The FISHERS Magazine
Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matthew 4:19 NKJV)
The FISHERS Ministry
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus…(Luke 1:3)
The Bible everywhere underlines the importance of the written account in the lives of God's people. The Bible itself preserves God's spoken word and events in the lives of God's people, for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness of His people.
"Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this" (Rev 1:19).
"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel'" (Exodus 34:27).
The FISHERS is part of the Literature Department's work and is the only regular English publication of the 'Fisherman of Christ' Fellowship Ltd circulated externally. Its origin is explained by our Advisor Pastor Huang Ee Yuen as follows:
"We must use all the ways and means to reach as many people in the world as possible. One of these ways is using good Christian literature. There are many advantages in using the printed message for Christian witnessing or Christian teaching. We can reach far more people simultaneously through print than through personal contact. Literature can be kept, read and reread, studied thoroughly and it can even penetrate ‘closed door' countries where open Christian worship and witnessing are prohibited."
"Being convicted of the urgency to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to every part of the world, and being certain of the effectiveness of good Christian literature, our church ventured to publish a Christian Chinese magazine ‘Behold'. Fifteen years later we published another magazine in English. It was called ‘Visions' in the beginning and later renamed ‘FISHERS'."
In publishing this magazine, we are conscious of the need to be faithful to the Lord in our witness and at the same time to be responsible to abide by the prevailing laws of Singapore on religious publications (Mt 22.21).
How it all began
"We do not know what the future holds, but we go forth confidently knowing who holds the future." (Visions)
The Lord has established the work and He will sustain it. The past 3 decades of the magazine's efforts can only be attributed to the Lord's grace and provision.
It started off as an English newsletter called 'Visions from Fisherman of Christ' in March 1970, rolling off from duplicating machines at the church's former premises at 84A, Robinson Road. It was entirely typed, printed and compiled by members moved by the ministry's aims; among the pioneers were Brothers Chris Tay, Vincent Sim, Quek Yong Kwang and Chiang Wah Tuck, some of whom are now serving as deacons in the church. They saw the need to have a medium to keep members informed of the goings-on in the church and at the same time allow members to express themselves and share their experiences in short articles, testimonies, poems, thoughts and other contributions.
Then He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (Matt 4:19-20)
The name FISHERS was adopted right from Issue 2 in 1970. DIALOGUE page was introduced in Issue 15. However, it remained basically an internal publication for the information of members, until early 1972 when in Issue 24 the Editor mooted the thought of reaching out beyond the confines of the church:
"The need to have a media to present the Gospel and Christian teachings freely is always needed especially in this part of the world. We see the need of FISHERS to go beyond the four walls of the church. A publication permit was applied for and granted by the Ministry of Culture, and from the next issue on an all-out effort will be made to spread the good news to the regions beyond. We trust in God that He'll supply all our needs through faithful brothers and sisters in Christ."
So it was that from Issue 25 onwards that FISHERS was circulated outside the church. This marked the beginning of an outreach work that has never stopped since. Commercial printing began with the cover only in Issue 25, and extended to the rest of the magazine by Issue 38.
Whenever the cloud was taken up from above the tabernacle, after that the children of Israel would journey; and in the place where the cloud settled, there the children of Israel would pitch their tents. (Num 9:17-18)
The FISHERS ministry continued to cover new grounds. In May 1979, a special day was devoted to share its work with church members. On its 10 th anniversary in Aug 1980, FISHERS Day was opened to readers as well and a souvenir magazine produced the following year.
The Lord continued to bless the FISHERS in many ways. The quality of the magazine steadily improved, circulation increased, many souls were saved and readers were encouraged and revived through reading the magazine. By 1987, the 100th commemorative issue had been published.
With information technology being more widely available and affordable, the FISHERS was entirely typeset in-house with Desktop Publishing (DTP) software in 1991, the results being seen in Issue 123. DTP allowed the Editors and Artists to control the final draft's standard and layout to suit our needs. By 1995, the entire contents from artwork, edited proof and typeset, were entirely done on computer, using commercially available page layout software, thus ensuring better control over the quality and timing of the production of each issue. Only the actual printing was done by commercial printers.
In 1995 also, the FISHERS crew felt led to revamp the magazine with regular categories like devotional, gospel, testimonies and a special section for youth. A new series called "Bible Study for New Christians" was launched in issue 138 and the cover enhanced with the four colour scheme. Two booklets were produced:- "New Life in Christ" (a compilation of testimonies of Filipino brethren) and "Foundation Truths of Christianity" (11 Bible Studies on doctrinal truths).
Our first venture into the cyberworld was in May 2000 with the FISHERS email account email@example.com. This facility gave readers especially those overseas a more convenient alternative means of correspondence. The increasing acceptance of the Internet worldwide gave the FISHERS a new avenue to penetrate "hard to reach" areas and it reserved the domain address www.fishersmagazine.net in 2002. In 2004, the FISHERS registered its website with the Media Development Authority of Singpaore and launched the Internet version of the magazine.
Objectives of FISHERS
The objectives of the FISHERS remain unchanged since it was originally expressed in Issue 25:
Ministries of FISHERS
The co-workers (whom we term informally the FISHERS crew) meet monthly to share fellowship with each other and to co-ordinate the activities of the FISHERS. Issues related to the coming publication and requests from our readers, are also discussed. The FISHERS crew also prays for its readers.
Visions 60 copies
Issue 2 100 copies
Issue 6 200 copies
Issue 21 400 copies
Issue 24 500 copies
Issue 33 2,000 copies
Issue 46 5,000 copies
Issue 99 8,000 copies
Issue 102 7,000 copies
Issue 124 4,000 copies (after subscription renewal exercise)
Issue 158 7,000 copies
Issue 168 10,000 copies
Issue 178 12,000 copies
From its inception, the FISHERS has always been given to readers at no charge. How do we do so? The FISHERS fund comprises contributions and offerings from members within the Fellowship as well as from readers moved by the Lord. In recent years, the English Session of the Fellowship's Queenstown Centre has also provided funds. We are encouraged by readers who have expressed their love and who join us in prayer and support for the ministry. We have seen offerings from readers and members of the Fellowship becoming regular. All these years we have looked to the Lord to supply all our needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus, and we are convinced more and more that so long as we remain faithful He will never fail to provide.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!