“Three years. We’ll give it a shot till then and see where God takes us.”

I was sitting in a coffee shop listening to the guy who would later become my boss. I was a fresh grad, newly thrown into adulthood with a whole world of possibilities at my feet.

I had come to this moment where I knew that this was my calling. Three years was what I had to give. At that time, it didn’t sound like a long time. And after all, I had nothing much to lose.

Just like that, three years have passed since December 2, 2016. That was the day we launched our website. And we’re still here, going on. In all that time, these are the three biggest lessons I’ve learnt since we started.

1. Obeying God’s call doesn’t mean it’ll be easy

Working in full-time ministry does not give you immunity from troubles of this life.

The last one year has been incredibly tough for me. My dad suffered a major stroke during a heart operation that left him partially disabled and unable to return to work, leaving my mum as the main caregiver and me as the sole breadwinner.

There were many things I had to choose to put down as a result, and it felt unfair to me on many levels.

God, I gave everything to You. Why like this ah?

Obeying God’s call, no matter how it may look like to each individual, is never easy. You can be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a banker, a construction worker, a customer service officer, a freelancer… the journey, while vastly different for each person, will be fraught with challenges.

Even if God had clearly directed your way to where you are today, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a bed of roses.

Working in full-time ministry does not give you immunity from troubles of this life.

When I first started out in full-time ministry, I struggled with my identity. I had to get over myself and the fact that I wasn’t on the train to an illustrious dream career in the design industry.

As a creative, I was trained to press in and push through for the most amazing conceptual ideas to win over my clients. But time and again I’ve been humbled to find that in my work at Thir.st, God is my only and biggest client. He’s also the most creative Creative.

I once heard someone share this at a conference: “Creativity is merely a door that opens the heart.”

My creativity, my role as a creative, must lead to something more. Something bigger. Something deeper.

I’m called to offer my gifts as a sacrifice. That may look like making infinite changes to a small social media graphic. Or cutting off an entire segment of video that we’ve worked on overnight. Or putting together a less-than-ideal design for a story in under 15 minutes because it’s urgent.

So I hold loosely to my ideals. My desires. My wants. Me.

And that’s what the Christian life is about, wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever you’re doing. It’s about laying ourselves down as a sacrifice. And that’s never easy.

2. The Church is beyond the four walls of my church

Before Thir.st, my only exposure of church was my own church. Lifegroup on a weeknight, service on the weekends, ministry meetings here and there – that was “church” to me.

But over the past three years I’ve had the privilege to see for myself how the Church goes way beyond the four walls of my own church and our own activities.

There have been a few big events in the last three years like PraySingapore and Celebration of Hope. There are also other efforts that have been on the rise like FOPx, Kingdom Invasion and Day of His Power. And as part of Thir.st, I’ve had the privilege to serve behind the scenes for some of these events.

Admittedly, I was once a cynical millennial about these mass gatherings. I got behind the common narrative that “these events don’t work like they used to anymore”.

And indeed, we weren’t very concerned about the things that happened outside of our own church (perhaps this was an unhealthy megachurch mentality).

But I’ve realised how these are the days when we get to stand together and contend for the things of God, not just as churches, but as the Church. These days are when we come together as a family – they are a glimpse of eternity.

Just like the body of Christ, our team is made up of people from different churches and various denominations. When I take a moment to just dwell upon that fact and what the Body of Christ really means… I realise it’s a beautiful picture. And I’m privileged to have been given a small role to play in God’s great Kingdom.

3. Whose legacy are you building?

In the last three years we’ve personally encountered many great men of faith, some of whom have since passed on to be with the Lord.

I’ve heard great stories about them and their faithful lifelong service to God. We even had the honour and privilege of sitting down with some of them to hear and learn from them personally.

What I’ve learnt is that these men made their lives count for God.

One of the phrases I’ve heard one of these men say was that he was “living on borrowed time”.

He passed away suddenly before his next mission trip. While the loss seemed profoundly shocking and ill-timed at first, I later found closure in the realisation that God knew that his work on this side of eternity was done. He had finished his race.

What do I want to be remembered for?

Looking at their lives made me wonder: At the end of my life, would people say the same of me? That I lived my life to the fullest for God? Would I be found faithful when my time comes?

Being in the midst of these people and hearing their stories reminded me once more that we are all but dust, travellers passing through, strangers on earth – here today and gone tomorrow.

What are we living for? There’s a promise of a glorious inheritance that awaits us to behold. What do I want to be remembered for?

Whenever we think back to the days when we first started, we always have a good laugh.

As a bunch of relatively fresh grads with no idea of how a digital ministry should look like, we were new to running a team operationally and professionally.

How do we create and manage team schedules? How do we plan ahead? How can we maximise content so that God’s work can be amplified? Would you believe that for a digital team, we spent almost the entire first year manually drawing up calendars on whiteboards?

Our longest-running video series #THIRSTACOUSTIC was also conceived over a lunch that consisted of way too much fried chicken. We were completely new to content creation and in great desperation, we gathered supportive friends who let us film them doing worship song covers.

Today, #THIRSTACOUSTIC has featured not just local songwriters and their original songs of worship, but also worship leaders from other parts of the world.

We also have this great privilege to partner with our readers – you – to bear testimony of God’s goodness from all walks of life. We’ve seen how God has used our platform to connect people to community, to inspire others and to empower people to step out in faith.

If there’s one thing my team and I can collectively agree on, it’s this: Thir.st was never about us. You see, as mere 20-somethings, there’s only this much we know, this much we can do and this much life experience we can share about.

If God doesn’t show up, we close shop.

But for all our helplessness, God has always been faithful. And that’s exactly the point: If God doesn’t show up, we close shop.

Three years ago, God called us into a marathon with Him. A marathon in which the finish line isn’t clearly in sight, one where the prize isn’t for our own glory. At the same time, it’s a battle – not fought by our own strength or for our own glory.

It’s a battle for this generation. To transform a generation, one story at a time.

God’s not done yet. And till then, if you feel you have a part to play in our journey ahead, come and get in with us.

Get in with God.