National

Give thanks for the combined FES-GCF Staff Conference which took place on 5 and 6 May. While we initially had hoped it was an opportunity for the entire staff team to meet together after a whole year apart, we...

This month, as part of the leadership transitions for many of our Christian Fellowships (CFs), we asked some incoming and outgoing student leaders to share their thoughts on taking up leadership positions. Here are four student leaders and a brief...

FES and GCF had a combined Staff Conference on 5 and 6 May at The Rice in Orchard Central. There was almost a sense of déjà vu as COVID restrictions kept increasing that week leading to the start of Phase 2 all over again. This meant that we had to keep modifying the programme and logistics of the conference to keep in line with the daily change of restrictions. Most crucially, it also meant that we could not have all our staff meet together as a whole group and had to settle for a hybrid conference instead. In any case, the staff managed to accomplish the most important objective for this conference – that is to be familiar with the new plans and priorities as laid out in Fellowship 2030. In Fellowship 2030, we have three immediate priorities for the next three years: Digital Ministry, Wellbeing Ministry, and Graduates Ministry. I will find a better way to share more about these priorities and their implications for our fellowship soon, but allow me to at least begin by reflecting on the most urgent and important one for this year: Digital Ministry.

The priority of Digital Ministry is not simply about digitising our resources or making FES go online. More crucially, digital ministry involves understanding the impact that rapid digitalisation has made upon everyone who has now entered the digital space, forced or unforced. It involves recognising, adapting, and expanding our ministry and pedagogical approaches to embrace both the physical, digital, and even hybrid spaces.

One critical aspect of this priority is to acknowledge and explore how relationships take place now in the digital age. Stephen and Mary Lowe write In Ecologies of Faith in a Digital Age (IVP, 2018), that “social networks and relationships developed with others lend itself to whole-person development.” Specifically, we are called to pay more attention to the social networks and relationships that social media technology has allowed us to facilitate rather than the technology itself. It is a shift away from discussing the limitations of social media to exploring its capacity to enable and enlarge the social networks and relationships of the digitally connected. More importantly, Lowe and Lowe focus on three things that make for a strong social network:

    1. Interconnection: a network of people with a diversity of interests, backgrounds, and experiences.
    2. Interactivity: a network where there is reciprocity in the relationships, giving rise to an affirmation of relational activity.
    3. Mutual influence: a network where there is a chance for people to mutually affect and transform one another.

In this sense, part of what it means for FES to develop its Digital Ministry is to consider how our students and leaders build their social networks and relationships in this digital age, online and offline. Is there a healthy diversity in their network? Are they receiving reciprocity and affirmation in their relationships? Does their network allow for mutual influence? These are the relational questions to now consider as we have seen students spend the past year making friends primarily through the digital medium and being comfortable with it.

Digitialisation has affected lifestyle, work, and ministries for a long time. However, what is unique about this COVID situation is the speed at which many of us have been forced to adopt it and to adapt to it whether we like it or not. It is this rapid digitalisation within a year that has propelled us to look into what it means to do Digital Ministry and to consider its implications for the present and the future.

How has this period of rapid digitalisation affected you? I would like to leverage this diverse and interconnected social network of FES to learn more about its impact on you and be enriched by this community. Please share your experiences, comments, and insights with me at jeremiah@fellowship.sg. Please also continue to pray with us as we go through yet another round of campus and meeting restrictions in this critical period where many CFs have just changed their leadership and trying to prepare for the new academic year ahead.

Blessings,

Jeremiah Goh General Secretary

 

NUS VCF: Christianity Awareness Week From 29 March to 1 April, NUS Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF) held an art exhibition to communicate the message of joy, hope, and the good news in NUS. The organising committee wanted to bless the school...


MELT 2021: Continuing Under COVID

From 9 January to 17 March 2021, the combined polytechnic Missions Exposure Leadership Training (MELT) worked yet again under the heavy influence of COVID-19. Typically MELT involves an overseas trip to a partnering student movement so that our young poly leaders get hands-on interaction with locals and mission work. We heavily modified MELT in 2020 as it was affected by the closing of national borders. We modified MELT again this year as even having overnight camps for our youths below 18 years proved challenging. Yet, leadership training still went on. Here is Josephine Surya, a Year 1 Biomedical Science student from Singapore Polytechnic, reflecting on her MELT experience:

“I decided to join MELT without much hesitation as I had felt God open the door for ministry to me through this programme. And rightfully so, I was able to grow spiritually and develop my leadership skills in student ministry. Since it was my first time participating in such a programme, I was initially nervous – worried that I lacked many qualities and attributes. But I was reminded that God looks at the heart over one’s capabilities and strengths. I also felt grateful that God has provided me with an excellent team of brothers and sisters in Christ who are my age and share a profound passion for serving God’s kingdom. Although we came from various denominations and backgrounds, we were still able to work in tandem with one another, allowing me to expand my worldview on Christianity. Through MELT, I learnt what it means to truly trust God and not lean on my own understanding. I learnt to tread on God’s path with humility and servanthood in uplifting His kingship. The experience was truly a blessing in my life and I constantly thank God for providing me this platform to serve His kingdom.”

MELT 2021: Continuing Under COVID From 9 January to 17 March 2021, the combined polytechnic Missions Exposure Leadership Training (MELT) worked yet again under the heavy influence of COVID-19. Typically MELT involves an overseas trip to a partnering student movement so...

CVCF and a Hands-on Chinese New Year On 9 February, NUS CVCF organised a hands-on CNY gathering for their members and friends. Two international students, who have been in regular contact with CVCF throughout the year, joined in this gathering. Together...

X