The Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) is one of the LCANZ’s overseas partner churches. Among LCM ministries supported by our Lutheran family is its mission alongside the Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. We asked Rev Aaron Yap, who served as Bishop of LCM from 2013 to 2021, to share his thoughts on […]
The Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM) is one of the LCANZ’s overseas partner churches. Among LCM ministries supported by our Lutheran family is its mission alongside the Orang Asli, the indigenous peoples of Peninsular Malaysia. We asked Rev Aaron Yap, who served as Bishop of LCM from 2013 to 2021, to share his thoughts on Christian leadership.
When we talk about ‘leadership’, we are also addressing ‘servanthood’. It is blended together according to biblical teaching. Jesus called his disciples and sent them out to serve and reach out to those in need.
Jesus addressed the servant-leadership role model as the One who came to serve, not to be served (see Matthew 20; 25–28), which was echoed by St Paul (see Philippians 2:6,7).
A leader must be humble to seek the Lord by receiving his vision and mission for his people.
After the past eight years serving as the bishop of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM), I see that we need to emphasise two ‘Ss’ in leadership – succession and sustainability. We can’t merely occupy a role without carrying out the responsibility, mission and ministry entrusted by God – as the church is bigger than any individual.
Succession emphasises ‘internal matters’ covering all levels of leadership, including congregations, ministries, districts, subsidiaries, institutions, and the offices of bishop and executive officer. We need to train our people in leadership and discipleship. In preparing church leaders, we need to identify, call, have fellowship and worship with them, practise giving and learning as a lifestyle, and encourage theological education and training.
We want to enable younger pastors and leaders to have an opportunity to serve and grow. And among the Orang Asli peoples (OA), we are creating a systematic way of growth and empowerment by training OA community members to be their own leaders and pastors. We are developing their capacity to be self-governing and sustainable through the formation of an ‘OA District’ and providing educational opportunities for younger generations so that they can return home after studying to rebuild their land and community.
We are also emphasising outreach mission and evangelism. There is a wise saying, ‘it is by the local, for the local and through the local’. We recognise that Orang Asli are the indigenous people in Malaysia, hence we create and recreate new avenues for reaching out. We have set up the OA Training and Cultural Centre and encourage personal evangelism training to bring the gospel to younger generations. Through our Social Concern Ministry, people become God’s legs, hands, eyes and ears and can walk, touch, watch and hear what God is doing and seeing in a holistic manner.
As the prayer of Archbishop Oscar Romero says in part, ‘we cannot do everything … it may be incomplete, but it is a beginning … an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest’.
All this is being done for, on and through our Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. May all glory be unto our Triune God!
Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray
Read more stories about our partner churches in Malaysia at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/malaysia-peninsula/