Our theme for 2017 ‘Marked to Magnify’ is a call for us as a church to make disciples. In the spirit of it, we are getting up-close and personal with a few of FGA’s leaders to find out what it means to be a disciple who makes disciples. We kick off the series with Life Group leader and Production Team Head Nalinee Barrett, whom you might recognise as a familiar face at our weekend services as she is always seen ensuring that the service programme is in order. Besides her passion to bring excellence to each service, Nalinee also recognises that successful ministry cannot be without discipleship and relationship. Read on and get to know her, then high-five her when you see her in church this weekend!

1. When did you become a leader?

I am not exactly sure, but I think it was in 2008. I started as the leader of the now-defunct Drama ministry. 

2. As much as you can remember, recollect the initial memories of starting out as a new leader. It must have been an eye-opener! Any funny moments, memorable ones?

It was fraught with mistakes! It was my first time in any leadership position in church, so I didn’t really know how to disciple people. So most meetings were more like drama workshops than anything akin to spiritual growth. Many of the people in the team were “fringe” people - people who weren’t really connected anywhere else. So the ministry gave them somewhere to belong, and to connect with like-minded people. It took about 2 years at least, before I understood how to balance the practical and spiritual aspects of ministry. 

3. How about the best stories that make you feel like this is all worth it?

Every person that I have been able to  point to a more intimate relationship with God is a good story. The journeys are always unique and I feel very honoured that people trust me enough to let me be privy to their journey. Some of them have become friends and partners in ministry as well, which is very exciting. It is never a short-term thing, so I don’t think I have been doing it long enough to have “happily ever after” stories yet. 

4. What is the biggest challenge for yourself as a leader?

As much as you want everyone you lead or disciple to grow closer to God and become rooted in FGA, it doesn’t always happen. There are people who decide to move on and start attending another church, which is painful, but I am glad they are planted somewhere. But the biggest challenge is continuing to love and try to stay connected to people who decide they don’t need God, or think that being part of a church community is not a priority. My human flesh always wants to give up and give my attention to the people who respond more positively to discipleship. But as someone once said “Love in all its forms is ... very difficult”. And when I feel like I have failed with someone, I just have to remember that no one understands rejection the way Jesus does, and then my issues become quite minute. 

One of my mentors taught me the “catch and release” method of discipleship. Give people enough latitude to discover for themselves the depth and breadth and height of God’s love for them, and be there when they need you. So far, this method seems to work. 🙂 

5. What has God taught you through leadership?

  • Stay humble because you can’t take credit for anything. 
  • Know the word, read as much as you can. The questions people can ask will astound you. 
  • Pray for the people you lead. There is great power in that. 
  • Get behind the vision of the church you are serving. 
  • Surround yourself with people who are like-minded and give wise counsel. 
  • Stay accountable. 

6. Complete this sentence: Discipleship is…

Discipleship is mandated for every Christian, to be a disciple who make disciples. 

7. Enough about you as a leader - let’s talk about you as a disciple. What do you love or appreciate most about your leader(s)?

They did not judge my shortcomings, encouraged my gifts, taught me with patience and love, and continue to be available to me for conversations, counsel and crazy-time. They don’t pretend to be perfect, don’t hesitate to correct me when I need it, and always demonstrate a higher goal that challenges me.