Know Your Leaders: Elder Eddie Tan
Our elder, Eddie Tan, shares with us some thoughts and reflections on his faith and his role in the church.
1. Could you introduce yourself to our readers – for example what you do for a living, and tell us a bit about your family members.
I recently retired from my career in the Security, Offset and Digital Printing industry. I have been married to Eve for 45 years, and we have two children. Our daughter Elvira is married to John and they have two children: Lucas (12) and Rebecca (5). Their family worships at GBC. Our son Elvin is married to Marie and they have two children: Caleb (10) and Katelyn (8). They too are believers and worship in another church.
2. Please share with us what you understand your responsibilities to be as an elder/pastor of the flock.
Firstly, I am to be shepherded by my pastors and I should emulate and reflect Christ in my daily life. Also, I am to diligently search the Scriptures and be available to serve the church with the gifts God has given me, no matter how insignificant they may be. With clear understanding of His word and Biblical doctrines taught by pastors past and present, and blessed by daily seeking a close relationship with God, I pray for wisdom, grace and discernment from the Lord so I can encourage and disciple my fellow believers new and old, as well as pre-believers. I seek to have a prayerful lifestyle so that I will be obedient to God as He instructs me through His Holy Spirit. I think it is very important for me to be continually sanctified so that I can give wise godly counsel and be a prayer warrior. In addition, whenever I am drawn into sharing by individuals or groups, I strive to speak both of blessings and challenges, and to be a blessing to others.
3. How did you come to Christ (your conversion) and how did you come to join Grace Baptist Church?
I am blessed to have been born and raised in a Christian family. My father was a deacon, lay preacher and Sunday School Superintendent in a Brethren church, and my mum taught Sunday School with me sitting on her lap. However, all it meant was that I was taught Christian values and was expected to live by them during my younger days. I only came to know the Lord as my personal saviour as a teenager at a YFC rally when the speaker asked if listeners knew where they would be if they were to die that night. At that moment, all the gospel teachings I had heard in Sunday School and worship meetings flashed through my mind, and the Holy Spirit prompted me to respond. Henceforth, all the Christian values I had been taught became alive in me as I began to take them to heart and as my desire to be obedient to the Lord grew daily. My love for Him and passion to please Him and serve Him became central to my life.
When my children started going to Sunday School they began attending GBC, and subsequently Eve’s sister Monica and her husband Mike Manning took them to Grace Chinese Church at Queen Street, where GBC was temporarily meeting. Eventually I also decided to attend GBC and was warmly welcomed by Leong Kuan Yui, who knew me, my dad and uncles from our Brethren church days. KY very quickly introduced me to his care group, and before I knew it I was attending membership class too. In 1982 I obtained a transfer of membership from my previous church to GBC, and have been a regular attender at GBC ever since, getting involved in ministries such as property, AV, music and worship, and care groups.
4. Tell us something about yourself that many members do not know.
After completing my secondary education, I served YFC Singapore voluntarily for almost a year, preparing the stage props for the regular Saturday YFC rallies and singing and playing the guitar. I was also in the first YFC Singapore Teen Team that travelled up to Malaysia, witnessing for my Lord in many schools and YFC clubs there. On our way back to Singapore our car tyre burst and we skidded off the road and slammed into the side of the slope. By God’s grace and mercy we all had only minor injuries. Had we gone off the road a few seconds earlier we would have gone down a very steep and deep ravine, and I may not be around today to testify of the salvation, love, mercy and grace of my Lord.
5. Could you share with us one of your greatest joys and one of your greatest challenges as a spiritual leader of the church?
The greatest joy among many has been to be able to serve again in several ministries (which I had ‘retired’ from many years earlier), and to do so together with the younger generation, both from the English congregation and the Chinese congregation. Over the years it has been a great blessing to watch these younger ones grow in their love, passion and joy to serve the Lord.
The greatest challenge was being thrown immediately into the deep end when I was called to be an elder. Having spent quite a few years as a pew warmer active only in my care group, it was difficult for me to understand situations I had previously been unaware of, and it was not easy to adjust. However, I am thankful to the Lord that I had and still have access to wise godly counsel from the pastors. I now find these challenges to be a blessing and part of God’s plan of moulding me to grow spiritually as well as to develop my character.
6. The Bible tells us to honour our leaders. In that light, how can we pray for you and encourage you meaningfully?
Pray that God will continue to sanctify and mould me to be what He wants me to be, so that by His love and grace I may reflect Christ in my daily life, at home, in church and in the harvest fields where He has placed me. Pray that I will continue to passionately serve God and the flock in obedience and humility. It is a great encouragement to know that there are many praying for me.