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Pastor

Alex S. Leung
Bay Area Chinese Bible Church
1801 North Loop Road alex.leung@bacbc.org
925-575-7506 fb/alex.leung @sixsteps sixsteps.org

PHILOSOPHY OF MINISTRY
I. Vision for Ministry II. Theological Foundations
III. Priorities for Pastoral Ministry IV. Methodology for Pastoral Ministry
V. Statement of Faith

I. VISION FOR MINISTRY

My vision is to see disciples of Jesus Christ become devoted members of the local church, who are
being shaped by the cross and have hearts burning for the Word of Christ.

I strive to do so—as a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ, by the sovereign grace of God and the
empowerment of the Holy Spirit—through Christ-centered preaching, Spirit-filled prayer, personal
discipleship, and patience. Those are my priorities for pastoral ministry. Training disciples to make
disciples is my methodology.

Context
Our lives are shaped by the images that surround us. Each one sends a different message about life—what
it means to be a “real” man or woman, what a “satisfying” relationship is like, what success looks like, or
how “good” parents act, just to name a few. In a real way, we become the images we behold.
At the heart of the gospel lies the message that we look to all the wrong things in life. We allow all kinds of
images to shape us that, instead of breathing life into us, steal it away. So, how do we find that illusory real
life?
The Scriptures tell us that real life is found in the gospel: through an image of death—the cross of Jesus
Christ. In other words, if we want to live, our lives must be shaped by the cross. 1 This is why
“cruciformity” 2 ought to be our way to life; this is why my vision is to see believers being shaped by the
cross of Christ.

II. THEOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS

1. Devoted Members of the Local Church


The Christian faith is personal, but not individualistic. Those who have become disciples of Jesus Christ
through repentance and faith in him are never left alone to live by themselves, but rather are to live in a
covenant community—namely, the local church. It is through such devoted membership in the local church
that believers are personally edified.

Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians provides to us a significant example of what it means to be a devoted
member of the corporate, local body of believers. The apostle commends believers to “bear with one
another in love” (4:2), to “speak the truth” with each other (4:25), to “be kind to one another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (4:32). In worship, Christians are to

1 Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 15:49; 2 Corinthians 2:17, 3:18; Colossians 1:28-29; 1 John 3:2.
2 cruciformity -noun. From cruciform + conformity: conformity to the cruciform, viz., the cross of Jesus Christ; a life
that is in accordance with the nature, character, and attitudes of a born-again Christian.
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address “one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord” (5:19);
and in fellowship, believers care called on to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21).

The goal of this devotion is to see all church members walking together in brotherly love: brothers and
sisters who exercise a Christian care and watchfulness over each other, committed to assembling together
for worship, praying continually for ourselves and for the expansion of God’s kingdom to the nations—all
to glory of Christ’s name. For if we are to be shaped by the cross, it shall be most effective when we live
covenant membership in the local church.

2. Burning for the Word of Christ


When our Lord had risen from the dead and appeared to his disciples, what came out of their mouths was
a response to the revelation of Jesus Christ:
Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the
Scriptures? (Luke 24:32, ESV)

The disciples realized that their lives had not only been transformed by Jesus’ atoning death on the cross,
but moreover, it was through the Words of Christ and what He had spoken. The disciples’ hearts were
aflame for the Holy Scriptures, and so should disciples today also be. Through the light of God’s Word, we
shall see ourselves as we truly are (sinners in need of grace) and see God’s provision for our need (Jesus’
atoning sacrifice). Apart from Scripture, we would never have known of God’s grace in Christ.
Henceforth, what should be evident in the church are ministries centered around God’s Word: we shall sing
God’s Word to Him and to each other; we shall hear God’s Word preached; we shall pray using and
depending on God’s promised Word; and we shall disciple and counsel one another with God’s Word.

III. PRIORITIES FOR PASTORAL MINISTRY

1. Preaching
Jesus Christ is the truth that sets men free (John 8:32, 14:6). And the Bible is God’s perfectly beautiful,
error free revelation of Himself and that Jesus Christ is the central message of this perfect book (Luke
24:27). Henceforth, I resolve to teach nothing, “except Jesus Christ and him crucified”(1 Cor. 2:2).

Therefore, at the center of my whole ministry is a commitment to preaching i that explains every passage
of Scripture in light of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done to save us. Consequently, this means that
the Bible’s text must drive its application: where the Word of God is properly exegeted, the congregation
shall also be appropriately exegeted—that the eternal Word may be made applicable to our lives. An
accurate explanation of the Bible’s text is futile unless it is effectively contextualized and applied to God’s
people in this day and age. This kind of Christ-centered expository preaching is the primary way I labor to
see the truth transform every single part of peoples' lives.

2. Prayer
Prayer that cries “Your kingdom come” ii should emphasize 3 characteristics:

1) Effective Prayer. God has made it clear that if we work for Him without His power then our work is
useless (Ps. 127). He made it plain when He said, “without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). On the
other hand, He also made it clear that by calling on Him in prayer, we can see Him accomplish great things.
James wrote, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). I have great
desires for the church of Jesus Christ to grow; I want it to grow in faithfulness, in depth and in experiencing

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the Spirit’s empowerment. Because of this longing, I shun the futility of prayerlessness and I embrace God’s
gift of effective prayer.

2) Individual Prayer. Jesus taught his followers about private prayer when He said, “And when you pray,
you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street
corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when
you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father
who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6). I desire that our prayers to be pleasing to God, and
rewarded by God and so I encourage every believer to devote themselves to individual prayer.

3) Corporate Prayer. While Jesus rejects public prayer that is all for show, he loves corporate prayer that
really seeks Him and His power. The early believers received direction from God in prayer (Acts 13:1-5).
They were strengthened by God through corporate prayer (Acts 4). And I, like them, want to be a people
devoted to corporate prayer. Henceforth, the weekly attendance of members at the Prayer meeting is
essential for growth in Christ. Without it, we will have little strength to walk faithfully as God’s people or
power to complete the enterprises of the God’s kingdom.

3. Personal Discipleship
The cultivation of personal discipling relationships iii must also be a priority of the pastor. I desire to
regularly meet with a few church members one-on-one, in order to be a blessing to them spiritually.
Through regular meetings with members, I hope that it would open up areas in the person’s life for
conversation, encouragement, correction, and accountability. As a pastor, the Lord has called me to be a
channel through which the Word of Christ can flow into the hearts of church members and effectively
applied in the context of a personal relationship. I strive to get to know members personally, to love them
with brotherly affection and Christ-like love by being a blessing to them spiritually.

Subsequently, personal discipleship should also be present within the church itself. In my personal
discipling relationships, I aim also to train up members—formally and informally—to disciple others in
the church. This works best when natural, organic relationships are formed—not simply platonic
friendships, but Christ-centered, Word-based relationships where church members are being discipled by
another. When members are conversing about life and how the gospel applies to their lives, they shall over
time be more and more shaped by the cross. (This is elaborated in Methodology)

4. Patience
While all the previous three priorities for pastoral ministry are essential, patience iv may well be one that
holds them all together. My desire for Christ’s kingdom to come—to see the church to grow, for people to
be saved, for members to be discipled, and for believers to be shaped by the cross—shall be continually
saturated by a spirit of patience, humbly waiting upon the Spirit of God to bring about the harvest.

The words of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7 puts church ministry into clear perspective:
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to
each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters
is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

I am simply a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ who serves him by the sovereign grace of God and the
empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Anything and everything I do is as an instrument in the Redeemer’s
hands; I may sow or plant or water but it is only God who effectually gives growth to his people.
The charge to preach the Word in 2 Timothy 4:2 is aptly engulfed in a call to “reprove, rebuke, and exhort,
with complete patience and teaching.” I desire to be patient in waiting upon the Lord to see his people
shaped by the cross through the preached word.

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IV. METHODOLOGY OF PASTORAL MINISTRY

The Mission of the Church:


Make Disciples
The mission of the church is to connect the gospel to people, people to community, and community to
mission. Discipleship necessarily includes gospel, community and mission. “The mission of the church is
to go into the world and make disciples by declaring the gospel of Jesus Christ in the power of the Spirit
and gathering these disciples into churches, that they might worship the Lord and obey his commands now
and in eternity to the glory of God the Father.” v
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go
therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am
with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
The Great Commission makes disciple-making the normal agenda and priority of every church, pastor, and
every Christian disciple. The ministry of the church is not solely that responsibility of trained, hired,
installed or ordained ministers; God’s command is for all disciples to be making disciples.

The Mission of the Pastor:


Make Disciples who Make Disciples
Consequently, my primary ministry as a pastor is to be shepherd the flock and feed the sheep. The
responsibilities as an administrator, or as a service-providing clergyman, are secondary. My mission is to
equip, train, and disciple church members to make disciples. To neglect this would be forsaking my sheep. 2
Timothy 2:1-2 is foundational for this calling: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in
Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who
will be able to teach others also.”

The Methodology of the Pastor:


Training
This means my priority ought not be the “trellis” work of erecting and maintain structures, but rather the
“vine” work of growing and nurturing people who are disciple-making disciples of Jesus. vi It entails that my
job is to equip believers to bring truth from God’s word to someone else, praying that God would make that
word bear fruit through the inward working of the Holy Spirit.
As a Pastor/Elder I am to teach, lead and model this vine work, and yet the desire is to equip and release
church members to do the vine work themselves. As Paul said to Timothy: “train yourself for godliness” (1
Timothy 4:7 ESV).
There are three aspects to training: First, it is the instruction that is intended to form patterns of godly
behavior based on sound doctrine (the imparting of doctrine and life). Second, the vehicle for transferring
this teaching is through close relationships where the good deposit of the gospel can be passed on through
imparting a way of life (relationship and imitation). And third, this relationship is often parental: loving
someone enough to see them grow in Christ, and committing to the long-term faithful work that is required
for fruit (parenthood of fathering and mothering).

Gospel Growth:
Through personal relationships, prayer, teaching, modeling, and practical instruction, growth in the gospel
needs to be developed in at least 3 aspects:
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1. Conviction: the knowledge of God, understanding of the Bible, and love of the gospel.
2. Character: the godly character and life that accords with sound doctrine.
3. Competency: the ability to prayerfully speak God’s Word to others in various ways.
That’s why the two fundamentals of nurturing disciples should include both proclaiming (speaking the
gospel from God’s Word) and praying (calling upon God to pour out his Spirit to make the Word effective
in hearts).

V. STATEMENT OF FAITH

Confessional
I serve confessionally, accountable to the church and to God in ministering according to and not contrary to
the Baptist Faith and Message (2000) and the Abstract of Principles (1859). I hold without reservation to
these doctrinal commitments as accurately representing biblical truth. Further, my understanding of the
nature of Scripture is summarized in these confessional documents and in The Chicago Statement on
Biblical Inerrancy (1978).

Evangelical
As a student member of the Evangelical Theological Society, I wholeheartedly affirm the ETS Doctrinal
Basis:

"The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the Word of God written and is therefore inerrant in
the autographs. God is a Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence,
equal in power and glory."

Gospel-Centered
My theological convictions also conform in substance to The Gospel Coalition’s Confessional Statement, and
Theological Vision for Ministry (2007), the Together For the Gospel Affirmation & Denials (2006), and The
Cambridge Declaration of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals (1996).

i Isaiah 55:10-11; Matthew 4:4; Acts 19:20, 20:32; Romans 1:16, 10:17; 2 Timothy 4:2;1 Peter 1:23-25; Hebrews 4:12.
ii Philippians 4:4-7; 1 Corinthians 2:14-16, 14:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1-7; 1 Peter 4:7.
iii 1 Corinthians 14:26; Hebrews 10:24-25.
iv Proverbs 25:15; Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:12; 2 Timothy 2:24-25.
v DeYoung, Kevin, and Greg Gilbert. What Is the Mission of the Church? Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2011.
vi Collin Marshall, and Tony Payne. The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything (Kingsford,

Australia: Matthias Media, 2009). The paradigm proposed in this book has been instrumental for my ministry methodology.