FRONTLINERS FOR CHRIST

By Natalia David, Damansara Utama Methodist Church

Introduction: Unlike an economic entity, a church is foremost a community and a family of Christ’s disciples. Damansara Utama Methodist Church (also known as DUMC or the Dream Center) has always been on point in exemplifying this. Here, they share with us about what being part of the family of Christ means.

DUMC has always been a body of Christ that strongly believes in discipling and growth through discipleship. Discipleship is the teaching of godly values while modelling and guiding others towards living in righteousness as followers of our Lord Jesus Christ. Discipleship equips us with God’s Word, prayer, doctrine, worship, encouragement and service. In addition, it is about the relationships we build with one another. These relationships are developed through devotion, care, and by encouraging each other towards Christ-likeness in our everyday lives.

DUMC’s First Touch Ministry is an example of these Christ-like values of discipleship. Mark 10:45 says “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”, what more we who are called to be co-heirs with Christ. “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.(Galatians 6:10). We have all been called to serve.

First Touch consists of three ministries: Ushering, Connectors and Security.  These are the frontliners, the first to meet and welcome the people of God as they enter the church grounds and walk towards the presence of God.  Many who have chosen to serve have experienced how “a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.(Luke 6:38).

Dream Center Lobby

Alicia Lim Wai Wen – PJS1, is a twenty-three-year-old with two younger brothers. She lives in Bukit Tinggi, Klang and has been in DUMC for six years now. She is a student at Monash University and is in her fifth year studying for a double Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Bioscience and Pharmacy.

I joined the ushering team in my second year in DUMC. There was no specific prayer involved since it was solely my choice to serve. Interestingly, I chose to serve in this ministry because I thought the red jackets worn by our ushers, prior to the current generational trend of a simple under-stated black t-shirt that says ‘Ready To Serve’, were quite cool, nice and looked fun to wear as the ushers moved about during their duties. They reminded me of the fashion statement often made by cabin crews since I had always wanted to try out for a job as a flight attendant.

I asked a few people on the team about their experience of serving in the ministry and also watched my then NextGen (DUMC’s young adult connect group) leader who was part of the team. Everyone I encountered spoke with excitement and gave lots of encouragement making me feel welcome. It gave me a sense of belonging and an increasing urge to be a part of the team. Since then, I have been approached to serve as a Team Leader, which I did not agree to right off the bat since it meant more responsibilities and a higher level of commitment. Living in Klang and having to rely on my parents for transport, it was difficult for me to make a decision when I had a lot to consider.

After praying and committing the matter to God, my Team Leader placed me on probation for the position. God, in his faithfulness, began to put things into place for me. I was able to start driving to church accompanied by my younger brother.  I found I had more free time and my brother joined the team as well to help out with some of the responsibilities. At this point I knew there were no more excuses. There was no more running away and in obedience to my call, I agreed to become a Team Leader. God knows what my abilities are and that His plans are greater. Since taking up this leadership role, I have learnt many valuable skills that are not only applicable in church and  in my studies, but also in my work place as I took up a part-time job. I find myself a lot calmer and able to adapt faster in new environments. My prayer life has improved, and there was a maximum push in my relationship with God as I have had to pray for every detail and decision during the weekend celebrations to ensure everything runs smoothly.

Alex Tung – PJN1, works as a lawyer and has been serving in the ushering ministry since 2008, shortly 

As part of DUMC’s relocation, there was a call for volunteers to step up and step into many roles. My CG members and I heard the call and chose to answer it in obedience. Since then I have volunteered in many ministries over the years but have always retained ushering as one of the   I choose to serve in. My motivation to serve in this ministry a decade ago remains my motivation to serve today and that is the pursuit of humility. I think that pride is a malignant sin and I believe that it is the first sin of man. This most dangerous sin, if left unchecked, can be and will be a catalyst to many other sins. Hence, I am convinced that it is vital to keep one’s ego in check and for me, being able to humble myself to serve others as an usher helps me to keep a close walk with God. I am a long way from being able to consider myself ‘sufficiently humble’, a term which in itself stands as an oxymoron. Until then I am convicted that the ushering ministry remains an avenue to pursue humility and to serve others which is in line with the life of Christ as well as part of the five core habits and tagline of DUMC.

Mah Peak Hoay – KL, is a Contracts Director. She is married with three daughters and has been attending DUMC for the past seven years.

I attended a volunteer preview session three years ago but I did not seem to fit into any of the ministries listed during the preview. Someone suggested that I should try out in the Connectors ministry. To me it seemed like a good place to start volunteering since there was no preparation work to be done. I thought all I had to do was to turn up, prepare the space, and serve the visitors who came by — which was what I did — easy peasy lemon squeezy! In the beginning, I served mainly in the food and beverages team, but began to slowly engage in conversations with the visitors. And I knew it was not going to be as easy as the first look. 

Many of the visitors were easy-going and friendly; however, there were some who either posed hard questions or were facing personal issues with Christians and/or churches. Those were the times I would find myself having to dig deep for wisdom and discernment as well as discovering an increasing need to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit during a conversation.

When I first decided to volunteer, I did not pray about it in the traditional sense since it was a straightforward decision to serve. But when I was asked to lead our team this year, I asked God if there was any   I should not take it up. There were no thunderbolts or impressive lightning strikes, neither was there an audible reply from God. Instead there was a comforting and deep assurance within me that IT was the right thing to do at the right time. In a natural sense, being a connector did not seem like the right ministry for me since I am not naturally a ‘talker’ and most times I find it hard to speak off-the-cuff if not for the Spirit’s leading.

One defining moment happened a few months after I started serving. We were still occupying the visitor’s lounge at the time, now turned into our amazing Village Coffee. It was a seemingly routine moment when Senior Pastor Chris Kam came over to talk to a group of visitors. After a while I felt a change in the atmosphere, heavy with the awesome presence of God. The very place seemed to quieten down as the Senior Pastor led two of the visitors to the Lord. The following week, he led another visitor to the Lord. Those were eye-opening experiences for me, to see how God moved in such a powerful way even in a ministry as simple as serving visitors. I am now convicted that we all have our own little part to play in serving the wider family of God.

Inside Dream Center

Carmen Law Bee Ping – PJS2, describes herself as an ordinary person who comes from a suburban area in which the gospel was hardly heard. Never in her wildest dreams did she think that she would be a follower of Christ. She was brought to DUMC by an acquaintance and accepted Christ eight years ago when she started her journey with God.

I was someone who could never find my own worth. I felt insecure and inferior to others in everything that I did. I battled low self-esteem. After attending DUMC for eight years, I was disappointed that I was still not serving in any ministry. I watched the people around me serving and wanted to do the same. So, I prayed. I asked God to use me. I told Him that He knew my strengths and weaknesses and that He had made me for a purpose. I prayed in line with DUMC’s tagline. I had the will to serve and was desperately looking for my fit.

There was one CG meeting where Pastor Daniel Ho was supposed to be visiting but I could not make it because of work. But at six o’clock that very day, work was cancelled and I was allowed to go home. It was something that rarely happens in the company I work for but that day God moved a mountain and I was able to attend CG. The things shared that day spoke into my life.

Another amazing thing happened that night. One of the Connectors Team Leaders invited me to join the ministry. She noticed that I was a natural ‘talker’ as I was speaking to Pastor Daniel and the CG members. She said that this strength of mine would be useful in the ministry since it was a gift to be able to connect with others. Since I enjoy talking to people, I agreed. I started out with serving the food and beverages and then slowly moved on to engaging with the visitors. This has strengthened my faith. Through my desperate searching, God has worked in mysterious ways. Since I started serving, I find myself being more proactive, full of God’s guidance, more thoughtful towards others and find myself wanting to give my best to serve the family of God. I am so thankful to my Leader for recognizing my potential and for extending the invitation to serve.

Thomas Kwan Siew Hong – PJN6, works as a consultant and account manager in the IT industry. He was born into a Christian family and environment and has been attending DUMC close to three years now. In his downtime he loves outdoor activities and sports.

I attended the BMEW (Baptism and Membership Encounter Weekend) early this year. I had a chance to speak to some of the pastors who were there. I was approached by both Pastor Gilbert Tan and Pastor Adrian Chong who head the Resonate Worship Ministry and Security Ministry respectively when they asked me if I was interested to serve in any ministry. At that moment, I was open and listened to them as they explained about the ministries that they were leading which gave me some insights and an opportunity to weigh my options.

In the end, I decided on the Security Ministry since it was an area that I had never served in before and I thought it would be interesting to try out new things. I did not really pray about my decision to serve in the Security Ministry but I felt peace in my heart and comfort with my decision when I agreed. I am the type of person who feels nervous and anxious in an unfamiliar place or doing things I have not done before. With my security team members and the new things that I was doing, I knew I was in the right ministry. 

Last month, I had the opportunity to serve during DUMC’s Myanmar 10th Anniversary Celebration where they had expected a big crowd. I remember it was a Tuesday night and started at 11 p.m. We carried out our security duties and were just making sure everything was in order. It was a hectic night as there were loads of buses ferrying our Myanmar friends and visitors for the celebration.

Once the celebration started, some of us headed back into the Main Hall. The worship started and I was amazed by it. Everyone in the hall was jumping, praising, and dancing to the praise and worship. Even though I could not understand any of it in their Myanmar language, I could still sense the overwhelming presence of God during their worship time. I was truly blessed by the experience of being able to witness the Myanmar celebration and to be able to serve them through this ministry.

Natalia David – PJN6, is a Physiotherapist by profession and works with the special needs community. In her down time she enjoys reading classics (her favourite being Sherlock Holmes), playing video games with her younger brother, and watching Korean dramas.

I first started serving in the Security Ministry two years ago. It was not something I prayed about as it was mostly done on a nonchalant whim. Pastor Adrian Chong, who heads the ministry, was my former CG Leader and I had known him and his family since my school years. Due to this close bond, when he asked me if I would like to help out in the Security Ministry my response was “Hey, why not? It’s not like I’m doing anything else.” That was the best nonchalant decision I have ever made.

I am naturally an introvert as you can see from my pastime favourite activities and cringe at the thought of socialising. The Security Ministry was perfect since I loved blending into the background unseen and that was what we usually do in our ministry. God was gracious when I went into this ministry, He really knows me best. Often times I felt out of place and uncomfortable around other people but here in my team, I was part of this wonderful community of amazing individuals that treated me like their own and always knew how to have fun. I have encountered a few difficulties with people while serving; I have been scolded, glared at, and told off in the famous Asian way of finger-pointing. I even had someone telling me that I needed to go out for prayer just because I was doing my ‘job’ while serving.

These sticky situations, those moments of refining fire from God have moulded me and helped to build my character and faith. My team members are always there to encourage and support me. I have time and again felt truly blessed as I serve every weekend and am thankful that a moment of nonchalance has turned into moments of fulfilment as I serve the body of Christ.

We aren’t spiritual consumers but spiritual contributors.” – Craig Groeschel, Co-Founder & Senior Pastor, Life Church.

Dream Center Exterior

About Damansara Utama Methodist Church

Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) is widely respected as a church for all generations—an exciting community of families, senior citizens, young adults, teenagers, and young children, doing life together. Its primary purpose is to build passionate disciples of Jesus Christ, summed up in their tagline ‘Love God, Serve People, Make Disciples’. To find out more about them, visit their website at http://dumc.my/

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