This photo is extra meaningful. A few years ago I proposed at Presbytery that we need to consider doing two things in an effort to see more ministers raised.
Firstly, we need to be willing to allow ordination candidates to do their annual updates & interviews at Presbytery in the language that they will likely minister with in the future (it’s usually their mother tongue). Secondly, we need to be willing to assess their sermons as part of their trials for license in the same language.
This is in response to the rising need for more NESB (non English speaking background) churches, ministries, and leaders. Historically, we’ve asked Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, & Arabic candidates to go through the entire ordination process in English. I’ve seen firsthand how frightening that is for them. Some choose to not even enter into the process because they’re anxious about communicating in a language that they are less fluent in. Our denomination is missing out on godly & gifted leaders because of this. I’ve also seen amazing Mandarin & Cantonese preachers perform at a subpar level in English because that’s required of them. They roar in their mother tongue but whisper in English. It’s a pity.
In God’s kindness, our Presbytery agreed with this need and passed these resolutions. And the now Reverends Jacky Man and Wilkin Ho are the first fruits of these decisions. They were asked rigorous theological questions in their interviews and they answered with the same degree of rigour in their mother tongue (in the presence of an interpreter). They preached Gospel centred, Christ exalting, and moving sermons in Cantonese and were assessed based on that (with a translated script for Presbytery). And they are now duly ordained to keep ministering in Cantonese.
I’m really excited about this because I pray that this is the beginning of something great. I pray that more NESB ministry candidates who live and breathe a Reformed conviction of ministry would see this as an opportunity to join us. We need more churches. We need more leaders. And we need their voices.
Join me in congratulating these newly minted ministers of the Word and Sacrament in the PCNSW.