By Pastor Melissa Chan
“A retreat in March?! Why so early, Pastor?”
“A retreat with people from different CGs? Stress!”
“What’s the program like? Chill wan or not?”
Bombarded with questions like these, I began to doubt the vision and burden I felt God had placed on my heart. Would anyone even sign up?
After 3 years of social distancing, our cells needed realignment. Why do CGs exist? Our leaders are exhausted from driving the group and members need a place to refresh their souls. Where can they go for nourishment? How can we forge deeper friendships amongst church members? As the church grows, we lose connectivity and get sucked into our own silos. Relying on pastors to hold the communities together will not do…not for the long run.
Something needs to happen. We need to try something different.
In November 2022, a rough survey showed that 200 members would be interested in such a retreat. I was floored. We had to do this! Still unsure, I booked a place for 50 people first, confident that I would need to increase headcount. Two weeks before the retreat, we had 25 registrants. Did I get it wrong, Lord?
Although discouraged, I chose to thank God for each registrant and wondered how we could cater to their personal needs. God then sent Simon Yoong to speak words of faith. Through his words, I could see the vision of what could be and felt that I was no longer alone. I left our ZOOM call rebuked for doubting and with lifted spirits and much hope. With Simon, Li Li and Deacon Johnny on board the team, this small little retreat was transformed into a mini church camp where spiritual gifts of various parts of the body just came together. All glory to God!
It is my joy and delight to share with you some of the comments from the amazing 25 participants!
Q: What was your most memorable teaching/learning moment?
Too many!! Each and everyone of us in a CG has a gift. I can use my gift and contribute to my CG. All the 4 Gs (Gospel, Gather, Growth, Go) are equally important. Asking questions that lead to deeper conversations. Reaching out to the younger generation. – Li Li
Better communication skills. I learned the different levels of communication. Also, the importance of hearing God’s voice to know what to plan for CG. Games and fun are very much part of a retreat as they allow interaction and get to know to know one another. – Teck Cheng
(1) Vision casting on the multiplication of CG. I can apply it to my BSF class, challenge them to step out of their comfort zone and face outward to impact culture. (2) Deeper conversation with family, friends and class members. (3) Ice breaker competition – challenged me to remember my past while keeping abreast with current events. – Cindy
All very memorable. To be still and listen to the voice of God, to learn and grow spiritually and to practise level 3 of communication and to share the stories of my life. – Meng Yah
Simon Yoong’s message on the last day when he challenged his CG to look ahead. When he ended with the picture of children in PJEFC, my heart cried out for the generations ahead. – Allen
The 3 questions asked: (1) What area have you developed for the last 3 years? (2) What do you wish to grow in 2023 and what areas of life do you wish to develop? (3) What are 3 things that you have acquired? These 3 questions are very good reflection questions that provoke deep thoughts!! – Johnny
Q: What would you tell your friends about this retreat?
It’s a wonderful exposure in meeting members of other CGs, having lots of fun, sharing and learning together. – Irene
Fun-filled, relaxed and strong reminder of building & expanding community to enlarge God’s Kingdom. – Jean
Superb event if you want to renew your strength, your health and your mind. The itinerary was not heavy and had a perfect balance of time for games, activities and rest. The fun activities by our head librarian Simon and wife Wai Yin were fantastic as we had to use all our 5 senses. – Lih Mei
Fun learning, getting to know others whom we may not meet in church, abundance of food & fun games & play. – Anonymous
A laid-back but meaningful retreat where we focused on a specific topic and discourse with either our group or mixed with the other people in the retreat. – Markus
Worth going. – Jackson
I couldn’t encapsulate all that was shared into this post but if you find any familiar faces in the group photo, reach out and ask them to share about the retreat. Hearing their growth experience firsthand would give them the opportunity to testify and glorify God!
I asked the group if they had ideas of what to rename this event. Perhaps the most creative came from Elder Sooi Kheong! Everything, Everywhere, All at one venue. LOL
At the end of the retreat, leaders asked if we would run another combined retreat this year.
I don’t know. What do you think?
🤔 Reflect for a moment on how you are using your gift to contribute to the 4Gs in your CG. Alternatively, ask the members of your CG. 😉
🪴If you’re not in a CG, reach out to us and we’ll connect you to a suitable CG.