Missions Starts at Home

An interview with Rev. Calvin Lee, by Jacinth Toh


Jacinth with Ps. Calvin and Charis

“I will always remember one of the trips that made me so shocked, I dropped my spectacles. Calvin came home with nothing, no bible, clothes, and luggage — only his passport. I discovered later that he had given all his belongings away on his trip,” Ps. Calvin’s wife, Charis chimed in, as we shared memories from our missions trips.

Some Gracians might remember Ps. Calvin for the kind smile and warm handshake that he would give at the start and end of every service. Some would peg him for his excellent memory in remembering names.

Kindness, a shepherd’s heart, and gentleness are just a few of the many traits that are synonymous with Grace Assembly’s Honorary Pastor, Ps. Calvin Lee. This year as Grace Missions celebrates her 40th anniversary, we sat down with Honorary Pastor Calvin as he shared his heart for missions and traced God’s faithfulness through the decades.

From a Department to a Movement

Reaching out has always been the beating heart of Grace Assembly of God. After many years of work, and God’s faithfulness, Grace Missions has transformed from a tiny department in the church to a movement that involves everyone from the young to the old.

From planning mission trips to fundraising and reaching out to our local communities — there is an avenue for everyone to participate in the movement.

Missions team 1998 to India

Through the years 

Ps. Calvin’s role in Grace Missions started as a pastor that would lead Gracians on short-term missions trips to different countries and preaching on those trips too.

When he became the church’s executive pastor, he wore many more hats. He got involved in strategising, planning, further strengthening the trust of missions in Grace Assembly.

Finally, when Ps. Calvin became the senior pastor, he was largely involved in charting the way for Grace Missions and ensuring that it will always be a key focus of the church.

Starts right at home

The common notion of missions is tied to the idea that it begins the moment we get off a plane in a foreign land. However, Ps. Calvin’s firm belief is that the work of missions simply begins when we get out of our homes.

“I always tell people jokingly that if they want to reach out to India, their work can begin right at Serangoon Road,” shared Ps. Calvin.

His belief draws parallel to the fact that Singapore is becoming an increasingly globalised city, with many people from all walks of life, culture, religious background being part of our country. Therefore, it has never been more important to emphasise that missions begin right at our doorstep. When we simply respond to God’s call to love our neighbour, as we love ourselves.

Having the Right Heart

Ps. Calvin also reinforced that the issue of the heart is something that will continually be one of the biggest challenges of missions. “At the end of the day, having the right heart is the most important issue to tackle. It is about sacrificial giving. It is about paying the price,” he said.

Apart from the challenges, Ps. Calvin found joy to know that there are more young people getting interested and involved in missions and social justice. He said, “It is important that we provide them a platform to nurture and guide them, give them a bigger say in what the church is doing and planning, and hopefully it will lead to something deeper.”

When asked for his parting words of wisdom he had for the younger generation with regards to missions, Ps. Calvin quoted John 9:4 (NIV),” As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming when no one can work.” He adds that whether you are young or old, one should live life with a sense of urgency, and in that same attitude, know the talents that you have been given by God and use it to advance His kingdom.


Rev. Calvin Lee served as Senior Pastor of Grace Assembly of God from 2012 to 2019.

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