My journey as a Methodist began by the grace of God leading me to faith in Christ through a series of events even though I was raised in a predominately Chinese folk religion environment. First, in the early 1970s, whenever I walked past a church construction site, a voice prompted me to find out more about the nature and purpose of the church.
Second, while I was studying at a neighbourhood school, my classmates shared the Gospel. They introduced me to a Youth for Christ Fellowship that met in a nearby shophouse and I learnt more about the Christian faith.
Third, when the Toa Payoh Methodist Church building was completed, I boldly visited the church although I felt like a stranger in the community. For an entire year, I attended the services regularly, albeit alone, without getting to know anyone there. I felt myself growing spiritually in the areas of Christian worship, prayer, studying of the Holy Scriptures, discipleship etc.
I felt I was embarking upon a journey in a rather “methodical” way, i.e. step by step, in terms of God planting in me a curiosity to know more about the church, the Holy Spirit leading me to a confession of Christ as Lord and Saviour in my teenage years, as well as deepening my conviction to grow and share the faith, and then a clear challenge to serve as a pastor. Theologically speaking, it was the redemptive grace of God operating in my life in three broad Wesleyan categories vis-à-vis prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace.
I was baptised and received as a member of the Methodist Church in 1978. That was indeed a significant milestone in my spiritual journey. I began to appreciate and participate actively in the life and ministry of the church. I had opportunities to lead in worship services and a young adult ministry with a focus on disciple-making within a small group setting and witnessing about our faith on a regular basis. My first mission trip was with a Youth Leadership Training Programme for the Ibans in Sibu and Kapit of East Malaysia. In the early ’80s, I participated in the Church Growth International Conference in South Korea. These experiences contributed significantly to the process of growing deeper in my faith as well as my sensing of God’s call to the pastoral ministry.
In 1980, my journey as a pastor began when I enrolled at Trinity Theological College. Upon the completion of my studies, I was admitted as a Methodist pastor. This year, by the grace of God, I am celebrating my 35th year of pastoral ministry.
Throughout these years I have been deeply convinced that His grace has constantly enabled, enriched and empowered me to the cause, course and cost of “loving God, loving my neighbours and loving myself” as my response to Christ’s Great Commandment (Mark 12:30, 31).
Having served in the local churches for over three decades, I praise God that beginning 2019, I entered into a new season of ministry with Methodist Missions Society. I covet your prayers for the tasks of mobilising Methodists and forming collaborative mission partnerships with local churches in embracing and expressing Wesley’s vision: “I look upon all the world as my parish”.
The Rev Derrick Lau serves as the Executive Director of Methodist Missions Society (www.mms.org.sg). He also enjoys gardening, jogging, flying drones, travelling and working on DIY projects.
Photo courtesy of the Rev Derrick Lau