The 3rd annual ALPHA Workplace Conference in Malaysia was held from 26-28 Sept at Penang Christian Center in Penang, with delegates from 52 churches in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, United Kingdom, Singapore, and South Africa.
Datin Kathleen Chew, ALPHA Malaysia Chairperson, was the opening speaker to launch the ALPHA Workplace Conference. She spoke about ancient and glorious Christian-civilization Ethiopia, which is now ridden with poverty and destitution. What happened at the Ethiopian Church’s crossroad to cause the vanishing of God’s glory?
“In Malaysia, we are at this crossroad where we can choose to do greater things or choose to step back and not take that challenge,” Datin Kathleen said in answering God’s call for the Great Commission in the workplace.
Alpha Course is a 15-session course, where anyone can introduce the Christian faith in the workplace using videos and manuals. You can do the Alpha course over lunchtime everywhere — meeting rooms, Starbucks coffeehouse, and hawker stalls—as long as you have a laptop, a tablet, or a mobile phone.
Sr Pr Dr Philip Lyn of Skyline SIB church in Sabah — second speaker for the ALPHA Conference — spoke about being a minister at the workplace that is not only limited to pastoral work within church. An excellent example, Pr Philip is a full-time doctor by weekday and a full-time pastor by the weekend for over 13 years now. In fact, his church team staff is all bi-vocational, growing the church into 800-strong believers.
Pr Philip shared four reasons why NOW is the time to engage the people in our workplace or marketplace:
1. The need in the workplace is huge.
Albeit great finances, there is an even greater spiritual poverty in the workplace that needs the gospel.
2. The workplace is a place of huge blessing and great curses.
The workplace is a place of immense immorality, greed, and crime, intertwined with pleasure and entertainment. That is why four-fifth of Jesus’ miracles happened in the workplace. By year 2030, the top ten largest cities in the world will mostly be Asian countries, overtaking the European countries. And three out of five people will be in the workplace. With so many people in the workplace, the workplace offers an immense demand to share the gospel.
3. The influence of the church in the workplace is minimal
One may be surprised with the freedom we have in our workplace to share the gospel. For example, to date, Alpha Malaysia has 30 ALPHA Workplace courses all over Malaysia, demonstrating its acceptability. This number is set to more than double by year end as a result of the conference.
4. The ministers in workplace are few.
Everyone should be a minister at work, not only pastors. God’s people at work need to be reequipped with skills and boldness in the Spirit to share the gospel.
Foo Lai Wei, National Director of ALPHA Malaysia and final speaker for the ALPHA Conference, also spoke about the effectiveness of ALPHA Malaysia. According to the general statistics of ALPHA worldwide, most meet and come into a relationship with Christ after going through the Alpha Course. But ALPHA in Malaysia does even better.
“You don’t want to miss this group (workplace people) because this group will be the future of the church,” Lai Wei said.
The ALPHA Malaysia’s vision of transformation includes transforming lives, relationships, culture, society, and leadership. According to Lai Wei, to transform our workplace, we need to:
1. Change the spiritual climate
In changing spiritual climate, we need the Word, Holy Spirit, and also the motivation to shake the workplace.
2. Change process
In order for change to be sustainable, we need a process that is systematic and transferable. The 1-year Workplace Disciple Maker Process proposed in this conference provides a viable and practical road map for journeying with our friends. This process enables us to intentionally interact with our friends and handle issues right in the workplace and not wait for Sunday to bring the problems into church. This allows for miracles to be experienced right in our workplaces.
3. Change to become agents
We need to be like thermostats to set the temperature of the spiritual climate in our workplace through praying to and partnering with God, not just thermometers measuring and merely complaining.
4. Change platform
The conference closed on the final night with a dinner inviting our friends to hear a talk and a testimony that answers the question: “Is there more to life than work?” We want to put feet to the conference by pressing ‘play’ and start the process for our friends and love ones in the workplace to meet Jesus and be forever changed!
Why Workplace? We spend at least eight hours in the office every day, having built a relationship with our colleagues, staffs, and employers. With such opportunity, Alpha Workplace course gives us a platform to share the gospel with people we already know in an easy, flexible, non-threatening, open, respectful, and safe manner.
Every soul is important to God.
“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
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