On October 30th, The New York Christian Short-Term Mission Training Centre (NYCSTM) held its 12-year anniversary at a banquet held at New York Chinatown. Ministry leaders and congregants from over ten churches gathered at the banquet. Around 200 people were present to give thanks to God for the past 12 years and "to work as one for the gospel we believe," the theme of the vision shared over dinner.
Rev. Willy Ng, president of the organization, shared at the banquet that mission is not merely one person spreading the gospel, rather everyone should go and preach and reap its benefits.
After the banquet, Rev. Ng told the reporters of how the NYCSTM was unable to recruit any staffs four years ago, however through continuous prayers, God finally called upon Missionary Fan Wen Jian from Hong Kong. Fan and his wife sold their possessions in Hong Kong and have since served in New York. They held successful short-term mission trainings in New York and Boston, and travel to various churches to lecture and train believers.
Rev. Ng mentioned that what short-term missions need today is proper training of believers for the field. Missionaries need to be equipped, otherwise fear and inability will seize them. He went on to explain how the short-term missions training center not only teach believers to evangelize on the streets, but also asks believers to devote two full years in ministry. In two years, one-third of the time will be used to equip for missions, another third to carrying out the practice.
However, Rev. Ng expressed his concern that New York branch, out of the 8 branches of the organization worldwide, is the only one yet to discover a believer who would be willing to devote themselves for two full years; the longest has been three months so far. Yet he is optimistic of the organization's future in the city. "What we don't have in the past does not mean we won't have in the future," he said.
General Director of Hong Kong CTSM Rev. Danny Ma offered his advice on evangelism over the banquet. He said that there is not one set method of evangelizing. Like how Apostle Paul described, to what type of person he preaches, he becomes that type of person. To elders, lower class people, intellectuals and children, evangelists should learn every technique of evangelism at the training center.
Rev. Ma clarified that participating in short-term missions is not "leaving," rather it is "returning" to help their churches to grow. In average, one short-term mission can reach over 600 people with the gospel, and over thousands of flyers passed out. About ten percent of those who hear the gospel would come to faith: an indicator that short-term missions will help church growth.
At the end of the banquet, Faith Bible Church senior pastor Rev. John Hou assured to those attended that preaching the gospel for the Lord is a great blessing. He gave the example of the story of Jonah, describing how God had prepared the hearts of the people, however Jonah hid from God and did not preach. He asserted that evangelism is the work of the Holy Spirit, not by the works of man.
On the 12th year anniversary yearbook, now training and development director Mr. Fan wrote, "We have a dream: that every Chinese church in New York can be revived and unite as one in the work for the gospel, and every believer in New York City may receive evangelism training and become warriors to spread the gospel throughout the city. Is this not your dream? Let us dream together for God, and unite to fulfill it."