Even Christians Need to be Evangelised to
Allow me to summarise my ISCF experience in four words: “Reaching In, Reaching Out.” Now allow me to explain why I chose these words and how my ISCF experience has impacted me even now as a working adult in the marketplace.
Reaching in. A brother once shared in an ISCF fellowship meeting that even Christians needed to be constantly evangelised to. This is because of the proneness of our sinful human nature to follow our ego and self-reliance. We are further tempted by Singapore’s meritocratic system which reminds us of the necessity of self-help and hard work. Hence, Christians need to be constantly “evangelised” or reminded that the Christian faith is not just about salvation and the afterlife, but also about glorifying God and trusting in His sovereignty in all aspects of our lives. His sharing convicted many who were present at this meeting, including myself.
The temptation as a graduate is to do “business as usual”. There is a tendency to become a Christian atheist who is carried away by the demands of one’s job and is mainly concerned about the monthly paycheck. This person is also thinking primarily about financial security and improving one’s standard of living. However, I am convicted of the constant need to reach in, an idea which consists in being part of a Christian community which practices daily worship and devotion to God. I find that these practices are important to constantly realign my sense of purpose with God’s; they also serve as a constant reminder to live my life in a way that would bless others.
Reaching out. My time in ISCF and FES has helped me develop the conviction that we are God’s ambassadors in the campus. My eyes were opened to the fact that university students are counted as the privileged. Only 5% of the Singapore population can enter this “elite” institution. Many of these students will go on to be future leaders of society and have a huge impact in the world. As fellow Christian students in the university, we are not outsiders with limited access or opportunities to interact with our peers. Rather, we are called to reach out to these future leaders who are in this specific mission field that God has sent us into. If not us, then who?
I brought this same conviction into my workplace. I first arrived at my workplace thinking that I might be one of only a few Christians there. When God placed me in my company, I saw it both as a privilege and responsibility. This meant that I needed to be accountable to God for my conduct before my bosses and colleagues at my workplace. The seed to reach out, which was planted during my time in student ministry, led me to build sincere and close relationships with my colleagues. To date, I have grown so close to some of my colleagues that they are comfortable with sharing their personal life and even private struggles with me. It has presented me with opportunities to share my life with them— how I have gone through the ups and downs of life myself, but also how God has been my anchor through it all. Other than getting opportunities to ask about their own beliefs, I have also gotten opportunities to share what I believe in as a Christian.
Looking back, I can say that ISCF and FES have been truly formative for my spiritual life. It has taught me the importance of reaching in to evangelise myself and develop the practice of constantly realigning my purpose with that of God. My relationship with God, the biblical concepts and convictions I have gained, and the family in Christ are just some of the things that God’s has gifted me with during my time as a student. These have all been treasures that I continue to hold on to even after graduation.
Therefore, I am always grateful for the opportunity to study in the university and to have made meaningful friendships there. After graduation, I have found it harder to make new friends. Hence, I encourage students to build genuine relationships with your friends in university— foster and cultivate these relationships intentionally, and maintain these friendships even after graduation as best as you can. Who knows? God might use you to reach out to your friends after graduation. So please, treasure this precious time in university!
Ines Christy Satyawan served in the NUS Indonesian Christian Fellowship (ISCF) exco for two terms: first as Missions Coordinator in 2014/15 and then as the Treasurer in 2016/17. She is now working in a multinational petrochemical corporation.