In the recent years, the Singapore government has been promoting a new initiative, otherwise known as Skillsfuture. To quote from the website:
SkillsFuture is a national movement to provide Singaporeans with the opportunities to develop their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points. Through this movement, the skills, passion and contributions of every individual will drive Singapore’s next phase of development towards an advanced economy and inclusive society.
For myself, I have personally gone onboard udemy.com and signed up for a couple of courses to build up new skills. The existence of this website is really me learning along the way. But one question that a Christian in Singapore must ask, “how is this relevant for me?” What is it in Skillsfuture that Christians have to take note of in terms of our ministry?
As I was reflecting on this, three significances really stood out for me.
1. Skillsfuture means that we cannot really sit still and not move
At the heart of it, Skillsfuture, as a upskilling movement, is really an initiative that recognises that the economy will not sit still in time. As time progresses, we need to build up our skills and move along with the economy. Similarly, the world is not going to sit still for the church. The world will move on with or without the church. Technology will advance along the way.
But some may say, we are in the world and not of the world. But if you allow me, we are not “in the world” either. We are sent into the world (John 17:18, NIV). This means that while we do not belong to the world, we have an obligation and mission to this world. And that is to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. So if the church is going to be nostalgic on the good old days, then there is a high chance that the church will become incapable of reaching out to the world.
And I observed how some churches have struggled with reaching out to the world. In the organisation that I worked with previously, I have seen how weirdly out of touch Christians can become when they stood still. I noticed how Christians talk about the good old days and simply got stuck there.
But the world has moved on. People of my generation no longer identify with the churches of yesteryears. This brings me to the next point.
2. Skillsfuture means that we need to be prepared to shift gear when needed
Skillsfuture also recognises that there are some industries that are dying and will soon become obsolete. What this entails is that workers in these industries must be ready to be redeployed or find themselves jobless. As heartless as it sounds, this is what we are facing. This calls for people to be ready to shift gear when needed.
In some ways, we cannot say that we have forsaken biblical principles when the church moves on. There is no need to be dogmatic about methods. Today we have Facebook, and all sorts of social media. The world has changed and therefore our methods have to change along with the world without necessarily compromising our biblical values.
One example will be my own church. A few years back, we changed drastically in how we run our church and do our missions. We used to have lifegroups based on relationships and life station. Therefore, people who are living different areas of Singapore can find themselves in the same lifegroup. However, with a change in direction, the church structured us in terms of geographical regions. Two years into the changes, I can see why this has been so strategic.
Along with that, my church has progressed a lot in the area of using social media to reach out to people. The Facebook video which went viral below proves a case in point
This video reached around 400k viewership. For me, it is testimony that social media is one way to reach out to the lost. In fact, one of my friends actually started a website for online evangelism, in hope that social media can reach out to more people. This is how people shift gear in their ministry methods as the world moves along.
3. Skillsfuture means that we just need that open mind in an ever-changing world
This brings me to my last point. Reskilling and upskilling means that we just need to be open-minded. Because the world is ever changing, we cannot predict how the world will look like in a few years time. Take for example, a few years ago, who would have thought that smartphones can now perform as well as a desktop some many years back?
And so, I was thinking to myself, do I want to become obsolete or find myself undeployable? That prompted me to turn to Udemy as a cheap source of learning new skills such as doing a website. I am also learning other stuff such as online marketing and SEO. I am also hoping to acquire cybersecurity skills. These are new areas that I am going into, as most of my friends will know me to be a artsy person.
But being artsy does not mean I do not maintain some form of technical interests and skillsets. Just because I am a theologian doesn’t mean I don’t need technical skills. I still need to engage the world and learning new skills help me to know the world better. And in knowing the world better, I can then learn how to spread the gospel more effectively in terms of building bridges. And in the process, I prepare myself in case one day I can no longer use my writings to earn my living in my current job.
So how do you prepare yourself for the future as a Christian? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!