God recently gave us an amazing privilege to facilitate a workshop to more than 95 senior high school students in a campus in Manila. And by “us”, I mean our church family. Even though the 18 of us came from two ministry areas, there was an unspoken teamwork to a common goal: preach the gospel. We cannot take any credit from the fruitful experience because all glory and worship belongs to God!
It was God who instilled the idea, used people, approved the proposal for us, planned the event and prepared the people for that event. The timeline was followed smoothly and the students were responsive. No technical or logistical problem occurred. We would be foolish to take any credit because again all glory and worship belongs to God!
It was my first time to be a part of a workshop like that. More so, to speak in front of that many people. But I did not feel exhausted after the whole thing. Sure, my hands were cold and sweaty the first twenty minutes but it did not feel like it was a heavy task to do. God’s presence with and through the team was so uplifting! Here are two things I learnt from the workshop:
1) It is encouraging to work with fellow laborers in Christ who do not bring self-absorbed baggages on the table.
It’s dragging when somebody in a team brings baggages while at work — baggages like self-pity, compromise, grumbling, entitlement, pride, complacency and ingratitude. It’s hard to work with someone who does not want to lend a hand or relate to others in the team because of self-absorption.
Many of my teammates took a leave from work, denied sleep for their next work shift and gave up personal convenience to be in that workshop. Most of them are also going through some tough time. But they all took a bold decision for Jesus and through Jesus! I did not witness any hint of grumbling from them. In fact, they all helped out in the preparation and pack-up of things without being told. It was not hard communicating with them as well because they listen and they serve more than they speak.
It is encouraging to go and make disciples with disciples who are willing to go.
Even though I talked a little about the theory and practice of servant leadership to the students, my sisters and brothers (particularly my kuyas and ates) in the faith unknowingly modelled to me valuable examples of servant leadership. Even though they are working professionals and licensed practitioners, they were joyfully relating to the students — not expecting anything in return but hoping for rejoicing in the Heavens. They were genuinely concerned of others including their teammates. Some would ask, “How can I help?” while most would just take the initiative to help in any way. Praise the Lord!
2) It is encouraging to work with fellow laborers in Christ who not only seek a common goal but also set the pace together towards that goal.
Less than 48-hours after the event, my friend Dexter shared a photo in our group messenger. It was a photo of him with the students that he was able to share the gospel to during the workshop. He intentionally followed-up on them. It was not an easy thing to do but by God’s grace, they were able to meet-up together.
I was in a coffeeshop, rushing a powerpoint presentation for a midweek fellowship when I saw the photo. It stunned me. I paused for a while and teared-up encouraged in the Lord. Dexter unknowingly set the pace. God used him and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage me yet again that nothing is impossible with God.
Indeed, it is one thing to commonly embrace Christ’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and the Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:36-40); but it’s another thing to commonly set the pace for it.
In Philippians 2, it says: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
The words “like-minded”, “same love”, “one in spirit” and “one mind” are striking. Believers of Jesus are called to share and have the same mindset as The One they believe in. More than what happened during the evangelism initiative, I was stirred up in the faith to have experienced it with available and committed followers of Jesus. And while we continue to pray and claim John 4:35, we give glory to God for all that was, is and yet to come!