Introducing a Younger Leader: Richard Tan

When younger, Richard had ambitions in the creative field. Then, for years he worked various roles in the corporate world. Eight years ago, there was nothing else he saw himself in other than full-time service and joined SYFC. Today, he is passionately bringing the gospel to young people and will lead our younger executive leadership team into the next lap of SYFC’s work in the new normal.

What led you to be Assistant National Director?

At first, I was hesitant. I felt inadequate. God reminded me He is sovereign and in control; I just obey and avail myself to serve in whichever capacity He wants me to. My inadequacy should not matter as He is the One who leads His work.

Did your lack of SYFC involvement hinder or help?

It’s a little of both. Without prior background, I am not locked down with how SYFC has been operating. In this new era, SYFC needs to be flexible and fast enough to engage youth where they are, as their trends and interests change quickly. At the same time, I lack certain ministry skills, thus my learning curve has been steep.

Which quality is most important to you as a servant-leader?

Humility. When I am proud, I resist contradictory ideas, am less open to seek out alternative perspectives and less empathetic towards differing views.

How has the Lord prepared you to lead SYFC at this particular time of its history?

God allowed me opportunities in different roles in the corporate world for 12 years. Since I came in, God prepared me for leadership through heading Creative Arts Ministry and a few big events. These experiences honed my big picture, multi-tasking abilities. I am greatly humbled. 

What are your concerns and thanksgiving for the present and post-Covid 19 youth situation? 

My concern is SYFC is not adaptive enough to be “geared to the times”. We need to be on the ground to know the changing youth trends so as to accurately adapt. During Circuit Breaker and after, our adoption to digital platforms was smooth as our ministry teams faithfully adapted. But it was a challenge. This unique time demands flexibility and willingness to try new ways as many old ways will not work. However, God continually provides new ideas and courage to try them, and a Board who allows us to try new ways and even fail in some. 

Share a difficulty you face as you lead.

As a leader, I need to improve on communicating clearly and conveying my thoughts well, as ideas and intent can be misunderstood by many. 

How is your family adjusting to your leadership role? 

Thank God for my supportive wife, Corrine, who is getting used to my increasing night meetings.

Richard, 45 and Corrine with their girls, Ashlee (second from left) and Lauren (front of Corrine). They attend Glory Presbyterian Church.