“At the beginning, I was simply moved to go for STM, but God reminded me that I was not the only one who went. I should mobilize my congregations and support every one of them to go,” said Ruth, Senior Pastor from Ling Fai Lutheran Church, who was inspired by her first STM trip in 2011.
Being a Good Example That year, as a layman, Ruth paid her trip and took her annual leave to go on a 14-day Short Term Mission to Nepal despite her wounded legs. Her passion was so strong to overcome all the wading and climbing uphill and downhill. At the end of the trip, the team leader shared with her a secret - it is a real challenge to lead a team with members who hold senior pastoral positions. As humble and teachable as Ruth, she got along well with the team. But from then on, it has become a basic teaching from Ruth to her congregations who take part in STM. Being obedient and going in harmony with others are the embedded attitude throughout STM.
After the first trip, Ruth got the recognition from the Stewardship Committee and started to mobilize the church members to go STM. Year by year, the number of participants increased. It even reached to a hype when church members registered in School of Basic Discipleship (SBD) enrolled themselves in STM. Around 17 members went to STM for the same year and it was a time when 3 generations of a family joined STM together. This year, of course, a few of them go.
“As a pioneer, I set an example; it becomes a kick, then amazing things follow,” concluded Ruth with self-analysis. She believed that the active involvement in STM among her congregations was nothing to do with her title of “Senior Pastor”.
Progressive Mobilization Being the first one to go, Ruth did not stop at this role. She went even further to discuss with the Stewardship Committee and made the STM possible for the whole congregations as well as coworkers of the church. In the first place, she empowered the congregations to join STM with the support of their own cell groups. Secondly, she convinced the stewards to put off the general meeting and attended the Sending Ceremony of STM to show their support. Thirdly, within the institutional framework, Ruth urged the Committee to consider the entitlement of paid leave for co-workers who go on STM. Finally, she encouraged the former STM participants to mobilize others to join in future, partly shouldering the burden from her. Holding a paper-folded star at her hand, Ruth showed us the result of an initiation by her congregations who thought of blessing other churches through the hands of the STM participants. As a reminder to churches and participants, the jars of stars follow them everywhere they go since Jesus is referred as the morning star.