“When you talk about churches in Kuala Lumpur, a medium-size church has 500 people. But we only have 50 people in our church. So, irrespective of the size, as long as we remain faithful, God will bless our resources,” said elder Jacob Yeng from Air Jernih Prebysterian Church (AJPC) in Kuala Terengganu.
“We are called to be faithful with whatever God gives us and we must be willing to be use by Him in whatever ways and wherever He chooses,” he added.
Having studied in Singapore and England, Jacob returned to his birthplace in Kuala Terengganu. As God’s beloved, he wants to be God’s lighthouse for Christians coming to this place.
Although he is a full-time pharmacist, husband, and father of three boys, he desires to root himself in Kuala Terengganu to uphold and build the Church there.
In fact, many graduating students have chosen to stay in Kuala Terengganu to serve the community. Dr Su Peen for example, had chosen to open his dental clinic in Kuala Terengganu upon his graduation, alongside his comrades Jerome Ng Tee Wei and his girlfriend Lee Hui Yi who are currently working in a pharmaceutical company.
“I praise God because He is bringing people into the small towns,” said Elder Jacob, adding how towns tend to shrink due to the migration of people into cities.
In this interview, Elder Jacob shared about six principles of leadership that he follows:
#1 Be Dependent on God
A leader needs to acknowledge dependence on God. Given the title Jedidiah by a discerning pastor – which means beloved of God – Jacob believed that God will fulfill his every need.
“I believe that everything I need, God will give it to me, be it in ministry or work. In that way, I find strength. I can always rely on God to provide. This is my modus operandi for the past twenty years.
“Sometimes, we rely too much on our own strength. But when we rely on God, the results are far better than what we can behold. That really taught me,” he added.
He shared how God led him to speak before a congregation in Cambodia from his heart, which touched many people, instead of speaking from his prepared notes.
#2 Be Humble
A leader also needs to be humble before God and men, by acknowledging and meditating on how great God is.
“I reminded myself to be humble because it’s only in humility that God can touch us. But when you’re prideful, that’s when you stumble and fall,” he said, adding how he washed his elders’ feet during his ordination as a sign of respect.
To humble himself, he also always reminded himself that there are many people who are better than him in serving God.
“We have extraordinary teachers who are far better than me. If you think you give sacrificially, there are others who give more. It’s a constant reminder for me and a bit of both – from me and the Holy Spirit.
“And the Holy Spirit is like a gentleman. He doesn’t encroach into your life but he gently reminds you. One of the ways is through reflection. Sometimes, he won’t tell you but he lets you see. And you will understand what He wants to show,” he added.
#3 Be Compassionate
A leader must also be compassionate.
“Without compassion, it’s impossible to emphathize with your church members. How are you going to understand what they are going through? You can’t even have the burden to pray for people.
“What the young experience now is really different from what I experienced when I was younger. And to understand, I need to emphatize with them,” he said.
#4 Be Hospitable
Hospitality is the hands and feet of love! Jacob shared how he felt encouraged to see his church members volunteering to bring the students in the church out for a meal.
Following Francis Chan who promotes giving everything, also called radical love, he wants to exemplify this walk to the church.
“As you radically love your neighbours, that’s when they come and witness the love of Jesus. Sometimes, the first step you take to love must be intentional. And you don’t have to do it alone. You have the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit is such a gentle person. As you move, He moves with you. If you’re not intentional in your loving, He would wait to move with you,” he said.
#5 Be Courageous
A leader must also be courageous in making the right decision, amidst disagreements.
“Sometimes, in the leaderhip position, there will be disagreements on how things should be ran or emphasized. But we need to make a stand, and courage is necessary.
“Because if you are unwilling to make a decision, that’s actually poor leadership. So, courage is important. We need to make dificult decisions because if you don’t, the church will not have a proper direction,” he added.
#6 Be Mindful of Ministry
Lastly, a leader must be mindful of ministry in everything he or she does.
“I always believe – as a pharmacist and a business person – whatever roles you are in, always adopt them as training grounds with ministry in mind. Ministry must be our ultimate goal.
“And our job is where we can learn and train for our ministry. Jesus worked as a carpenter for at least seventeen years and he only had three years of ministry. That is like one fifth of his training period,” he said.
So, here are the six leadership principles shared by Elder Jacob from Air Jernih Prebysterian Church, Kuala Terengganu.
What would be your personal leadership principles?
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