IN 1968, A SMALL BAND of students from the Anglo-Chinese Secondary School at Barker Road rummaged at a construction site and came upon a metal “E” lying amid the debris. Taking the discovery as a sign, they decided to call themselves “The Eagles,” a symbol of power, ferocity, and rebellion, which they felt captured their self-image. But the group was about to undergo a seismic shift that none of them could have foreseen.
On May 10 of that year, the Eagles’ leader, a burly and bespectacled 14-year-old named Peter Chao, found himself drawn to an unusual programme presented by his school’s Christian Fellowship.
Peter was drawn to the programme which featured a Chinese soloist singing Negro spirituals. While it was his interest in music that was the magnet which drew him in, Peter came away from the concert with far more.
Following the performance, a Christian student leader at the Anglo-Chinese School preached, propounding the unorthodox doctrine that non-Christians would become cockroaches in their next life! Despite its fanciful nature, the message staggered the impressionable teen. “I don’t want to be reincarnated as a cockroach!” he thought, shuddering at the idea.
This moment became his epiphany, and Peter Chao converted to Christianity that very day. He preached the same message to his “gang” and the Eagles became a Christian group.
As the 1960s gave way to the new decade, the Eagles found themselves at a crossroad: 1970 was the year when most of the group had their ‘O’ Level examinations. Filled with thoughts of their uncertain future, the Eagles gathered for an end-of-year Bible camp. A handful of the boys responded positively to the challenge to serve God full-time at that camp – among them Peter Chao, John Ng, William Tang, and Michael Tan.
Filled with new-found zeal, Eagles Evangelism was their first name when the organisation was registered in 1977.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Eagles were known for their evangelistic concerts, dramas and rallies held in churches as well as public auditoriums. Their passion was to share Christ, strengthen the Church, and serve the Community. Various ministries evolved as a result – discipleship conferences and seminars, and a counselling ministry that became the present Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre.
Presently, Eagles also provides a Bible study ministry called Eagles Rendezvous that meets for four cycles of seven Saturdays each year. The Eagles VantagePoint, a bimonthly magazine produced by the organisation, addresses the needs and concerns of Church and Society with articles by international as well as local thought-leaders, writers and speakers.
At the beginning of the 1990s, the organisation’s name was changed to Eagles Communications to reflect the broader ministry thrust and reach, especially to religiously-sensitive countries. The Eagles Leadership Institute was also established to nurture and equip Church and the Marketplace.
The Eagles Leadership Conferences and the Eagles Emerging Leader Development Programme are the current core programmes for leadership training. More than 100 young leaders from Asia, the United States of America (USA), and Australia have undergone the emerging leader development training. The biennial Eagles Leadership Conferences attract over 1,500 participants from more than 20 countries.
Eagles staff are theologically trained people executives and project managers as well as a pool of volunteers who participate in ministries and programmes according to their gifts and passions As a not-for-profit organisation, Eagles is supported by churches and individuals who share their vision to touch and transform lives.
Christians across churches and denominations are welcome to volunteer and participate in Eagles’ various ministries. Many converts from Eagles’ programmes have gone forward to serve as pastors and church leaders, including the current Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Singapore, the Right Rev Terry Kee. Eagles Communications was born and bred in Singapore and remains a Singapore-based organisation working with partner churches, business and civic organizations in Asia and the USA.
What motivated the Eagles in 1968 was their evangelistic fervour. As Founder-President Peter Chao recalls, “We were so enthused in our newfound faith that we could not help but share Christ with fellow students in school.
“On weekends, we went door-to-door persuading dwellers in high-rise apartments to receive Christ into their hearts. During school vacations, we pitched tents on the beach and shared Christ with campers all week. Nothing was more exciting than to pray with someone to receive Christ!”
Forty-five years down the road, it is the same excitement that propels the Eagles to be innovative, relevant and eﬀective in sharing the Gospel and challenging their audiences to make a response to the claims of Christ.
The expressions and programmes have evolved to meet the challenges of the changing decades, but the overall purpose remains true to their original calling. Indeed, their vision is summed up by this motto: “True To Life”. It articulates their mission to “seek to genuinely live and creatively share the authentic, transforming experience of grace and truth in God”.
One of the new initiatives for the future is the Eagles Proclamation and Persuasion Institute that will be set up to equip and empower preachers, evangelists, and teachers of the Word for Asia.
And all this started in a Methodist-aided school in Singapore.
Pictures by Eagles Communications
Michael Tan is a founding member of Eagles Communications and is currently its Executive Vice-President.
Eagles Leadership Institute (ELI)
Where you can grow leaders in a changing world We build Kingdom-minded and God-centred leaders for Church and the Marketplace through leadership conferences, retreats, and mentoring programs with international speakers and thought-leaders as well as nurturing emerging leaders for the future.
Eagles VantagePoint Magazine
Where you can get insights to life’s issues We address issues relevant to family, career, ministry, counselling, discipleship and leadership, and present insights and ideas for transformation of life and mind.
Where you can make a diff erence in the marketplace We seek to connect with Christian working adults to provide networking, mentoring support and resources to empower them to impact their workplace with the Gospel.
Where you can experience the Word We build up Christians and their faith through interactive, applicable, and insightful study of the Bible. In a year, there are four cycles of seven studies each.
Eagles Oasis Retreats
Where you can be refreshed spiritually We seek to help Christians and their families be refreshed, renewed and realigned to God’s purpose through inspiring messages, experiential learning, and meaningful fellowship and prayer support.
Eagles Persuasion and Proclamation Institute
Where you can be empowered to proclaim the Gospel and persuade decisions convincingly We seek to enable, equip, and empower emerging and existing preachers, evangelists, Bible teachers, and speakers to proclaim the Word effectively and poignantly.
True to Life Foundation Thailand
Where you can impact the next generation We work in partnership with indigenous peoples in Th ailand to create and provide learning facilities and opportunities for their children for their personal development, as well as for the future well-being of their communities.
166 Bukit Merah Central, #04-3531 Eagles Centre
Tel: (65) 6419-5252 Fax: (65) 6419-5253
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.eagles.org.sg