Alvin Tan –
is the new Chairman of the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) with effect from 1 Jan 2017. We reprint with permission an interview conducted with him by Harvest Force, the MMS publication.
Harvest Force (HF): Welcome, Alvin! Tell us a little about yourself.
Alvin: We are a very blessed family of five, with three amazing God-loving daughters. The older two are married and, together with their husbands, are also actively involved in their respective churches. The youngest is still at university, and she is into missions. We worship at Grace Methodist Church, where I am involved in missions, evangelism, and cell groups. My wife, Lay Choo, serves with the Sunday School. Outside of church, we serve together at Bamboo Foundation.
I have been retired from full-time work for some eight years now, though I take up the occasional consultancy assignment. The privilege of early retirement affords the opportunity to re-balance my life in favour of more spiritual pursuits. I started serving at the General Conference level of The Methodist Church in Singapore, with the Finance and Administration Council, eight years ago. This led to my serving on the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) Executive Committee (Exco) for the last four years.
HF: What is a typical day like for you?
Alvin: The joy of retired life is that there are no in-your-face daily demands, and there is freedom to pursue the meaningful and simple joys of life. My typical day, or rather week, revolves around church or ministry work, exercise, and family. Alternating gym days and rest days, I also attend to my pets and meet up with friends. The daily constant is reading to keep up with current affairs and market developments, working on the computer, Bible reading and reflection.
HF: What kinds of challenges do you foresee you will face as MMS’ Chairman?
Alvin: At the moment, I do not know enough about the operational issues to be able to see the challenges clearly. I have some thoughts about certain areas to focus on. But I believe more heads are better than one, so a key approach would be to rally the MMS Exco behind a set of key priorities and engage individual Exco members to lead in addressing the issues. This should lead to a more participative and effective decision-making process at the Exco meetings.
HF: How do you recharge?
Alvin: I recharge by taking a break from the routine, travelling to awaken the sense of adventure and experience something new. If time does not permit that, I recharge by going to the gym or golf course. Even washing the car and waxing it to bring out the shine can be therapeutic.
HF: What is one thing readers should know about the MMS?
Alvin: That it has brought together many God-loving people from all walks of life giving sacrificially of their time, expertise and resources to further His kingdom in our seven fields. As a denomination-based missions agency, we will be able to see the Singapore Methodist “footprint” in years to come when the churches in the field countries are established and with diverse ministries.
HF: What can readers do to be involved?
Alvin: If you are new to missions, join us in our many mission trips and get to know our work in the field. If you are involved in missions at the local church or Annual Conference level, partner us by adopting a field project or spearheading a mission trip. Generally, you can follow us on social media, volunteer to serve with us or just write to us about your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
HF: What is your wish for the MMS as we celebrate its 25 years – and more?
Alvin: My wish is that we build on the foundations of the more established fields, and quicken the pace of local leadership development and church growth by leveraging on technology, social media, community and marketplace ministries. Hopefully, a successful church development model may emerge, which may then be replicated in the less established fields or applied to new fields.
The MMS thanks Mr Chou Fang Soong for serving two terms as MMS Chairman. He will continue to serve in the MMS Executive Committee.
Photos courtesy of the Methodist Missions Society