Head and heartware

I had a mini-crisis at work yesterday when the hard drive on my laptop containing one and a half years of my research crashed. I was told the data may be lost forever. Walking home last evening, I pondered over the significance of the lesson. What good was my computer without its hard drive?

In the same way, what good is BGST without its students and teachers? It can be stocked with the latest journals and books constituting the necessary ‘headware’, but it remains incomplete without ‘heartware’. A strained analogy perhaps, but it forms the basis of a new feature in BTW.

People. BGST is made up of students and teachers—both part-time and full-time. Having taken modules at the school for a year, it occurred to me that I had sometimes spent a few months in the same class with someone else without getting to know him or her. Who was that sitting a few chairs away from me in class? What made him or her decide to take up modules at BGST? Where is he or she from? What is his or her passion?

The diversity of personalities and church traditions within the family of BGST gives us a unique flavour that ought to be shared and savoured by all who pass through its doors.

This is a new monthly feature of BTW in which we hope to find out a little more about our BGST students and teachers - let’s make BTW more special where head and heart meet!

Kenny Tan  
Kenny is enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Christian Studies at BGST. He works as a part-time doctor and serves on the mission and youth departments in his church, Zion Gospel Mission. When he is not frantically completing his assignments, he goes on regular mission trips to the Philippines.

Talking Point …
"Speech is…

I asked myself one day to define this term and my answer to this was… it is the art of speaking… So wanting to acquire this art, I decided to find out more about how speech would apply in the church and how God could use this art form in special ways.

One of the many things I have learnt about speech is that it is more than just words and speaking. It is about expressing oneself and communicating a distinct, specific message to a particular group of listeners. This expression does not only come in the form of words. It is a combination of words, gestures, and even eye contact.

However, there was more to this course than simply a form of communication… it was also about preparation, in having the discipline to wait on the Lord and seeking Him for the words He wanted me to convey. These precious times taught me to be patient and to be sensitive to the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit. These were the times of refreshing.

Furthermore, it has provided an added benefit in practical skills for me to apply in any arena, be it in church, at home or in the office.

Joanna Tan
Joanna worships at Zion Gospel Mission Church and serves in the cell group ministry. She has just completed the "Principles and Practices in Speech and Worship" course at BGST.


The journey to BGST

Having grown up in a Christian environment, I never felt a strong need to pursue a more "serious" theological education. The sermons were okay and I learnt from them; so were my Sunday school teachers. After all, our church had a strong tradition of producing believers who were strong in the Word. Whenever I had any question about the faith, I was sure to get an answer from one of those more matured Christians. This was my attitude and I was content to be a first-grader Christian. At least I knew the gospel. At least I did try sharing the gospel. At least I did go to church faithfully each Sunday. I was content, so I thought.

There once was a man who entered the church and taught at the youth group meeting that salvation could be lost. I felt a strong sense of unease. I had never seriously thought about this issue but I could feel that the little I recalled from the Bible did not seem to agree with what he was saying. Yet strangely he sounded very convincing. The unfortunate thing was that I was not strong enough in the Word to realise that he was taking verses out of context. I was perplexed. It was at that point in time that I realised that being a Christian for so many years need not necessarily equate to knowing God’s Word. It disturbed me so much that I decided to embark on a more serious study by reading up on the topic and to also read through the Bible on my own. About the same time, a good friend from another church directed me to a fellowship which studied the Bible inductively. Before this, such a term was non-existent to me. I had always thought that this was the scholastic realm, and that Bible studies for the laymen only meant following Bible study guide books. The other approach I figured was to read the Bible and try to apply whatever I read to my current life situation. Now I know I had been badly mistaken on both counts. There is so much more to knowing God.

A few more years passed, by now the inductive method I had learnt opened my eyes and produced a fair share of answers, but also produced a lot more questions. The outline of the jigsaw appeared clearer, but I realised that there were still a lot of missing pieces. About this time, the challenge from the side of evangelism became more daunting. I had sought an opportunity to share Christ in a foreign land. In this land, the readily available literature and the strong support from a group of matured Christians that I was so used to in Singapore were virtually non-existent. I felt very inadequate in my tasks. Yet God proved faithful even then, for His grace was sufficient to see me through that period.

I felt more compelled than ever of the need to ground myself even more. This led to a search of the programmes available in the different Bible schools. I found the flexibility of the programme at BGST attractive and spurred on by some friends who had been through the courses, I enrolled as a student. In my time at BGST, I have made some good friends. I have also learnt more about the many aspects of the Christian faith. Some of the things I have learnt in the courses are not new to me; they remind me of the issues I had encountered. They just took on proper names. I had taken a longer route to get to where I am. I hope that the time I spend at BGST would not only enrich and transform me, but would also be used to enrich the lives of those young ones whom I am in contact with. Young ones who, perhaps, are in the same situation as I once was.

Leong Che Yong
Che Yong worships at Bethesda Katong Church and serves actively in the Sunday School. He has a heart for missions, especially to China. He is currently a trainee teacher at a local Primary School.

Courses commencing after this week

  • The Books of Kings: An Anatomy of Religious Decline in Israel & Judah (OT365, 1.5 credits), starting Tue, Jan 23 (new date), 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite. The course may have to be pushed back to a later date to allow for more registrations as we have only two who registered.

  • Spirituality & Work: Journey Inward-Journey Outward (MM254, 3 credits). Guest Lecturer: Prof Paul Stevens. This intensive course covers 7 sessions on Jan 25, 29, 31, Feb 2 (Weekdays, 7.15-10.15pm); Jan 27, Feb 3, 10 (Saturdays, 2.30-9.30pm)

  • New Testament Foundations I (NT101, 3 credits), starting Mon, Feb 5, 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Dr Aquila Lee

  • *Better Speech for Leadership & Ministry (AT231, 1.5 credits), starting Wed, Feb 21, 7.30-10pm. Lecturer: Rev Ng Seng Chuan

  • Vocation, Work & Ministry (MM101, 3 credits), starting Tue, Mar 6 (Orientation), 7.30-9.30pm. Lecturer: Prof. Paul Stevens. Tutor: Mr John Chong Ser Choon.

*Courses marked with an asterisk are not offered on audit basis. Visit our website for the course descriptions. Registration is open for all courses. You can register on-line or send us an email at bgst@pacific.net.sg


The chapel speaker last week (Jan 10) was Dr Quek Swee Hwa. Based on John chapter one, he continued with the theme that Jesus becomes the ‘light and life’ to all who believe in him. He especially emphasized on the life of John the Baptist who became a witness to the ‘Light’ not just in words, but in real life as he humbled himself and exalted Jesus as the true Light. But this goes against the grain of our modern world which exhibits in word and deed who we are and what our achievements are.

Chapel speaker on Jan 24 will be Dr Philip Satterthwaite. The chapel service is held at level 2, 12noon to 12.45pm. All are welcome to attend.

News Bits

  1. Erratum. BGST New Convocation Date should be June 30, 2007 (Saturday) and not Jun 25 as printed in BTW Issue No. 1. We are sorry for the error.

  2. Change of Commencement Date. Masters of the Pulpit (AT241, 1.5 credits) by Rev Ng Seng Chuan has been rescheduled to Aug 8, 2007.

  3. CH101, TS101, and TS211 Tutorial Dates. The first tutorial for these courses will be held on Saturdays at 4 Bishan St 13 (3rd floor) on the following dates:

  • Introduction to Church History (CH101, 3 credits) - Jan 27, 10am-12noon, tutorial will cover lectures 1-2.
  • The Christian Faith (TS101, 3 credits) - Jan 27, 3.30-5.00pm, tutorial will cover lectures 1-3.
  • Theological Foundations I (TS211, 3 credits) - Feb 24, 9.00-11.00am, tutorial will cover lectures 1-3)

Full details of the tutorial schedule is available from Admin Office. If you are interested to join the class, please contact Admin office at 6227-6815 or email bgst@pacific.net.sg

A Blessed Birthday to…

Ms Chow Lye Kuan 15/1

Mr Kum Han Wen 16/1

Dr Lee Shu Woan 17/1

Ms Ruth Lim 17/1

Mr Adrian Ong 17/1

Ms Eileen Tan 18/1

Ms Sally Tee 19/1

Mr Lawrence Ong 20/1

Dr David Tan 21/1

Mr Peh Kok Hwa 21/1

Mr Toh Kai Hua 21/1

Mr Samuel Lee 21/1

Mr Alan Chia 21/1

Ms Pearl Chee 21/1

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Last update : Wednesday, January 17, 2007  
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