I shared (as the stage chairperson) at the closing of the conference that reflection is paramount and needful for our own spiritual growth and if we do not take time to reflect after the conference, it is merely a good conference but no life change. I believe and have often gotten the congregation to recite at the beginning of my sermons this; "This is my Bible. It is the Word of God. It informs my mind, inspires my heart and instructs my behavior. So help me God!"
Stella and I had just come back from a quiet retreat the weekend earlier just to pray and seek the Lord as to our own transition in one and a half year's time. We wanted to ask the Lord what is one word that would describe how we would want to see the Church to be. To come up with one word (amongst the hours of conversations and prayers) after a weekend retreat may not be something to shout about but it was very important for us at least because it will shape our thoughts and decisions as we move forward.
The word that the Lord gave us was "Christlikeness" and one of characteristics (among many others) was that we will learn to be kind to one another in the House of God. I was much influenced by my Quiet Time a few days before that about the qualities of a Christian leader. 2 Timothy 2:24 (NIV) And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
Christlikeness will lead us to be kind to each other, and hence to love each other, which will be a very attractive option to those outside: John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are my disciplies, if you love one another.
At the first session when Pr Peter Tan-chi spoke about the goal of discipleship, he unequivocally states that it is Christlikeness. This may not be thunder and lightning to most, but for me to have that word just 4 days ago was a God defining moment for me. (I had goose bumps!) The conference ended with the idea of fruitfulness. Hence the importance of the right sequence: To be in order to do, and not to do in order to be. Simply put, we need to disciple Christians to be Christlike and they will naturally in response to the Christ who is in them do Christlike things.I believe this is about learning to live in the grace and sabbatical rest of the Lord. The Jewish day starts at 6 pm, meaning we sleep first before we work in the day. God is already at work when I am sleeping and when I wake up, I merely reap what God had already done. This is true restedness in God! Not that there is no hard work and discipline, but it simply means I learn not to strive in what I do because it is God's work!