Smashing stereotypes are the nine pioneering female members of the City Harvest Church Security Ministry.
Since April 1, attendees of CHC may have spotted nine new female faces with a security tag, standing around the church premises during service weekends.
They are CHC members just like you and me but make no mistake, for they are not your average Jane. The nine are the pioneering batch of ladies to join the ranks of the men who serve in the mostly-male Security Ministry.
Since its inception back in 1995, CHC’s Security Ministry has come a long way, ensuring the smooth running of church services week in week out. The addition of the nine brings the total ministry member count to 218 (Security personnel).
And no, these ladies are not “tomboys”. The nine are feminine and attractive, a few of them are married and one has two children. The nine had to undergo a standard six-week basic ministry training, a rite of passage for all who desire to join the ministry.
So why does CHC need female security personnel when the male ones are doing such a good job? The nine ladies fit in the ministry and in the service of the church in more ways that one can imagine. “The addition of ladies gives a softer side and image to the ministry,” explains CHC pastor Jimmy Sng, who oversees the ministry.
In what sort of scenarios would the women be employed? One would be positioning them at Kids@Play area instead of men. Another would be having the female security members stand at the main doors during the church’s big days, when there is a big chance that attendees need to be channeled to the overflow room due to lack of seats in the main auditorium. “It lends a more feminine touch to the experience,” Sng points out.
“Also, they add value to the ministry in that they are better suited to take on certain circumstances. It is also for propriety’s sake,” says Sng. “Even the patrol teams of the Singapore Police Force has a lady attached to them to correctly handle certain situations involving females.”
Female security personnel are free to select their choice of clothes and do not need to be dressed in the Security Ministry’s standard-issue black polo tee, as long as it does not restrict them from carrying out their duties. Like their male counterparts, the ladies serve two consecutive weeks, followed by a week-off.
Dorothy Koh, 26, a pharmacist, was one of the nine who signed up with the Security Ministry. Prior to this, Koh was serving with the visual communications or Chorus Board Ministry for about five years, but stopped for a year to prepare for her wedding. Koh’s cell group leader, Pauline Kong asked if she was interested to join the Security Ministry. Kong thought that the former looked firm and fearless.
“At the end of one church service, I had an impression from the Holy Spirit that as the Body of Christ, everyone has a different function for the same goal, which is to further His Kingdom. Not everyone will become pastors or preachers, or go into the mission field but as we serve in church, we will inherit a portion of the same reward that God gives to the Church, and that reward will be great. This helped me to make the decision to start serving again, especially at a time like this. Since there was a need in Security Ministry, I went for it,” Koh answered sincerely.
Koh acknowledges that the ministry may not be all that glamorous and it can sometimes be thankless, but it opens her up to being exposed to another side of church—the huge effort it takes to make service run smoothly every weekend. The Security Ministry is part of that effort that ensures a pleasant experience in church for all every weekend.
“There is so much to learn, one of which is to ‘confront’ people. Ushers and greeters help attendees feel welcomed but when a security personnel approaches, more often than not it is for other reasons. Such reasons range from stopping attendees from bringing food into the church hall for reasons of cleanliness to handling attendees who may potentially disrupt service. Of course, we try to be as friendly and as tactful as possible, which takes skill,” shares Koh.
Kudos to the nine who hold their weight in the predominantly-male ministry. “It takes some getting used to whenever we open the door to the Security room and find ourselves the minority gender,” says Koh. “For now, there are only three to four of us serving each weekend, as compared to about approximately 60 male security personnel, but the guys are friendly and willing to show us the ropes. It’s also exciting to have the possibility of getting up close and personal with female guest speakers or leaders in the future.”
Women who are interested in joining the ministry must look presentable, just like their Usher counterparts, but they also have to possess a “strict disposition” when necessary. “She needs to be mature, slow to anger, outspoken, able to free up her time to serve and believe she has something to contribute,” Sng describes.
The ministry looks forward to recruiting more ladies and multiplying their female membership to more than twice its current size. Although admission into the ministry is strictly by recommendation from zone supervisors and cell group leaders only, members who are keen or have a friend to recommend can express their interest with their respective leaders.