Impetus (June 2024)

“From Passion to Paycheck?” 

 

“It’s great to be young!” Indeed, some of the greatest inspirations I got from serving in student ministry over the past 16 years have been the idealism and enthusiasm of young people. This is the stage where people discover and form their ideals, and to some extent fight for them. It is therefore not too surprising that this current generation of youth is called the woke generation – combining their idealism with unlimited access to information about the world literally at their fingertips.

It has also been observed that once work life begins and ‘reality’ sets in, idealism and enthusiasm slowly take a backseat. Based on a survey done among young graduates in 2023 (who had graduated less than three years ago), their top three concerns regarding the transition from study to work are work-life balance, uncertainties in life, and finances. It is evident that the pressures of life and work begin to pile up after graduation and occupy the front burner. Is this just a fact of life that we simply must accept?

I believe that the goal of any Christian ministry, including that of FES and GCF Singapore, is not to keep us away from the pressures of life and work but to bring our faith into these areas, as well as integrate our whole life, including work, into our walk of faith. However, we can approach these challenges with a perspective that is wholistic and supports growth, instead of one that is critical and stunts growth.

Firstly, there needs to be an understanding that there are different seasons in life and that it is not necessary for us to jam in everything all at once. One common observation among fresh graduates, who are still struggling in transition, is that they are also facing the pressure to be actively involved in church or other communities as they are seen to be ‘more available’, compared to when they were still students. This mismatch of expectations causes many young graduates to experience fatigue and slowly lose their zeal and idealism. The better alternative would be to allow them space and time to transition well, and for local churches or parachurches to provide support when they need it, which brings us to the second important factor for this transition: the importance of community. As much as we want to allow them space and time, we should still ensure that our young graduates have community – friends, peers, or even maybe some seniors to walk alongside them during their transition. Our young graduates need communities that are available for them, and not imposing upon them the ‘duties’ of being graduates.

We understand that some graduates find their much-needed support from local churches, for which we are thankful to the Lord. At the same time, we also realise that many are trying to find a home church on top of their transition from study to work, and others are looking for a community of fellow young graduates. In FES and GCF, we have a community of young graduates offering peer support through our C2C (Classmates to Colleagues) programme, as well as regular meet-ups and retreats for those in transition. We also have a group of senior graduates who are ready to walk alongside our young graduates, if they are looking for general or more industry-specific guidance. With this in place, we hope to work with young graduates, such that the passion and conviction in life, work, and ministry fostered during their student years will not just slowly fade away, causing them to live only for their paycheck.

 

– Michael Senjaya Kang
Mike graduated from NTU Computer Engineering in 2005. After working in the IT sector for a couple of years, he joined FES as a staff worker in 2008. Since 2021, he has been the Graduate Secretary of GCF and Associate General Secretary of FES.

 



Ministry News

 

Leaders’ Party 2024: Initiation

 

The Leaders’ Party is an FES initiative to equip the incoming student leaders in various aspects of Christian ministry for their leadership role in the Christian Fellowship (CF). This year, the programme runs from May to September and has three segments:

  • Initiation (17–18 May): pinpoint the various difficulties faced by the CFs, and spark conversations to address the issues
  • Expedition (June–August): learn in the community through personalised curriculums on the FES Learn online platform, as well as opportunities for collaboration across CFs.
  • Transformation (September): re-enter into conversation with fellow student leaders to relook and reinvent processes and initiatives.

 

The Initiation phase concluded a month ago. Outgoing student leaders were commended for their faithfulness in serving God over the past year, and incoming student leaders were commissioned into their leadership roles for the upcoming year. Three students share how LP has impacted them.

 

Scope the problem

Scope the Problem is an activity where each CF zooms in on their unique campus circumstances. By taking a closer look at where they are situated (physically and metaphorically) and the way of life of the people around them, the CF would then be able to approach and engage their environment more suitably! I also attended a similar workshop titled “Engaging Campus: Reimagining Ministry” during the Leaders’ Party, which was specifically curated for participants leading small campuses. Each CF experiences different challenges, and small CFs face struggles such as running on minimal resources, a lack of consistent members, or not being able to officially carry out their activities in school.

These challenges were not foreign to me. Prior to Leaders’ Party, I struggled with feeling impatient and disoriented about how we could get this new ministry moving, worrying about whether we were going in the right direction, and even the relevance of our ministry. It was the guidance and sharings during the activities that pushed me to discover the refreshing perspectives and potential of the ministry. One example would be that being a relatively new fellowship gives us the freedom to decide the vision of the CF, and perhaps have greater leeway if/when we make mistakes – it’s gonna be okay!

Through the activity and workshop, I was inspired to let go of what I expect and am comfortable with, and instead be challenged to imagine and approach the idea of a CF in new and unfamiliar ways. While it was not a comfortable experience, it was eye-opening and encouraging in its own way.

– Melene Loo
Salt & Light Table (S&LT), SMU, Sociology Year 4

 

Student panel of past leaders sharing stories from their CFs

My first Leaders’ Party began with an enlightening Student Panel, where past leaders shared their experiences and challenges unique to their Christian Fellowships (CFs). This reminded me that each CF has its own background, vision, and struggles. The panel also highlighted how leaders can become so focused on their own CF that they lose touch with others, resulting in isolation. The panel’s diverse composition – from polytechnics to universities, both private and public – offered a broad spectrum of experiences without sacrificing depth. Each panellist addressed root problems and solutions within their CFs. The Q&A session facilitated critical discussions about future challenges and allowed past leaders to encourage new ones to grow their communities for Christ.

I also attended the Engaging Scripture workshop to deepen my CF’s Bible study and learn how others approach scripture. A key highlight was discovering how the social background of readers influences their scriptural focus. An interactive retelling of the Prodigal Son parable revealed diverse insights from youths worldwide.

The workshop emphasised reading the Bible as a community, stressing that Scripture is meant for God’s people collectively. It underscored the importance of CF members encouraging and challenging each other, providing new perspectives, and covering blind spots. Additionally, we were reminded of the Bible’s double authorship – both God’s and human’s word – showcasing the compassionate and collaborative nature of our God.

– James Clement Lim
NUS ISCF, Chemical Engineering Year 3

 

Consultation

Attending a consultation session on the purpose of CF on campus and a workshop on Engaging Life provided me with deep insights and spiritual gain. In the consultation session, the presentation slides were rich with different Bible verses, illustrating how the CF’s existence on campus is deeply rooted in Christian teachings and values. Each verse served as a cornerstone, guiding the discussion on CF’s purpose and mission. Through biblical passages throughout the presentation, the speaker demonstrated how CF draws inspiration from scripture to create a community centred on faith, love, and service. Additionally, the concept of shalom played a prominent role in the discussion. Shalom, a Hebrew word often translated as “peace,” carries a deeper meaning encompassing wholeness, harmony, and well-being in all aspects of life. In the context of CF, shalom should be presented as a guiding principle, reflecting the community’s aspiration to cultivate a sense of completeness and tranquility among its members.

Discussing strengths that leaders should have

The workshop highlighted and emphasised the importance of fostering genuine connections, leadership development, and inclusivity within the community. Through exploration of one’s personality and strengths, we were able to find out what kind of leader we are, and how we can contribute to the growth and change of the CF. I learned that a vibrant CF community goes beyond gatherings; it embodies a collective vision for positive change. It requires active participation, openness to diverse perspectives, and a commitment to mutual growth.

Reflecting on these experiences, I am inspired to contribute actively to developing our CF community. Through these sessions, I have gotten a better understanding of what I can do to transform the CF. Together, we can create a more impactful and supportive campus environment, where everyone can thrive spiritually and personally.

– Roysten Kong
SP CCF, Computer Engineering Year 3

 


 

Fresh GraduatesCamps

 

In May and June 2024, FES Chinese Work organised two fresh graduates’ camps for the recent polytechnic and university graduates from the Chinese CFs. Here’s a snapshot of the camps that were held.

Combined Polytechnic Chinese CF Fresh Graduates’ Camp
ZHUAN换站 “Transit Point”
10–13 May, Civil Service Club @ Changi

The camp programme had four theme talks starting with zhuan (in different Chinese characters: 转,专,赚,砖)

  • 赚什么- 钱 Money and stewardship
  • 专业- 工作观 Profession and workplace attitudes
  • 砖块-家庭的基础 Foundations of a family
  • 转去哪里?- 人生方向 Direction of life

About 10 people, of which four are fresh graduates, attended this camp.

 

Combined University Chinese CF Fresh Graduates’ Camp
乘风破浪、锚⚓定未来 “Ride the Wind, Break Through the Waves, Anchor the Future”
5–8 June 2024, Civil Service Club @ Loyang

At this camp, which was attended by eight fresh graduates and about 20 seniors, campers were challenged to harness the power of the wind to overcome challenges and secure a bright future. There were also talks on Money and Stewardship, What is Work to Me, and Having the Right Perspective on Life.

 



Ask a Graduate

 

 

Keith Yeo
Keith graduated from the NUS Engineering faculty in 2019. He currently works as a Junior Project Sales Manager.

 

What has been the biggest challenge for your faith as a young graduate?

 

As a young graduate, joining the workplace had many challenges. Some had to do with office politics, while others were more operational. Sometimes these two aspects get intertwined and extra work is needed because of political plays made by other departments or even internally. It sometimes seems needless – why should I do extra work for this reason? At the same time, I also ask myself whether my attitude glorifies God. This reminds me to focus on doing my work, not for men, but for my biggest “boss” above.

One of the verses that helps me is Proverbs 19:11, “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offence.” I have this on sticky notes on my desktop and it reminds me often to be patient and gracious when dealing with people, especially when the emails come in. Part of glorifying God is in our attitude to the tasks that are given to us.

 

Why did you choose to serve or participate with the young graduate ministry of FES-GCF?

 

I chose to join GCF because I think the topics are useful, especially to young adults who are just joining the workforce and beginning a new phase in life. For example, workplace relationships, romance, and money are some of the topics covered. There are also reflective retreats that help us reexamine our lives and our walk with God.

It is easy to get carried away when the world presents so many ways to live your best life. GCF provides a platform for young adults to share their thoughts and discuss them with other like-minded young adults seeking to navigate life in a godly manner. Through this, we have a community that builds each other up and encourages each other in our faith.

 



GS Page

 

General Secretary

FES held its 66th Annual General Meeting on 1 June 2024, the first General Meeting governed by the amended FES Constitution in 2024. There was a fair bit of business conducted at this meeting, so allow me to list the important updates here:

  • Please read our Annual Report 2023 here: https://fellowship.sg/resources/fes-publications/annual-review for a review of the significant happenings for the past year.
  • We have welcomed SUSS CF as our newest member into FES. We now have a total of eight CFs as official members of FES.The FES Council has been reformed as the FES Board which has been entrusted with the management and administration of the fellowship. A total of 12 persons have been elected to the Board, including two student representatives. Please see the elected members here:https://fellowship.sg/about-us/council-and-advisory-board
  • The FES President and Vice Presidents have also been reformed as the FES Advisory Committee which is appointed by the Board to offer help and advice as needed. We have welcomed Rev Dr Edwin Tay, Principal of Trinity Theological College and former staff worker of FES, as the newest member of the Advisory Committee. Please see the appointed members here: https://fellowship.sg/about-us/council-and-advisory-board
  • We have welcomed our three new Trustees of FES, Prof. Tan Wee Liang, Mr Yeong Zee Kin, and Prof. Tan Seow Hon. They will take over from our three longstanding Trustees Mr Daniel John, Ms Serene Wee, and Mr Lawrence Boo.

Sharing on SUSS CF’s ministry at the AGM

Upcoming and Ongoing

Graduation Party 2024. The third FES-GCF Graduation Party will take place on 20 July. Pray for this new generation of young graduates as they transition to the next phase of life focused on work and the workplace. Pray for courage and perseverance as they enter this new phase amid uncertainties and instability. Pray that they may yet maintain a missional spirit that desires to be salt and light wherever they may be.

East Asia Regional Conference 2024 (EARC). From 3 to 9 July, 24 students and six staff will participate in EARC 2024 in Thailand. Pray that our participants will be inspired and encouraged as they meet fellow believers from the region and see God at work through and among the global fellowship.

Freshmen Orientation Camps, Programmes, and Welcome Teas. Most of the universities are now on holiday in preparation for the new academic year in August. As such, many CFs are also preparing for their Freshmen Orientation Camps, programmes, and Welcome Teas through July and August. The nearest one is VCF FOC from 15 to 18 July. Pray for good preparation by the committees and for the fruitfulness of everything that will be organised. For more information on the upcoming freshmen programmes, go to: https://promo.fellowship.sg/


Finance and Fundraising

As of May 2024, FES has received $750K in regular donations against a $2.2M annual budget. This represents 35% of our budget as we near the middle of the year. FES heavily relies on contributions from our alumni who have been through our ministries, and we have indeed been greatly blessed by generous donations from various alumni groups and individuals. It must be noted that FES has recently received a significant donation from the Trust Fund of one of our VCF alumni, Ms Lam Lai Ore who went home to the Lord in 2018. FES has since set up an Investment Committee to consider how best to use these donations, together with the FES-GCF Legacy Fund, to keep FES and GCF sustainable and fruitful. Yet, there remains the need to improve contributions among our young graduates and we hope that our young graduates may prayerfully consider financially supporting us in student and graduate work.

Blessings

Jeremiah Goh
General Secretary

 



Staff News

 

Farewell

On 30 June 2024, we will bid farewell to our dear fellow worker and friend senior staff worker Siah May Lan, who first joined FES in 1999 as a campus staff to NTU/NIE CF and SIM SCF. She briefly left FES for intercultural studies in Tasmania in 2003 and returned to FES in 2007 as a campus staff to firmly establish SIM SCF and pioneer JCUS CF. May Lan was also the missions staff supporting FES missions programmes like MEET, G-Cube, and MORPH. She has also led and been involved in numerous missions and cultural efforts in creative access countries with IFES. Overall, May Lan has seen through many exciting years of missions, pioneering, exchanges, and campus work, all the while influential in fostering the missional and pioneering spirit among students and staff. At this time, she has decided to focus her efforts on pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Counselling at Singapore Bible College before deciding what she will do next. We thank May Lan for her faithful service in FES and pray for God to continue to guide her to what He has in store for her.

 



 

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

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