The president of Japan Evangelical Free Church (EFC) stated in the country report that each local church is autonomous, and that each local church share their common faith in worshipping the one God. Worshipping the one God was the spirit, and the Holy Spirit has brought together brothers and sisters from Japan, Taiwan, Philippines, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India and USA for this beautiful occasion. After arriving at the Vistana Hotel Titiwangsa, Lamy introduced me to the kind-hearted and welcoming pastor David Low, president of the Malaysia EFC. This set a good start for a spirit-led 4 days conference.
Vistana Hotel was the hub for the event and also accommodation. It is situated near Kuala Lumpur city centre, and Petronas Twin Towers were in the view from our hotel. We were surrounded by ordinary people in the neighbourhood, making a living in car repair, parking, opening small restaurants and kiosks. So, we were blessed with little distractions from around.
Kevin Kompelien, president of the America EFC, joined us with his wife Rebecca for the duration of the conference. Kevin gave his vision in the Word, spreading the Gospel, Abiding in Jesus, effecting Missions, reaching out to the Community, and guarding Unity of the church. The goals of the America EFC are to multiply disciple-makers, extend gospel ministries, and to strengthen, revitalise and plant churches.
Japan, Philippines, China – Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia EFC presented their country report. Reverend Kenneth Law reported the broader concern in Hong Kong that the number of youth worshippers as well as second generation Christians have been significantly dropping since 2009. According to recent surveys, the drop in younger worshippers is also being experienced in America and Singapore.
Plenary talks by invited speakers took centre stage each day. Reverend Jayson Tam explained in his talk ‘Father the Fatherless Generation’ that the internet, pop culture and Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer and Pansexual (LGBTQP) movements are fuelling distractions and distorting the truth amongst the younger generations. Furthermore, the LGBTQP movements are affecting all sections of society, infiltrating into our culture, classroom, courtroom and the church.
In order to keep up with these social movements or changes, Jayson reminded us how our church must continually be opened to reform while safe-guarding the truth and maintaining doctrinal purity (‘Ecclesia semper reformanda’). My personal taking for this is to dress up the everlasting biblical truth in contemporary attire, which is understandable and acceptable by our target audience. For our younger generation, Jayson has dyed hair green to preach!
Pastor Daniel Ho equipped us with more understanding about the characteristics of the younger generation. Though anxious by their nature, the younger generation like to have a vision of hope, and us to role model our faith for them. Beside Jayson and Daniel’s talks, I had the added bonus of attending a workshop led by Kevin and Rebecca about ‘Discipling the post-modern youths’. Daniel also gave us encouragement on how to renew ourselves as good leaders, and raising the next generations of leaders for Christ Jesus. Reverend Dr Ariel Jornales ‘Undressed the sexualised culture’ around us during my second workshop.
International Night Banquet took place in the third evening, and celebrated the diversity of God’s kingdom. It was by God’s desire that I was sitting next to Ariel and his wife Grace, and hearing about his ministry to the poor and educating children in the Philippines. Grace also introduced us to the Malong, a multi-purposeful garment originated from the southern Philippines. One of the highlights of the evening came from reverend Edmund Chan about appraising our spiritual maturity, how we the individual, and that of our church congregation, can emulate Christ Jesus by understanding and embodying the Bible into our personal lifestyle.
To summarise my personal take home message from the conference:
1. Have a better knowledge of the Asia EFC.
2. Appreciate the wider church issues at stake for His kingdom.
3. Continue to pray to God for my renewal and spiritual training.
4. Inspired by other leaders who have been empowered by God in their ministries.
I shall look forward to the EFCC 130th anniversary in 2018, and that of the EFC Youth Conference in 2019.