When I entered university, I was a bit shocked by the liberal culture on campus. If accepting behaviour that ran contrary to my beliefs was deemed to be loving, then my faith appeared to be the antithesis of love.

That made me very troubled inside. I felt that my Christian faith was out of place. 

I was also taken aback by the fact that everyone was so consumed by grades. I quickly realised that even among friends, there can be reluctance to share notes and help one another. This cold-bloodedness is most pronounced in group projects in the way people are punished with low peer review scores. 

I believe that Christians are called to bring God’s kingdom (or God’s light) to everywhere they go, including campuses and workplaces. But I’ve found that difficult to do in reality. How can we be salt and light when we are so suspicious of each other?

On another occasion, as I was doing my devotion one day, I started praying for the students on my campus. All of a sudden, I started crying. I DON’T CRY IN MY PRAYERS! Thank God I was the only one there.

I felt sad; it was a burden I never felt before. Then God reminded me of the idea he gave me at the Eagles Leadership Conference that I had attended during my National Service days.

Back then, I was absolutely spellbound by the radical faith stories of businessmen I heard at the conference and God told me to “bring the speakers to the students”. But I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.

Then about a week later in August 2018, I received a WhatsApp message from a person I didn’t know. That person introduced himself to me as Galven Lee. Through a series of divine encounters and God’s providence, I finally met up with him and shared my vision of wanting to equip Christian students for the marketplace.

He, too, felt that this was important and we decided to work on the series of talks together, which eventually became known as Kingdom Calling.

It turned out Galven himself is a businessman and runs a startup. His father is also the president of FGB Gatekeepers Singapore, which seeks to disciple Christian professionals. Galven had a vast network of Christian business leaders to invite, and could offer a space to host the events. I didn’t know how to get the talks going, but God provided everything. EVERYTHING!

Even after I met Galven, I felt very worried about the risks I was taking. I felt embarrassed to even talk about my initiative.

Until one day when this thought came to mind: “I am not taking a risk. If God planned this, then He will make it succeed because God is faithful. He never fails. But I may not always be faithful, I may wander away.

“The one that is really taking a risk with me is God! God could use a more fervent Christian, but He decided to go with me. God wanted to take a risk with me.”

That was a humbling moment.

God went on to speak to me through a poem “God Knows”.

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”

And he replied:

“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.

That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way…”

That got me going.

Being an officer in the Boys’ Brigade, I’ve always been taught to plan for all contingencies. Because I’m usually such a thorough planner, I’m also embarrassed to tell people when I don’t have plans. But I decided to walk in the darkness and put my hand into the hand of God. Such is pioneering work.

Karl Mak (centre, in glasses), CEO and co-founder of Hepmil Media Group, which runs SGAG, sharing at a Kingdom Calling event in February 2019. Photo courtesy of the writer.

As a result, I started Kingdom Calling last October as a monthly dialogue with Christian marketplace leaders to encourage students to have a kingdom mindset that prepares them for the workplace. Some of the topics we’ve explored are:

  • What is God’s will for your life?
  • What is your role in God’s kingdom?
  • How can you pursue a purpose-driven career?
  • What does success look like in the marketplace? 

My seniors who graduate often tell me that their foray into the marketplace is shell-shocking. They get shaken by the fact that the cut-throat dog-eat-dog world is brutally unforgiving.

Out of a survivalist mindset, many Christians find themselves compartmentalising their faith into an ever-shrinking private sphere instead of radiating God’s values and being salt and light.

Kingdom Calling plugs a jarring gap in campus ministry: I want to prepare students for that reality and help us find our marketplace callings even before entering the workforce. 

I aim to inspire introspection and encourage attendees to realise that their future can be so much more than simply work; that they can bring life and love that lasts forever. 

Churches emphasise spiritual formation. Marketplace ministries emphasise societal transformation. They go hand-in-hand.

There are many Christians who genuinely love God and are steadfast in their resolve to keep the faith. But it’s important to not just have a persevering spirit – we need a pioneering spirit. When God gives us His heart, we cannot stand idly by.

We need to pioneer God’s love in new practical ways to innovate healing. So many organisations and initiatives such as the Red Cross, Everton Football Club, Boys’ Brigade, World Vision, Barnabas Fund, Yellow Ribbon Project and Youth With A Mission were born out of love for God and His people.

If we want to fulfil our calling as the Antioch of Asia, we need to start dreaming again. We need to dream of heavenly possibilities and not be encumbered by earthly practicalities. We need to pioneer and take risks.

I enjoy these talks because I enjoy helping people discover their calling. 

I hope that our generation will have faith – not just “a faith”. That we will not be contented to enter the office knowing that many of our colleagues do not have hope.

I hope that our generation will love God enough to feel rested in Him and restless for Him. That we will live lives worthy of our calling and not be found wanting.

I hope that our generation will be pioneers.

Kingdom Calling is organising a special dialogue with Lee Liping and Timothy Wong on the topic: Being Salt and deLight on June 11, 2019, 7pm at Kara Café. At this intimate session, questions such as “What does it mean to live differently for Christ?” will be explored.  

Come and hear practical wisdom that will help you to better prepare and live differently in the workplace, plus take a peek into the ministry of these Christian café owners.

Here’s how you can register.

  1. What burdens has God given you? What can you do about them?
  2. What struggles do you face in being salt and light where God has placed you?
  3. Have you discovered your calling?
  4. Are you consumed by culture or are you seeking to transform it?