MONTHLY GIVING SPOTLIGHT
MEET OUR RECENT GRADUATE
PASTORAL INTERN, ZION SERANGOON BIBLE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, SINGAPORE
Joseph moved to St. Louis from Singapore to study the Bible and ministry. After graduating from Covenant Seminary he moved back to Singapore to become a pastor at the church he grew up in. His church leaders knew he had to get equipped for ministry so they sent him to St. Louis–halfway around the world–to study at Covenant Seminary.
Why did you come to Covenant Seminary from Singapore for the training you needed?
I received a graduate diploma in Christian studies at a seminary in Singapore, and when I knew I wanted to be a pastor I talked with my senior pastor about it. He had come to Covenant to take some classes while on a sabbatical and was very impressed with the people and the atmosphere he found there. It’s Reformed, Presbyterian, and academically rigorous, but also focused on the importance of grace in how we live out and share our faith in differing contexts. Two of our current staff members have now graduated from Covenant and two more will soon.
How did the Lord use your time at Covenant to further prepare you for ministry?
The first thing that impressed me was how friendly and approachable everyone was, especially the faculty. They always took time to meet and talk with me, to ask how I was doing, to pray for me, and they were always very open to questions and even challenges in the classroom. That is very different than the professor-student relationship in Asian schools. Second, even though I was a Christian for many years and had been through seminary in Singapore, every single class at Covenant really challenged me in my Christian walk. The academics forced me to learn the Scriptures and think more critically, but I also learned to use the Bible in a gracious way and not as a weapon. And not only in the classroom, but what happens outside the classroom impacted me just as deeply— experiencing the kind, patient, caring gospel community on campus was refreshing and life-changing for me.
What are some of the current cultural challenges facing the church in Singapore?
In Singapore the big topic right now is the class issue, the income divide, and sometimes it falls along racial lines. Race in Singapore is a bit sensitive. Older generations don’t want to talk about it because they fear it will result in riots as it did in the sixties. Younger people I think want to discuss contentious issues but in a productive way. Another challenge right now is the pandemic and how it affects the way we do ministry. This is especially polarizing, as it has been in the US. How can we meet as the church amid all the restrictions and allow people to still move according to their consciences without judging them? These are all hard things for pastors to deal with, and I’m grateful that my time at Covenant has equipped me to think biblically and contextually about such things.
YOUR GIFTS SEND TRAINED PASTORS AROUND THE WORLD
The church always needs more leaders like Joseph who are trained to shepherd, guide, and nurture the faith of disciples across generations and geography. THANK YOU for the faithful prayers and generous gifts that make it possible for us to prepare those leaders. Your partnership in this mission with us is necessary to equip more students like Joseph.
Give today to support the training of pastors.
From the PCA Foundation: If you’re interested in supporting the MNA General Fund, simply visit our Donor Portal and submit a new grant recommendation to be directed to Covenant Theological Seminary.