Faithfulness from Afar: Stories of GCN from 2021
When the world went on lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic, it was hard to imagine what daily life would look like through the lens of our computer screens and Zoom galleries. But over time, we collectively adapted. And by the end of 2020, looking towards 2021, there was a sense that the new normal was coming.
The desire to see God glorified, hearts renewed by the gospel, and churches planted, motivated Gospel City Network (GCN) to adapt and adopt a robust online presence in 2021 to serve the local churches in Malaysia.
The stories below represent the experiences of real individuals who were impacted through virtual training, events, and conferences hosted by Gospel City Network in 2021. They’re stories of faithfulness from afar. Although it has been quite some time since GCN hosted an in-person event, the urgency of the mission continued virtually.
The first story of faithfulness from afar is with Gospel Labs. Gospel Labs are customized training which GCN does, specifically tailored for local churches’ ministry needs. In 2021, GCN partnered with Harvest Bible Chapel – KL to offer Gospel Labs.
“Gospel Labs bring into focus the dynamic character of the gospel and its sufficiency to meet us at every point of our need regardless of where we may be at any one point in time,” wrote Gurpreet Singh, an elder at Harvest Bible Chapel – KL. “It contextualizes how the love of Christ and the call of Christ meets us in our day-to-day and propels us to live life differently, in ways fully free yet wholly bound.”
Singh continued and shared the impact which Gospel Labs had on Harvest Bible Chapel – KL. “As a church that has implemented these labs for our congregation, the GCN team took the time to listen to our needs and recommended suited interventions, keeping discipleship, health, and growth in mind. It certainly gave us a fresh take on the gospel and produced conversations that convict and comfort in ways only the gospel can.”
During the challenges of the pandemic, and season of transition in the church, the Gospel Labs helped Harvest pursue gospel growth and discipleship.
Church Planting Incubator
The next story of faithfulness from afar involves GCN’s flagship training program, the Incubator.
Edwin Chan was one of the Incubator participants. In reviewing his time in the incubator, Chan wrote, “The incubator training is a practical training that one can go through if God has given you the heart to plant a church or to revitalize your church.”
Chan continued, “The training sessions are very enriching and awesome, conducted by a group of very passionate trainers. They are able to guide me all the way to form my philosophy of ministry. Personally, one key takeaway (is that) the fire for ministry (is) fueled by the gospel.”
A benefit of the Incubator is that participants are not left on their own to learn and grow. Rather, the Incubator is done with a cohort of individuals who are walking alongside one another during the learning journey.
On this aspect of the Incubator, Chan wrote, “The cohort that we have is amazing too. As we’re able to form a gospel community coming together to share our ministry and life struggles and pray for one another each time we meet.”
Though this Incubator cohort was conducted solely online, the participants were able to encourage one another, grow in the gospel community, and spur one another on to faithfulness in life.
Any exploration into the impact of GCN in 2021 would be incomplete without looking at the Mandarin Ministry. The next stories of faithfulness from afar come from participants in the GCN Mandarin Ministry.
Tan Yee Keat, a participant in the Mandarin Ministry, wrote, “In a series of seminars and courses hosted by GCN, I was able to reacquaint myself with the Gospel, rediscover the Bible, and truly encounter Jesus, who spoke to me through the Bible, touched my heart, and experienced a renewed spiritual life that I had not experienced in my years of faith.”
The testimony of Keat serves as an encouragement of the renewal that can occur even when people are meeting virtually online. And the story of the next participant further emphasizes this point.
Lee Le Pey, Gospel Christianity course participant wrote, “Through the Gospel Christianity class, I was able to see once again that under the shadow of the pandemic, only the Gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ alone can bring comfort to the heart, joy of salvation, peace from the forgiveness of sins and eternal hope.”