Posted on 05-Oct-2014
September 14, 2014
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him. - Mark 1 : 16 – 20 (NIV)
The Bible records that these unlearned men left their profession and immediately followed Jesus! Our Great Captain committed Himself to being the mentor of these twelve men for three years. ‘He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.’ Mark 3 : 14 (NIV)
Officers in any Boys’ Brigade Company are appointed by the church to mentor and guide the Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) so that these young, inexperienced ones would one day become great leaders that would influence and impart the society; building a strong generation of leaders of tomorrow – as the world has made the claim. Here in 12th Kuala Lumpur, under the leadership of our Captain, Mr. Nicholas Yeap and his fellow Officers, I have seen how my seniors, our then Sergeant Yip Wei Jian (now an Instructor) and Sergeant Jason Perreira (now a Staff Sergeant), being groomed to sit in the Officers’ Council to oversee the running of the Company.
Both my predecessors had set good examples for us to model after. They managed to juggle well between their studies, family, church ministry and BB. Back then, I wondered how they could manage to strike the balancing point between studies and BB at the same time. All they ever told was the big phrase – Time management. Of course, they did not short change God as well. They would devote themselves to prayer and Word of God as well. One thing I learned was to put this principle “What Would Jesus Do?” (WWJD) into practice. Once we involve Jesus in our daily affairs, we will find that our life would be more significant, less hectic and less stressful.
Discipleship begins with evangelism. Jesus prayed, “For you granted him authority over all men that he might give eternal life to all those you have given to him” (John 17:2 NIV). He prayed for His disciples and led them to salvation. Likewise, Officers will pray and lead the Members to salvation. And as time gradually passes by, some of these Members would accept Jesus into their lives and some might even be promoted to NCOs too once they display leadership skills and willingness to assume more responsibilities to facilitate the smooth operation of the Company. Back in my Company, we started with two Corporals and two Sergeants in 2013. It was only much later that I got promoted – making now five NCOs. Now with the five of us in the Council, the first task that awaited us was energy-draining. It was tough as I recalled we, the five of us NCOs, had to run Boot Camp for two consecutive weekends! We had about 100 Campers to handle because that was the first year the school made it compulsory for all Form 1’s to join BB. We could hardly had the time to rest and sleep. Thank God we survived and we bonded closer as friends.
Jesus taught His disciples the Word. There is no spiritual growth that’s not based on God’s Holy Scripture. In Jesus prays, “For I gave them the words that you gave me and they accepted them.” And in he says, “I have given them your word.” The Word of God is the foundation for all discipleship. Don’t we want to grow spiritually and be fruitful? Jesus taught His disciples in the Word every day. There is a Word session in all BB Company, where either the Chaplain or the Officers will share the Word with the Members. Similarly, our Members are being nurtured on the Word of God during the Word Session every Parade. On top of that, we are required to attend Christian Education (Basic) during badgework slot too. Word of God is being placed at the utmost importance to ensure our growth spiritually. Recently, we even started regular Bible Study sessions with our Officer, which are held during school hours.
My Officers told me that to see people grow spiritually, we need to pray for them. Even Jesus said, “I pray for them. I’m not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours” ( ). Officers are always praying with and for the Members. Apostle Paul followed this example of Christ as well. In fact, he starts almost every letter in the New Testament he wrote with a prayer for the church. Our Officers always encourage us to pray all the time developing an intimacy with our Great Captain Jesus. I realize that having a close relationship with Jesus is one key to a successful life. Look at how big the impart the twelve made and left behind! Aren’t we all the fruits of their influence?
In the Bible, Jesus says, “While I was with them…” (John 17:12). We can’t disciple somebody that we are not with. We have got to be with people if we want them to grow spiritually. On the other hand, our Officers will not be able to personally check up and mentor every NCO as well. Therefore we have a mentoring system in the Company where our Officers will coach, mentor or disciple the NCOs periodically. Here in my Company, all NCOs also function as Squad Leaders where they will need to follow up on their Members, showing care and concern and support so that no Members will feel left out. In order to iron out welfare issues, we set up a Membership Department to look into all welfare duties related to all Members, especially our Recruits. Initially we faced some hiccups as no system is perfect. Thank God that our Membership Department is better organized now.
The Bible tells us that thousands believed in Jesus and committed themselves to Him. However, Jesus did not commit to all of them.
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. 24 But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men. John 2 : 23 – 24 (NKJV)
Jesus entrusted to a smaller group of disciples, His emerging leaders who later had lead the early church after he had returned to heaven. Similarly, our Officers commit their lives to mentor us NCOs – the leaders to run the Company, setting good examples for our fellow Members. Indeed working alongside Officers is a great learning experience. We should appreciate our Officers, our leaders and ultimately our Great Captain.