Finally I received my MTh(Ed) from AGST Alliance in a folder over registered mail. I have graduated. It was an enjoyable, enlightening and enriching journey.
It was fun to meet fellow servants of God from pastors, lay leaders to lecturers of Bible Schools who want to pursue further equipping and increase of knowledge and skills on a part-time basis, while still in their respective job responsibilities or ministries. When you are together in class, and over meals and breaks, over several courses, or even travel together, you are sure to build friendships and acquaintances.
My classmates are mostly from Malaysia and Singapore but there are also those from Australia and USA. They are from different denominations, Bible Schools and missions. This makes our interactions and fellowship times interesting and exciting.
I learned a lot from the course modules which included spiritual formation and Christian education. Each module comprised a five day 9am to 5pm lecture phase, preceded by reading assignments, and followed by research assignments. The lecturers were helpful and facilitated our learning and treated us with graciousness and thoughtfulness. They knew the kind of struggles and challenges people in ministry faced in trying to juggle assignments and work.
The whole package created a learning environment that befits the degree we pursued. To be a good practitioner would require that I patiently and diligently seek what I learned to what I am doing. It comes from reflection-action-reflection in the journey of change. But the burden and speed of ministry means you do not have the time to reflect sufficiently to design something that is customised. It is always easier to find a package and use it. Besides having time, I only wished I was able to apply the insights gained with a coach’s or mentor’s help.
I must confess that towards the end I struggled a great deal with studying part-time. My grades were above average most of the time. But the tougher assignments at the tail end took a toll on me. I needed to dig deep, ask my friends for prayer support, and cry out to God for grace and wisdom and motivation to get over the line. By the grace of God, I finished the course, and graduated. It gave me a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, but it makes me think twice and pray thrice about taking out any further courses.
You are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in love. You are upright and all Your ways are just.
With our heads bowed down before You, and our hearts broken over Your church, we admit that we have failed You before the eyes of the watching world. We thank You for Your forgiveness through the mercy of Christ.
We pray for all churches in Singapore. Purify us with holy discipline; fill us afresh with Your Spirit; and consecrate us to glorify Your name. Grant us the grace to despise fame, embrace simplicity, and renounce the desire to be rich.
We call on the Spirit of grace to assure, comfort and strengthen the City Harvest Church. May they stand firm, steady, and united during this time of increased pressures. Give the church and its leaders great peace.
We remember those in prison and pray that You will visit them with Your love, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. May the enforced times of confinement and quiet be transformed into moments when You draw near to them and whisper Your faith, love and hope. Watch over their families at home and keep everyone in the love of God.
Lord, let what has happened make the church in Singapore more dependent on You, more in communion with You, and more like You in Your lowliness, poverty and obscurity.
The pastors initiated some pastoral care when we found that a number of men were between jobs. They were mainly professionals in manufacturing, retail, finance and service industries. We formed a WhatsApp chat group with Wai Tuck as a co-ordinator. We called it Men In Transition. We met them for prayer and meditation (lectio divina), sharing, and meals periodically.
Last week Tom Cannon and I met them for a few hours of reflection on their vocational history. We got them to draw a timeline and reflect on the high and low points of their years of working life. We asked them to ponder how God was present in their careers, using Old Testament Joseph’s timeline as an example. It opened their eyes. Then Tom led them in a lectio divina on the passage Isaiah 43:1-7. This was followed with a time of sharing their reflections. We listened to their stories of pain, victories, struggles, weaknesses and wrapped up everything by bring these to the Lord in prayer. The Lord was present to impart peace and comfort.
Then we proceeded to The Ranch for a $10 set meal. Lovely morning; wonderful fellowship! To do work that encourages, enlightens and give hope to people you care about is such a satisfying thing.