Interview with Pastor Rufus Chan
by Michelle Han
CCMC has welcomed a new addition to the pastorate, Pastor Rufus Chan.
Loaves+Fishes posed the following questions to him to get to know him better.
Please share some background about yourself and your family.
I am 41 years old, and I have been happily married to Gracia for 14 wonderful years. My wife is also in full-time ministry; she serves as an editor at Salt&Light. Together, we are blessed with two amazing daughters: Inez Faith, who is 10 years old, and Zoey Grace, who is 7 years old. Inez aspires to become a baker, while Zoey has her sights set on being a marine biologist.
How did you come to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour?
I am a third-generation Christian who was raised in a Christian household. My formative years were spent attending Telok Ayer Methodist Church until the age of 12. In 1995, I started going to Aldersgate Methodist Church together with my officers from the Boys’ Brigade. There, I began to nourish my faith, albeit primarily through knowledge rather than forging a personal relationship with God.
In 1997, a significant crisis unfolded within my family, coinciding with a mistake I had made in school. Through it, I had a first-hand encounter with God's profound forgiveness. This transformative experience became the turning point for my life. It was in that year that I genuinely and wholeheartedly dedicated my life to Jesus Christ.
Where did you receive your theological training and what personal lessons (as opposed to knowledge) did you learn from it?
I completed my theological education at Trinity Theological College (TTC) from 2017 to 2020.
Interestingly, one of my favorite subjects was Church History, although it also weighed heavily on my heart. This was because it revealed the Church's struggles, corruption, schisms and human ambitions throughout its history. After these history lessons, I often found myself in the prayer garden, grappling with these burdens and interceding for the Church. But I also learnt that despite humanity's failings, the Church will stand because it belongs to God and God, by His grace, will sustain it.
Who are your spiritual/ministry mentors? What valuable lessons did you learn from them?
Throughout my spiritual journey, I had many people who walked alongside me, but I will just highlight two who were pivotal in my formative years. Both of whom were my Boys’ Brigade officers.
Firstly, Mr Wee Tat Chuen, the principal of Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary). Under his guidance, I absorbed critical lessons in leadership, the art of being a gentleman, effective public speaking and efficient time management. He watched over my personal and spiritual growth, equipping me with skills that extend beyond ministry and into various areas of life. He was pivotal in walking me through my personal crisis in 1997.
There was also Mr David Chan, a missionary who is the principal at St Paul Methodist School (Timor Leste). From him, I learned to give 110% to everything I do, even in tasks that I may not be passionate about. His motto of “just do it” and "keep on keeping on" inspires me to persevere even when faced with challenges.
Both of them and many others have left an indelible mark on my journey. As cliche as it sounds, I am who I am because I stand on the shoulders of these faithful servants.
Where have you served and in what capacities? Give three principles that you use in your ministry, including examples of their applications.
I began serving in Aldersgate Methodist Church’s youth ministry as a worship leader, which led to a role as the worship coordinator. For six years, I also served as the youth ministry chairperson as a layperson.
When I later joined the church as a full-time ministry staff, I had the opportunity to oversee different areas, namely youth, young adults, worship and music, outreach and social concerns, marketplace, discipleship and nurture, Boys’ Brigade and cell groups ministry, though not all at the same time. I also sat on the Board of Youth Ministry – Young Adults Taskforce under TRAC, which is something that I am still doing.
I will undergird three ministry principles that I hold to with three "I's". I have come to understand that ministry is:
Incarnational: It is about people, and to be effective in ministry, we must actively engage and get involved with them. Collaboration is essential, and silos should be avoided.
Intentional: We must always act with a clear purpose in mind. This motivates us to be proactive, to break down barriers and move fast to achieve kingdom goals.
Impossible without God: Ministry is a task that cannot be achieved through our own strength, and that is the profound beauty of it. It is through listening to God, prayer and the realisation that it is not by human might or power but by the Spirit of God, that we can truly accomplish our mission.
Q: Is there any additional information about yourself that you wish to share with the CCMC community?
I was a Methodist school student! I grew up in Fairfield Methodist’s primary and secondary schools. The Boys’ Brigade really left an impact on me – I served as an officer after graduating and became the assistant chaplain for both the 33J and 33rd Singapore Companies.
Since I was young, I have enjoyed running a lot too. Like Eric Liddell in Chariots of Fire, where he famously said: “When I run, I feel His pleasure”, running also gives me the same experience. I converse and commune with God during my runs. In fact, most of my sermons are developed during my runs.
I also enjoy most sports, especially soccer. Just like our pastor-in-charge, Ps David Gwee, I wholeheartedly support the best club in the world, Liverpool FC.