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Rev Dr Bernard Chao

Rev Dr Bernard Chao

Director, EQUIP

PhD (Fuller Theological Seminary, USA)

LL.B. (Hons) (University of Leicester, UK)
M.Div. (Trinity Theological College, Singapore)
PhD (Fuller Theological Seminary, USA)

Denomination: Methodist

Area of Research: Practical Theology, Christian Education, Leadership (E), Youth Ministry, and Wesleyan Theology

Courses Offered:

  • Congregational Life & Leadership
  • Practical Christian Leadership
  • Christian Education
  • Rethinking Youth Ministry
  • Wesleyan Theology

Areas of Interest:
Consultancy, teaching and conducting research with local churches to reshape leadership, congregational life, learning, and ministry practices. Research interests in practical theology, Christian leadership, education, congregational life and engagement, missional ecclesiology, power relations and critical theory, revelation and sacramentality, Wesleyan theology, action research, ethnography, qualitative research, and critical discourse analysis.

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Rev Dr Bernard Chao is a lecturer in Practical Theology at Trinity Theological College. Bernard is an ordained elder of The Methodist Church in Singapore (Trinity Annual Conference) and has been a Methodist pastor since 2005. 

Bernard has served variously as a youth worker, Boys’ Brigade Captain, pastor, and pastor-in-charge in several Methodist churches, as well as a school chaplain in several Methodist schools. He has also served as an Assistant Director for the Board of Youth Ministry in his conference, and as Associate Director for Ministry in Schools in his denomination. Bernard has also previously taught at the Cambodian Methodist Bible School (Phnom Penh).

Bernard was formerly a litigation lawyer and was called to the English bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in 1993, and the Singapore bar in 1997. Bernard is married to Ai Jin, a psychotherapist and they have three children.

Published works

Conference Speaker or Panelist

State of the Church in Singapore 2022, online, panelist (13 October 2022)

“The Pandemic’s Challenge to Church Leadership: Disruptions & Innovations,” Ministry in a Post-Pandemic World, Singapore Bible College, speaker and panelist (12 August 2022)

“21st Century Methodists: Traditioning into the Future,” Young Methodist Leaders Conference (21 June 2022)

“Online Worship: Insights And Reflections,” MSM Conversations, Methodist School of Music, Singapore, online, panelist (25 September 2021)

Youth Forum, MCS 135 Youth Conference, The Methodist Church in Singapore, online, moderator and panelist (10 December 2020)

“Youth, Worship & Faith Formation,” Worship Symposium, Methodist School of Music (22-23 June 2011)


“Unequal Power Relations in Churches and Sexual Abuse.” In Assault on the Body: Sexual Violence and the Gospel Community, eds. Nicole Ong et al. Singapore: Graceworks, 2023. [pending release in April 2023]

“Church Leadership: Copying or Contrasting Society.” Trumpet (Aug-Dec, 2022).

State of the Church in Singapore 2022: Findings from the First State of the Church in Singapore Study. Singapore: Salt&Light, 2022 (member of steering committee).

“A Place for Art in Christian Imagination and Theology.” ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity (17 October 2022).

“Church Leadership: Whose Job Is It?” Trumpet (May-Aug 2022).

“Invisible No More: Dignifying Migrant Workers.” ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity (2 May 2022).

“Church Leadership: Is There Only One Way?” Trumpet (Jan-Apr 2022).

“What Will Our Churches Look Like After The Pandemic?” Trumpet (Apr-Jul 2021).

“Narratives and Ideologies that Shape Power Relations in Singapore Protestant Churches.” PhD diss. Fuller Theological Seminary, 2021.

“God’s Presence in the World: Integrating John Wesley’s Theology of the Eucharist and General Revelation & Dispelling the Myth of the Sacred-Secular Divide.” In Finish, Then, Thy New Creation, ed. Chiang Ming Shun, 61-86. Singapore: Graceworks, 2020.

“Expanding the Discourse on Agency with the Vocabulary of Power: Narratives and Ideologies Influencing Leader-Laity Relationships in Churches.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Religious Leadership, Minneapolis, USA, 25-27 April 2019.

“Myths, Manga & MySpace: Youth Ministry Challenges in Singapore Today.” In Christian Ministry: Love in Action, ed. Daniel K.S. Koh, 174-191. Singapore: Methodist Welfare Services, 2012

“Good News for Marriages and Families in Singapore.” Church & Society in Asia Today 12, no. 3 (December 2009): 161-170.