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Who is Joseph?
by Michael Chu
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(Author's note: This is a work of fiction in that all names, churches, situations and characters are fictitious.)

Pastor Strong closed the door of the meeting room adjoining his office and turned to face his invited guests. He mustered a smile towards the two gentlemen and a lady who had just ceased conversing with each other across the table upon his entry.

He sat down, and drew his chair a tad closer to the table. Looking to his left and right at them, he said, “Good morning, Pastors. Thank you for taking your precious time to come to Oxendrive.”

They nodded amicably without saying a word, anticipating and awaiting for the full revelation of Pastor Strong’s initiative for the meeting.

Leaning forward, Pastor Strong said, “For too long, we the church had been talking about evangelism, more evangelism and further more evangelism.”

He paused and sussed that his audience was ready to be reeled in. “What I mean to say is that for too long the church has impacted only two pillars of our society, namely, family and religion.”

Pastor Leon said, “But, we’ve been sending hordes of missionaries overseas to so many countries. Surely, wherever our feet shall tread, the Lord has given it unto us. We’re more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.”

“I agree,” said Pastor Faith. “There is no mountain too big that our God cannot move.”

Pastor Neighbour said, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, and the meek shall inherit the earth. The victory is ours in the Lord, but let’s hear out Pastor Strong.”

“Thanks, Pastor Neighbour. But, do feel free to interrupt me as you see fit,” said Pastor Strong. “Even in the mission fields abroad, we’ve only been effective in touching family life and helping people to have a personal walk with God. I think we’ve not been that successful in impacting the other pillars of society such as business, education, politics, the arts, and mass media. I mean, where is the church from Monday to Saturday? Is the church confined to a two-hour gathering of believers on Sundays?”

Pastor Neighbour said, “Our people carry out their responsibility well for their family, employer, business, church and society, in general. They need time for rest and recreation at home and should not be over-driven.”

“Well, the way I see it, the church is present in all the schools, institutions, factories and offices where the people of God are engaged from Monday to Saturday, as well,” said Pastor Faith.

“Yup, for the kingdom of God is within us,” said Pastor Leon, patting his abdomen as he nodded in agreement. “I think I’m getting it now. Maybe that’s why my church hasn’t been growing because the presence of God has not been brought to bear by my church members to their marketplace. Hmm, my business folks and politicians need to hear about this … ”

“Preach it, brother,” said Pastor Neighbour. “But, be gentle, or you might lose some of them. The price is there, but we’ve got to do, what we’ve got to do. Our Christianity has to be real beyond the four walls of the church building. We need to lend a listening ear and help people whom we come into contact with through praying with them and other tangible helps.”

“Yes,” said Pastor Faith, “To be hearers of the word, and doers of the word, from Sunday to Monday.”

Pastor Strong said, “That’s how we can transform society. Each will bring into the ark of God’s salvation after their kind and others, besides. The healthcare workers, politicians, business people, teachers, students, truck drivers, lumberjacks, firemen, so on and so forth.”

“Good gracious, that means everyone is working as a full-time minister,” said Pastor Leon.

“Yes,” said Pastor Strong, “As ministers, servants of God, in their domain of influence.”

“But, of course, we’ll still need ordained ministers to tend and feed the sheep,” said Pastor Neighbour.

“Most certainly,” said Pastor Faith. “But, this matter of transforming society through individual believers will serve as a powerful leverage for the 1% church staff to bring the kingdom of God into every highways and byways of our community. Awesome.”

“It’s still evangelism to me,” said Pastor Leon. “With an added dimension.”

“There’s also another dimension, which Joseph mentioned,” said Pastor Strong.

“Who is Joseph?” said Pastor Neighbour.

“Our verger,” said Pastor Strong.

“Your church keeper? said Pastor Leon.

Pastor Strong, with nonchalance, said, “Yes. He said we, Christians, ought to have a human face. All too often we can soar with wings like the eagles and start quoting Scriptures when helping people before they are given half a chance to say their piece. Within the church, sometimes, we would even brush aside the trials which our brethren encounter by telling them to deny reality rather than face up to it with godly counsel and the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“And, sometimes, we ought not to drive people too hard,” said Pastor Neighbour.

“Oh, but I do, up to a point,” said Pastor Strong. Breaking into a broad smile, he said, “We’re not called Oxendrive Church for nothing.”

The rests couldn’t help themselves but joined in with laughter.

They followed on with a few other thoughts before Pastor Strong drew the meeting to a close. Having enjoyed the fruits of their discussion and rapport, they made plans to meet on a monthly basis to share the word of God with each other. Pastor Leon closed in prayer.

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