Faith

30 years in full-time ministry: Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong shares about calling, provision and going the distance

Senior Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong, Founder of Cornerstone Community Church Singapore // August 22, 2020, 11:07 pm

Ps Yang - Step into calling

I was born again at the age of 16, but I wasn’t a serious Christian then. I had one foot in the world and one foot out of the world. 

During my basic military training, my father died suddenly of a heart attack. He was an absentee father, but he was never an abusive father. He never even once raised his voice towards me. I never had a father wound because he was always a kind father.

But I never had a good relationship with him because he was a cripple. Growing up, we couldn’t play ball, run around or go swimming since he was confined to a wheelchair. That’s why it felt like we never really had a father.

When he died, I spun into a life of decadence and sin.

Until I attended a meeting in St Andrew’s Cathedral. That was when I encountered the Holy Spirit in such a powerful way. 

When the Holy Spirit came upon me, it was like I was paralysed. My legs went soft like jelly and for 20 minutes the power of God rushed into my body. It felt like every cell in me was going to explode. 

That was the huge turning point in my life, an encounter with God. I remember not walking out of the cathedral – but floating out. I experienced joy unspeakable and a sense of peace I couldn’t explain.

That’s when I said that I was going to get serious with God. 

A BUNGEE JUMP OF FAITH

Since then, I always knew I had a call to enter into full-time ministry, but God kept telling me that I wasn’t ready.

So for the next four years, I attended university where I even got into the Dean’s list. And after graduating, I worked for a bank for 6 years.

But every year, I would repeatedly pray: “Lord, I’m ready for full-time ministry. If you call me I would quit my job now and I will serve you.” 

The response was always the same. God kept telling me that I wasn’t ready and that He wanted me to work in the secular world for a while.

Until one year, I received two promotions. My bosses had also come to me to say that if I would have a great future if I stayed in that company.

Just when everything was going well – that’s when the Holy Spirit told me to quit my job. 

Step into full-time ministry? I didn’t want my boat to be rocked

After years of telling God I was ready, I struggled to quit my job when the Holy Spirit finally called me.

It was the most difficult decision I made, and I struggled because I didn’t know where the provision was going to come from. I was going to pay myself $800 a month, and I didn’t know how I was going to survive.

I said to the Lord: “If You can show me that You can provide for me, then I will quit my job and come to full-time ministry.”

The Lord told me: “No, you quit your job and I’ll show you I can provide for you.”

We sold our home, moved into a rented facility, had garage sale after garage sale and sold everything we could just to get by. 

Even though I didn’t know how we were going to survive on a salary of $800 a month, I took that bungee step of faith into full-time ministry. 

IF IT’S GOD’S WILL, IT’S GOD’S BILL 

A few days after I quit my job, I got a call from a senior vice president of a bank.

Having heard that I had quit my job, he asked if I could meet him. I agreed and went to see him in his office. It was a beautiful office overlooking Marina Bay.

He told me he liked what I was doing and that he’d like to help me. He then gave me a piece of paper, and when I looked down, it was a cheque for $12,000.

If I can trust the bank to credit my salary, why can’t I trust the living God to take care of me? 

That same day, once I got back to my office, the phone rung. It was a real estate developer on the line.

He said that he heard I quit my job and asked if I could see him. We had lunch the next day in his office where we sat on opposite sides of the board room table.

He told me that he admired how I quit my job to serve God and wanted to help. I never forgot what happened next, he took an envelope out of his pocket and slid it across the table.

I opened it, and inside the envelope was $9,000. That’s when the Holy Spirit said to me: “If I call you, I will pay the bills.” 

Will God provide for me?

When I was still working in the bank, on every 27th of the month, I would take my ATM card, put it in the machine and the bank would have credited my salary.

If I can trust the bank to credit my salary, why can’t I trust the living God to take care of me? 

This is my 30th year in full-time ministry and my path has dripped with abundance. God has blessed me and the church beyond my wildest imagination. 

If He calls you, then He will pay the bills. He will take care of you.

FINISH WELL, FINISH STRONG

Robert Clinton said that only one in 10 in the Bible “make it”. As I turn 61 years old, I am still in the race to be that one in 10 who finishes well and finishes strong.

So if you’re in your 20s or 30s now, you’ve got a long way to go and you’ve got to go the distance. Find the convergence between doing something you’re good at and doing something you love.

When what you love to do and what you’re good at doing converges, that’s the sweet spot where you know you’re doing what God has called you to do.

As for me, I’m living the dream and I enjoy what I’m doing. I thank the Lord that 30 years ago, He called me into full-time ministry. I’ve thanked Him every day. 

I want to encourage you to trust the Lord in this journey – listen to His voice. And as you keep your eyes fixed on Him, trust that He will bring you across the finishing line strongly. 

THINK + TALK

  1. When was the last time you took a leap of faith?
  2. How have you seen God’s provision in your life?
  3. Is God calling you to take a step of faith this season?
  4. What is one thing in your life that might hinder you from finishing well?