Category: Ministry


Today marks exactly 10 years in total that, by God’s grace and enabling, I have served the Lord in full-time ministry. The journey began earlier though, since May 2003, when I first started out as a ministry staff in my home church. In the span of the past 15 years, apart from the 10 years in ministry (including close to 6 years as a pastor), I have also studied for 3 years and graduated from bible college, gotten married and became a parent to 4 children, and served mainly in missions, youth & young adults, and Christian education in both church and parachurch environments. Looking back, it sometimes feels like a lifetime since it all started, but it also seems as though time has flew by quickly. Here are some reflections and lessons learnt along the way.

1. Serving the Lord (ministry) is demanding.
The first aspect has to do with time and energy. Perhaps coupled with the rising reality of age catching up (I was 30 when I graduated and married, and now in my early 40s), ministry has increasingly been time-consuming, energy-draining and at times mentally, emotionally and spiritually challenging. You reach the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows, there are intense periods of stress and pressures, requiring loads of prayer and perseverance. What has helped through all this is the support of friends, colleagues, spiritual mentors and fellow-sojourners, as well as making a conscious effort to retreat, rest and reflect. Also, I find that church members tend to have an impression that the pastor or staff is always busy or never has time for them; this needs to be addressed or corrected, as it might lead to a false perception either on our part that to be busy means we are successful, motivated or seen to be getting things done; or on others’ part, they might always find us never approachable or willing or able to be there for them in their times of need.

2. Serving the Lord (ministry) is messy.
The second aspect has to do with people. Someone once said, “I love God and serving Him; it’s the church I can’t stand.” As much as working with people can be fun, joyful and exciting (especially when they are nice and friendly, and there are no problems or issues), there are and will be times where problematic individuals, either due to personality, sin, or just being plain difficult, will get you down, or try your patience and limits. Part of the solution is adjusting your own working style or approach, or compromise on non-essentials in order to move forward together, or even just humbly recognizing our own shortcomings and accept others as they are (flaws, weaknesses, rough edges and all). If you are in a position of authority, seek God and godly counsel for wisdom, and find ways and opportunities to speak the truth in love, which might even call occasionally for gentle rebuke or admonishment to correct, hopefully with the receiving person(s) being open and teachable to constructive criticism.

3. Serving the Lord (ministry) is fulfilling.
The last aspect has to do with satisfaction and calling. This to me has and is the key motivation that has kept me going all these years. When ministry challenges (time, energy) and people problems creep in, or seem to overwhelm, I fall back on remembering what led me to full-time ministry in the first place – God’s love for me, and my response of love for Him and desire to serve Him wholeheartedly with all my life. When Jesus went to the cross and died, what were His reasons? Many would say, and the Bible tells us, that Jesus died for the sins of the world, because He loved the world, or us His people. True as that may be, His primary reason was out of love and obedience to His Father and His will. That is why when we are called to emulate and follow Jesus, not all (hopefully none) would be called to do something such as die on the cross for the sins of the world (there is only one Christ, we are not the Messiah!), but all of us are called to discover and pursue God’s will and calling for our lives. It has to be our love and obedience for God, that will enable us to ride the waves of ministry, anchoring our souls and aligning our life decisions and direction to His kingdom purposes.

A special thanks firstly of course to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, without whom all this would not be possible. Secondly, a big kudos, appreciation and affirmation of my wife of 11 years, who has stood by and journeyed with me all the way since I entered into ministry. Lastly, I remember my mentors and peers who have supported me with advice, prayers and spiritual friendships through the years – thank you for walking alongside, fellow sojourners and co-labourers in the Lord.

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord , knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.  (1 Cor. 15.58)

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10.10.10 (10 Oct 2010 – the significance of ten in the Bible)

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I had the privilege of having lunch today with the original local blogging pastor (or Blogpastor, as he’s more commonly known), Ps Kenny Chee.

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PC: Kenny Chee

I chanced upon his blog whilst starting up my own blogging journey in 2007, where he had already been blogging regularly for a few years, and had quite a good following. Since then, we have had sporadic interactions, exchanges through our blogs and social media, and a few near-misses (being at the same events but not meeting), e.g. Pastors Prayer Summit, him visiting the church I was pastoring youth at.
Finally after 8+ years of virtual friendship, by divine appointment (I only found out the night before through his FB post that we were attending the same conference), we arranged to meet today for the first time over lunch at the EPPI preaching conference. Such is the culture and times these days I guess, where people can somehow be connected, yet disconnected, virtual friends, yet never meeting IRL (in real life). But it is also interesting times, where we can actually meet and cultivate kindred friendships across continents, borders, cultures, churches and denominations via social media and the Internet.

We kind of hit it off quite well from the get-go, perhaps as we have some mutual acquaintances and common backgrounds. He shared about his pastoring journey of 35+ years at WRPF, as well as his challenges and struggles. It was a relatively short time, but I was really encouraged and blessed by this humble and faithful man of God, and in his words, I definitely gleaned some “gold nuggets” of wisdom on life and ministry from him. Interestingly, we never really got down to chat about our common, shared interests of blogs and bikes. But as I was reflecting, writing this post, perhaps it was for the better, as we shared about life and Bible ministry, pastoring and preaching, that which counts for eternity, of lasting eternal value – the Word of God, and the souls of man.

Looking forward to more encounters and interaction in the future! Continuing to keep you, Ps Kenny, your family and your ministry into God’s hands.

Reasons pastors should blog

I chanced on this old article on DesiringGod.org, on reasons why pastors should blog. It’s a good read, especially for those in ministry. Here’s a summary.

Pastors should blog:

  • To write
  • To teach
  • To recommend
  • To interact
  • To develop an eye for what is meaningful
  • To be known (as a person)

Read the full article here

Another article – 10 reasons pastors should blog

Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker,
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given Your servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe,
For each skill Your grace has given me,
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify Your great name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
‘Til Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your great name

​A good read (read through to the end).

http://www.churchleaders.com/youth/youth-leaders-articles/272207-dont-waste-your-life-doing-youth-ministry.html

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