Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Entering Full-Time Ministry

A little updates of my life.
I officially entered full-time ministry in June! :) It's been almost three months now. 
I have a lot of things to talk about.

My room
First, I'm currently staying in a parsonage with my senior pastor and his wife. I have my own room. It's my bedroom-cum-office (yes, we do not have an office).

I love the room! It's so comfortable! (which makes it somewhat non-conducive to work. Haha)

Morning routine 
Me, the senior pastor, and his wife have a morning routine. Each of us will wake up before 7am and have our morning devotion, then at 7 we will gather in the living room to share what we have been reflected on and updates on church ministry, prayer requests, even on each other lives. The time for sharing then followed by the time for praying. We pray for all things that we can remember of. After praying, we would have breakfast together.
     I love this morning routine. I think as Christians there is nothing that can bond us more compared to a fellowship in sharing God's Word, praying, and having meal together. And it really boosts our teamwork as partners in ministry :)

I'm grateful for many opportunities given to me to deliver sermon. I would preach in the main service once a month and in the teens service once or twice a month.
     I enjoy preaching. I enjoy sermon preparation: reading and reflecting on the text, looking for illustrations, observing the world and the lives of people, and making the text relevant for the lives of people today. I am still very nervous before delivering my sermon, but there is always an immense joy after I finished preaching. I appreciate the varieties of comments provided by people. Most of them are encouragements like, "Good message!" (I think for this they should thank the Bible, not me. hehe..), "Concise and clear!", (I think it's because of my introverted nature, I don't really like to talk a lot in public. And this is how I was trained in Trinity Theological College Singapore).  I also receive constructive feedback like "You talk too fast" (Yup, a tendency as a visual person), "You need to improve your tone, practice your consonant, use your eyes to speak, repeat your ideas, have a more relaxed introduction, clearer and more actual application." Those are feedbacks that I appreciate very much. They have made me a better preacher.

Well... overall I'm still adapting with my new life. It is super-flexible (I have no office hours), so I need to discipline myself. Lord, help me!

Theological Reflection on the Use of Social Media in Teens Ministry

Here is another reflection, initially written as a requirement for my Field Education Placement. The title above explains it all. Hope it helps those who are in the similar ministry.
A little bit of context: I'm doing ministry among Indonesian students (age 14-19) resides in Singapore. And I wrote this reflection on April 2013.

Write a brief description of an important, difficult, rewarding or unique event or personal encounter.
Since this teen ministry started, I have been using more variety of social media. First, the teen ministry started a Facebook group. Later, I activated my Twitter account. Then, one of my co-worker initiated a Whatsapp group. 

Then reflect on the event or encounter described 
My theological understanding has become a solid foundation that encourages me to pursue relationship with others in the language most understandable to them. Our God is Trinity, and relationship in love is God’s character. God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit have co-existed with one another in love since eternity. God wants a relationship with sinful human, so God reveals Himself and saves mankind through the incarnation of the Son. God became human. God uses the culture and the language of mankind so that we may know Him. Furthermore, as Christians we are called as people of God, a community. 
Ministry is about relationship with God and with one another in a community. And building a community needs communication. There are means of communication. The reason that I try to keep up with the latest social media development is because I want to build relationship, to communicate with the teens. I realized that phone call or sending short-message-service (sms) is no longer effective in reaching them, because to receive a call and reply to an sms the teens need to spend money top up, which most of them cannot afford. While social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp are free because the school and hostels provides free wi-fi. Another reason is that phone call, for teens in this era, has been perceived more or less as quite intrusive. They do not call unless there is something very serious (usually negative) or very urgent to talk about. 
       There are many other varieties of social media now, but I found that Facebook group, Twitter, and Whatsapp group are the better ways to communicate with teens as a community. It is the most used media by the teens I our church to express themselves and communicate with each other. However, Facebook nowadays are becoming less popular among teens. They respond more when I message them through Twitter. But the most effective way of communicating now is through Whatsapp. Whatsapp group make it very easy to share prayer requests, bible verses, quotes, pictures, articles to read, links to video, and other resources. We send birthday wishes, congratulates each other for our achievements, invites each other to our important events (eg. concerts). I see discipleship as journeying with them. In Jesus’ time, disciples travel together with their teacher. They observe the whole life of their teacher. They shares lives with each other.

Having thought about your reflection, what would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
I need to constantly remind myself that social media cannot replace face-to-face encounter, so I still need to make efforts to see them and talk to them in person. I also need to be aware of the temptation, and therefore to restraint myself, of indulging in social media – being too obsessed with wanting to know how they are doing every day (updates). It can really absorb my time.