SYFC first reached troubled youths, then mainstream secondary school youths. We moved on to reach college and post-secondary teens. Today, we are stretching to connect with unique sub-groups among them.
Among troubled youths, Youth Guidance Ministry Coordinator, Laurent Tan and his staff minister to those whose parents are incarcerated. He shares, “About 15 of them so far benefit from our regular Saturday program of tuition, mentoring, bible study and enrichment activities. One such youth, with us since primary five and whose father is a former gangster and imprisoned for drug offences, is now a project servant reaching others from disadvantaged family backgrounds.”
With the start of the Integrated Programme (IP) in 2002, Secondary School & Junior College Ministry (SJM) set apart a team to customise its approach to these critical thinkers and leaders in the making. Sarah Koh, IP cluster leader, met many IP Christians who may be familiar with the Bible but do not deeply understand the implications of their faith. She says, “Our challenge is not just to help them grow their interest to know the Bible but more to help them take bold steps to share the gospel with their friends who may ask quite difficult questions about the faith.”
Last year, SJM ran a personal evangelism effort using social media. Some schoolmates of a L.I.F.E. group had expressed negative views about Christianity arising from a recent school discussion on racial and religious diversity. God encouraged us through a particular Christian student from that L.I.F.E. group. Not wanting to impose on or turn away his friends, he wrote a personal testimony of what faith meant to him. Some friends read his post and he shared in depth with one of them. Other IP Christians then asked their friends for questions they have about Christianity. A handful responded, they answered and shared their faith!
To Carmen Chen, ITE Ministry Coordinator, ITE students are “fun-loving, friendly and desire to achieve their goals, whether in academic or leadership skills.” Her team shared the gospel with 120 of them in the last two years. One of them is L J who somehow attended our Christian camp though not a Christian. After the camp, our staff followed up with him and he responded in faith to the Lord. Unlike L J, a group of ITE students may not step into a Christian gathering unless we first go to them – the arcade-goers. “Some of our Christian students and volunteers are active arcade-goers and we have identified this as a possible means of outreach,” Carmen explains.
God is also broadening our reach to young people through niche sports and interests.
In 2020, our staff and licensed kayaking coach, Shona Chan will run this exciting water sport for those who love the sea and sun, while making new friends! She is also looking into getting herself certified to run dragon boat classes!
*Slackline: The main prop is a 2-inch tape tied low and between two solid pillars.
For those who preferred a paintbrush to a paddle, sketch walking was a niche activity our staff, Joel Choong, organised. Though it was challenging to find a common time for groups to walk, talk and sketch together, he met about 40 sketch walkers last year.
Last year, after our staff, Jack Yam became a licensed Nature Walk Tour Guide, he led seven groups of 14-20 youths of different ages on nature walks. As they explored the amazing outdoors, he shared how creation pointed to our Creator. One participant commented on “how everything is designed with an intelligent purpose.”
Tee Ee Han, E.D.G.E. Ministry Coordinator is excited about introducing Dodgedisc through a school tour and mini league, in partnership with Youth Guidance Outreach Services. He aims to “introduce this new sport and so increase contact time with young people through playing with them, training together and participating in mini competitions.” God willing, some may get to hear the gospel even before the league!
These groups differ yet have the same need for Jesus. We look to Him for more suitable workers to find and connect with more youth communities.
Other niche groups we are reaching:
• First time teen drug offenders in rehabilitation
• Dancers and dancer-wannabes
• Youths interested in growing micro-greens
• Youths interested to try archery
• Youths interested in the Immersive Room
• Basketballers and basketball enthusiasts
• Soccer players and soccer enthusiasts
• E- gaming troubled youth
• Youths interested to try slacklining