Basic AG Leaders Equipping (BAGLE) Course
A Ministry Report by Dn Danny Chua
Leading an AG can be quite a perplexing role. Most people sort of know what an AG Leader does. Maybe most AG Leaders themselves have a rough idea of what’s required of them. But somehow, what the AG Leader actually does can sometimes 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 4-5 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 recent run from May to June:
Michael Bin (AG73): We need to see God rightly, by seeing ourselves rightly. Moving forward, I will endeavour to take less pride in the works of my hands and even some of my strengths (e.g. industriousness), but shall endeavour to be more humble when approaching others as well as God. In terms of preventing burnout and working towards sustainable ministry, I need to learn to be more open to saying “No”, and to be more open to my loved ones who provide me with alerts about signs of burn out/fatigue in my life. To learn to delegate more, and involve more AG members in organising/facilitating AG activities (e.g. socials, or even caring for other members of the AG).
Grace Wong (AG40): Discipleship is walking with someone in the faith and allowing them to find out more about Jesus. Being patient, not expecting everyone to understand every study that is taught and to let God teach them in His time and His way. In terms of self-care and rest, I hope to remember to take time for myself and to spend more time alone with God. To allow the co-leaders to understand each other and support each other more in this ministry.
Elder Chuah Chin Yew (AG12): BAGLE was a good refresher in reminding me of Speaking the truth, Toiling with perseverance, Everyone being involved, and Praying in dependence on the Spirit (STEP) so that we’re running AG meaningfully. In terms of burnout prevention, we need to recognize our need to rest and lead a balanced lifestyle.
June Quek (AG75): Go make disciples of all nations doesn’t only mean conversion but to grow disciples in their spiritual maturity in Christ, knowing Him, loving Him, serving Him. Preaching to non-Christians is equally important as growing disciples, just that it’s less obvious in terms of fruit in the short term with growing disciples. Just labour on… In terms of guarding against burnout and working towards sustainable ministry, I’ve got to be disciplined to block out time to spend with God and His people. At least 2-3 days every 6 months.
Annette Wong (AG50): Good to remember that discipleship is based on the Word but also that reading the Bible together helps in the sharing of lives and asking of difficult questions. Will be more intentional about asking deeper personal questions relating to the text when doing one-to-one Bible reading, and avoid a ‘touch-and-go’ way of doing it (e.g. reading one book and moving on to another person quickly). In terms of self-care and sustainable ministry, it was helpful to know the definitions of burnout and what it looks like when one is heading towards that. Practical steps – ensure I regularly talk to close Christian friends about walk with God, thoughts and feelings about ministry so that I can be encouraged and likewise encourage them in their ministry.
Catherine Dong (ZBCS, AG102): I learned more about biblical principles in serving and leading. It is God that we are serving and God will lead us along the way when we submit all our concerns to Him. In terms of rest, continual prayers on my own and with fellow Christian sisters are important. Practically, also continuing to engage in physical exercise and ensuring sufficient sleep.
Dns Jenny Zeng (ZBCS, AG102): I have benefited a lot from this course. It has covered many aspects in a comprehensive way from the discipleship based on Biblical truth to the practical ways of dealing with issues encountered at the individual level. It has deepened my understanding of being a follower of God; our faith is from Him and in Him. Jesus’ words from the Great Commission encourage me a lot, as a disciple of God, I am not battling with bare hands, God is with me, and He has all authority in heaven and on earth! This course has strengthened my faith that our faith is rooted in Him, from Him!
Please contact Deacon Danny (email@example.com) if you wish to find out more about BAGLE and the upcoming runs.