We are coming to the end of a new year, and even though we are in a period of transition, the future is bright. Along with our own ministry, we are part of a church-planting movement that is planting churches all over the world. We also seek to enable people to grow in Christ, whether they are with us for a short or long period of time, so that when they leave us, we trust they are more equipped to share the good news of the gospel. From that standpoint, we truly have a worldwide ministry.
Here are a few things we can celebrate as we look toward Advent and the end of 2017:
- A diverse congregation of around 300 souls—around 75% single adults and 25% young families with children.
- A growing small group ministry where we have more groups meeting than ever before. Thanks to Peter Brown who heads this up.
- A vibrant Sunday School led by Anna Furness. I truly think it is perhaps the best Sunday School you could attend in the city. That is because of Anna’s love for the gospel and commitment to grounding the children in the gospel and the redemptive-historical narrative of the Bible.
- A growing college ministry. Peter Kim and his wife Polly and three children moved from Beijing over a year ago. He is a pro with lots of experience in college ministry. We had twenty students gathered at the apartment on a recent Sunday evening, and it is hard to overstate the joy they have in Christ.
- An expanding missions outreach. Our people and financial resources are being directed to people with whom we have a strong sense of identity and partnership. They are Kalan and Kayt Spencer, Michelle Ko, and Toon and Pam Yeo. We look forward to sharing plans for 2018 that we trust will get us even more engaged, particularly in the Sanchong church plant, and secondly in the Banqiao church plant.
- A vibrant worship ministry. Donna Warren organizes four teams each week as we seek to offer hospitable worship where we seek to make the gospel accessible to both believers and seekers. And thanks to all of you for being so welcoming to our constant stream of newcomers.
- A generous diaconal ministry. Jesse Turk, who leads our deacons, will be leaving for the States in February. Eline Liu will also be stepping down after 3 years of service as deacon but will remain serving the church in the Sunday school. Along with providing necessary, but often overlooked tasks like ushering, hospitality, finances, the deacons provide financial assistance to people in need. Your generosity has lifted some people out of some very difficult situations.
- A church-planting connection. I help organize a community of church planters which meet monthly for training, encouragement, and prayer. Also, Tim Keller is coming on March 8th for a large public meeting to help galvanize churches to work together to see the gospel flood our city. Redeemer City to City also holds an annual intensive in Taipei that trains church planters. Kalan and Toon were able to take advantage this past year and I was able to attend some of the sessions which always provide rich encouragement.
Every year, we receive around 20% of our operating budget through end-of-year gifts, and you have always been faithful not only to meet the budget, but also to provide a surplus. We are using a considerable part of the surplus to renovate the church apartment which will be helpful in attracting future pastoral candidates. We are also a young congregation, with many students and single adults who are just getting established in life.
In 2018, the elders are proposing a bold plan and budget to continue to move the church forward. We really need everyone’s financial support to reach our goals. If you have fallen behind in your giving, December would be a good time to catch up. If you are new to the church and beginning to consider this as your church home, please consider joining with us.
Paul thanked the church of Philippi with these words. They had “fellowship with me in the manner of giving and receiving” (Phil. 4:15). Joyful giving to God’s work increases our sense of fellowship together as the gospel is advanced.
Thank you for your partnership in the gospel, and may your holiday season be blessed!