26th October 2012, by Adeline Lum-
Reverend Chan Theam Lai, the secretary-general of NECF, was trained as a pharmacist and obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s in Theology. He served at Canning Garden Baptist Church as a church leader while working in the pharmaceutical business. There, he faithfully served the church for 23 years, before responding to his calling as a full-time pastor there. After seven years, Rev. Chan joined NECF.
A mild-mannered man, Rev. Chan prayed to God for a tender process in knowing Him.
“I heard stories about Christians going through very difficult times before knowing God. But I prayed to God to gently lead me instead. Show me and I will listen,” chuckled Rev. Chan.
During his university days, Rev. Chan thought that life is a vicious cycle, propelling him to seek and pray to God. Once, he arrived alone at Europe for the Student Exchange program and could not find his friends at the dormitory. Before he could spend the night at the railway station, his friends found him upon a prayer he made.
“So, I knew from the little things in life that God is real,” said Rev. Chan.
Rev. Chan responded to become a pastor in his late forties, wondering the reason God did not make him pastor at a younger age.
“I see God’s wisdom in calling me later to allow me to become more mature. Had I been made pastor earlier, the issues in church for the first six months would be difficult to resolve,” said Rev. Chan.
When asked for the reasons of our struggles despite God’s good will for Christians, Rev. Chan said that provisions can come in various aspects such as ability to preach, teach, equip, and offer insights to people, not necessarily overflowing wealth.
However, Rev. Chan also acknowledged that the success or failure of a person, as much as it depends on God’s blessing, also rests on his or her responsibility to steward resources and proactively finding for new solutions to a problem.
“One of the greatest misconception of leaders or even pastors is that God has forgotten us and forsaken us,” said Rev. Chan. “The basic to prevent this is to draw close to God.”
“God will always take us on a journey. It is not a straight road, you may take multiple turns before arriving there,” said Rev. Chan. “You have to spend time with God, in every event and turn, allow God to speak to you.”