BY ISABELLA CAI & JOEL CHIN
When it was first announced that Rev Ian Chew would be MSS’ incoming youth pastor in 2017, the most common response was, “Who’s that?”. Unbeknownst to most of us, Rev Ian had actually grown up in COR, he, and his family, faithfully attending SPS prior to his move to MSS. A teacher for more than 15 years, Rev Ian had built up a good reputation at work. As a Head of Department at National Junior College, he was on track to becoming a principal. However, when the opportunity arose to pursue the leadership track, the Lord prompted Rev Ian to pursue a path in full-time ministry instead. Remembering his desire to wholeheartedly obey God, Rev Ian chose to forego the life that he knew and was comfortable with and began his theological studies. It was through the Lord’s divine and perfect plans that led to Rev Ian becoming MSS’ service pastor following plans for Rev Jeremy-Joe Tan, the then youth pastor, to pursue further studies overseas.
With MSS an ‘unchartered territory’, Rev Ian sure had his work cut out for him from the very first day. Early on, when asked, he didn’t hesitate to acknowledge the difficult transition, further noting how “each cell group has their own culture too”. However, Rev Ian was persistent in his desire to better know the community. He was tireless in carving out time to drop by the various cell groups, worship practices, ministry retreats and beyond. If you saw Rev Ian outside of the office, he was rarely alone. He seized every opportunity, no matter how small, to check in with the various youth and pray for them. Such efforts to build relationships have extended far beyond the walls of MSS. Now, it’s not just members of MSS who can vividly recall who he is and how he has impacted their lives, but our parents - members of the different congregations, and even those belonging to the Potong Pasir community know of Rev Ian Chew! We joke that Rev Ian can be a little awkward at times, but his deep sincerity in loving those around him coupled with his great excitement and desire to share about Christ has made his presence one so welcome and comforting.
Serving God for Rev Ian and his family isn’t limited to the four walls of COR! As residents of St. Andrew’s (SA) Hall, Rev Ian often shares many stories of how blessed they are being given the opportunity to share Christ 24/7. Even after a full day of work in church, he conducts Christian Fellowship meetings within the hall at night, further availing himself to attend to students and staffs’ requests for a listening ear whenever else possible. Such a desire to reach out and care for those around them has led to many in SA Hall learning more about Christ and even coming to the faith. If we’re being honest, we’re not too sure where he finds time to rest. Rev Ian has also been serving as the chaplain of St. Andrew’s Junior College - where he conducts chapel sessions and works together with our mentors, and at Tanglin Secondary’s Boys’ Brigade - where he had been preaching regularly, over the past few years. Through his ministry in both schools, numerous students and staff alike have visited MSS services and camps and we have been greatly blessed by the testimonies they carry. If only we had more than one CHORUS article to list all the great testimonies of lives Rev Ian has impacted!
Beyond being an example of how we should love one another, Rev Ian has been a role model in allowing us to understand how we must be set apart in this world filled with temptations. He shows us how to live by God’s standards. While we may be placed in environments hostile and resistant to the Gospel, Rev Ian has been diligent in reminding us - through his sermons, conversations with us, and how he lives his life - the importance of clinging tightly onto the Lord, and his Word. His firm yet gentle manner of speaking God’s truth into our lives has been profoundly edifying and we trust that as he moves on from his time with us in MSS, he will continue to stir up and impact the lives of many more around him.
For MSS, change is the only constant. As a transitional service, MSS is built upon the premise of welcoming a batch of 12-year-olds each year and journeying with them until their mid-twenties and they transition to either SPS/SWS during their young adulthood. Within our leadership too, we have welcomed and said goodbye to two very lovely, God-fearing pastors. Thus, when we first heard that Rev Ian was going to be ordained, we were familiar with the fact that it was time to brace for change yet again. This however, does not change that we will dearly miss serving God under the leadership and friendship of Rev Ian (and his amazing family - Esther, Elizabeth, Emma & Isaac). From all of us at MSS, we sincerely thank you for your faithfulness and love and look forward to bumping into you guys next door!
Joel and Isabella both attend and serve in MSS (Mustard Seed Service). They both enjoy good food and serving the Lord.