Cassettes, movies, creative arts performances, and going digital: Communicating Christ through media

Cassettes, movies, creative arts performances, and going digital: Communicating Christ through media

Posted on 1 Dec 2021

Victor Ng’s work has been about telling the story of Jesus’ love through large scale projects like the Jesus Film Project and staged productions like Celebrate Christmas in Singapore. But he says acts of service in community outreach efforts is just as important in telling the same story.

A conversation with Victor Ng is likely to touch on many topics all at once. Serving in full time ministry for more than 30 years, his experiences have seen him travelling overseas for his work with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) as the Asia representative for the Jesus Film project, and working tirelessly during the Christmas season on Orchard Road as one of the key leaders behind Celebrate Christmas in Singapore, a large-scale event in Singapore’s shopping belt that aims to put ‘the Christ in Christmas’ every year since 2004.

Victor also participates in his LifeGroup’s community outreach efforts to the neighbourhood.

“There’s a lady in her 70s who stays in the block opposite the coffeeshop near our church. Her mum is a cancer patient in her 90s. We help fetch her mother for her hospital appointments, and facilitated a wheelchair donation to her. The lady was so touched that when she came to cell group for new believers, she said, “Because you came and visited my mom and did all these things, I am open to the gospel.” And now she is in the baptism class!” Victor said.

“Evangelism is about doing acts of love and meeting people’s needs. It opens doors. People need to see real acts, rather than just hearing us tell them that they need Jesus.”

Finding Jesus and his mission field

Victor Ng, 64, is a full time missionary and has worshipped at KKMC since becoming a Christian at the age of 21 in 1977. He accepted Christ after enquiring about a campaign run by then Campus Crusade for Christ – “I Found It!”

“Campus Crusade found me and I found Jesus,” Victor recalled.

Things happened quickly after that. He was invited to a Methodist Youth Fellowship meeting, started attending service at KKMC and joined the youth group.

“I grew quite fast. The following year was the Billy Graham crusade (in 1978) and I served as a nurture group leader, as a one-year-old Christian!”

Many church services today are live-streamed on YouTube, a phenomenon made more widespread by the Covid-19 pandemic, but there was a time when sermons were recorded on cassette tapes. Victor’s first foray into the world of audio-visual equipment was with the now defunct Audio Cassette Ministry at KKMC.

“We recorded sermons on cassette and had a cassette library so that people could borrow the recordings and listen to them.”

His interest in the audio-visual field led him to joined a video production house that produced corporate, documentary, and promotional videos. That was where he honed his video production skills. Little did he know that he would end up working with the same organisation that was instrumental to bringing him to Christ.

In the course of his work, he came into contact with Campus Crusade through the Jesus Film Project and was challenged to join them as a staff in 1989, with KKMC giving their support.

“I started full time ministry and was involved in media production. These were the days before PowerPoint, we were using multi-slide projectors then,” Victor said.

With Campus Crusade founder, Bill Bright, while in the US for dubbing training for the Jesus Film Project

His work took him into the international mission field, as he started travelling and formed partnerships in Asia. After a 4-year stint at Good News production house in 2004, Victor returned to Campus Crusade and became the regional coordinator for the Jesus Film Project.

“The Jesus Film Project is not just about one film. It’s an umbrella of resources and includes all the translated versions of the film, as well as children’s and women’s editions. The objective is to help countries share the gospel. To that end, we provide funding, equipment, and know-how.”

Coaching the foreign language voiceover talents for the Jesus Film Project
Winning the Crown Award for A Tale of Two Esthers, a film by Cru Asia Ltd

What keeps him going

Victor, who is married to Sally, says she complements him perfectly. “I’m not an extrovert. But my wife complements me in ministry, because she is the relational sort whereas I work behind the scenes. If she goes to the hawker centre, she can talk to total strangers and they can pour out their stories and start crying.”

Victor and his family

Although he says it’s very hard to “move him” emotionally, Victor shares that some spiritual encounters stand out to him.

One of these encounters took place in 2013 at a conference for pastors in Malacca, where he experienced a life-changing event. He had fallen and injured his leg. “Strangely, no one came to pray for me. I was in so much pain. The hotel called a cab to take me to a clinic. I was referred to a hospital and was X-rayed and given painkillers, and put on crutches.”

At the night session of the conference, Victor sat behind so as not to inconvenience others with his crutches. “While waiting for everyone else to use the lift, a former colleague saw me, and prayed for me. That night, when I retired to bed, I decided not to take the medicine and told my wife that I would trust the Lord.”

The next day, Victor woke up and heard the Holy Spirit speak to him. “‘Stand up and walk.’ I stood up without the crutches – the pain was gone, and I could even stand on the injured foot! I was healed in less than 24 hours.”

Victor’s leg was healed within 24 hours at a conference in Malacca

Putting Christ back into Christmas

It is incidents like these that changed Victor’s outlook, and drives him to keep telling the story of Jesus in his work.

In 2003, several like-minded Christians wanted to bring the message of the peace, hope and joy of Christmas back into an otherwise heavily commercialised festive occasion. They came together to start Celebrate Christmas in Singapore (CCIS), a large-scale staged production held at Orchard Road spanning several days each year. The event is run by a charity-status organisation which is given a license to run the event every year, since 2004.

The first CCIS in 2004

“We want to share the true meaning of Christmas, and this is done through songs, dances and skits,” Victor, who is part of the Executive Committee of CCIS, said.

Initially CCIS faced a lot of opposition from the authorities. “We were all volunteers, doing this large-scale event for the first time.  And it had never been done before. But after the first year, we got to know the authorities better and things got easier.”

One of the most memorable incidents he recalls was when a couple had come to participate in the nativity wall painting. “We invited people to paint a little portion of the painting, that would culminate into a master piece. A couple who was in Singapore on holiday came to our control room in distress. While painting, someone had pickpocketed the man’s wallet. We took down his report, and referred him to the police. There wasn’t much we could do.”

The chaplain rostered that day prayed for them and directed them to the police post. To Victor’s surprise, within an hour the couple returned, and the man’s face had changed. He said, “Someone came to our hotel and returned the wallet! Nothing was missing!”

The pickpocket had heard the De Lanorelle Brothers performing Christmas carols as he was departing the scene. He had been so moved, he went to the couple’s hotel to return the wallet and apologised to them.

KKMC’s Chancel Choir at CCIS in 2005

Since the pandemic, CCIS has had to go virtual and this year will be their second online concert.

“Covid-19 has pushed us to explore new grounds, like digital platforms, and in fact, this has enabled us to reach millions of people. Millions have watched the Chinese video and hundreds of thousands have watched the English video. Just like in the years before, God’s favour has been upon us. He continues to open doors beyond our imagination.”

Update on 13 December 2022:

Wish to take part in Celebrate Christmas in Singapore?

This year’s CCIS, the 19th edition, will premiere on YouTube on 18 December 2022 at 8pm. It features an international cast of Christian performers. Watch the Christmas Musical Special on YouTube.

The Christmas Musical Special is hosted by Felicia Chin and Tim. It premieres on 18 December 2022, 8pm on YouTube.

You can also drop by the interactive booths at Orchard Road from 16 to 22 December 2022 to experience the Christmas Story. It is located in front of Wisma Atria Shopping Mall at Orchard Road.

CCIS will be at Orchard Road from 16 to 22 December 2022, located in front of Wisma Atria, Orchard Road. Do drop by to check out the interactive booths!

Visit the CCIS website for more details.

(All photos courtesy of Victor Ng)