The saying is trustworthy:

If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task.1 Timothy 3:1(ESV)

We are holding our annual congregational meeting today. You will be presented with a report of what was done last year; your approval will be sought for the proposed budget for this year, and you will be asked to vote for leaders of the church. This year three elders are standing for re-election and a new deacon is standing for election for Sembawang to serve a new 3-year term beginning in April 2014.

I urge you, in this matter, to exercise your rights prayerfully and elect these persons so they can join the existing elders and deacons whose terms are still current in the “noble task” of overseeing the affairs of the church.

When the aged apostle Paul wrote to Timothy his young protégé to encourage him in the ministry, he begins Chapter 3 of First Timothy with the paragraph on “bishops” (better, “overseers”) by quoting what was apparently a well-known saying about the work of an overseer. He calls it “a noble (or “good”) work."

I believe God is clear in His Word about how He wishes His church on earth to be organized and managed. First, Christ is the head of the church and its supreme authority (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; Colossians 1:18). Second, the local church is to be autonomous, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). Third, the church is to be governed by spiritual leadership consisting of two main offices – “elders and deacons.”

It is clear to me that there was always a plurality of leaders in the New Testament, but this does not negate God’s gifting particular elders with the teaching gifts while gifting others with the gift of administration, prayer, etc. (Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11). And He has also provided for one or several of the elders to serve in the major “pastoral” role. God calls some as “pastor/teachers” (even as He called some to be missionaries in Acts 13) and gives them as gifts to the church (Ephesians 4:11).

Hence, if I may, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that when you vote you are also making the commitment to pray for and support your church leaders, and thereby, participate in the “noble” task to which God has called us.

May God bless us with good and humble leaders.

Rev. Robert Chew