Life and Ministry with Richard Chin

A wide-ranging interview with Richard Chin, National Director of AFES, about life and ministry – including why he’s on a crusade to promote extended Bible memorisation, why he refuses to give up his role in local campus ministry, the challenges and opportunities of ministry to Millennials, coping with the death of his first wife, and what it’s been like to remarry and become a ‘twicer’.

Richard Chin

GR: Richard, you were born in Malaysia and you moved to Australia when you were eight 8 years old. What are your earliest memories of Australia?

RC: Meat pies, hearing people say ‘G’day mate’ but not realising what they were saying, and going to a primary school which was co-ed. The only schools I had attended were not co-ed, so it was strange seeing girls next to me in Year 3.

Did you grow up in a Christian family?

No, I grew up in a non-Christian family, although my mother had a belief in God and she was from a Roman-Catholic background – she went to a Roman-Catholic convent school in Malaysia. My father came from a synchretistic Buddhist family, but he would describe his own life or pilgrimage as an agnostic of sorts, or a free thinker. Continue reading

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Marriage in the Trenches

Old HandsOver the years, in my roles as a Christian pastor and university staff worker, I’ve helped to prepare a lot of young couples for marriage. When it comes time to do formal ‘marriage preparation’, I usually ask the couple to complete an online questionnaire. Once they finish, we sit in my lounge room to discuss the results and share some real talk about what it’s really like to be married. It’s a fun, important and sometimes eye-opening way to help people get ready for marriage.

But over the last few months, I’ve seen the limitations of this process. You see, there’s only so much marriage preparation you can do by sitting on the couch with a cup of tea, a bikky, and a series of coloured charts that claim to capture your mutual strengths and ‘growth areas’ (we’re not supposed to call them weaknesses).

Sometimes, I think the best way to prepare a couple for marriage would be to drive them to a local hospital. I’d take them inside, find a quiet spot out of the way, and ask them to watch silently as an elderly wife spoon-feeds her dying husband. Continue reading