Ministry Weekend 2021: Drawn to see God’s Heart


Below is a reflection of the MG (Mentoring Group) Ministry Weekend by Dr Jeannette Shubert, EAST Associate Academic Dean, as she recounts the experiences and learning by students and faculty.

Teamwork. Faith-stretching. Cross-cultural. Partnership. Learning. The size of these words expanded as EAST students and faculty contributed to an online Word Cloud during a recent Chapel service. The Word Cloud highlighted repeated responses to the question, “What three words would you use to describe MG (Mentoring Group) Ministry Weekend?”

Each September, East Asia School of Theology (EAST) suspends classes as MGs, comprised of faculty and students, partner with churches and ministries in Singapore and nearby countries for Ministry Weekend.

Even though MGs could not leave Singapore last month, eight MGs ministered in six countries via Zoom. Four MGs ‘remained’ in Singapore. One MG served with Century Christian Fellowship (an extension of Chapel of the Resurrection) to facilitate workshops for young adults about developing healthy relationships. Another MG (which also partnered with an overseas church in a separate youth event) led the Myanmar youth service at Judson Baptist Church with the theme on the generosity of God. Two MGs along with Rev Dr Chan Chong Hiok, the EAST President, and other members of the EAST community partnered with SG Cares and Charis Methodist Church to bless 83 migrant workers with health screening. The following perspectives of several students highlight various facets of Ministry Weekend.

Teamwork. One of the three Ministry Weekend emphases is a team-focus (the other two are God-focus and ministry-focus). Boggi Munkhtuvshin, a first-year MA student who resides in Mongolia, has only met members of her MG in Singapore via Zoom. During the Ministry Weekend, Boggi’s MG combined with a men’s MG. Members of the two MGs reside in four countries and served together at a church in central Philippines. Boggi commented about the teamwork, “Everyone had meaningful roles. We all had responsibilities big and small, but all were very important. Planning ahead and following through helped us do well. I enjoyed the experience a lot because my team was very supportive and encouraging.” An enjoyable team experience not only deepens relationships within MGs but also contributes to a ‘classroom without walls’ experience.

Faith-stretching. MGs sometimes serve in ministry contexts unfamiliar to members of the MG. This was true for Rebecca Chen. Rebecca’s student team leader, from India, arranged a gathering for members of Indian mission agencies who experienced hardships due to the pandemic. Rebecca, a first year MA student, explained how this Ministry Weekend stretched her faith, “Initially I wondered how our MG could encourage these ministry workers to reach out more for Christ in their difficulties because most of us have comfortable lives. We listened, prayed for individuals, and shared words of encouragement.” Rebecca saw the results of choosing to trust God in an unfamiliar context as participants shared how practical seminars encouraged them and they were able to recount God’s blessings, provision, and protection in their lives.

Cross-cultural. The men in the MG led by Drs. Benson Goh and Lewis Winkler represent six nations. Their culturally diverse MG partnered with Living Faith Christian Church in Mongolia and facilitated workshops about believers’ identity in Christ and connecting with God in any situation. Wong Choong Voon, a member of the MG and a graduating MDiv student from Malaysia, highlighted some of the cross-cultural aspects of their Ministry Weekend.  He said, “A meaningful cross-cultural aspect of Ministry Weekend for me was to learn their history and culture through the sharing of the church pastor (a member of the MG) and to teach biblical truth in a different cultural context. I saw how God has strengthened the congregation during this challenging time of Covid. I was encouraged by their continued trust and faith towards God.” The opportunity to serve as a multicultural team in a cross-cultural context contributes to students’ appreciation of God’s work in other places and also expands awareness of physical and spiritual needs.

Partnership. Ministry Weekend partnership between the MG and a church or ministry is often mutually beneficial. Mikeel Araña, a second-year MA student, served as the team leader for his MG. Mikeel arranged for the MG to serve with his home church, Christ Centered Fellowship, in Iloilo City, Philippines. As Mikeel reflected on this partnership he observed, “A meaningful aspect of the Ministry Weekend partnership was that I got to know more about the needs in our church and the different gifts we have in our MG. A highlight for me was when we prayed for participants in breakout rooms. That was when we really connected with them. My church appreciated not only the lessons and insights of workshops on how to study the Bible and family discipleship but also the times of sharing and prayer.” This year several students arranged for partnerships between their church or ministry and their MG. Feedback after Ministry Weekend from pastors and ministry leaders indicated the mutual benefits of the partnerships.

Learning. MG Ministry Weekend provides many natural opportunities for learning. While the context is informal, yet lessons learned are a valuable part of spiritual, character, and ministerial formation. Daniel Yoncer, a first-year Graduate Diploma student from Indonesia, identified two main take-aways from Ministry Weekend. His MG ministered to young adults and pastors in Myanmar through teaching and discussion about biblical lament. Daniel explained lessons he learned, “The first is that God can use hard times to grow His people and turn them towards Him. One sister shared that she was encouraged to know that she could pour out her heart and express her emotions honestly to God by following the Psalms. The second takeaway from this Ministry Weekend is seeing my MG build a stronger bond in the process of serving and having fellowship together. It was not just a project we did together. I got to learn a lot about my brothers in the MG.” As Daniel observed, not all lessons occur in a classroom. Ministry Weekend provides a natural environment for learning about life, ministry, and relationships.

Teamwork. Faith-stretching. Cross-cultural. Partnership. Learning. The five words represent what a number of students and faculty felt about their MG relationships and ministry partnerships in six countries during the recent Ministry Weekend. At a recent Chapel service Mrs. Josephine Goh, the Mentoring Director at EAST summarized the impact of Ministry Weekend. She said, “More than witnessing God’s hand at work through Ministry Weekend 2021, we are drawn to see God’s heart for us and the people we served.”


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