“I guess you could say I have been waiting for God’s call from a very young age,” said 23-year-old Glenn Wong, the youngest full-time staff member in Wesley Methodist Church. Glenn serves as the Prayer & Praise (P&P) Programme Coordinator.
Now in his second year as a staff at Wesley, Glenn has taken the road less travelled in a typical young Singaporean Christian’s life. Glenn is not a typical Christian teenager who would prefer to obtain a degree before going into full-time ministry.
While most of his peers have gone on to pursue their education at a tertiary level, Glenn has eschewed that route for now and decided to serve God in full-time ministry.
Life Before God’s Calling to Full-Time Ministry
Coming from a family of four, Glenn was always a happy and positive child. Glenn is in the first-generation of his family to grow up in Wesley.
Glenn was eight years old when he first volunteered to serve in Church with the worship team. “I had just joined the school band as a drummer a week earlier, so I decided to step into the vacant drummer role to learn and serve,” said Glenn.
“Glenn, at a young age, always chooses Church over birthday parties. He knew his calling right from the start. I am so proud of him,” said his mother, Lau Pui Kie.
At an age when most of his peers were concerned about toys, computer games and schoolwork, Glenn found the most joy in being involved in church-related activities. “Serving was always a big part of my life,” he explained, and he was attentive to opportunities to get more involved. At eight, Glenn joined the Prayer Group, “Cappers”, in his Sunday School. While his peers were all dodging the invitations and requests from teachers to pray out loud, Glenn had enjoyed praying.
At 17, Glenn pursued Music & Audio Technology at Singapore Polytechnic. But he questioned the purpose of learning in school: “I struggled with that and wondered why God put me there. But I persisted and completed my diploma course.”
Waiting On God’s Calling
Glenn was part of the Children’s Ministry (CM) worship team from 2006 to 2015 until God led him to move to a new season with the Youth Ministry’s (YM) worship team when he was about 16. He was also part of the Prayer & Praise (P&P) service worship team a year later.
“During the Covid-19 lockdowns, when the church wanted to move Sunday services online, I used my time and knowledge to put together the worship recordings for online streaming,” said the vivacious Glenn.
When asked if any events in life deeply ingrained such a singular desire in him to serve God, Glenn recalled that when he was 10 years old, he had met with a serious cycling accident that required surgery to avert fatality.
Glenn had gone to Pulau Ubin for a cycling trip with his father. Racing down a slope, his bicycle hit a pothole, and he was flung forward. At that moment the handlebar had turned, impacted his abdomen and left him badly bruised and in severe pain.
The General Physician who assessed the injury later concluded it was stomach trauma. Despite treatment for the injury, Glenn was in great pain and vomited throughout that night. When his condition persisted the next morning, he was brought to the Accident and Emergency ward at National University Hospital where an MRI scan was done. Then, the extent of his injury became clear – the impact with the bicycle’s handlebar had torn his pancreas in two. An emergency surgery was then carried out on the potentially fatal injury.
“By the grace of God, the enzymes produced by the impacted pancreas were not everywhere but at one area in the body,” attributed Glenn. Seven days after the successful surgery, Glenn was discharged and felt a deeper sense of gratefulness to the Lord: “I know God had preserved my life, which led me to take my own discipleship journey more seriously.”
Glenn’s interactions with the Pastoral Team Members (PTMs), especially Deborah Chang (then PTM of Children’s Ministry) and other volunteers and staff when he was serving in CM, also had a tremendous impact on Glenn.
“They were committed, respected those they were working with, and showed love for the children in their care,” Glenn recalled fondly. “Over time, those boyhood impressions nurtured a desire and burden in me to be part of the full-time church community.”
Pursuing God’s Calling
In the years he was studying at the polytechnic, Glenn took up three jobs, two of which were sales related and one which was administrative. Over those jobs, he recalled a growing unease as he struggled to balance his time between work and Church.
“I was unable to serve as much as I wanted to as there were work demands and project deadlines to meet,” explained Glenn.
One of his workplaces, in particular, had its busiest retail days of the week over the weekend, and he had to work on one of the two days. That affected his availability to serve in YM (Saturdays) and P&P worship (Sundays).
The trade-off he struggled with led to growing certainty that it was his calling to work full-time in Church.
However, he was still unsure when that might materialise, “whether directly after NS, after university or after a few years’ work.”
Answering God’s Calling for His Life
God gave Glenn His confirmation through an internship and a few conversations Glenn had with his family, friends and pastor.
During the circuit breaker in 2020 and 2021, Glenn had more time on his hands and started to serve more actively in Church.
“At that time, Wesley had to explore online streaming of worship services,” said Glenn. “I volunteered because that is an area I am trained in at school.”
Ever the trooper, Glenn became responsible for all the audio and video mixes that made weekly online streaming of services possible. Glenn’s father pointed out that God was preparing Glenn for his role in supporting services online: “My father reminded me of my past doubts about the Music & Audio Technology diploma course I had pursued at Singapore Polytechnic. It dawned on me that my dad was spot on.”
Other conversations that impacted Glenn were with Jonathan Huang, the then PTM for YM when they served together at YM.
“On one occasion, Jonathan shared his calling to full-time ministry and how, compared to secular work he was previously doing, he found the most joy and purpose while serving in church,” said Glenn. “That resonated with me completely.”
Then one day, at one of the routine practices by the worship team, the Pastor-in-Charge at Wesley Methodist Church, Rev Raymond Fong, turned to Glenn and asked him: “I need to ask you a question that God put in my heart – do you have a full-time call?” Glenn described that moment as ‘jaw-dropping’.
That was another pivotal confirmation for Glenn, as he had contemplated entering full-time ministry for a while.
Pastor Ray advised him to pray about joining Wesley and offered three considerations in discerning God’s call – ‘ability’, referring to his relevant abilities; ‘burden’, as in the burden to serve; and if the ‘circumstance’ he was in then allowed him to serve.
After receiving more confirmation from the Lord, Glenn sent in his application to work full-time at Wesley two weeks later.
Since then, Glenn has served full-time as the Prayer & Praise (P&P) Coordinator at Wesley and has served many of his peers and other members.
“As a spiritual friend, Glenn models discipleship in friendships, taking the effort to keep me accountable in my walk while encouraging me to reflect and grow in Christ,” said Ryan Tan, a youth from YM whom Glenn has been mentoring for seven years.
A volunteer who had served alongside Glenn at two Strangely Warmed retreats1 described Glenn as nothing short of an inspirational youth who fixes his gaze on God: “Glenn is my go-to young adult for reverse mentoring,” said Yeo Su Chen.
“I enjoy serving alongside him, even though our age gap is 30 years. Whenever I approached him for help to understand the youths’ perspectives better, he was very patient and would do his best to help me see things from the youths’ perspectives and context. When we serve together, he is always polite and respectful to older people, but he would also not hesitate to speak up after carefully considering everyone’s views.
“Through Glenn, I learnt one can answer the call of God at any age.”
Going forward, Glenn said he hopes to be the conduit that brings about closer integration between the youths and the main Church. As he is still serving in Youth Ministry as an Assistant Small Group Leader and Chairperson of the Worship Ministry, he hopes for greater involvement of the youths in the Church’s life. He sees the need to provide a positive, supportive platform for the youths’ transition to adulthood.
Glenn is also keen to further his learning and experience so that he can equip himself better to bring positive changes to worship in P&P services. He sees worship as a vital part of our discipleship journey and spiritual growth, eventually transforming our lives and glorifying God.
Despite his age, Glenn comes across as one who has spent seasons in full-time ministry.
To date, he has been serving in Church for 15 years.
“I find full-time service very fulfilling, and I am happy when I can help to bring others closer in their discipleship journey with God through what I do,” said Glenn. “Although I have received the upward call from God at a young age, I trust He will equip me to do what is required.
“I know God will help me accomplish His will for my life.”
1 Strangely Warmed retreats are for Wesleyans to come together to share life deeply in the context of the Wesley Discipleship Model. Check out this link to know more: https://wesleymc.org/swretreat.
About the Wesley Methodist Church Internship
Wesley Methodist Church has an internship programme for youth and young adult Christians between the ages of 17 and 23.
For more information, please email email@example.com.
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