Basic AG Leaders Equipping (BAGLE) Course – Leaders’ Reflections
Written by Dn Danny Chua
Leading an AG can be quite a perplexing role. Most people sort of know what an AG Leader does. AG Leaders themselves have a rough idea of what’s required of them. But somehow, what the AG Leader actually does can be quite different from all of the above! It’s a little like that meme where “what my friends think I do” versus “what my parents think I do” versus “what I think I do” and “what I really do” are all completely different. I know this from personal experience as an AG Leader too!
This, of course, shouldn’t be the case – helping our AG Leaders in Zion Bishan be both clear and convicted of their roles in God’s church is what the Discipleship Team strives towards. Such clarity is really crucial if every member in Zion Bishan is to be actively engaged in our vision together – to #GetDeep in God’s Word, #GetReal with one another and ultimately #GetLost for our Lord Jesus.
While there is already a regular structure in place for the past 3-4 years to equip our AG Leaders (i.e. the weekly Leaders Prep Bible handling training), leading an AG also comes with many other challenges.
What does my role as an AG Leader truly entail?
How can we grow our members to Christlikeness and healthy service of the Body? What should we do in situations of crisis and pastoral issues?
Can I say anything to anyone if I’m on the verge of ministry burnout?
Those were some of the key questions our AG Leaders grappled with over the duration of the 6-week BAGLE course via Zoom. BAGLE, at its core, is really for every AG Leader (new or weathered) to return to the basics of discipleship – growing disciples who enjoy the beauty of Jesus, who, in turn disciple others for that same glorious goal. We spent the bulk of our time thinking through what the Bible depicts as a healthy ministry model – one that grows every believer to maturity in Jesus. At the same time, we also acknowledged that such life-giving ministry can be life-draining – so how do we shepherd God’s flock in a manner and at a pace that is sustainable in the long run for every AG Leader?
Here are some reflections from the participants of our first run from May to June:
Q1: Personal Takeaway: What were one or two liberating truths you can remember that can empower you to lead with greater joy and a lighter burden?
Benedict Tay (AG 40): Naturally, it maybe tiring to continue teaching, leading, planning and there is a tendency for one to have this view of himself as being a “weary sergeant coming back from a battle”. However, we should be reminded that we are not soldiers fighting on behalf of God but a child yearning to spend time to learn more about his father. This greatly reshapes my motivation surrounding AG leading—that leaders are also in the process of learning.
John Daniel (AG 29): It was very heart warming to know that Jesus Christ not only “transfers” us from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of Christ but also “transforms” us into His likeness. Liberating truth I would remember would be to know that the “Son of man did not come to be served , but to serve.” God is the one serving us. Freedom and blessing are found in being a slave.
Peter Wang (AG 50): Helped to remind me that Jesus is the ultimate AG leader. The true shepherd. Knowing that takes a great load off having to worry about outcomes so much as being faithful to Christ and the gospel.
Q2: Discipleship: What was something new you learnt about discipleship, or a revisited truth that was reaffirmed for you?
Benjamin Chin (AG 30): Often I try to solve problems in AG (attendance, participation, bonds) by thinking about structure like should we shuffle the program, have more social, or better 3-2-1 format … [Moving forward], I would be personal in terms of discipleship including specific prayer for individuals; spending time in 1-1, listening and praying together.
Susi Daniel (AG 29): I learnt about one-to-one ministry and am reminded about listening… Moving forward, I should start with the people that God has given me, not programs. My desire is for myself and my AG members to richly dwell in the Word of God and be transformed into the image of Christ. Looking forward to start one-to-one ministry.
Mitchell Kok (AG 40): Personal ministry should become more integrated into daily life, as opposed to only on specific days of the week. That also means that a conscious effort should be put in all the time to make sure that those I disciple look more to Christ, and not just when I have a formal role to carry out.
Q3: Self-Care: What are some practical steps you would take to better safeguard your spiritual health?
Chiam Jiaying (AG 72): In the past when I was tired and unmotivated, I would just think that I need to rest and then get back again. It was more of start, stop, rest and repeat, without much thought as to how I can keep going or how can this be done better. So, some of the tips that were shared like growing in conviction of the gospel and working on my own relationship with God, were helpful to me because I have never really put much thought into the process of pacing myself.
Sim Zhihui (AG 2): We need right convictions about the gospel and ministry (i.e. what we are doing and why), a right view of God (as our good and loving Father) and a right view of ourselves and our limits. Practical steps: (1) spending non-ministry-related time in the Word to keep on growing and abiding in Christ. (2) experimenting with and finding a work-ministry-rest rhythm that is beneficial for us.
P.S: Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to find out more about BAGLE and the upcoming runs.