My journey as ECDA Fellow: From personal ambition to serving the community

When God calls, He equips

By Ng Shu Ping 

Joining a faith-based non-profit organisation in 2020 was not a decision I made lightly. It took me more than a year to accept the job offer with Anglican Preschool Services (APS).

This significant step was the beginning of a transformative chapter in my life, marked by humility and a profound shift in perspective. Accepting a pay cut and a reduced title compared to my previous position challenged my preconceived notions of success and fulfilment.  

My career had always been driven by a relentless pursuit of achievement and efficiency, a rhythm starkly contrasted by my experience upon joining APS. Initially, this shift induced frustration; I felt underutilised, believing my extensive experience in childcare positioned me to make substantial contributions. However, I soon realised God had a different plan for me

Instead of immediately putting my skills to work, God focused on nurturing my inner and spiritual growth. 

Nurturing my spiritual growth

Shu Ping (fourth from left) with the APS Senior Leadership Team at Capstone Symposium for Principal Matters Plus

In my first two years with APS, He enriched me with assurance and affirmation, connecting me with mentors and colleagues who invested deeply in my growth journey, fostering in me a healthier approach to leadership and life. This nurturing environment, united in spirit and purpose, rekindled my connection to the church and reignited my passion for seeking God’s presence in my life.

It fostered a shift from a relentless pursuit of accomplishments to embracing a life of meaningful engagement and patience for the right opportunities to contribute. 

One of the hallmarks of our leadership development at APS is the focus on becoming an “Emotionally Healthy Leader”, inspired by Pete Scazzero’s book of the same title. Fortnightly, our leaders gather in small groups to engage in a transformative journey, exploring how strengthening their inner fortitude supports their growth as leaders.  

The emotional encouragement from my mentor and peers in these small group settings created a safe space where I could express doubts and receive feedback without judgment. This community of like-minded leaders, who were also navigating their own paths of emotional and spiritual growth, was an invaluable resource which underscored the power of collective wisdom and the strength found in vulnerability.  

This journey of becoming an emotionally healthy leader has taught me that leadership is as much about personal growth as it is about influencing others. The lessons learned and the relationships forged during these sessions have been instrumental in my development as a leader who not only manages but also inspires and supports others with authenticity and emotional intelligence. 

Shu Ping organising a leadership training session by ROHEI

God’s work in me extended beyond professional development; He was reshaping my very being. The compulsion to fill every moment with tasks and achievements was replaced with a call to rest in Him and pursue a spirit of excellence in serving Him, not merely fulfilling earthly expectations. This internal transformation laid the foundation for healthy leadership, ensuring I was emotionally and spiritually prepared to guide others. 

Despite occasional suggestions to apply for the ECDA Fellows Programme over the years, I harboured doubts about my readiness and worthiness for such recognition. Questions of inadequacy plagued my thoughts — was I truly equipped or deserving? Did I possess insights valuable enough to share? 

A newfound peace and confidence

In 2023, when the opportunity once again presented itself, I approached the decision with a newfound peace in my heart. Submitting my application, I was free from the usual fears and anxieties that had held me back. My confidence was rooted not in personal accolades but in God’s perfect timing and will.  

This step was not about seeking validation or accolades but about answering a higher call to serve God and His people, embodying the ethos of APS to bless and be a blessing. This recognition is not a testament to my abilities, but a celebration of what God can accomplish through a willing heart. 

Does that mean the journey will always be smooth sailing? No, but I know who is in control, and who is in the boat with me. God is with me. 

Realigning priorities

Caption: Supporting the 2023 K2 Graduation for Little Seeds Preschool (St Andrew’s)  

God’s work in preparing us for service often involves a slow, deliberate process of realigning our priorities and perceptions.

My journey, from joining APS to becoming an ECDA Fellow, illustrates this beautifully, reminding me that true fulfilment lies in serving according to His plan, not our own. 

This story of transition, from pursuing personal accolades to serving the greater good, highlights the essence of true leadership. It is a reminder that the most impactful journeys often begin with a step back, allowing us to forge paths that lead not just to personal achievement, but to enrich the lives of those we touch along the way. 

As I step into this new role, I am committed to paying it forward, nurturing the growth of others with the same dedication that was graciously extended to me. My prayer is to remain a vessel for His work, bringing glory to God through every child, educator, and community member I encounter.  

I look forward to serving you, as an ECDA Fellow, and as a beloved child of God. 

Ng Shu Ping is the HR Deputy Director of Anglican Preschool Services. 

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