Features, Headline

Gatekeepers launches a new meeting place in the heart of the CBD

Full caption in doc_Kingdom Gathering
The first session of the Kingdom Gathering series at Gatekeepers' new premises on Pekin Street

The new leadership of the nearly 50-year-old marketplace ministry seeks to continue the mission of discipling the nation to advance God’s kingdom on earth.

On 23 January this year, a meeting for tech executives in the Central Business District was held in a shophouse on Pekin Street. On the surface, it did not look like an unusual gathering for those working in the technology industry, but the purpose of this event was not solely about networking. What made this meeting different was that the participants belonged to different Christian denominations, and had come to explore and share insights on how technology can be a force for transformation to shape Singapore’s future through faith and innovation. And to top it off, it was organised by the oldest marketplace ministry organisation in Singapore.

The gathering—the inaugural session of Kingdom Gathering, a series of monthly industry-focused talks—was organised by interdenominational parachurch organisation, Gatekeepers Singapore (Gatekeepers for short). Previously known as the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International Singapore (FGBMFIS) and subsequently Full Gospel Business (FGB), Gatekeepers most recently changed its name in 2019 and celebrates its 49th anniversary this year.1

According to Sherman Ng, Gatekeepers’ National President since March 2023, the monthly sessions are part of Gatekeepers’ plan to draw marketplace leaders where Kingdom worldviews—adopting a biblical perspective when viewing the world— could be shared and discussed.

The genesis of Gatekeepers

The genesis and growth of FGBMFIS in its early years were intrinsically linked to Christianity’s involvement in Singapore’s social development and the charismatic movement in Singapore. The movement raised a new generation of Christian leaders, including the late Canon Dr James Wong (founding Vicar of Chapel of the Resurrection) who mentored Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong (founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Community Church) and Pastor Kong Hee (founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church).

The story of Singapore’s charismatic movement detailed in the book Unfolding His Story gives an account of how FGBMFIS started, the involvement of various leaders and members across various Christian denominations, including leaders from Methodist churches and students who were part of the ACS clock tower revival in the 1970s.

Georgie Lee, who co-authored Unfolding His Story with his son Galven Lee, is Gatekeepers’ immediate past President. He pointed out that the work of Gatekeepers was always meant to complement the Church.

″The Church does a wonderful job of discipleship in many areas but the area that needs more attention is what I call vocational discipleship. We have a flourishing Sunday church but the Monday church is but just a whimper of what it should be,” said Georgie, whose career over the past 50 years has spanned journalism, stockbroking and investment banking.

Full caption in doc_Georgie Lee & Sherman Ng
Georgie Lee (left), the immediate past president, continues to lend his support to the current president, Sherman Ng (right), as a member of the Gatekeepers Council of Elders

Fulfilling the gatekeeping mission today

Today, Gatekeepers is led by a new generation of leaders who want to continue the original mission of discipling men and women to fulfil God’s work. This vocational discipleship is relevant for various industries and sectors and helps with peer mentoring and discussing solutions that fit within the Kingdom model. Long seen as advocates and pioneers for vocational discipleship, Gatekeepers’ members share their mission by being living testimonies of marketplace theologies and through their faith journeys, transform lives and impact culture.

Aside from the monthly Kingdom Gathering sessions, Gatekeepers also has plans to expand in the region. Gatekeepers Thailand was started last year and groundwork for the Indonesian chapter is underway.

Sherman wants to continue building marketplace discipleship communities, equipping members with a Christ-centred theology of work for effective evangelism in the marketplace as the essence of vocational discipleship at Gatekeepers. This is also evident in Gatekeepers’ focus areas: Intentional Discipleship, Impactful Stewardship and Influential Leadership.

″We function intergenerationally, like any family. We’re like a family in the marketplace. We might be living in a time where there is an epidemic of fatherlessness, but we have a perfect Father in God. God’s rules are perfect as his kingdom is perfect. Let us work to live out the gospel of the kingdom and expand his kingdom, together,” said Sherman, who worships at 3:16 Church.

Women's Gatekeepers
Women’s Gatekeepers

Referring to members as “gatekeepers” is a reminder of their role and responsibility, and to bring the values of God’s kingdom back to the “gates”, the pillars of society. In the Bible, a gate is regarded as a place of importance to a city—for its defence, a meeting point, where judgements are ruled and decisions are made, even for trade and commerce, i.e. a marketplace.

Sherman sums up the role of Gatekeepers and its members, ″We are gatekeepers, whether we like it or not. We gatekeep our hearts and minds, our lips and tongues. We determine what comes into, and goes out of, our lives—our homes, businesses and beyond, even the outcome of our nation … Gatekeepers is the praxis of marketplace theology.”

Rev Ian Toh, the founding pastor of 3:16 Church, oversees the pillar of intentional discipleship in Gatekeepers. The Kingdom Gathering series is one of the initiatives to build marketplace communities and start conversations.

“‘Worship is work’ is a neglected truth—worship extends into every aspect of our lives, including the oft-overlooked domain of work. The separation of sacred and secular has created a divide that inhibits believers from recognising the divine potential within their daily tasks. Yet, if we embrace that every occupation can be an expression of worship, we open doors to a richer, more meaningful life in Christ,” says Rev Toh.

Recently, Gatekeepers has attracted new members in their 20s and 30s. Christopher Tsoi, 37, from Toa Payoh Methodist Church, is a Young Gatekeepers (YGK) Leader. ″I see Gatekeepers as a valuable community of Christians from different churches, whether in a similar line of work or a different one. We discuss spiritual and daily life concerns, and there is an added intention of evangelising and growing in discipleship in the marketplace.″

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Gatekeepers members enjoy the camaraderie within the group and grow together in various aspects of life

Joylynn Soh, 28, from Bedok Methodist Church, joined Gatekeepers in 2021 and is an active member of the YGK group. For her, witnessing how Kingdom perspectives challenge societal norms has motivated her to better steward the resources she has been given. Just as how Gatekeepers is a proponent of redemptive enterprises, Joylynn has been encouraged to review her perspectives on how work and business can be used to restore the fallen creation order back to God’s original design.

″I’ve been able to widen my perspective of seeing finance [as] not just about maximising shareholder value in the financial sense but also weighing equally the intangible kingdom objectives that can be fulfilled,″ said Joylynn.

Gabrielle Kum, 27, who worships at Faith Community Baptist Church, felt convicted to reach out to the people at her workplace after entering the workforce. “Through Gatekeepers, I finally found people who have the same fire and passion for the lost in the marketplace. Now I know that there’s an army of marketplace warriors in the Gatekeepers community who are with me in this race.″

See doc for full caption_Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Kum
Photo taken during a Young Gatekeepers Christmas dinner / Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Kum

1 Women were admitted into its membership in 2008 and thereafter, FGBMFIS changed its name to Full Gospel Business (FGB) in 2012.

For more information on Gatekeepers, follow their Facebook page @gatekeeperssg or visit their website at https://www.gatekeepers.sg

Marketplace ministries by Methodist churches

Wesley Methodist Church | Marketplace Support Group (MSG)

An MSG is a peer mentorship group of three to four Christians who build spiritual friendships to support and mentor each other in their walk as disciples within their vocation. This initiative under the Witness & Evangelism’s Marketplace Ministry is restarting following a hiatus during the pandemic. A Marketplace Conference to equip participants in Theology of Work is scheduled for August and thereafter, you may register to be part of an MSG. All Christians are welcomed and you may log your interest directly with the church.

For details, please email wefriends@wesleymc.org

Barker Road Methodist Church | WSCS God@Work

A lunchtime spiritual oasis for women in the workplace.

VivoCity: Online, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays
Novena: Online, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays
Suntec: Hybrid, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays
Raffles Place: 2nd and 4th Thursdays (except Jun and Dec)

For details, email brmcwscssg@gmail.com

Kathrynn Koh is the Communications Executive at MCS Communications Department. She is a member of Wesley Methodist Church. / Photos courtesy of Gatekeepers (Singapore)