Jesus’ last command was to make disciples of every nation. Christians are still committed to world evangelisation. But part of preaching the gospel to the whole world is preaching it to the varied people of our city. Here in Sydney people of many nations come to live as our neighbours. The Cathedral needs to reach the changing constituents of the city centre.
Amongst the many different groups in the city, one large group living on our doorstep is the Asian community. In the area covered by our local postcode, 58% of the population is born overseas. Of those born overseas, the top two countries of origin are Indonesia and China respectively.
Two-and-a-half years ago we started the Asian Bible Ministry (ABM). This fellowship has been meeting at 2pm on Sundays in the Upper Chapter House. Its aim is to reach people from an Asian background. Last year we employed Lucy Lim (who now continues in a voluntary capacity), and this year Andrew Lim has joined our staff. Under God, the ABM fellowship has grown. About 50 people come on Sunday afternoons, and another 20 people meet on Tuesday nights. ABM has been privileged to see people come to Christ in faith and repentance, and others grow in their knowledge and love of God.
Now, in keeping with the Diocesan Mission “to multiply Bible-based Christian fellowships, congregations and churches,” ABM will start a new congregation on Sunday afternoons in the Cathedral at 4pm. This will begin on Sunday 4th September 2005. It will be called “Asian Bible Church”(ABC).
Why “Asian Bible Church”?
The great missionary apostle Paul said, “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews… I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
Paul’s principles and practices are the same today as in his day. In the middle of New York, a Presbyterian minister, Tim Kelleher has been planted several very large and effective churches. He says, “New churches reach new groups and kinds of people. In addition, new generations, new groups of people, and newcomers to a community are all best served by new congregations for them.”
Everyone is welcome at the Cathedral. This congregation will intentionally cater for people of an Asian background. This specialisation is needed in order to welcome our Asian neighbours into the Cathedral effectively.
The gospel is for all people. The Asian Bible Church will not exclude anyone from a non-Asian background. All who desires to fellowship in the name of Christ are welcome. But the congregation will be Asian in name and culture. The name tells our neighbours that Asian people are truly welcome at this Cathedral. More importantly it says that Asian people are truly welcome by Christ Jesus.
Please pray for this exciting new venture. Thank God for Andrew and Lucy Lim and the other gospel partners in the Asian Bible Ministry. Pray that as they plan and prepare for commencement of the Asian Bible Church God will so pour the blessing of his Spirit upon people that many will come to a saving faith in our Lord Jesus.