Compassion, which reopened its East Indonesia ministry in 2005, has brought new life to the ministry of some churches. Pastor Pangkey is one pastor who has been inspired by Compassion to begin new patterns of ministry.
He had the opportunity to take part in the Global Leadership Summit in 2007 in Jakarta. At the meeting, God asked him to challenge his congregation to open its heart more for the people in the community.
Pastor Pangkey felt that God wanted him to look to the others who haven’t yet been reached by our programs and the church. This is how he began the Stefanus Group.
“God spoke to me through the scripture in Acts 6:1-7, which speaks about the seven chosen men. The Twelve Disciples chose Stephen and six other men to be responsible for what the people needed at that time.
“We know that people who live in poverty are not only people in the past. We still meet a lot of people who live in poverty today. They can’t afford their basic needs like meals because many of them don’t have opportunity to have a job or build their own business. They have to struggle every day to fulfill their basic needs.”
Struggling to provide enough room for the 295 children registered children in the child development center, the pastor knew that God would do something. Pastor Pangkey began sharing his vision for the Stefanus Group with his congregation in every service or whenever he had the opportunity to share.
He shared about people who give their love by serving others. He shared the story about Stephen and the other men the disciples chose to serve the needy. He challenged his congregation to share their passion for others by giving meal support.
Much of his congregation felt excited to help people in community. But many of them also rejected the pastor’s vision.
“They didn’t want to receive meal support to help them to survive. They thought if they receive the support, other people will think that they would be the same as the poor people.”
Pastor Pangkey knew that changing the congregation’s paradigm about this ministry wouldn’t be easy, but he didn’t give up. He kept sharing what God asked of him and kept challenging people to become involved in the group. Seven were chosen to serve the needy.
As a beginning, $100 was assigned by the pastor to buy meals. More support then began coming in from his congregation. They gave not only food, but also their time their time and energy cooking the meals. Now people may come to the church anytime if they can’t provide a dish in their home.
Among the seven people who have chosen to join the group are cooking tutors, those responsible for cooking and providing the meals for children in the center.
The Stefanus Group started serving church members who needed meal support, then expanded to include their neighbors who are also in need and couldn’t make dishes in their home.
“The congregation started to inform the church that their neighbors needed meals. Whenever we heard that kind of information, we tried to hurry up and serve their basic needs by visiting them at home. We didn’t think about who they are or from what church they came. All we want to do is to help those who are in need.”
During this time, God blessed the church with more land to build eight rooms for the children to learn. But the blessings haven’t come just to the children; most of Pastor Pangkey’s congregation members are now employed.
Before the Stefanus Group began, most of the people in the congregation didn’t have jobs, and it was very difficult to find jobs. But after they began the ministry and helping those in need around them, church members began to find work.
Because they have begun to earn, the congregation has been giving regular offerings. This has enabled the church to buy the land and build the facilities for the children.
“God has given His blessing to us because He sees us faithful in small things. He has entrusted more to us because of our work in this ministry. We believe what we enjoy today is one of His blessings.”
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What an amazing story and a testimony to God’s providence!
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us!”
It was great to read people getting helped in their time of need!
Reading stories like this make me want to get my church out there serving my community. Thanks for the inspiration!
Amazing story! I completely agree that God is blessing them. They stepped out in faith to help those who couldn’t help themselves. God will and is supporting them and providing for them because of that. God will pour out His blessings on those who seek His will and who remain faithful to His call and this story is proof of that. Pastor Pangkey and his group are incredible people and I pray that the Lord continues to prosper this cause and provide for them the way they have reached out and provided for others. I love that they reached out to neighbors, regardless of who they are or what church they attend. That is what Jesus said to do. We are to spread the Good News to all the nations, to every person, regardless of who they appear to be. God can change anyone’s heart and because of the example of those in the Stefanus Group, I am sure many more will come to know Christ.
This is an amazing and wonderful story! I am so encouraged by Pastor Pangkey’s faithfulness to live out the gospel! I was sad earlier, because we learned yesterday that one of our sponsored children has suddenly left her project. Reading this has really brightened my day!