Raising Gospel Leaders: Evan Hong

13 July 2023

Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 9, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

The mission Jesus calls us to take part in is to make disciples of all nations. Raising up leaders to teach, serve, encourage, pray and mentor is vital to carry forward God's mission to make his glory known to all.

'Raising Gospel Leaders' is an interview series where we hear from a range leaders at City on a Hill Melbourne about their experience in leading others to know Jesus and make Jesus known.

Evan Hong leads a Gospel Community in the North-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne and shared so generously with us! Check out the interview below:

What made you step in to serve as a leader? And how long have you been leading your GC?

I have been serving in my Gospel Community (GC) since 2019. We were experiencing a lot of growth in that year, so the leaders asked me if I would be willing to help lead.

I really didn't want to, and I told our leaders that I knew it would be a lot of work and it was an added responsibility in my life, which I didn’t have room for.

But I also knew new leaders were necessary for growth to happen, and I didn’t want to deny our entire group the opportunity to multiply.

I thought about it for a few weeks before telling the leaders I would do it.

What are the challenges and highlights of this ministry? What makes you go, "This is so worth it!"

The time it takes to prepare for GC has been challenging for me personally.

In my first year leading, I often struggled with investing time to prepare for it, especially when I wanted to just relax and recharge after a busy workday.

Trying to raise new leaders to share the load and lead new Gospel Communities is also a challenge as everybody lead busy lives.

However, has its highlights too!

For me, it was seeing the growth in numbers and relationships cultivated among each other. It’s all worthwhile when a new person joins our GC, or when I see our members enjoying themselves in a safe space where they can share their thoughts and do life together—this is all very rewarding.

What do you think the barriers are to Christians stepping up as leaders and using their God given gifts within the church? How can we encourage one another to do so?

I didn't want to lead initially because of the time and responsibility involved, as I’d rather watch TV, play video games, or go to the gym, after a hard day’s work. I believe others who would feel the same.

However, God changed my heart over time, and I began to find joy in serving. I still do want to do those other things mentioned above, but I’ve also learnt (and am still learning) to serve God, and to find rest in Him first.

When there are more people serving, the more the load is shared, and it in turn, takes the load off those who are already serving. In a way, it makes it easier for everyone to serve!

For example, when our GC was growing rapidly, we had up to six people who were available to help facilitate studies. We ran a four-week cycle which involved three studies and one social outing. Having six people facilitate meant each person took turns leading. One person would lead a study every two months, which didn’t feel like as huge a commitment!

I think that a lot of people (including myself previously) have the misconception that GC leading means running the studies and navigating others through the Bible, all on your own.

But the church does a great job in preparing study guides and resources, which makes life a lot easier when it came to having to prepare for each GC session.

I would also encourage members to consider what their gifts are and how they can contribute to their GC. It can be things like preparing meals for GC night or for members in need, helping to diarise and organise socials and study nights, running a study, being intentional in making a newcomer feel at home, or simply opening your home to host weekly GCs. These contributions can go a long way in making one’s group grow and flourish, and it also takes some weight off the GC leader(s) shoulders.

At the heart of it, a GC leader’s role is to care for the group overall. And as the saying goes, “Many hands make light work”, so the more people we have volunteering, the more the load is shared around everyone.