The Gospel and Preaching 25-27 Jan 2024
Why does preaching exist?
The premise is simple: because God has spoken.
Words that God spoke throughout history were written down and preserved in the Bible for all time, so that these words would serve not only as revelation for the original audience, but also as revelation for future generations, including us in the 21st century. Just as God is eternal, the words that he spoke to Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, are still every bit as relevant to us today.
God carries out His will through His words. This is made abundantly clear in the creation account of Genesis where God spoke and creation came to be. His words are powerful, effective, and creative of reality. They separated day from night, formed the heavens and the earth, and brought life into being. They hold the wisdom of God's ways: righteousness, justice, faithfulness, and love, amongst others. They were what set God's plans for creation into motion, and they are potent to carry those plans into fruition. To achieve that, God has tasked His people to continue what He has already begun by speaking His words as His messengers. We who would call ourselves Christians have been given the Great Commission to teach and explain God's life-giving words to the people of all nations, and to encourage and urge them to respond, with preaching being the primary way that the Gospel is proclaimed. In all word ministry, we participate in the immensely privileged task of carrying out God's will.
Preaching is central to all word ministry. Yet, if we examine the world around us, it is clear that the intellectual and theological climate of our age is largely set against it. Worryingly, this is true not only outside the Malaysian church, but also within the church. Against this backdrop, even a convinced preacher can easily grow disheartened. And that is why all Christians in Malaysia, not just preachers who pastor and lead God's people, are in need of a robust theology of preaching. Why is faithful preaching vital for the health of the church and how can we support the preaching on the pulpit? Who should preach? What does it take to preach well? How do we discern between good and bad preaching? What should our attitude be towards preaching and how does it affect each of our lives and ministries in very practical ways? These are all questions that every Christian must explore and take seriously.
This Fellow Workers' Conference (FWC), we will aspire to do exactly that. If you are of the same faith, same mind, and same Spirit, we urge you to join us as fellow workers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. FWC is the conference for all partners in the Gospel, celebrating and pursuing understanding of the Gospel in ministry practice. We aim to encourage all fellow workers in Christ to be thoughtful about various topics in relation to the gospel so that ministry can be done faithfully, and this year we will be exploring the Gospel and preaching.
Will you join us in upholding the centrality of the Gospel in our lives and churches?
Rev. Robin Gan
- Founding Elder, Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (2008-Present)
- Founder, Gospel Growth Fellowship (2006)
- Deacon, Anglican Diocese of Malaysia (2006-08)
- Curate, St. Andrew’s Cathedral (2005)
- Curate, St. Paul’s Kogarah (2004)
- Curate, FOCUS UNSW (2002-03)
- Bachelor of Divinity & Diploma of Ministry, Moore Theological College (2002-05)
- Ministry Training Strategy under Philip Jensen (2000-01)
- Regional Marketing for Sony Asia Pacific (1997-99)
- Youth and University Work Leader in Adam Road Presbyterian Singapore (1997-99)
- Bachelor of Commerce, UNSW Australia (1996)
For more than 20 years, Robin Gan has been ministering to students and adults from a wide variety of churches. His concern is for the gospel to grow churches in Malaysia through faithful ministry of the Word of God. He currently pastors CERC, a church that has raised many young leaders to be committed to Jesus' mission.
Ministry Strands at Fellow Workers' Conference are where you can think, explore and apply further the things that you learn about The Gospel and Preaching in your specific ministry context so that you can serve Jesus better.
You do not have to be an expert on the strand topic that you choose. However, we do encourage you to pick a strand that would help you do ministry in your current context so that you can immediately apply what you learn.
1 out of 14 ministry strands may be chosen for this year's conference. Please note that gender-specific strands such as “Fatherhood” and “Women” are not open to people of the opposite gender.
1-on-1 ministry is really complicated isn't it? ... Growing others (when will someone be ready to grow others?) ... Knowing people (oh, I'm not very good with people) ... Discerning the will of God in every situation (how?!) ... Understanding yourself (really? why?) ... Loving others (hmm... I don't think I have a problem with that?)
Yet, these skills are what's required for a Christian to grow the gospel in the world. Come and join us to find out how the preaching on Sundays should stir all Christians up into 1-on-1 discipleship everyday.
Leader(s): Daniel Lu, Penny Lai
Daniel has discipled more than 50 individuals 1-on-1 in his years of ministry experience with many failures and successes to share. Some of his 1-on-1s have matured greatly and become church apprentices with the desire to pursue full-time paid ministry. He has a Bachelor of Theology from Trinity Theological College, Perth.
Penny's own conversion was a result of a fruitful 1on1 at the start of her christian journey. Since then, Penny has a decade experience in ministering to girls on a 1on1 setting, with demography ranging from youth, to uni students, to working adults. She knows what makes people tick and understands what it takes to do a successful 1on1.
"There are so many interpretations of the Bible, can we even be sure of what the Bible says?"
The Bible is a complex compilation of 66 books. And many people over thousands of years have had different interpretations of it. A lot of us may also have read the Bible from cover to cover and still not have understood how to interpret the Bible rightly.
Yet, making sure we get the right interpretation of the Bible is foundational for any Christian and for all forms of ministry, especially preaching. How do we interpret Scripture faithfully? Join this strand to think more deeply about the science and art of biblical interpretation and to make sure that you and your church do not end up believing or preaching a false Gospel.
Leader(s): Yip Li Qi, Au Soung Hui
Soung has loved reading a variety of literature (especially fiction) since young but the one book that truly amazed, puzzled, challenged, and changed her was the Bible. She struggled for many years in trying to figure out how to read the Bible, but finally by God's grace, met good teachers later on who taught her how the Bible should be interpreted. Since then, she has been actively sharpening her Bible interpretation skills and now reads commentaries and theological books more than fiction. She also has 9 years of experience teaching the Bible in various roles; she has served as the Vice President of her university Christian Fellowship, and is currently an assistant small group leader at her local church.
Owing to his background as a lawyer, Li Qi has considerable experience with interpreting words, paragraphs, and arguments. He's also spent much time wrestling with the Bible – initially because of unbelief and doubt as a young Christian, and now in order to teach fellow Christians as a small group leader in his local church, and Christian students at a local law university. He hopes for Christians to be intentional and respectful in their treatment of the Bible, since it's not just any ordinary book of wisdom, but the book that God Himself wrote to make His people wise for salvation.
Do we need to consider our audience when we preach? If preaching God's Word goes beyond mere information, requiring the audience to understand God's message through the preacher's communication, then understanding how to communicate with individuals from diverse worldviews becomes essential. By delving into the differences between Western and East Asian thought patterns, this strand equips you to understand how the Gospel should be preached more effectively to culturally Chinese communities in Malaysia.
我们传道时需要考虑听众吗? 如果传讲神的话语不仅仅是信息分享，而是要求听众通过传道人的沟通来理解神的信息，那么了解如何与不同世界观的人沟通就变得至关重要。通过深入研究西方和东亚思维模式的差异，这个 Strand 将会装备你去明白福音能够如何更有效地被传讲于马来西亚的华人社区。
[Note: this strand will be conducted in Mandarin. 这个strand将以中文进行。]
Leader(s): Woo Kae Sheng
With 15 years of diverse experience in Chinese ministry across Johor and KL, Kae Sheng offers invaluable perspectives on connecting with individuals who speak the Chinese language and who come from Chinese cultural backgrounds.
Out of all the people in church, Christian leaders must see and take seriously the priority of preaching. Have our church leaders done so? Have we done so? This strand is designed for Christian leaders to recalibrate their thinking about their role and task in the church especially if they are struggling to keep the main thing the main thing in ministry. We will examine ourselves and our churches to see if we have been leading God's people by His Word as we evaluate our preaching and teaching ministries. We will ask hard questions of ourselves. As we begin the year, let's come before God with careful reflection and honesty for the sake of the health of the churches we serve.
James 3:1 (ESV) 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
Leader(s): Zechariah Lo
Zech has been attending church all his life. Having been gripped by God's Word and having woken up to the dearth of faithful Word teaching in so many churches in Malaysia, he has dedicated his life to the pursuit of being an officer of God's church, and is now entering his 2nd year of his local church's apprenticeship programme. He hopes that many more will hear the call to the ministry to lay down their lives to fight for the life and health of the church.
Is counseling a form of word ministry? Does this mean counseling always has to have a Bible verse? How does the gospel shape your counseling?
You probably counseled someone without realizing you were actually counseling! The Counseling strand will work on our understanding of word ministry in the local church focusing through the lens of the very tricky art and science of counseling.
Leader(s): Vanessa Ong
Vanessa holds degrees in both Psychology and Theology. She has experience in counseling Christians struggling with same-sex attraction, emotional difficulties and more.
Our world is shaped by education developed across centuries of thought... or is it? Education, like modern day preaching, has succumbed to pragmatism of our age. Yet good education was a vital part of The Protestant Reformation in their context and continues to be necessary for the quality of the pulpit, the edification of its listeners, the longevity of the church and many more.
Leader(s): Cheryl Tan
Cheryl has served as a Sunday School Superintendent, Head of Kids Ministry, Youth Leader, and a ministry Staffworker of high school and university ministries. She is now in her 2nd year of Church Minister's Apprenticeship.
We gather every Sunday to worship the Lord our God in corporate edification. Sadly, many MCs or officiants are unaware of the impact they have on the preaching of God's word. Have they designed an order of service that would prepare the congregation to hear and receive the word of God? Or have they subtly separated the preaching from the rest of the service as if there are different parts to the gathering? Even worse, did they distract the congregation with their poorly delivered announcements and shallow comments? God's church needs emcees who can lead the church well through an order of service that is shaped by and grounded in the authority of God's word. In this strand, we will focus on learning the principles and practices needed for crafting better church gatherings that truly honors Christ and serves His people.
Leader(s): Jonathan Chin, Wong Jia Jun
Jon and Jia Jun have served as emcees for a wide range of Christian events. From church gatherings, to weddings, and even university Christian Fellowships! Both of them have a keen-eye for well-designed Christian gatherings.
Jon was the President of his highschool and university Christian Fellowships, while Jia Jun served in his university Christian Fellowship as a small group coordinator. They are both currently Church Minister's Apprentices at their local church.
Being a dad is more than a biological role. Dads do more than share their genes with their children. He imparts wisdom to guide his children to become the individuals God made them to be. Fathering is probably the hardest thing a man undertakes in his life. Not all dads become preachers but they model a life of faithfulness to their children when the kids see their dads listen in church and apply Scripture in their own lives. In this strand, we dads (and future dads) are going to reflect and discuss ways to establish our children in the life giving truth of the gospel. How do we train our children to sit under the preaching ministry of the word? How do we raise up godly boys and girls who can then pass on the faith that was once delivered to the saints? Dads, do you want to make an eternal impact in your child's life? You can make a world of difference. It begins with you.
Leader(s): Jerome Leng
Although Jerome has two biological sons, he is the spiritual father of many youths. He is a passionate youth pastor and desires to see many young boys and girls do amazing things for Jesus. Jerome graduated with his Bachelors in Biblical and Theological Studies and Masters of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Leading Small Groups
Small groups are an established part of most churches but it can be tricky and difficult to run a small group when ...We don't know which Bible study material to use ...We don't know how to minister to different groups of people in church ...We need to keep the group engaged in Bible study ...We struggle to love and serve the church ...We struggle to stay on mission
How can you serve the ministry of the word as a leader or member in your church's small group? How do small groups assist in growing the church rather than replace the preaching on Sundays?
Join us as we explore how to serve God's gospel and church better as small group leaders (and members).
Leader(s): Joel Tan
Joel has attended small groups since he was a young child, having been part of a group that his parents led for many years. He eventually became a small group leader and has been leading various small groups, which includes youth, university and adult groups in church for over a decade.
Listener of the Word
The health of a local church is largely dependent on how her congregation listens to the Word. How should you play a part as the local church's member or lay person in Word ministry? This strand will help you explore the what, why, and how of listening to God's words and what that should translate into in terms of our weekly church life. Come and join us to learn to be better listeners of the Word.
Leader(s): Prisca Wong
When Prisca was a uni student, she listened to three sermons a week! She was the vice-president of IMU Christian Fellowship in 2013-2014.
Her first involvement in ministry was when she was a youth at her hometown church in Johor (Tampoi Holy Word Church). She is currently a 2nd year Church Ministry Apprentice in her church, running 2 university ministries weekly, delivering CF talks and bible studies, having experience in children ministries as Sunday School Superintendent, Head of Department, involving in youth ministry and woman ministry.
Do Christians see the relationship between the preaching of God's word and singing? It is a sad but true fact that many believers think of worship as the exciting part of the service and think of preaching as the boring aspect of it. We tend to sing so exuberantly but listen to God's word so dispassionately. Do you believe that this is a problem worth addressing? In this strand, we will explore the relationship between worship and preaching. In fact, we will also consider the teaching function of corporate singing (Col 3:16). How do we foster a culture of music and singing that upholds the authority of God's word so that our worship of God is truly according to His will? Join us to find out!
Leader(s): Voon Hui Shun
Having years of experience singing in a choir and playing in a church band, Voon now serves as music head of his local church. On a weekly basis, Voon works with talented musicians to ensure the selection of songs supports the preaching of God's word on Sundays.
The differences between the preaching of the pulpit and teaching Jesus to little children appear obvious to us. But can we confidently specify the many overlapping areas and deep thought required for both? How should one teach the book of Ezekiel to an eight year old? Should we skip that entirely? Most importantly, why or why not? How exactly does the attitude towards Sunday preaching affect the Sunday School and vice versa?
Come for a thought-provoking and practical time of thinking through the many components of a children's ministry.
Leader(s): Ruth Voon
Ruth currently serves as a Sunday School superintendent in her local church, dedicating herself to long-term involvement in children's ministry. Her weekly responsibilities involve ensuring that children receive faithful and engaging teaching. She is passionate about Sunday School ministry because she believes that nurturing children in the Lord is crucial for them to be steadfast followers of Jesus Christ especially in the midst of the worldly influences. God-willing, as the saying goes in Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
How are women different from men, really?
Women are universally known for their maternal instincts, tenderness, sensitivity, and emotional expressivity. But how are we women channeling our great natural design? Women play an incredibly important and distinct role in gospel ministry. How much of our understanding is shaped by how the world portrays us to be? Come and learn to be the women the Lord has designed us to be. Let's embrace our womanly/maternal ways to nurture others in the Lord.
Leader(s): Winnie Lai
Winnie has dedicated her life to serve the church in full-time paid ministry. She has spent more than a decade leading, teaching, and counseling women.
Having passed a three year church ministers' apprenticeship, she will pursue formal theological training overseas. She is always zealous in getting all types of women to woman up to be competent word nurturers for the gospel.
It is quite common to hear stories of youth walking away from Christ when they begin life as a working adult. As youth ministry practitioners, we need to do better. How can we help our youth grow deep roots? What can we do to prepare them to sit under and grow from the preaching of God's word? How do we prepare our youth for a lifetime of faithful service in the church? Come join us as we explore the philosophy of youth ministry and design a youth preaching programme that'll have our youth change the world for Christ.
Leader(s): Jeremy Wee
Jeremy grew up in youth group and has ministered to many youths both in Malaysia and Canada! He hopes for more young people to grow into disciples who are committed to Christ for the rest of their lives. Jeremy used to work as a management consultant but is now being trained for full time paid ministry as an apprentice in his local church and is currently a youth leader in his church.