Impetus (June 2023)

GS Letter


Where will the next generation of Christlike leaders come from?


Our CF students and alumni know well that FES ministry follows a certain philosophy that is called ‘distinctives’. Most of us will remember that there are six of these distinctives but many might not remember what those six are exactly. However, there are two of these distinctives that seem to be commonly recounted by many students and alumni that I meet. The first is interdenominational. I have heard numerous stories of students sharing their encounters with Christians from another denomination as if it was like entering a foreign country. The second one is student initiative and leadership. FES remains committed to empowering and encouraging students to take ownership and leadership of the CFs on campus. We believe that this is the most effective and practical way to develop our future leaders of church and society. (If you would like to learn more about the FES distinctives, please check it out here.

Leadership has become a hot topic in these post-pandemic years. In the State of the Church in Singapore 2022 study, leadership renewal, recruitment, and succession are listed as the third priority of several church leaders. Many are looking for a fresh vision to chart a new direction to develop a future with a substantially different-looking economy. In this period of rapid transitions, there is a push for more clarity, conviction, and courage. How has FES been responding to this challenge?

Since last year, FES has been intentionally focused on developing wholistic Christlike leaders of the future in character and competencies. In this update, you will read some stories from student leaders who attended our recent Leaders’ Party. We started the Leaders’ Party in 2022 to build a community of student leaders to learn and lead together, to even celebrate and lament together as well. This is the second time that we have held the Leaders’ Party and we have expanded it to include digital learning and experiences to cater to an ever-mobile generation. Society today and tomorrow is looking for more leaders. FES is meeting this need by raising the next generation of leaders faithful to the life and work of Christ as their Saviour.


  1. Pray for the new generation of students and leaders as a new academic year begins for the universities and polytechnics. 2023 remains an uncertain year as before as students are forced to constantly adapt to changes in school, in technologies, in rules, and in society. How are students supposed to cope? Somehow, they will, and they do. Pray for courage and grace for our students and leaders as they navigate this period of higher education in a more-demanding world. Let us encourage them with passion and with patience.
  2. Pray for a hopeful outlook and refreshed spirit for new students entering the campuses. Pray that they may anticipate and be alert to the work of God in their lives as they begin their journey in higher education.
  3. Pray for our young graduates and the Graduation Party that is happening on 15 July. If you know of students who graduated this year and would benefit from being connected to the community of FES and GCF, please encourage them to attend the Party! (To get linked to the Party, go to Pray for the young graduates as they navigate a changed economic world that now has different expectations and understanding of vocation and work. Pray for wisdom and direction as we develop plans for the Graduation Party and the follow-up programme.



Jeremiah Goh
General Secretary


CF News and Updates


Leaders’ Party 2023


Inaugurated in 2022, the Leaders’ Party was borne of FES’ desire to invite our student leaders to deepen their understanding of leadership, while building our community of leaders as a national fellowship. Significant to our Leaders’ Party rendering this year is the introduction of our FES Moodle for continued (personalised) learning, and having the party in three parts:
Foundational (13–14 May): Introduction to the foundational skills and knowledge necessary for leadership.
Equipping (May–Aug): Learning over Moodle, while experiencing leadership through planning and preparing for CF.
Sent-Out (1–2 Sept): Community of leaders to regather, and share stories of their experience thus far, as well as to be commissioned and encouraged for the rest of their journey.

For the first part of our Leaders’ Party, held from 13–14 May 2023, 48 student leaders from 15 CF ministries gathered at the Salvation Army Praisehaven Retreat Center for this event. This year, our emphasis was on exploring Christlike leadership – from being the topic of conversation at our panel consultation to framing our devotions together, to informing our choice of material at the tracks offered for equipping.

The four tracks that student leaders were able to choose from were:
• Future-Ready CF? Developing Vision & Strategy
• CF on Campus: The Why, How & What of Engagement
• ‘Hello, I am …’: Knowing Yourself as a Leader
• Tackling Team Dynamics for Thriving Teams

Here are some reflections on the party experience:


Developing Vision & Strategy

The Leaders’ Party was an excellent opportunity for me to meet and learn from CF leaders from various campuses. As someone with no prior experience serving on campus, I appreciated listening to the experiences of other CF leaders in my team.

The “Vision & Strategy” track was an interesting but very rigorous session; it felt like I just learned a life-long lesson in only one day! The workshops in this track have provided me with the tools and resources I need to create a plan and strategies for the CF but it has also humbled me and made me acknowledge my weaknesses, the skills I lack, and the areas I need to work on. I hope that what I’ve learned will be useful for my CF to see where we should be heading and what should we do to get there; and also how to make a long-lasting impact on the CF and the campus through the vision and strategy that we develop.

– Jocelyn, SIM International Relations, Year 2 (SIM CCF/SIM ISCF)


Engaging the Campus

Sharing the initiatives and challenges faced on our campuses

I deeply appreciated Leaders’ Party, which helped equip me by challenging my paradigms about student ministry. In this track, we were challenged to reconsider our idea of ‘university’: a time when we are prepared to serve Christ on campus and in our work. From the exposition on Ephesians 1:10 on the mission of God, I reflected on how our work in the present and future is both worship and ministry and the importance of embodying Christ to others. We also discussed our previous outreach initiatives and the challenges faced. It was encouraging to hear what other CFs have tried in this area, and thus gain greater clarity.

Our vision for how we can engage the campus was expanded through talks and activities, such as drawing our imaginations of what Jesus would do on campus, campus profiling, and stories of former leaders engaging in interfaith and intercultural networks. Most significantly, through debating on the need to “stabilise” our ministry before outreach and in discussing the theology of mission in the context of student ministry, we were reminded of the CF’s purpose, which exists not for ourselves but for the sake of the campus.

– Joshua Yap, NUS Psychology and Social Work, Year 3 (NUS VCF)


Tackling Team Dynamics

Learning about observation (without evaluation), which is the first of four components in nonviolent communication

Through this track I discovered the importance of coming together as a group for goal setting and collectively working towards that common goal, instead of working by yourself. By valuing the opinions and including the perspectives of other Exco members, we can create a shared vision that motivates and unites us. This further empowers each member, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to our collective goals. I was also taught about nonviolent communication and how it helps a team to build meaningful connections and resolve conflicts peacefully.

I hope that our team will strive to lead by example, embodying Christ-like qualities such as humility, compassion, and servitude. Through this, I hope we influence others to embrace these virtues in their leadership journeys. In this way, we will be able to nurture deeper friendships to trust one another in times of need, build a stronger SP CCF community and together, strive toward our shared vision of spreading Christ’s love on campus.

– Roysten Kong, SP Computer Engineering. Year 2 (SP CCF)


Knowing Yourself as a Leader

This track has helped me to better understand that it is paramount for us to identify ourselves in Christ, as well as know our traits and working styles to best position ourselves within a team.

One of the activities we did included a working style assessment which allowed me to recognise my preferred working style, and how I can work with people who have other working styles. Another big takeaway was reframing the way I perceive failure and the importance of having a growth mindset and receiving feedback, which are things that I tend to overlook. Lastly, we talked about the role of boundaries in our lives and how they help us to guard our treasures while keeping in mind that boundaries are not walls. It was interesting to note that the concept of boundaries stems from the nature of God, who is clear in telling us who He is and who He is not. Overall, this leadership track has encouraged and compelled me to be more intentional in seeking God and honouring Him in the way I relate to others and serve His people.

– Marilyn See, NTU Public Policy & Global Affairs, Year 3 (NTU CF)


Panel Consultation

Exploring Christlike leadership with the panellists, (from left) Rev. Gilbert Lok, Jensen Chan, Asa Rahadi, and Prarthini Selveindran

A theological framing of Christlike leadership was presented by Rev. Gilbert Lok and through that, I was able to reflect on the reasons why I follow certain leaders and to remember the person behind the leader. As a follower of Jesus, I am reminded to allow myself to first be led by Christ and to seek to be like Him. As Christ is a worthy model of leadership, this learning helps me desire a full relationship and communion with God – to seek first His living Word, His heart for people, and His life of wholeness where He always spoke in truth and in love.

On the significance of dialogical engagement, another speaker, Asa, stressed the need “to begin with the charitable assumption that there is good intent”. In relating to others, this means taking a humble posture to listen, ask, clarify, and speak sincerely. Being a leader does not mean I’m above others. I can learn the skills of perspective-taking and maintain a disposition of curiosity to learn from others.

– Zoe Low, formerly from SIM CCF


Staff News


FES Staff Conference


From 17 to 20 April, 30 FES and GCF staff gathered at St. Giles Southkey Hotel in Johor Bahru, Malaysia for a staff conference. The staff team deliberated on concrete manifestations of the FES vision, hoping to align our understanding of the vision and how it should be evaluated. Out of this understanding, we then shared and discussed the role of FES staff workers and how the effectiveness of our ministry should be assessed. The staff conference was a significant step taken in promoting good governance and ministry accountability.


New Regional Secretary


Lisman Komaladi, former FES Singapore General Secretary (GS) was appointed Regional Secretary (RS) of IFES East Asia effective May 2023 taking over from Annette Arulrajah, who has started a new role as an IFES Associate General Secretary. We find out more from Lisman about this new phase of his ministry.


Passing the baton … the leadership handover took place during an IFES East Asia event (zoom and onsite) celebrating 75 years of IFES ministry.

What does your work as a RS involve and what are the areas you will focus on as you begin your term?

The role of the RS can be amorphous. It has many similarities to the role of the GS of a movement (like spiritual and strategic leadership, pastoral care, and community builder) but with less organisational clarity, as the presence of RS in and his/her relationship with the movement (be it the GSs or key leaders) are more like among friends or pilgrims in the same journey.

Many people asked me what I will focus on as I begin my new role. This similar question came to me twelve years ago when I started my journey as the GS of FES Singapore. At that time, it was easier to answer this question as seemingly it was clear what I wanted to do. However, now I am not sure how to respond to this question. What I can only answer now is as written below.

Student ministry in East Asia is a movement. And it is God’s movement. My responsibility now, together with Jongho, the Associate RS, and the GSs of East Asia movements, is to discern and align with where God is leading us. Henri Nouwen, in his book Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life, gives us some clues on this discernment process.

To discern means first of all to listen to God, to pay attention to God’s active presence, and to obey God’s prompting, direction, leadings, and guidance… “Where does God lead us as a people?” This question requires that we pay careful attention to God’s guidance in our life together and that together we search for a creative response to the way we have heard God’s voice in our midst.”

In a diverse region made up of 14 movements, what are the main challenges you see?

There are three main challenges I see at the moment. First, the diversity itself, as each movement has a unique ministry context and challenges that cannot be generalised to one-size-fits-all ministry strategies or approaches. Second, the challenge of student or youth ministry in general, like in what are the ways IFES could creatively rethink to reach out to the new generation of students. Lastly, the stability of the socio-political circumstances in many countries in East Asia is hanging on a tricky or even slippery balance.

How might we pray for you?

  • Pray for the East Asia region (in particular, Perkantas Indonesia) which will be hosting the IFES World Assembly (2–10 Aug 2023). Pray fervently, participate in the World Assembly online, and partake in the financial support as the Lord leads you (see for further information).
  • Visiting the various movements to do training and provide pastoral care requires me to travel extensively. In the last three months alone, mainly for the handover trip, together with Annette, I had to travel to 15 countries in East Asia clocking more than 80 hours of flight time. Pray for my health and stamina, as well as for my 89-year-old dad, who is staying alone at home.
  • Lastly, support me in your prayers also for my various speaking and training engagements in Singapore (mainly onsite) and overseas (both online and onsite).




On 31 May, we bade farewell to Fuji Yao who first joined FES in 1999 as a staff worker in the polytechnic ministry. After a two-year break to do theological studies, he re-joined FES in 2006 as a senior staff worker leading the polytechnic ministry. From 2010 onwards he headed the pioneering efforts in EASB, NAFA, and Informatics. Since 2021, he has been helping to develop the FES-GCF graduate ministry. We thank God for Fuji’s faithful commitment to FES student and graduate work these past 21 years and pray that God will continue to use him to influence and inspire lives as he moves on to a new ministry.


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