12 Years a Servant: Here’s to Forevermore
ft. Pastor-in-Training Jerome Leng
As a church with a primary concern for Christ-centered, God-glorifying ministry, Christ Evangelical Reformed Church (CERC) reflects this in our commitment to quality word ministry, which flows from the pulpit all the way to our growth groups, various ministries and the individuals being discipled one-on-one. Being a church without compromise for God’s gospel means an active defense of the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and staying faithful to the tenets of historic orthodox Christianity by placing the Bible in its rightful place above any notion of culture and institution, including the church’s.
This Foundation Day, we look to honor and celebrate the ministry of our pastors-in-training and elders, who, as pastor-teachers, humbly derive their authority from Christ’s authority as they work to nurture healthy Christian growth in the people of His church. The life of a pastor-teacher is one of full dedication to producing Gospel-committed Christians through creative and sacrificial evangelism by the work of His Spirit, including speaking the truth in love, at every level of word ministry and church operations such that it reflects God’s glorious goals for His kingdom.
Masters of Divinity in Biblical and Theological Studies, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Clyde T. Francisco Preaching Award, 2018
Jerome Leng is currently Pastor-in-Training at CERC, a role that involves many preaching opportunities and leadership responsibilities in various ministries. Alongside being trained with a theological degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (“Southern”), he believes that being a well-equipped workman of God includes knowing the requirements and challenges of performing faithful gospel ministry in the Klang Valley.
“My time at Southern equipped me with theological knowledge and exposed me to a wide range of theological opinions about various issues. Being in the United States has taught me that people are more culturally bound than they realise. To realise our biases, it matters that we understand how our culture has shaped us. This can only happen when you leave your home country for a long time. My time in the US has definitely helped me understand how “Malaysian” I really am and therefore the importance of my service to the cause of Christ in this country. For example, Asian cultures are typically more communal than Western ones. We take the amount of time we spend with each other for granted sometimes. In the US, we have to be more intentional to be around people, but it doesn’t mean that my community in the US wasn’t relational. And it also doesn’t necessarily mean that we are a close-knit community because we spend more time with each other in Asian societies. Being in two different communities of Christ’s body in the world has taught me to think about the nature of what it truly means to be a community of Christ. Intentionality and time are just some of the things that I have become much clearer about.
Yet, I believe that the church is the place where we learn what ministry is all about. Seminaries supplement what we are doing for and in the church by stretching our minds and to help us think theoretically. And so, the focus at seminary is primarily academics because pastors do need to know the Bible deeply and how to think theologically. They also need to be equipped with knowledge of the original languages. So my seminary experience enabled me to use my mind better for the church but it didn’t really train me for how I do ministry today. CERC did that for me, and rightly so.”
The church is the place where we learn what ministry is all about. Seminaries supplement what we are doing for and in the church by stretching our minds and to help us think theoretically.
In his role at CERC, Jerome has the responsibility of preaching at our regular Sundays, a task that CERC pastor-teachers take very seriously as ministers of the gospel. Preparing for a sermon involves a great deal of care and proper handling of the Scriptures, as well as delving into well-researched commentaries and books from trusted theologians of our time. This is coupled with the vital need to understand the culture of our time and your audience in order to preach effectively.
“I am doing a fair amount of preaching this year so I am reading the Bible a lot! I also read lots on biblical theology (“BT”), John Calvin, leadership books, and books on culture. I have been reading The King in His Beauty by Tom Schreiner, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, and Dominion and Dynasty. And all these have supplemented each other because they all come at biblical theology differently which made me realise that I, too, need to be clear about what I really understand about the story of the Bible and what the Bible is all about. I haven’t found one book on BT that I have been entirely satisfied with. I suppose no book can really capture the Bible’s story entirely. The Bible tells its own story the best at the end of the day. But all of these books add further insight to our understanding of the Scriptures. And the more books you read on BT, the more you realise how incredible the Bible is in telling us all that God wants us to know about his plan of salvation.”
Jerome leads CERC’s youth ministry. His experience and ministry training has enabled him to nurture the young people of our church. We spoke to some of them to understand how his skills and expertise have nurtured their passion and joy for the gospel.
“As someone who’s stepping into my own leadership roles at university, Jerome’s fresh creativity and visionary ideas for youth group modeled for me what it means to be a faithful leader, and have expanded my own dreams and visions for the gospel. In how Jerome speaks, decides to organise the liturgy of our group, formats our studies, and introduces new segments and activities — he pushes us to have a zeal for God and a concern for kingdom expansion!” – Kaylee Tan, Director of Campus Groups in Taylor’s Christian Fellowship, youth group member in CERC.
“Jerome’s leadership in youth has been beneficial and fun for me. He’s a great teacher – I am able to grasp concepts easier through his interactive methods — he would ask us for our thoughts and opinions, and is concise, impactful and clear — it really helps those of us with a shorter attention span. I appreciate the amount of effort Jerome puts into planning for youth, the games we play have a deeper meaning and go beyond having fun; they resemble the gospel and teach us lessons about the Bible. His ministry has definitely helped me broaden and grow in my understanding of the gospel.”
– Solomon Tan, youth group member in CERC.
Besides youth work, part of Jerome’s pastoral and leadership training also includes building up fellow workers in the church, including CERC’s Church Ministers’ Apprentices.
“Jerome was the guy who read the Bible with me many years ago, and he changed my understanding of God from an ‘all-loving, all-forgiving deity in the sky who can do anything for me’ to a Sovereign, holy God who does all things for his Son. Jerome’s patience and consistent teaching has helped me grow in my understanding of God and love for His Word. I am greatly encouraged that the Jerome today is still the guy who preaches and teaches the same, faithful, biblical gospel to the youth and adults alike.” – Kek Jay Lyn, CERC Church Ministers’ Apprentice.
May the Lord persevere Jerome in his life of dedication to the gospel, to help him as he continues to grow in pastoral and teaching leadership in CERC, and the Holy Spirit work through his ministry to the youths and the church at large.
“The first and principal duty of a pastor is to feed the flock by diligent preaching of the word. It is a promise relating to the new testament, that God would give unto his church ‘pastors according to his own heart, which should feed them with knowledge and understanding’ (Jer. 3:15)” – John Owen
This Foundation Day, we celebrate and thank God for the quality of the preaching in CERC, as we treasure the gospel that has been passed down to us. We are committed to preserving its purity and to fight against heresy and the false gospels of today. We thank God in his sovereignty, and are grateful to men and women who have invested much of their time and resources in their love for this church in a small region of the Klang Valley.