Fishers of Men
Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men… Matthew 4:19
Revd Alvin Toh will be ordained as priest in May and posted out this coming July to serve in St John’s-St Margaret’s Church. Our best wishes and prayers go with him as he continues to grow in this family.
Alvin Toh served and trained as a Baptist church worker before joining St Andrew’s Cathedral in 2013. He served largely with the 9 am Sunday and Saturday Service communities. He also headed Christian Education (especially in spearheading the Baptism and Membership classes) and was actively involved in areas like overseeing Boys’ Brigade work and Discipleship Group ministry. In fact, we have hoped for him to provide leadership as we start new Discipleship Groups. As he has spent some years as a banker, I have also asked him to explore organising lunchtime meetings for office workers. It will not be easy to let Alvin move on, and neither will it be easy to raise new leaders to head these heavy responsibilities.
In fact, SAC does have plans to scale up as a training and education centre. The recent successful launch of CBS is a good start as we put Scripture at the centre. We just ran our inaugural Anglicanism class and those who attended realise how important this course is. We have plans to develop a few Anglicanism Courses, including those which will teach our rich heritage in worship and liturgy, and probe the biblical and theological basis for some of our Anglican practices i.e. sacraments of communion and baptism. Issues of how modern science, philosophy and psychology interact and enrich our faith needs to be explored as well. Marketplace issues are important, given our location and interaction with the city, with the commercial world to our east and the legal-political world to our west. The new NAG and other nearby museums also underscore our role in sharing our historical heritage.
In fact, SAC is expected to be the centre for many areas: education, counselling, marketplace education, prayer, evangelism, discipleship etc. And obviously, our current facilities need to be expanded to support these ministries.
The list is long if we care and reflect on what the Lord has called us to be and do. I am sharing this to ask you to pray and be challenged to consider the role that some of you could play in the coming years. In a sense, we cannot afford to “lose” a gifted clergy like Alvin but neither should we forget that SAC is a “Mother Church” and should pursue her call to raise and send workers, pastors and leaders.
I am firm believer in encouraging creating space and a rich community which can grow and raise individuals to fulfil their calling in Christ. It is my prayer that SAC will be a good nursery to raise many lay leaders, pastors and clergy in the years to come. To this end, it is more culture than strategy. It is about building a culture of love, openess, encouragement, affirmation (of a person’s calling and gifts), mentoring and open space where individuals can grow, serve and make many mistakes! We don’t plan it. We need to live it. This is what I know I can give my life and energy to: to lead that others may lead, to serve that others may serve, to find life fulfilment that others may experience likewise.
Jesus asked the fishermen to drop the nets and follow Him that they live a life that influences many other lives. Let’s serve together that our community may have at her centre this vision. As we let Alvin go to another vineyard, may we raise many more for His Kingdom.