By Tan Lay Leng
I chuckled when he said he is an ‘Archipunk’ (a slang used to describe a young inexperienced person) but unassuming Zhiwen is no punk. In fact, he is a spunky champion for the unity of churches in the kingdom of God – and trying to do what he does without any formal title.
Serving in the home missions arm of his local church (he has been there since his kindergarten days!), Zhiwen has a good grasp of what it means to integrate discipleship and mission. In seeing both as a whole, he works on equipping and mobilizing the church to be a witness in their neighbourhood. This he achieves through connecting with other churches in the same neighbourhood to be a collective Church witness.
One can easily see Zhiwen’s heart for unity in diversity. He is one Archippus who exemplifies the trait of being aware but not apathetic. He is an example of someone who is aware of the importance of seeking to understand how things are perceived from different perspectives and starting points, and does not stop there. He sees churches in Singapore lean in different directions, so he stretches out his hand and pulls his end of the tight rope. He is in the business of what he calls an ‘integral mission’ and he cares a lot about it.
So he starts conversations and creates platforms for people from different churches, different ages and different experiences to listen to how one another makes sense of the differences and talks them through on the basis of shared Christian tenets. Through the Singapore Centre for General Missions, Zhiwen helps to create platforms for different segments of the church to come together and collaborate on missional issues.
He is part of Micah Singapore, an “organic community and coalition of Christ followers, ministries and churches passionate about seeking shalom through justice, mercy and integral missions”.
On integral mission, Zhiwen is very clear of one thing: that we should live our lives fully wrapped up (INTEGRATED into) in God’s Big Story, such that our deeds and our words speak the same message which echoes into eternity – and anticipates the coming kingdom of Christ. This is, to him, the business of integral mission, and it is a life-long enterprise.
As a military man, Zhiwen thinks of mission as receiving orders from the Authority who gave the orders, the One whom he serves, the Christ. Zhiwen believes that our understanding of Christian mission is figured out within these parameters – Jesus at the Centre, understood under the authority of His Word. For all the diverse things that he is involved in, this is the core that holds everything together – passion for Jesus and His glory.
Dear Archippus …
We may be almost anonymous, but we are known to God by name. As the nobodies move on our kingdom assignments, aware but not apathetic of the needs around us, we can each make a difference in God’s kingdom.
Zhiwen is part of the team that put this book “Walking with Same Sex Attracted Friends” together and here’s a kingdom quote from it: “In the kingdom of God, then, it is not those who are powerful, or have positions and titles, who can make a difference. Rather it is the nobodies, servants whom people often do not see and just take for granted, who in God’s strength and power can make an impact for God. Therefore in God’s kingdom, there is no shame in being a servant because God himself is a servant.”
Zhiwen worships at Zion Bishan BP Church, and has been seconded to Singapore Centre for Global Mission (SCGM), where he serves in the area of missions research and missions mobilisation. He served as the Mobilisation IC for the GoForth National Missions Conference 2018, and was co-founder of TeamZero, a group of young adults passionate about the church’s mission in the public square. His passion is to see a church united for God’s mission.