Phase 2A: Don't Miss the Boat - The Pursuit for Growth (1987-1991)

My Leadership Journey

  1. No Pain, No Gain - The Path of Discipline (1984-1986) 
  2. Don't Miss the Boat - The Pursuit for Growth (1987-1991)
StrengthsFinder Sinagpore - Miss the Boat.jpg

Recap summary of previous post: Between 1984 to 1986, the Boys Brigade (BB) awed me into a new dimension – the path of discipline, in which there was ‘no pain no gain’. From a life characterized at first by wild abandon and merrymaking, I chose restrain and submission - to be disciplined by the Lord. I fully agree with this phrase, 'Life is about Choices'. Indeed, the good choice of discipline made me grew strong.

From Dec 1986 to the year 1991, I transited into a phase of intense leadership development. I call this phase, ‘Don’t Miss the Boat – The Pursuit of Growth’. In all, these years were filled with 4 landmark events, all of which served to equip me in areas then unknown to me.

Landmark Event 1: Resilience in Times of Crisis
The first landmark event occurred in December 1986, during my post ‘O’ level examination period. My fellow BB senior NCOs went to our BB officer Steven Tay’s house to plan for a BB company camp. This was a watershed in my spiritual life.

                                                                     My Mighty Band of Brothers

                                                                   My Mighty Band of Brothers

The company faced the daunting task of preparing activities for the 5-day company camp within 3 days and 3 nights. Brainstorming for numerous games within a pressing time limit was nerve-racking, but undoubtably brought about transformation. Unity and intense prayer for its success saw the presence of God descending upon the campsite, impacting many lives.

At one point of time, rioting broke out amongst the campers because of our radical program. The 10 leaders in the making had to handle the crisis. But prayer and pleading to God brought us through – intense planning, coupled with intense crisis, was solved through intense prayer. The result was a wholly God-inspired camp, life-changing and unprecedented in its scope. It was the turning point of 20th BB company.

Soon after, when I entered my Pre-University days, I was still passionate and held on to dreams for BB. And within 3-4 years, the 20th BB company had become the best company in Singapore. In those years when opportunities arose, I never had qualms but always confidently held on to these opportunities, and ultimately grew in leadership.

Landmark Event 2: Fearlessness opens unchartered territory
The second event followed closely in January 1987. My BB company was lacking a Bible Knowledge, and this boat of opportunity docked on the shores of someone’s life, someone who was to teach the word of God. Fearlessly, I volunteered. I was given the task as Bible teacher to Secondary 1 students for a year. This birthed in me the love for reading the bible. I grew tremendously, reading, immersing in and living out the word of God. No fear, I thought, even though I was teaching students who grew up in the church but I only had 3 years of exposure. This episode of rising up to teach inspired in me a growth, a hunger for the living word of God.

Landmark Event 3: Sacrifices eventually pay off
Pioneering the BB Open House event was the third significant event in my life. For 2 periods of time in Jan-Apr 1987 and Jan-Apr 1988, I missed 8 months of afternoon lessons to plan for Open House. This inaugural event was to attract neighbourhood youth to join my BB company. Apart from that, the planning over 8 solid months acted as training ground for organizers in areas such as camp crafts, design and layout, band, publicity.

This huge amount of sacrifice paid off, not only in the development of personal skills, but also in the growth of the 20th company to a hundred-man strong one. Here, jumping onto the boat of opportunity was the first step to behold greater promises of God in His uncharted seas of growth.

Landmark Event 4: The spirit of excellence
The last event of these years was the BB National Bible Quiz. Again, I unleashed the rope of potential and volunteered to train a team to participate in the quiz. In this faith movement, I immersed in the books Numbers, Deuteronomy, Galatians, Ephesians and Colossians; I was clueless on Numbers and Deuteronomy then. The word of God equipped me thoroughly in exceptional knowledge and wisdom. In the quiz, every one of my boys could answer every question immediately. They were destined to be champions. It seemed as if their hard work paid off.

However, one of the boys missed the boat of opportunity and was half-hearted in his preparation for the quiz. In effect, the boy’s individual score pulled the entire team's score down to the seventh position. They missed the final round by just one placing. This brought great grief and disappointment. What was more important, however, is the message that this one boy did not pursue growth when given the opportunity – he allowed it to pass him by, rendering himself shortchanged by his own actions. The other well-prepared boys were much better, even than the winning team, as my boys could immediately answer every question when they sat to watch the finals.

Applications to Pursue Growth...
Do not miss the boat. Specifically, the boat of opportunity. If you truly desire growth, act upon the given chance(s). You will discover yourself in a ship, not guided by the impulse of a free-wheeling compass, but by decision, direction and finally, destination.