By Eugene Lee, Working Adult, EXALT21 Coffee Chat Panelist
When I was asked to participate in the coffee chat panel for EXALT21, I remember turning to God in prayer and hearing from him quite quickly that I should say yes to this invitation. After all, I had incidentally participated in a coffee chat panel in my workplace earlier this year and sensed that God was inviting me to do the same for his Church.
At the start of preparing for the Coffee Chat segment, I was blissfully unaware of how large-scale EXALT21 was going to be! During the first rehearsal, I struggled with feelings of unworthiness, and wondered why God would ask me to share about my conversion and faith. I felt that there were so many others who were more suited than me to testify to such a large crowd. However, in my own prayer, I felt God reassuring me that He has called me by name to serve in EXALT21, and while it was unclear to me then, He had a clear purpose for me to serve in this manner at EXALT21.
In addition, I struggled with having second thoughts on being on the Coffee Chat as I was the oldest member in the panel. I recall calling myself “Uncle Eugene” as a way to mask any insecurities I had about my age. Having spent some time growing up in OYP over the last few years, it was strange to find myself being the oldest one in this group. Yet, as I got to know my fellow panellists better, God really surprised me again and revealed to me new truths.
For one, I began to appreciate that the Church was very much alive and vibrant among young people, contrary to the popular belief that our Church does not appeal to young people. Next, I was moved by my fellow panellists’ faith journeys, how each one of them picked up their crosses and chose to follow Christ in their own season and in their varying stages of life. Even though they were not young working adults like myself, what united us was the shared belief that God reigns in our hearts, and that we desire and strive to live a life of authenticity and discipleship. “Uncle Eugene” here was truly able to encounter God through the lives and the sharing of my panellists.
Day 1 of EXALT21 was amazing. It felt unreal to see the Church so alive, even amidst such uncertain times. I remember taking brief moments during the Coffee Chat to just look at the audience and absorb the reality of the vibrancy of the young people in our Church. I was especially moved after the segment when fellow young adults came up to me to share that they could relate to me in the similar struggles they faced in their respective workplaces. It was then that I thought to myself: “Work is tough, but I am so blessed to be able to desire living in full discipleship in Christ, even in the workplace.” Standing in stark contrast to this is the rest of the world, where one is easily defined by their career and status in society – and in which nothing but temporal satisfaction is found.
My experience at EXALT21 made me realise just how much I desire to live fully in Christ, especially in the workplace. I had the privilege of meeting like-minded people at EXALT21 who wanted the same for their lives. I believe this was the purpose that God invited me to share my journey and my struggles with the others at EXALT21, and I am grateful that God used me as His vessel to deliver these messages that connected us and pointed us to Him.
Post EXALT21, I struggle with how easy it is to fall back to old patterns and bad habits but today I am reminded of my EXALT21 journey and the truths God has placed in my heart. When I fall short, I am thankful that I have my community to pick me up and to point me towards Him. It was a joy to see my fellow community members at EXALT21 encounter and experience God as well. I praise God that He has revealed so many truths in my time of service at EXALT21, and for sending me faith-filled members in my community that I can live out these truths in communion with. Amen.