Developing Christ-like Leaders for the Great Commission

A fun shot from a class taking the Theology 2 course at EAST.

East Asia School of Theology (EAST) began with the purpose of developing Christ-like servant leaders for East Asia and the world. EAST is non-denominational and was established by Campus Crusade for Christ in 1992.

Over the years, EAST has had the joy of seeing 375 men and women graduate and over 4,000 having attended our courses on campus and through extensions. In Asia and around the world, most alumni continue to serve in full-time vocational ministry as pastors and ministry leaders and as church-planters on the mission field.

Focused on producing workers useful and effective for missions, our students have come from Africa, Asia, North and South America, and Europe. In the last academic year, EAST had 340 programmes and visiting students on campus and through extensions. They were taught by 15 resident faculty with requisite academic qualifications and strong ministry experience together with a team of adjunct faculty.

EAST’s vision is a transformed East Asia, and EAST’s mission is to develop Christian leaders for the fulfilment of the Great Commission in East Asia and around the world.

EAST seeks to develop spiritual leaders who are:
• Committed to growing in Christ-likeness
• Passionate spiritual multipliers
• Learning and living out God’s Word
• Communicating God’s truth effectively
We seek to accomplish our mission through holistic learning, where our students not only learn intellectually (“know”), but their attitudes and character are also shaped (“be”), leading to actions (“do”). These are emphasised in the classroom and assignments as well as field internships, school retreat, community life, and Mentoring Groups. The desired outcome is theologically-sound ministry practitioners who are effective for the work of the ministry.

A place for self-discovery
“I learned humility not only from my mentors and teachers, and classmates who have been serving God for many years, but also from the Singaporean people.” – Ms Diana Zhang (East Asia, MDiv in Christian Ministry), who served for almost 10 years among students

A place for community
“At EAST I found people who are willing to spend time with me, people like my mentor Dr Kwa, and classmates, who are always willing to sit down and chat over a cup of coffee, and listen to my heart.” – Ms Loh Li Li (Singapore, MA in Theological Studies), lay leader in Agape Baptist Church.

A place to learn to overcome
“I learned from my classmates who come with rich ministry experience, how to serve Christ with joy, how to live a life committed to a vision, and their simple perseverance in studies.”
Mr Dan Christian Vicente (Philippines, BA in Christian Ministry), church worker at Bartley Christian Church.

A place to till the ground
Ms Koh Liting (MDiv in Christian Ministry), 31, was diagnosed with stage-four melanoma (a form of skin cancer) when she came to EAST. Not only has she graduated, she found new energy and resolve to serve the Lord on the mission field in East Asia.

“My time at EAST was one of soil preparation,” says the Cru Singapore campus staff of seven years, who has recently been given the “all-clear” by her oncologists.

“At EAST, I became a child again, and learned to pause instead of going non-stop, to listen instead of always telling people what to do, and to receive God’s deep healing in my body, soul and spirit.”

A place to heal and start again
When Mr Baataraa Buyanmandakh (Mongolia, MA in Leadership), 36, came to Singapore in 2013, he was “heartbroken.” His younger son, Munhuul, had passed away the year before at the age of three and half years.

“My wife, Zulaa, and I were not sure about coming here at first as we were offered places in the USA; but as soon as we settled down, we knew we’d come to the right place,” says the former campus leader in Mongolia Campus Crusade.

Through the love of their local church, the Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church, Baataraa, Zulaa, and their son Odko found healing. “Back in Mongolia, we were the most ‘mature’ and always ministered to others,” he explains, “but here, the Singapore church reached out to us and loved us.”

Baataraa confessed that he also went through a transformation in ministry approach. “I used to work like a machine,” he says. “But through the examples of professors who have years of ministry experience, I now learned to please God in ministry, not perform or push others.”

“Now I am more ready to go back and build church-planters for the 200 unreached villages and towns in my country.”

A fun shot of these graduands ‘Defending the Faith in Asia’ – one of the courses available at EAST.

“Now I am more ready to go back and build church-planters for the 200 unreached villages and towns in my country.”

Mr Baataraa Buyanmandakh giving the valedictory speech at his graduation from EAST.

Photos courtesy of EAST

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The Rev Jonathan Yao is the Associate Principal at EAST. He compiled the article with contributions from the Rev Chan Chong Hiok, President of EAST, and Mrs Tan Ying Kheng, Field Education Director.