the leaders (without my prompting, as in the case of Shekinah AG Church Camp). This opened the way for the message of Archippus Awakening to be boldly declared across four teaching sessions. After the first session, during the break, I received positive feedback that the call of awakening was a timely and much needed one. Hearts and minds were challenged to consider the kingdom of God from a fresh perspective. In the second session, we dived much deeper as the context of awakening was explored and considered.
The ladies readily identified themselves as Archippuses and began to understand the need to discern between mere Christian activity and meaningful kingdom assignment. After lunch, I presented the focus on alignment and challenged everyone not to quickly jump into ‘doing things’ without first checking back with the Lord and (re)aligning with His purposes. This may sound obvious but the process is not quite as straightforward as many discovered through that session. Finally, the race was shared – my pet topic these days – and the challenge was given for all to consider how they might have been perceiving and understanding the race. When the invitation was made for the ladies to respond, it was so encouraging to see many step forward to present themselves afresh to the Lord.
For this assignment, I was blessed to have had my wife Serene be by my side the entire day. I believe her presence and support also served as an encouragement to many who understood the challenges of being a wife and mother; and a mother to seven children at that! Cecilia Kong and Toh Siew Hoon also co-laboured with us at the seminar. They were a great help as they managed the book table, thereby freeing Serene and myself up to interact with the seminar participants. To the glory of God, pre-orders for SAY TO ARCHIPPUS totalled 166 copies. By August, when the second print run is ready and delivered, the message of Archippus Awakening will be further extended into the Methodist community. Cecilia and Siew Hoon readily stepped up to serve in the time of ministry, encouraging and praying for the ladies.
We give thanks and praise the Lord for opening the doors for us to freely and boldly declare the message of Archippus Awakening. This may be a Leadership Development Seminar to the GC WSCS but to us, it is another Awakening Event where we stir and awaken the saints to know and fulfil their God-given kingdom assignments. Leaders notwithstanding, each participant is an Archippus; and our prayer is that she will not only be awakened but also be duly aligned to be found faithful in her assignment!
Special thanks to President Dorothy Lim and Vice-President Lee Li Bee for the gracious invitation and warm hospitality extended to Team Archippus, and especially for praying for Serene and myself as we serve the Lord. And to all participants, thanks for your encouraging responses and for being such good sports as you declared the battle cry of Archippus Awakening: “AWAKENED! ALIGNED! ASSIGNED!” (watch video)