“Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;” (1 Peter 5:1–2, NASB95)
As many of you know, I have served as an elder in Shalom Phnom Penh Church, a Khmer speaking fellowship, for about five years. Over the past few years, the elders at Shalom Church have been increasingly burdened with the needs of our people. Through much prayer and counsel, Christiana and I decided that I should offer to serve the church full time for the next 18 months, so that I may have the privilege of working together with Pastor Chanthea and the other elders, to shepherd the flock of God among us. Over the last several months, we’ve begun to pour over Scripture together and create a philosophy of ministry to ensure that we are aligned with what God wants the church to be.
The process of relaunching and restructuring a church is never without difficulty, but the Lord has seen fit to allow us to see some fruit from our labor. One of the first changes the elders have made is to institute official membership. We preached through a series on what a healthy church should look like and then moved into a doctrinal series based on the church’s statement of faith. On February 28th, the church welcomed its first official members.
While the bulk of my time is now used in service to the local church, we have redirected part of our translation efforts to create original Khmer resources based on sermons and studies from Shalom Church. This allows us to continue creating valuable Christian resources, while not taking me away from my primary role as shepherd.
We know that human effort alone cannot mature the church, so we pray for God to work mightily in and through us. We pray that the Lord would pour out His blessing, and that we would see the church grow into a vital, joy-saturated, disciple-making people, to the glory of God. Please join us in praying for our beloved church family, Shalom, as you have prayed so faithfully for us during our six years in Cambodia. We also covet your prayers for Christiana, the kids and myself as we enter this new season of ministry. Thank you for your prayers on our behalf, your generous financial support, and partnership in our ministry. We could not be here without it.