Bryan Tan on Preaching 1 Thess 2

(Have a listen to Bryan's sermon at his church, Calvary Cork, Ireland, here)

1. Hello Bryan! Could you kindly share with us what you're doing in Ireland right now?

I am studying Medicine at University College Cork and have just completed my first year! Additionally, I conduct a Bible Study for the Chinese people in Cork every Friday and we are going through the Gospel of Mark. Usually about 5-7 people attend the Bible Study.

2. Share with us how you were asked to preach in your Irish church, Calvary Cork. Also, what was the reception from the church community?

My pastor is from California and he is currently back there on holiday with his family for five weeks. In his leave, the church is going through the five chapters in 1 Thessalonians and I was asked to take Chapter 2. I have led a couple of the church's Call to Worships and Wednesday night Bible Studies before and my pastor decided to give me the opportunity to try something "bigger".

It was very well received among the church community and a couple of members approached me after the service and encouraged me saying "Do not be discouraged by your young age! God has certainly anointed you and gifted you to do the good work he has set out for you! I was blessed by your sermon!"

3. Didn't you feel nervous or uncomfortable when you were preaching? Isn't the preaching of the Word just for full-time pastors?

Ohhhhhh yes, I felt really unprepared! I have had no formal theological training and I'm only 21 years old! Halfway through my sermon preparation, I wondered whether I was "cut out for the job" as I felt so helpless under the weight of the passage I was assigned to. Shouldn't someone more qualified be doing this job?

But Paul charges young Timothy to preach the Word to others in 2 Tim 4:1-2 and not to be afraid because of his youth in 1 Tim 4:12. And I believe the call to teach the Word is for every believer- be it to a large congregation or just to another individual. Deut 4:9 and 6:7 tells us to teach our children, and Ps 71:18 tells us to proclaim it to another generation. As the saying goes, "God does not call the equipped, but to equip the called".


4. Why is it so important for every Christian to learn how to read the Bible for themselves and even share what they've learnt with others?

I realised that the teacher benefits more than the student. Before I communicate my knowledge to others, I must understand and submit myself to the requirements of the text first. My encouragement to other Christians is to actively share with others how God has spoken to you. Jesus commands the once-demon-possessed man in Mark 5:19 to tell his friends "how much the Lord has done" for him. Head knowledge can be transformed into heart knowledge as you start to tell others of The Lord's goodness!

5. How do you think God has prepared you for this task to teach and preach the Word of God? 

I was blessed to have grown up in GBC where Sunday School teachers helped me to establish a good foundation for my faith! GBC also enabled me to hear the Word of God preached faithfully every Sunday and gave me a wonderful community of brothers and sisters whom I've learnt so much from! In Ireland, God has sent many others who taught me how to teach and preach the Word of God. I was never alone!

6. How would you encourage other GBC church members to be actively involved in reading and teaching the Word to others?

Towards the end of my sermon, I quoted Heb 4:12 - "For the word of God is living and active, shaper than any two-edged sword". I never saw the reality of this verse until I started reading and teaching others! I was forced to ask myself questions like "What is God trying to say to me through this passage?" and "How can I submit my life to this passage and apply it practically in my life?" I realised that the Word of God cannot be treated as a mere textbook! Try it for yourself and watch how the Word of God is LIVING AND ACTIVE!