After four years, I will finally allow this letter see the light by publishing it on my blog. “Bleeding Heart” was penned when I was 23 years old. I’ve made almost no edits to the original content and kept it in verbatim as much as I can (including bolds and italics) to preserve its integrity. I’m using this letter to illustrate a point that I will make in the sermon that I am preaching over the weekend, titled “The R-AGE DNA”. It is my prayer that through this letter, you catch a glimpse of my heartbeat for youth ministry and my heart that bleeds for R-AGE. These are not just mere words; I’ve followed it up with action by stepping into full-time youth ministry with R-AGE. I truly hope that it inspires and encourages you. If you do read my blog before you hear my sermon, then do cover me in prayer.
November 18, 2006
My dearest beloved brothers and sisters in R-AGE,
You are receiving this mail because you are serving this youth ministry. I am sending this mail out to you after many days of prayer and consideration because the response to this could go either way. These issues have been burning in my heart for a long time and I think the time is ripe for me to verbalise them. This mail is borne out of my own initiative and passion for R-AGE, therefore I claim full responsibility for it. I am praying that it will spark off a positive reaction from you and that it will somehow ignite something in your walk with God, and more specifically change the way you serve R-AGE. My intention of writing this letter is to provoke reaction, but without offending anyone. This is as raw as it gets; these words come from the bottom of my heart.
I am passionate about R-AGE. I have been here since it inaugurated 9 years ago and I have seen R-AGE through the ups and downs. I am passionate about this ministry. I love the young people, I love my pastors, I love my mentors and all those people who have touched me in one way or another. I love the boys in my beloved TeamR-AGE, I love the people in CAMY and I love every young person whose life I am involved in. It has been a progressive involvement and I’ve never been so involved in my entire duration here. I am physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually involved. And I urge to you be! I love this ministry because without R-AGE, I’d never be who I am today. I am thankful to God for R-AGE. I thank God for His grace. I am living proof of God’s grace. And so, now, it is my turn, it is OUR turn, to make R-AGE the place for others, what it has been for us, for me. This place is my heartbeat. My heart bleeds for the young people in R-AGE. R-AGE is my battlefield and my paradise; R-AGE is my city of refuge. R-AGE is where I have grown and it’s where I wanna see growth.
How much do you love your ministry? My inadequacy in the English language is crippling my ability to describe how much I love R-AGE, really. I live and breathe R-AGE. This is where I belong. This is my home. I am an ambassador of R-AGE. I am a spokesperson of R-AGE. I am a fierce defender of my pastors and I am fiercely loyal to my leaders. I am devoted to this ministry. Try speaking ill of the ministry or of the leaders, and I’ll be on your back. I question rationales and theories no doubt, but at the end of the day, my heart longs for this ministry to realise its massive potential. This place has evolved to where I want my children to serve and be a part of, if God wills it. I take ownership of the ministry. Do you?
For years, I’ve been praying and praying for R-AGE and for God to raise leaders that want to see the ministry move forward. We need to be like-minded, there is a great need for that. We need to move in the same direction, which the pastors have set, as they hear from God. There is a great need for cohesion – amongst the leaders of all levels, the various ministries and amongst the young people. I am still praying. I applaud and thank God for leaders whose heart burn for R-AGE. But if you are standing on the fence, how much longer will you? It’s about time we started to unleash the immense amount of potential in the ministry. THE TIME HAS COME and we have to seize the day. We gotta have faith in what God can do in R-AGE! It’s about time YOU REALLY DID SOMETHING FOR YOUR YOUTH MINISTRY!
Let’s not delay a day further. We don’t have to live in spiritual mediocrity. We don’t have to be contented with JUST THIS. There really is so much more than this. A youth ministry utopia is really not that far away. It is not an absurd lofty idea that only happens to other churches. It can and it will happen in our church, in our youth ministry. But we, who are in it, must first believe in it. And we have to walk hand-in-hand. We have to run in the same steps. We have to look towards the same direction. To see people queuing for hours to attend an R-AGE service is really not that impossible.
I pray that you will serve out of commitment and not convenience. Don’t just serve because you have free time. This is not a hobby or a past-time; this is ministry! Young lives are at stake. Make time for it. Give priority to it. Spend quality time with people that are under your care. Get out of your comfort zone.
I pray that you will give your time, not just your talent. This is not talent-time. I thank God that you have chosen to serve God because you have a gift, but it’s so much more than that. Don’t take the easy way out. There’s so much more than just talent. It’s about heart. H-E-A-R-T!
I pray that you will be filled with involvement and not indifference. Don’t sit on the fence. If you want to do something, go ahead and get it done. Take initiative and make the first step. I think the young people deserve much better than a mere passive interest. They deserve nothing less than your best. Don’t shortchange them. Don’t shortchange yourself. Don’t shortchange God.
I pray that you will pursue and not just promise. This is not a wishing well. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be men and women of action, for it speaks louder than words. A sacrifice is a sacrifice because it hurts for you to give.
I pray that you will raise up young people and not rest on your laurels. There is a great need for duplicity, especially if you’ve been serving in the ministry for a long time. The greatest thing you can give to a young person is belief. Jenn Hui gave that to me – this is based on a true story, my life story. The best thing that he ever did for me was to simply believe in me; then he empowered me for ministry. I’ve never looked back. That’s what you need to do for them.
I pray that you will be in relationship, not in residence. If you love Jesus, you feed His sheep. Spend time with them. Invest in their lives. Pray for them. Impart to them. Share with them the many life experiences that you’ve had by the fact that you’ve lived longer than them. Teach them the Word. Wisdom is applied knowledge. Love them, for we love one another because God first loved us. I pray that you will move from passive liking to active loving.
Like it or not, YOU, as leaders, will determine the kind of youths that R-AGE will produce. You are responsible for their upbringing. Be excellent examples for them to follow. This is a call for us all – from the pastoral level to those in key leadership positions to those who are playing the basic leadership role. Don’t just make a difference in their lives… BE THE DIFFERENCE in their lives. The quality begins from the top. Inspire them to be an excellent leader of young people by first being one yourself. You have to lead by example.
I dream of the day that parents would flock to this ministry and they would be eager to be associated with R-AGE. They would be excited to call themselves a part of this ministry. They would be supporting their kids if they were to serve in any area. They would be the ones providing a spiritual covering over us. They would be our prayer warriors. They would be the spiritual fathers and mothers of young people who don’t have older folks to turn to. They would want to give, they would want to bless, they would want to teach, they would want to impart. In turn, they will receive. They would release their children to serve God and they would empower them to be involved. They would want to form the bedrock of R-AGE. Pray, it can happen. It WILL happen!
I dream of the day where we no longer have small little cliques all over the place. I dream of the day where all gossip and lying and breaking of unity would cease forever. I dream of the day where everyone – leader and follower, man and woman, boy and girl – come together to have fellowship, building each other up in the body of Christ. I dream of the day where there will no longer be any walls between young people. I dream of the day where apathy and indifference would vanish from the ministry. I dream of the day where our passion becomes contagious, and we’ll have a burning desire to see the ministry move forward.
I dream of the day when we grow so big we run out of space; the Chapel in Grace 1 and the Sanctuary in Grace 2 couldn’t even contain us. I dream of the day we become so expressive in our worship to God we become an example for other youth ministries in Singapore and all over the world to follow. I dream of the day we are so loud, so extravagant in our love for God and for each other, non-believers would flock to our church. I dream of the day our young people would become addicted to God. I dream of the day when we no longer have to ask our friends to come to church, because they’ll be the ones asking when the next service is, telling others about God, sharing with people the love of Christ.
I dream of the day where evangelism becomes part and parcel of the lifestyle of the young people in R-AGE. They would know what to say and when to say what. They would be unashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of salvation! They would speak life into the non-Christians. They would uncontrollably share their testimonies to their friends. They would be living testimonies for God where ever they are and the only reputation they care about is about what others think of Christ in them.
I dream of a thriving youth ministry – a leader of the youth ministry revolution in Singapore but also a quiet, humble, reliable supporter of missions and the lower profile ministries. I dream of seeing young people abandoning themselves in praise and worship. They feel free in God’s presence and they are not inhibited to do so. They just let it all go. It’s where their lives are changed. I dream of becoming a dynamic youth leader, and leading a legion of dynamic youth leaders who really would believe in Jesus so much they would go all out, to the ends of the earth for their Saviour. I dream of young people being equipped with the Word of God and having the abundant life that Jesus talks about, starving for the Word, turning away from their sinful ways. Being young is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It is my earnest prayer that you become the catalyst in your cell group, in your ministry, in wherever you are in R-AGE! I am here to stay in R-AGE until God calls me elsewhere. I am dreaming big and I am gonna live the dream. This is home, this is where I belong, this is where I live. R-AGE is who I am. I love the young people and R-AGE because I love God. I’ll just keep on loving God and my love for the young people and R-AGE will keep increasing. It’s as simple as that.
I have flaws and I will have to work on the things that I have mentioned. But I dare to dream. And I dare you to dream. I dare to believe. I dare to inspire. I dare to influence. I dare to commit. I dare to rise up to the occasion. I dare to lead. I dare give it all. I dare to put myself aside. I dare to dream. I dare. Do you?
I am committed to make things happen in R-AGE. Now, will you join me? The time has come. The time is now.
A product of God’s grace,
“Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing;
I am absolutely nothing without Christ.”