A Pastor's Response to the Integral Mission Survey 2020-2021
by Rev. Jonathan Wong
Thank you for the opportunity to share some thoughts in response to the survey findings. I am both encouraged and also challenged by what we have found from the results.
The most encouraging stat for me as a pastor was the finding that about 80% of the respondents had a positive response to regular Bible study. It is one of the things that we strive for when we lead our churches, that our members take the Word of God seriously.
However I’m reminded of the injunction in James 1:22 to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” In other words studying the Bible is good and important, but if we stop there, then we are just fooling ourselves if we don’t put what we learn into practice. The challenge is in the follow up statistic which found that in practice only 48% are directly involved in helping the poor and disadvantaged, while a little more are advocates for such issues (58%). One may say that isn’t bad, but considering that the respondents are probably active in Micah Singapore, means there is some self-selection taking place. I would assume that they are already more highly engaged than most of their generational peers in our churches. I shudder to think about what the actual numbers would be in most of our congregations.
The writer of the epistle also goes on to point out later that “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27) So if we are to be doers, one of the most important things we should do is to help those who are often forgotten, marginalised and disadvantaged in our communities. Having said that I think you who are here at this Micah-thon are on the right track so keep it up!
To conclude, I am reminded of something that Archbishop William Temple who said that “The Church is the only organisation that exists primarily for the sake of those who are still not its members.” This means we are to have an other-centerdness that is counter-cultural and we should always strive towards this. So please stay the course you are on, and I also look forward to what you will come up with so that we as the whole church can and will join in to live out the full implications of the whole gospel for the whole world in integrated missions!
Jonathan’s passion is to help people understand the lavish, undeserved love that God has for each one of us. This gospel (“good news”) orientation is at the heart of all that he does as the pastor of the English-speaking congregation of the Church of the Good Shepherd.
He received his tertiary education in the United States of America and in Canada, but was born and raised in Singapore. His ordained ministry with the Diocese of Singapore began in 1998, and since then he has been intimately involved with youth work and church planting both locally and abroad for most of his ministry life, and as a result has a heart to help train and develop young leaders towards gospel-centered church ministry.
Jonathan and his wife Karen have been married for 27 years, and have been blessed with three children Rachel, Elisabeth and Daniel, as well as a black Border Collie-Labrador mix named Shadow. Jonathan is an avid football fan, loves to play golf, and trains for triathlons.