Impetus (June 2022)
Living a Missional Legacy
I had the privilege and opportunity to share about Missions and Millennials at the 8th World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (WFCMC) Missions Conference held in Singapore in June. The conference, with the theme Living a Missional Legacy, was attended by leaders and members of Chinese Methodist Churches around the world. I was given two workshop sessions to talk about the challenges and opportunities in engaging our youths and young adults with missions today. During my session, I recounted how FES has always been missional at heart, starting with medical missions in the 1960s, then cross-cultural missions in the 1970s leading to the formation of the well-known Missions Education and Exposure Training (MEET) programme in the early 1980s. Integral mission was then introduced at our inaugural National Conference in 2008. In recent years, we have used the term wholistic witness to convey the integration of Scripture and faith in all matters of life, and is now established as a distinctive of FES student work. You can read more about our missional engagement in The FES Singapore Story 1959–2019: Recollections and Reflections (2020).
I am often asked the question of whether our youths and young adults still care about missions today. My response has been to maintain that students are indeed still involved with missions, beyond the cross-cultural form that was prevalent in the earlier decades. Since the introduction of integral mission, the understanding of the mission of God has expanded our understanding of what it means to do missions. A helpful resource for this is the FES monograph The Mission of God and the Task of the Church: Integral Mission and the Great Commission by Christopher J.H. Wright (2014). The mission of God encompasses the building of the church, caring for His creation, and serving society. Following this, students have ventured into declaring creation care, justice, and compassion issues as missions for themselves. They are serving with the conscious knowledge that all this is for God’s glory, kingdom, and mission, and truly all things belong under the lordship of Christ. That is how our students are missional today.
Another question following my sharing was how this can be shared with the churches, particularly regarding expanding the understanding of mission. My brief response was to have everyone, from the youths to the elders, in this climate of lifelong learning and social uncertainties, to learn and relearn together in our new shared context. God’s mission has not changed, yet our circumstances and situations have already shifted so much, particularly in the past three years. Is this the opportunity then for us to shape new policies and new platforms for a new generation?
As you receive this, we should be in the middle of our first Leaders’ Party happening from 23–25 June at Salvation Army. This is a consultation, conference, and commissioning camp for our next generation of leaders. Pray for sustenance for the staff and students involved in this, and for strong connections and communities to be formed.
On 30 June, FES, GCF, and the University Staff Christian Fellowship (USCF) has partnered with Veritas to hold a Veritas Forum featuring an interview between Professor Charles Lee (Stanford University) and Professor Chen Zhi Xiong (NUS) on the meaning of success. Pray for a fruitful interview. If you are interested, you can register at: https://links.fellowship.sg/veritas2022
The forum is a lead-up to our FES-GCF Graduates Party at St Andrew’s Cathedral on 9 July. It is an opportunity for our recent graduates to connect and reconnect with each other and with the wider fellowship of our alumni. Pray also for strong connections and communities to be formed, as well as courage and perseverance for the new graduates transitioning to the new world of today.
News and Updates
Youth-reka: Embrace, Engage, Empower
Youth-reka was an event co-organised by FES and the Bible Society of Singapore on 2 April 2022 aimed at embracing youths by providing a safe space to engage, hear and empower them through panel discussions with youth workers and leaders. Three panellists, Mr David Chua, CEO of the National Youth Council Singapore, Ms Dawn Seow, a youth leader from The People’s Bible Church, and Ms Natalie Liew, chairperson of the FES National Student Council, covered topics such as evangelism in the marketplace, discipleship, backslidden youths, and intergenerational issues. This was followed by a Q&A session, topic-based small group discussions, and responses from the various discussion groups and panellists. Let’s hear from three of our CF leaders who took part in Youth-reka:
What stood out for me was the importance of love and having a loving relationship with God and people. Love forms the basis of how we interact healthily. When we have love, we can work out our differences, wrongs, and deficiencies, more harmoniously. With this basis, be it when sharing the gospel with a friend, being a disciple of Christ, or managing differences between church members, these can be handled with less conflict and tension, resulting in fewer strained relationships.
– Timothy Leung, NP, Diploma in Business Studies specialising in Human Capital Management, Year 3
As observed, many young Christians believe that discipleship, in the sense of spiritual growth in the community, is less important due to the ideology of individualism which believes everything can be or must be done by yourself alone. However, in the early church, discipleship took place and was designed in the community. In this event, I learned that the Christian community is important for our spiritual growth as it helps to shape our faith, promote discipleship and evangelism, unite us, and protect the truth.
– James Sebastian, NTU, Electrical & Electronic Engineering Year 4
It was a humbling experience to share my perspectives of discipleship from my experience of being in CF and to hear from others on topics like evangelism, backslidden youths, and intergenerational issues. The contributions from the attendees gave me new perspectives on the various issues and highlighted important aspects that many face in their church community. I felt that God was showing us that loving Him, and the community goes beyond simply doing what we feel is best. We need to humble ourselves and reach out to others, spend time listening to and understanding one another to serve and grow as a community.
– Natalie Liew graduated from SP in 2021 and is the outgoing chairperson of the FES National Student Council.
Pain and Suffering
During 12–14 April 2022, the NUS Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF) and the NUS Muslim Society (MS) organised a joint exhibition to explore ways how the two different faiths reconcile and wrestle with the doubts, and questions that arise when thinking about the pain and suffering in this world. The exhibition was the second part of our joint engagement as a few weeks before the exhibition, we had small group discussions on this same topic. Through the exhibition, we then sought to respectfully present perspectives on this area and humbly suggest a few answers to the question “Is there hope”?
At the exhibition, we also had a booth where members from MS and VCF could interact with interested students. Because the nature of our exhibition presented in-depth explanations, whereby each panel broke down the basis on which Christians or Muslims grapple with suffering, why they believe it exists, and what they hope in, it gave more context which helped to open deeper conversations with students who had questions about God.
The feedback received on this exhibition was largely positive. For CFers, it was encouraging for them to see how VCF could engage in meaningful conversations with different students. Understandably, there were some CFers who were apprehensive about such joint engagements, fearing the sharing of the whole gospel would be hindered. However, thankfully, we saw that this exhibition allowed us to share the full gospel with all who were willing to hear. For some CFers, it pushed them to come out of their comfort zone to interact with those outside of their common circle of friends and gave us precious opportunities to befriend one another and in the process, share what and why we believe with utmost care and respect.
This joint engagement with the MS has been most wonderful. I have learned to see that there truly are so many opportunities on campus to build bridges with others – so that the whole campus may have small glimpses into how good and gracious our God is through us. I’m extremely thankful for the organising team, for the friendships we have been able to build with the MS (and hope that we continue to build), and for the hospitality and love, MS has shown us! I hope that we struggle together and wrestle with one another so that we may, in line with God’s Word, rightly represent who He is to all on campus, to the nation, and the wider world.
– Joelle Chan Mei Si, NUS, Arts/Geography, Year 4
When life’s at the crossroads, which path
would you walk?
Have you ever struggled to make choices? From what to eat, to which company to work for, to where to go for a holiday, to whom we should date. As university students, we are at important crossroads because of the choices and decisions we must make both now and in the future. NUS Indonesian Students’ Christian Fellowship (ISCF) held a 4D3N camp from 9–11 May 2022, themed “Crossroads” to help us gain wisdom, walk with Christ in our decision-making journey, and rededicate ourselves fully to Him.
Everyone, in general, was very blessed by the camp, whether it was through the discussions or games or even interactions with one another. When I reflected on this camp, one thing that struck me is something that a friend mentioned during our last session at the camp. She pointed out accurately how difficult being a Christian is, but we have our God who is also our Shepherd who faithfully guides and protects us. This point resonates with me especially after listening to some of the sessions on how we as Christians should live to glorify God. It will not be easy and sometimes may even be discouraging! It is however really comforting to know and be reminded again that God is above it all and that we are not alone.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me” (Ps. 23:4a).
– Jennifer Chessa, NUS, Data Science and Analytics, Year 3
A New Journey, the Companionship of the Heart
The annual Combined Polytechnic Chinese Christian Fellowship fresh graduates camp was held from 14–16 May. About 21 participants gathered at the FES Conference Room for sessions aimed to assist recent graduates in their transition to working life, as well as connecting them with alumni who could share their experiences with them. Besides the theme talk, there was a session on time management and our spiritual life and another one on National Service (NS) and career.
For me, brother Jia Jun’s sharing was one of the most memorable, as he discussed his time during his NS days, what to anticipate in an army camp, and different types of individuals to be aware of. He also discussed his post-NS career, which included different types of employment. Life isn’t always easy; there will be challenges ahead of us, but if we have faith and put our trust in God, He will guide us through this difficult journey.
– Leo Tay Zhao Cheng graduated from SP with a Diploma in Electrical Electronic Engineering in 2022.
SUSS CF held its first-ever camp from 1–3 June with 22 campers in attendance. The purpose of the camp is aligned with the SUSS CF motto: To engage the campus and to build the community. The camp’s theme verse is taken from 1 Corinthians 12:12, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” Truly, the body of the church is greater than the sum of its parts as reflected in the meaning of the word chosen as the title of the camp, “Kaleidoscope”.
I recognise that much of the success of the camp was due to God’s many blessings, as well as a competent and willing camp committee. The teaching sessions were a good reminder of God’s Word and His mission on earth. I’m thankful that the campers generally had a fruitful and enjoyable camp, and that the freshies found a few friends to anchor their SUSS experience with before it began. All in all, I’m glad to have been a part of this and blessed to be a blessing throughout.
– Mark Tan, SUSS, English Language & Literature Year 3
How has staff work been like these past two years?
Lim Ying and Loo Kee Wei joined FES as ministry interns in August 2019 and later, became full-time staff workers in February 2020. Currently, Lim Ying works with NP CF, TP-NYP CF, and Communications, while Kee Wei works with students in NTU CF and NIE CF, as well as heads the English Section staff team’s Bible Reading Project.
The work as an FES staff worker is dynamic and full of changes. I have seen that it is more important to listen than to speak, practise empathy, and show concern, whether is it with students or with fellow staff. Fellow workers have also given me feedback that I am also more conscious and sensitive to the feelings of other people – this is a significant change on my part, as I tend to be quite direct in my questions, even if doing so puts others on the spot sometimes. I have also become more sensitive to the biblical text and more at home in the biblical story as we study Scripture as a community.
– Kee Wei
When I first started, I was unsure of my role and contribution in FES as I did not serve in the VCF Exco when I was a student and was not very familiar with ministry work. Since then, I have discovered more of my unique strengths, and have accepted and am working on my weaknesses. While I may lack the typical skills of a ministry worker, I see how I can uniquely contribute to the ministry. Being challenged daily with ministry work has forced me (in a good way) to swim or sink, and I guess I’ve become a good swimmer.
– Lim Ying
At a session held on 2 May 2022, Lim Ying and Kee Wei shared about what God has been doing on the campuses of tertiary-level students. Read more at https://links.fellowship.sg/limandloo
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