How do you fit 12 fist-sized rocks, a bucket of gravel, a bucket of sand and a pitcher of water into a one-gallon, wide-necked Mason jar?
Answer: By putting in the big rocks first!
The above illustration is often used by management strategists to make the point that for any work that we undertake, we need to establish the Big Rocks first. Or else we may never get them in at all!
This year we identified 5 big rocks and worked hard at getting them into the jar first!
- Staff recruiting. There are many ministry opportunities before us and we need staff to cover them. So, as Jesus did with a few fishermen, we asked several this year to “cast down their nets” and join us as full-time staff. Two excellent young men responded—one now ministers to university students at NUS, and another will be ministering to secondary school students in February. There are others who are seriously considering the possibility. Please thank God for these two men, and pray that more will join us!
- Staff training. New staff, of course, need to be trained. With the help of Singaporean Toh Kai Hua (one of our missionary associates in East Asia), we now have new staff training objectives and a new curriculum. When implementing anything new there are things to be learnt. Please pray that we would implement aggressively, and modify appropriately.
- Staff funding. At the beginning of this year most of our staff were under budget. Together, we studied what the Scripture had to say about the funding of missionaries and learnt how to practically invite people to financially partner in our ministries. Applying the Scriptures and these practical skills, almost all our staff are up to budget. Praise God for their hard work and His provision.
- University ministries. Our staff are working hard at three universities, but fruit is challenging, especially among Singaporean students (as opposed to internationals). Also, Christian students who join us are often not strong in spiritual disciplines, and don’t know how to bring another to faith and disciple them. So, among other things, we instituted our first-ever combined Vacation Training Programme for NUS and NTU students. Students and staff spent three weeks in the Philippines doing in-depth Bible study, practicing spiritual disciplines and sharing the Gospel with Filipinos. The programme was such a success we plan to do it again next year.
- Alumni ministry. It is estimated that we have had 10,000 students involved in our ministries over the years. Most of these alumni still have a heart for making disciples, but just need a little help and encouragement to do so. Our goal is, in the next two years, to help 100 of these alumni who are not currently labouring to labour again. We have held two large alumni events this year directed at that. At the most recent event, which over 500 attended, many agreed to join “Adventure of Discipling Others” small groups, to link fellow alumni together for ministry purposes, or to visit one of our overseas missionaries. We are well on our way to our goal of 100 restarted labourers!