In line with our goal to challenge students to look beyond their comfort zones and take the Good News of Christ to every nation within and outside Singapore, we encourage students to participate in God's mission whilst they are students.
Missionary interest among students began as early as 1957 when teams of students started to visit Malaysia to explore first hand missionary work. By the eighties, there were numerous teams of students from the various FES-affiliated fellowships going on mission trips. To better equip and prepare the students going on these trips, as well as to coordinate all these efforts, the FES Missions Committee was formed comprising students, graduates and FES staff. This led to the birth of MEET, which stands for Missions Education and Exposure Training. MEET was a year-long training programme conducted by the FES Missions Committee for students who were preparing for mission trips. The MEET programme continued until 2006 when the programme was revamped to become G-Cube/G3.
Even as we conduct our mission programmes we also recognize that churches are active in providing mission education and exposures to their congregations. We complement the Church as we encourage cross-cultural exposures primarily within the student communities and partner with other student movements affiliated to the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES).
God's Global Glory (G-Cube/G3)
This is a training programme to deepen mission awareness and commitment amongst Christian students. It consists of systematic lectures, compulsory readings (books and articles), bible studies, missions research and a training camp.
The training is divided into two phases with Phase 1 covering a period of three months and Phase 2 lasting about six months. The programme covers the important elements in mission education like:
- Historical perspective of mission
- Meta-narrative of God's glory in the Bible
- Cultural aspect of missions
- Strategies and skills involved in missions
At the end of Phase 2, the participant goes on an exposure trip to an Asian country to be involved in student ministry or a related ministry, working in partnership with the missionaries or mission agency there.
International Student Ministry (ISM)
"When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am your Lord your God." (Lev 19:33,34)
ISM was first established in 1991 when we started to observe significant increase in the number of international students on our campuses. The students range from Polytechnic students to post-graduate students. At the CF-level, ISM is coordinated by a standing committee called the International Friendship Group (IFG).
As FES has the English, Chinese and Indonesian sections ministering to their respective language speakers, ISM caters primarily to students from other nationalities. Though most of the international students are conversant in English, many feel more comfortable to meet in an environment where there are other international students like them, whom they can share common concerns. Hence the IFGs are positioned to cater to the needs of these students through various formal and informal activities organised by the IFG.
IFGs have activities like International Cafe, informal conversational English classes and various culture sharing activities. Some international students have also done some bible studies with the CFers or staffworkers.
Presently the IFGs at VCF, NTU CF and SIM-SCF have an active ministry to international students. Similar work has also started at SMU and one of the polytechnics.
However, not all IFGs are standing committees. A newly established CF at Informatics (ICF), a private institute, has mainly international students as its members. Hence, the entire ICF is like an IFG.
At the FES-level, we continue to make efforts to:
- Raise awareness on the importance of ministry with international students across all the CFs as ISM is essentially cross-cultural mission at our doorsteps.
- Equip CFers on areas like sensitive communication skills and other cross-cultural issues as they engage international students meaningfully.
- Encourage CFers to extend hospitality and invest time on befriending and making long-lasting friendships with international students.
- Conduct evangelistic bible study training or the actual study sessions when there are interests among international students on spiritual matters.
- Develop partnerships with local churches who are burdened for ISM and to channel international students to such churches as and when there are interests.
- Prepare international students when they return home by linking them to an IFES movement or church in their home country.
We believe that our social involvement has evangelistic consequences. Students ought to realise how changes take place through the transforming grace of Jesus Christ.
Social Action should not be a stand-alone ministry, just as evangelism should not be relegated to the job of a committee. The incomplete understanding of the mission of God among Christians causes us to highlight the importance of social action in our Christian teachings.
Therefore, it is hoped that through education and first-hand experience, students can appreciate the importance and urgency of social action. What's more social action should be an integral part of the spiritual formation of students and graduates. Social action is, in other words, putting our faith in action.
As a church-oriented organisation, FES partnered the Board of Social Concern of the Methodist Church and Wesley Methodist Church to organise a two-day conference 'Breaking Down Barriers: The Church for the Marginalised' on 18-19 April 2008.
In 2007, the Social Action Committee (SAC) became a Standing Committee in the VCF officially. Through discussions, seminars, Bible studies and practical action, the SAC not only raised the profile of social action among Christian students, they have also grasped the importance of social action and how much it is part of our daily lives, as we are called to be salt and light in society.
The SAC has so far sought to address issues such as, social justice, the environment, sexuality, terrorism, foreign workers, inter-faith dialogues and so on.
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