The atmosphere was electric with gratitude and excitement at the Bible College of Malaysia’s (BCM) 61st Graduation Exercises held on 1 April (Saturday). Graduates, their loved ones, and friends gathered at BCM in Petaling Jaya to celebrate the completion of their theological studies, marking a significant milestone in their lives.
A total of 50 graduates from various parts of the world, including Malaysia, were honoured for completing their studies in certificate, diploma, and degree programs. It was a proud moment for all who had worked hard to cross the finish line, and the celebrations were a testament to their commitment and dedication.
The ceremony, which was BCM’s first in-person graduation since the pandemic, was a sight to behold. Over 600 guests, including family members, friends, church representatives, and supporters, were in attendance at the BCM Auditorium and overflow room.
The ceremony began with a prayer by Reverend Ong Sek Leang, Assemblies of God Malaysia’s general superintendent, followed by an inspiring commencement speech from Reverend Ng Kok Kee, former president of BCM and pastor of Harvest Community Church, Petaling Jaya.
Be a lifelong learner in faith and ministry
Sharing practical advice and spiritual encouragement, Rev Ng challenged graduates to remain lifelong learners of the faith and ministry.
“You are ready to step out into the world and begin your real ministry. But I hope and pray that you continue to learn not just from books, but from life and ministry itself. You will make bad decisions, hopefully not too many, but they will give you the experience to make good decisions. [At the same time], be humble and learn from your elders too,” he said.
He went on to offer three key points of advice as a retired Bible teacher who’s “still learning how to be a good pastor.”
- As a pastor, you may think you must have answers for every question your members ask you. But sometimes the best answer, the most honest and most humbling, is to say, “I don’t know. But I will keep searching and will let you know when I find it.”
- We must be filled with the Spirit! All that we acquire from Bible school is worth nothing, zero, if you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. As a Pentecostal Bible school, this is the Pentecostal heritage and distinctive.
- Know your truest name: Beloved. Rev Ng recounted Jesus’ baptism and pointed out how before Jesus even began His ministry or carried out great exploits, the Father publicly commended Him saying, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Rev Ng drove home the point of knowing one’s true identity in Christ as paramount to serving God. He reminded graduates that they will end up in different places and positions, but will all be leaders and ministers in one way or another.
Amid the accolades and accomplishments, he also shared the realistic struggles those in ministry would face.
“When you struggle to find your place in the world, remember your truest name. When you doubt your calling, when you feel exhausted by the demands of ministry, when you feel discouraged by the lack of evidence or fruit of your labours, or when you feel irritated or when people do not appreciate the sacrifices you have made, what is your truest name?
In my ministry, I have been called many names. My favourite has been, “Uncle Pastor.” But none of these names defined me as truly as the name my Heavenly Father has given me: “Beloved”. And that is how I address you today… Beloved of God. So remember your true name as you go out into the world as servants of God. You are beloved,” Rev Ng charged.
Serving God amidst diverse worldviews and technological advancements
Also speaking at the ceremony were class speakers Lai Po Yee (English), Daniel Ngoh (Chinese) and Arwien A/L Bah Atang (Bahasa Malaysia).
Lai congratulated her fellow graduates for receiving their certificates of completion but states that the true test has only just begun.
“Living in the complex world of post-modernity, we are facing at least two great challenges. Firstly, with apparent diverse worldviews and moral frameworks, some people believe there are no longer universal and absolute standards of morality,” she said.
The second great challenge is that with technology, we can now acquire any information via digital devices and search engines. While it has brought much convenience to our lives, she said, it has also brought many negative impacts.
“Therefore, it is crucial for us to be prepared to serve God in this present world. Being prepared to serve is not only for those who have a full-time calling from God. Rather, as Christians, we are called to serve and bring light to darkness… We must have clarity and be firm in our biblical principles if we want to influence this society. That’s why we need to keep ourselves equipped and prepared for ministry,” she said.
She also encouraged all present to adopt an attitude of learning, seeking to be continually equipped as we serve God and one another in this challenging era.
Partner and participate in the Pentecostal movement
Rev Dr Victor Lee, President of BCM, the national Bible school for Assemblies of God Malaysia (AG Malaysia), emphasised the significance of advancing the Pentecostal movement in Malaysia and actively invited everyone to join BCM’s inaugural Pentecostal Conference in July.
This exciting conference on 18-19 July 2023, will showcase influential speakers such as Rev Simon Chan, former Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Theological College Singapore and Editor of Asia Journal of Theology, Rev Dr Chan Nam Chen, Executive Director of AsiaCMS, and Dr Leon Lim. The ‘Malaysian Pentecostal Journal’ will also be launched during the conference.
Rev Dr Victor Lee passionately called on everyone to join the conference and partner with BCM in sowing into the ministry. “We believe in the value of academic teaching, and we are committed to providing the best faculty and resources to our students to equipped them for ministry. To achieve this, we need your help. Our goal is to raise RM950,000 in 2023, and we invite you to become Monthly Mission Partners and be part of this vital mission,” he declared.
To God be the glory for all He has done
The ceremony’s closing prayer was led by Rev Lawrence Yap, AG Malaysia Exco Representative Chairman, followed by a hearty rendition of the BCM anthem by BCM staff, faculty, alumni and 2022 graduates.
Just as God had led every graduate into BCM’s halls of study and walked them through their academic journey, all glory was given back to Him in the benediction by Rev Wong Yin Ming.
“This is a day of rejoicing! We want to thank You for Your faithfulness to every one of these students and for the supporting churches who have lent their support to these students and the school
As we leave this place, we pray for the empowerment of your Holy Spirit to rest upon the students and each of us. May our hearts be filled with joy, and may You go before us, Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen!”
After the graduation ceremony, the celebration continued with a luncheon held at Hee Lai Ton, Petaling Jaya for graduates and guests. The hall of 43 tables was filled with lively chatter, congratulations and prayers as the graduates marked their entry into a new season of ministry.
Congratulations to the 2022 Graduands of Bible College of Malaysia!
Bible College of Malaysia is an AG-affiliated theological institution offering programs of study covering certificates, diplomas and all degree levels. To find out more, visit BCM’s official website here.