7 October 2018 by Lim Lee Sah –
On 28_29 September, approximately 600 delegates from 9 countries and 300 companies gathered at the Alpha Workplace Conference 2018 (AWC18) in Sidang Injil Borneo Kuala Lumpur (SIBKL).
After worship, Wini Heron, the national director of Alpha Malaysia, gave an opening address. She reminded the participants that they spent an average of forty hours a week in the workplace. Alpha course is a tool for Christians who feel the great urgency to share the gospel with their colleagues.
In the first plenary “Why Evangelism is the Key to Revitalisation of the Church & Transformation of Society”, Rev Miles Toulmin, the vicar of Holy Trinity Bukit Bintang (HTBB) and also the executive director of Alpha Asia Pacific stressed that transformation of society begins when Christians do not just implement the principles of Jesus, but bring the person of Jesus to the workplace.
Evangelism is the key to:
- Longevity of the church: Evangelism sustains the church by raising up the next generation.
- Orthodoxy: Evangelism keeps the main thing the main thing. It is not separate from discipleship; but the first step to discipleship.
- Unity in the church: We can all agree on the need for survival and the need for evangelism. Evangelism helps our unity.
The speaker of the second plenary “The Church & The Workplace – The Way Forward” was Pr Philip Lyn, the senior pastor of Skyline SIB.
“77% of Malaysians live in cities. In 2030, it will be 85%. The church must have a vision to equip, empower and mobilize Christians in workplace to do evangelism to be relevant in an urban society. Churches can grow to size of thousands but will not grow as fast as they should unless they are proactive to go out to the many in workplaces. 1 Peter 2:9 ‘But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.’”
Pr Lyn listed four things to do to revitalize church to reach the workplace:
- Awake the seminaries: Only three out of fifteen seminaries cover the theology of workplace in their modules, or electives in their basic or advanced degree courses. There is a need to teach a robust theology on workplace and ministry of work.
- Assist the clergy: We need to help the clergy to see the workplace as a mission field, and that workplace ministry will not take up “church time”, but will raise new type of leaders and mobilize the church even more. Pastors will see that they are either catalysts, facilitators or barriers to the global workplace movement today.
- Anoint the ministry: What is seen in churches as an optional ministry must be given its rightful central place. Churches need to open up the workplace from the pulpit and preach a regular series on the Word and work every year including finance, ethical issues, work-life harmony, miracles, etc. They must be used as a place to equip, empower and enable workplace believers to “minister”into the 9-5 Window.
- Activate the laity: Churches need to mobilize God’s people in to the workplace as “ministers to”raise the impact and influence of the church on society. They need to incorporate godly workplace ministers/leaders into the teaching faculty, encourage prayer gatherings in the workplace, encourage consecrating workplace and businesses to the Lord, train for Alpha in Workplace and start equip for sharing the gospel to friends and colleagues. There is a need for discipleship to build holistic disciples, rise workplace mentors and bi-vocational ministers.
“Essentially we need to mobilize workplace ministers of faith to teach, model and equip the church,” Pr Lyn said.
Jef Ong, the founder and CEO of Flexiroam, shared his experience of getting out of the rat race in the third plenary “A Journey in Workplace Discipleship”.
“I am a follower of Jesus. He is my rock. Flexiroam provides me a platform to touch lives and share the gospel. God is the ultimate owner, I strive to be the faithful steward. My dividends are credited into my account in heaven. The last thing I want is that people in my company don’t know I’m a Christian.”
His talk was followed by an interview “Mentoring @ Work” with him and his mentor David Ong, the founder and president of Reapfield Properties.
In the fourth plenary, Pr Chew Weng Chee, the senior pastor of SIBKL, talked about “Raising the Next Generation of Workplace Ministers”.
The next generation of champions must:
1. Be fearless.
2. Lift their morale.
3. Be innovative, creative and unconventional.
4. Be very spiritual
5. Be a band of brothers.
The church must:
1. Intentionally bridge the generation gap.
2. Give them a voice.
3. Believe in them and give them opportunities to prove themselves.
4. motivate them to reach out to their own generation and win them to Jesus.
Pr Timothy Loh, the senior pastor of Every Nation Church, shared his own experience in the IT company DataCraft after bible college in the fifth plenary “A journey in engaging, influencing & transforming the Workplace”.
He battled the darkness of the corporate world by being the light in the company. When he left, all the staff in his team came to know the Lord and did not practice bribery..
“In twenty to twenty-five years of our corporate life, we either influence the marketplace or we get influenced by the marketplace. When going through challenges, we must work through the 3Ps: 1. Presence of God, 2. People of God and 3. God’s principles.”
Pr Fergus Ong interviewed Richard Low, CEO of Cargill, who shared his testimony of “God’s Favour @ Work”. He wanted the company’s vision to align with God’s plan. Every time he faced challenges, he went to God. He did a 40-day fast and witnessed the divine provision of the annual bonus for his productive employees in oil extraction despite the poor performance of the company during the first three quarters of the financial year.
“Every one of us isn’t just placed in the marketplace to do the ordinary, because each of us carries the presence of God. And when we carry the presence of God, God does supernatural things.”
Ps Philip Lyn gave 10 points in the sixth plenary “How and Why Alpha in the Workplace Works: Principles and Handles”:
- There is food.
- There is an invitation.
- There is a purpose and intention.
- There is no need for small talk & conversation.
- The video is not neutral but it’s non threatening.
- The discussion is usually seeker-friendly.
- By week 4 they are usually listening to video.
- The overall experience is usually positive.
- The Holy Spirit falls on Weekend Away.
- Simple, reproducible, not dependent on clergy.
He then invited Serrene Tan, the managing director of One Stop Superstore and Orange 24 Hours Convenience Store, to give a testimony of her zeal in sharing the gospel to her staff through Alpha.
Melissa Theng, the Alpha regional gathering main coordinator, spoke in the last plenary “Vision2Action”. She presented three points:
- A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.
- A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.
- A plan backed by action makes one’s dreams come true.
She invited Mandy Yin, the founder of Starlight Cosmetics, to give a testimony of how she ran Alpha in her company.
Besides the plenaries, various Alpha-related workshops were conducted to cater to different needs of the participants.
The AWC18 ended with prayer and commissioning.
（Photo courtesy of Alpha Malaysia and Ray Lee)