Pastor Keith reminded us in last week’s Pastor’s Word that it’s the hope of our Lord Jesus to see our lives changed and renewed by the Holy Spirit.  With a renewed life, we are willing to be equipped and be sent, to serve the Lord faithfully, and to bring the good news to those around us.  This is indeed the duty of being the Lord's disciple. Every one of us in this church family is a disciple of the Lord.  May we seize every opportunity to be equipped!    

         "Discipleship training" and "Training a disciple" seem to have similar meanings, but there are significant differences.  "Discipleship training” can be just a slogan, an idea, or terminology. Undoubtedly, it is always good for a church to have a slogan or an idea.  But the truth is brothers and sisters don't know how to live a life of a disciple.  Ultimately, this is the pastors’ responsibility.       

          In the next two years, the church leaders and the pastoral team will lead brothers and sisters into the stages of "Engage" and "Embrace" disciple-making.  In addition to the slogan of "Discipleship training”, this proclamation will include actions to "train disciples".  

          Every member of the BAC family is a disciple, and we are now in the stage of equipping and training.  In the past few years, the pastoral staff have participated in a number of "Discipleship training" seminars and courses.  As a result, we came up with an important goal and direction, that is, a disciple of the Lord must "be able to multiply and nurture".  This is a simple sentence but requires a life time of learning and practice.  Being a disciple of the Lord is becoming a person who is capable of evangelizing and making disciples.  Being equipped is not just to listen, but to act at the same time. I have taught many “Discipleship courses” in the past, but rarely were brothers and sisters given the opportunity to practice, only to listen.  Not until the Cantonese pastors participated in the Blessing Group training seminars, we learned that disciples are to share the gospel, then reproduce new believers who become disciples.  This is the spiritual life cycle with a focus on discipleship.  Moving forward in this direction during the past year of the pandemic, the Cantonese pastors have worked hard on training team leaders who started eight Blessing groups, and invited 40 newcomers to participate! About 10 new comers accepted Christ and some of them have been baptized!  For the Mandarin congregation, we also started three Blessing groups who invited nearly 60 newcomers to participate!  We believe that this is the new direction God has given us to train disciples.  Regrettably, all training and materials are in Chinese, and there is no English translation.  But thank God that our English pastors can adopt the idea and follow a similar direction to build up our English congregants and small groups to become Gospel Communities, through which gospel sharing and disciple training can be done.  

        When we all move in the same direction and focus on reproducing disciples, even if the methods and materials are different, BAC will experience God's blessings!  

        上星期張耀基牧師在牧者心聲中提醒我們,主耶穌盼望我們的生命願意被聖靈改變,而得著更新。而被改變後更新的生命,就會願意裝備自己,順服主的差遣,一生忠心事主,將福音帶給週邊的人。這就是主的門徒應盡的本份。而本宣家每一位弟兄姊妹,都是屬於主的門徒。願意我們把握每一個受裝備的機會。

        “門徒訓練”和“訓練門徒”看起來似乎意義相近,但實質卻有顯著的分別。“門徒訓練” 可以只是一個口號 (slogan), 一個意念 (idea), 一個述語(terminology)。當然,教會有這口號和意念總是好的,但實際上,弟兄姊妹卻完全不曉得如何能活出門徒的生命。當然,這就是眾牧者與及傳道人的責任。

         在未來的兩年中,本宣家三語系的同工及屬靈領導,就會帶領著弟兄姊妹進入建立門徒的“參與”及“投入”的階段。所以,本宣家除了有“門徒訓練”的口號之餘,更重要的,就是要有行動的去“訓練門徒”。   

         正如剛才所說,本宣家的每一位家人,都是門徒,我們正在開始進行裝備和訓練的階段。過去幾年,教牧同工們參加了不少“門徒訓練”的講座及課程,給予我們一個重要的目標方向,就是一個主的門徒,是要“能生能養”的。很簡單的一個句子, 卻是我們畢生要學習和實行的。當中的意思,就是主的門徒,接受裝備後,能成為一個有能力傳福音,和有能力建立門徒的人。而受裝備不只是去聽,而是聽同時去行。以往我亦教過不少門徒訓練課程,但當中只是讓弟兄姊妹去聽,而甚少一同去行。直至中文部同工們參加了幸福小組及幸福門訓的講座,學習到門徒要傳福音,然後建立初信者成為門徒,這個屬靈人生的循環,是訓練門徒一個重要的焦點。從這個方向進發,過去一年疫情中,粵語部同工們努力訓練了一些組長,開設了八組幸福小組,邀請了四十人位新朋友參加,近十位已信主,當中部份已接受了洗禮。而國語部亦已開始了三個幸福小組,而且亦邀請了近六十位新朋友參加。深信這是神給予我們訓練門徒的新方向。只可惜這些訓練及資料內容全是中文,未有英語翻譯。但感謝神,英語部牧者亦能按此意念及方向,努力建立英語會眾及小組,成為福音的社群(Gospel community),從小組中傳福音和建立門徒。

        當我們都向著同一方向及焦點去建立門徒時,縱然方法及內容有所不同,但當大家方向一致時,本宣家就會經歷神的祝福。