Impetus (February 2024)

Something New!

This is the first issue of Impetus for 2024 and we are trying new things again. The first thing you would have noticed as a regular reader is that this issue starts with a feature article that relates to one of the five main communities that constitute FES, namely staff workers, students, young graduates and alumni, donors and volunteers, and the local churches. This month our feature article gives insight into the new challenges for FES staff workers and how we have tried to develop our staff for a very different future ahead.



 

Pathways to FES Staff work

 

“You are not an effective ministry worker.”

“What you say is not biblical and theologically sound.”

The above may be just casual remarks that staff hear which may lead to the personal question of suitability. Perhaps none, or only a few if any, of the current staff would be considered as fruitful as, for example, the late Dr Bobby Sng or Rev. Dr Choong Chee Pang, to the local churches and society. It seems that stories of the past become the basis of comparison on how ministry should be assessed. While their lives are an inspiration to many, the basis for meaningful ministry remains a question. Hence, while we acknowledge that it is God alone who works through His servants and gives growth to the people served, we seek to understand how to better assess ministry contributions and to provide a reference on how staff can upskill themselves for a more effective ministry.

 

Vision

This desire to understand brings about the period of exploration in which the staff team discussed and debated about what the FES ministry is. We searched records, shared stories, and contributed ideas to align our understanding of what the FES vision means across ministry sections and institutions. We painted pictures of how the world would look like and how FES students and graduates should live in that world. As we gained more clarity and alignment on this vision, we reiterated the process to identify ministry outcomes that would bring us closer to that vision. These ministry outcomes are the characteristics we seek to cultivate in students and graduates through experiences in the Christian Fellowship (CF). They are the core focus that orientates our ministry activities and the yardsticks to which effective ministry in FES would be assessed.

 

Outcomes and Competencies

In parallel, we also clarify the staff’s roles to deliver the expected outcomes and identify competencies needed to fulfil the roles beyond formal theological training. Although three-quarters of the current staff team either have completed a theological degree or are doing theological courses, we see that certain competency training offered from other fields may also enhance ministry effectiveness. In our discussion, we hope to excite the staff team to embrace the idea of lifelong learning during their service with FES. Training opens many pathways for staff to develop themselves and maintain ministry relevancy. Their development improves their ministry contributions and provides transferrable competencies beyond work in Christian ministries.

 

Pathways

Out of this exploration, we are also enabled to zoom out to see the ministry scope of FES. While students may join the CF at a different year of study, we take into consideration that there are different pathways for students. If they participate in the CF since their first year of study in a polytechnic and continue their involvement when they enter university, this will result in six to seven years of CF experience. As we collaborate more closely with the Graduates’ Christian Fellowship (GCF) in journeying with the new graduates when they enter the marketplace, we see that the experience will be extended further to three or even five years. The total experience leads us to ponder in what ways we have made the years of CF experience meaningful for our students and how we can improve this experience to meet our ministry outcomes and vision, to impact campus, church, and society.

Our conversation continues until today. As we clarify and align the vision and ministry outcomes, the roles and competencies of our staff, and CF pathways within the staff team, we hope to encourage the staff team in their vocational pursuit, enhance students’ CF experience, and provide accountability to our supporters on what FES is doing.

 

Victor Wibowo
Head of Resources

 



Ministry News

 

Camps!

 

In December 2023 and January 2024, several of our CFs held their annual Bible or Teaching camps. Here is a snapshot of what our students participated in.

 

The opening session of the camp

NTU ISCF Camp, 8–11 Dec 2023

“Makan Sitrus: Mari Renungkan Siji Petrus” (Let’s Meditate on 1 Peter)

Peter’s words are timeless, addressing themes of enduring faith, hope in the face of trials, and the call to live as ‘living stones’ in God’s spiritual house. In this camp, attended by 32 ISCFers, we unpacked 1 Peter and learned the biblical way to navigate life’s challenges.

Teaching kids during the mission exposure

One aspect of the camp programme involved a mini missions exposure trip whereby ISCFers visited the Orang Laut (literally “Sea People”) a sea gypsy tribe. We interacted with the families, prepared meals, and ate together, as well as conducted teaching sessions with the children there.

 

 

 

CW Uni Bible Camp, 12–15 Dec 2023

Learning how to study and interpret the Bible

应许之 (The Promised Land)
The Chinese Work (CW) combined University (Uni) Bible Camp took place at All Saints’ Church (Anglican) from 12–15 December. Thirty-five students from NUS, NTU, SIT, SIM, SUSS came together to learn methods of studying and interpreting the Bible. The theme for this camp was “The Promised Land” and the study topics include Introduction to the Old Testament, Old Testament Historical Books, Narrative OIA (Observation-Interpretation-Application), Old Testament Canonisation, and Psalms.

 

VCF AnnTIC, 26–31 Dec 2023

“Refined as Gold”

The biennial VCF Annual Teach-In Conference (AnnTIC) was held in Johore Bahru with a total of 99 campers in attendance.

Bible Reading 101 session

The camp tagline, “Refined as Gold,” follows the theme of reflection on suffering in the experience of the Christian faith, which was explored through the theme talks and group devotions based on the book of Job.

Other segments of the programme were training in Bible Reading (BR), nine different workshops on various contemporary issues, Bible, and campus ministry-related activities, and VCF Faculty-Hostel time.

 

NTU CF Bible Camp, 2–6 Jan 2024

“Accountability”

Over 30 campers gathered in the beautiful location of El Sanctuary, Melaka to dive into God’s Word, learn how to study the Bible and attend workshops on contemporary issues such as Christian adulting and apologetics. This year’s theme for the Bible camp was “Accountability,” in keeping with NTU CF’s yearly direction of “Anchored in Hope, United in Faith.”

Our speaker Ms Belinda Tan leading us through an in-depth study of Genesis 38

Our main guest speaker, Ms Belinda Tan of Singapore Bible College, walked through the story of Tamar and Judah (Genesis 38) and taught us how to understand Old Testament narratives and wrestle through the rather unscrupulous actions of biblical characters. All in all, we are thankful for such a blessed week of community and learning!

 

 

SIM SCF Bible Camp, 5–7 Jan 2024

“Live it Out!”

SIM SCF had our annual Bible Camp held both in SIM and the FES premises with a total attendance of 18 campers. The theme of the camp was “Live it Out!” where we explored the book of James as well as dived deeper into the Word through a Bible Reading workshop, reflecting on what it means to study the Living Word and how to live it out as students.

 


 

咖啡-C 与 Flat White

FES 华文组 大家庭聚会 2023

 

From 17 to 19 December 2023 around 34 participants from the various Chinese churches in Singapore gathered at All Saints Church (Anglican) for the Four Denominations (4D) Youth Leadership Camp (YLC) which was organised by the FES Chinese Work (CW) and the National Council of Churches Singapore Chinese Work Committee.

The camp, with the theme 咖啡-C (Kopi-C) and Flatwhite, aimed to help the participants gain insights as well as experience the rich and unique history of Chinese churches in Singapore. The programme included a panel discussion, activities such as visiting different parts of Singapore to understand the various cultures, and a worship session held under the stars.

Listening to the voices of five different speakers, one from each decade, as they share their thoughts on the beauty of the Chinese churches in Singapore.

This is my second time attending the YLC and like the previous occasion, I am amazed to discover the many things that I can learn. The emphasis of this year’s camp was on the intertwining of faith and culture. Through engaging discussions and interactive outings, participants were encouraged to explore and learn more about the historical roots of Christianity amongst the Chinese and how it has evolved within the diverse landscape of Singapore.

Taking a photo of the sculptures as we went on a cultural walk around Telok Ayer. (Roysten is wearing a black t-shirt, second from left)

 

 

Beyond the structured activities, the camp also provided ample opportunities for personal reflection and spiritual growth. Moments of worship and quiet reflection allowed participants to connect with their faith on a deeper level. Group discussions and shared experiences further reinforced a sense of community and solidarity, fostering a supportive environment for individuals to express their thoughts and feelings.

In my group, the exchanging of stories and cultural insights into how our churches have changed through the years, especially since we all come from different denominations, allowed us, to foster closer bonds as well as to learn more from each other. I thank God for the opportunity given to me to enrich myself and I hope that God will continue to touch many more hearts, inspiring them to come to such camps in the future.

Roysten Kong, SP CCF, Diploma in Computer Engineering, Year 2

The participants, staff workers and speakers at the camp

 



Ask a Staff Worker

 

What does following Jesus mean as a student?

 

Generally, it’s about learning how the identity of being a Christian and the role of a student can be intertwined within a specific context. For me, it was recognising that God is working in our campuses and learning to follow God’s mission for our campus so that we can be effective salt and light.

Being a student grants us access within the campus community which enables us to see opportunities that otherwise would be difficult for outsiders to observe. It allows us to be witnesses in strategic locations such as our tutorial rooms or lecture halls, and places that outsiders cannot enter. We can engage with our peers whom we journey alongside, enabling us to intertwine our Christian beliefs with our shared lived experience in school. By allowing our faith to inform our behaviour and thoughts, Christian students can engage with the dominant culture and showcase what it means to take up our cross to follow Jesus. The question then is whether we will follow Jesus’ call to serve our community and witness in these spaces, both spatial and relational, that are unique to students.

 

Why do I need to join the CF in school, since I am already going to church?

 

I think the CF is a window into the broader church landscape. Before joining the CF when I was studying at Singapore Polytechnic, I was going to a Pentecostal church and it was the first church I ever attended. I was taught that tongues were evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and were essential to being a Christian. So, I thought that the idea of tongues was common knowledge and practice amongst Christians. But a friend from the CF who came from a Bible Presbyterian tradition disagreed with the Pentecostal view on tongues. It made me realise that tongues were a contested issue in Christian circles. This experience was the catalyst in pushing me to explore the traditions of the wider body of Christians in Singapore and learn to appreciate the diversity in practices and beliefs which further enriched my faith.

– Leal Tan
Leal joined FES over a year ago and currently assists in human resources in FES as well as serves alongside students from the polytechnics.

 



GS Page

 

Changes in the Constitution

For the past three years, it can be said that FES has gone through many micro changes. But one recent major change was an update to the Constitution to keep it relevant in light of new governance and ministry requirements. The first FES Annual Report written in 1960 states, “It was in the wisdom of God that the need for a national fellowship of evangelical students in Malaya was met at the right time. Such a need has been felt for some time. Given the new developments in student witness, this soon became a compelling necessity. A strategic advance had to be made.” In keeping with this wisdom of a national fellowship and the ever-changing developments in student witness, strategic advances to governance and membership had to be made, beginning with the Constitution. Accordingly, proposed amendments were approved unanimously by the members at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 3 February. A critical change was to clarify the membership of FES. Following this, I hope that there will be a renewed emphasis on FES being a national fellowship of evangelical students in Singapore, particularly in uncertain times like this. May the desire for a Christian witness on every campus unite us again.

 

Upcoming and Ongoing

Polytechnic Ministry Exposure and Leadership Training (MELT). In March, Poly student leaders will be undergoing leadership training and preparation for a new academic year. Pray for a ready spirit within the students as they take on the challenge of leadership for the new year.

Student Leadership Transitions. Schools are into the second semester now. This also marks the season of leadership renewals and transitions for many of the Christian Fellowships. The Polytechnics have started, and the Universities are following soon. Pray for smooth transitions. Pray for outgoing leaders to finish their journey well. Pray for incoming leaders to follow God with wisdom, truth, and courage.

Staff Conference. FES will have its Staff Conference from 22 to 25 April. This Conference will focus on developing new frameworks with which to engage the campus, the workplace, the Bible, and life. The goal for these new frameworks is for students and graduates to have a more consistent experience with their time in ministry with FES. Pray for fruitful discussions among the staff that are guided by careful discernment and deliberation.

 

Finance and Fundraising

FES ended its 2023 financial year in December with a slight deficit of $27K. We began a new financial year in January, and we hope to raise a total of $2.2M to cover as many operational expenses as possible but also manage rising costs that are beginning to impact staff wellbeing and ministry capabilities. FES heavily relies on contributions from our alumni who have been through our ministries. We have also looked into other revenue opportunities, but alumni support remains our greatest source. If you are interested in learning more about giving to FES and its student and graduate work, please get in touch through the contact info below.

 

 

Jeremiah Goh
General Secretary

 



 

Impetus is published every two months. For enquiries, email connect@fellowship.sg

Upcoming events: https://promo.fellowship.sg/



X