Taiwan Church News
August 30~September 5, 2010
Christians and churches lauded for community service ministries
Reported by staff
Written by Lydia Ma
Hsinchu Presbyterian Church has received various awards and recognitions from the Ministry of Interior in the past 3 years for its efforts in community service. The church has long been committed to ministries such as Pine Life University for seniors, children’s Saturday day camp, life education classes and more.
To Hsinchu Presbytery’s delight, another church in Hsinchu area was also awarded for outstanding service this year. Rev. Chen Po-chih from Canaan Presbyterian Church and another member of that church were both awarded for their commitment in helping local schools.
According to Rev. Cheng Wen-ren from Hsinchu Presbyterian Church, the difference between churches and other religious organizations when it comes to community service is that the latter usually purchase and donate material resources, whereas churches devote time understanding the needs of people they are helping and tailor their ministries accordingly. He believes this may explain the success of church outreach ministries and the reason churches have won praise from government agencies for their work.
Through offering various classes for seniors and children, Hsinchu Church has also succeeded in sharing the gospel with them, said Cheng Wen-ren. He reported that many students from Pine Life University are now regular churchgoers and some have even been baptized.
In the past, accolades from government agencies usually went to Buddhist organizations. From his experience over the years, Cheng is confident that Christian churches can do better in reaching out to their communities and maintaining good relationships with their neighbors and thus become a beacon of light in their communities as well.
As for Chen Po-chih, his vision of preaching the gospel in campuses has been the fuel driving his ministry. Guided by God’s wisdom, Chen decided not to use his church’s name to do ministry among students. Instead, he opted for a more effective strategy – registering his volunteer work under the banner “Holistic Life Education Association”.
As result, this association has managed to run life education classes in high schools and elementary schools across Taoyuan since 2005. Having access to so many schools, many volunteers exclaimed that schools and playgrounds were like fields ripe for a harvest of souls.
Chen shared during an interview that many children attending life education or character-building classes actually came from troubled families. They were referred by school officials because guidance counselors were unable to help them. As volunteers got to know these children, they would often refer them to church fellowships that fit them best.
Months after these children began attending some of the church’s small group meetings, God’s work in these children became evident, said Chen. Not only were they no longer singled out as troubled kids at school, their families also accepted Christ and were baptized.