Culture

FOPx Worship Night 2019: This is not Christian Coachella

Lim JunHeng // June 3, 2019, 2:44 pm

fopx_worship_night_2019_-_kneeling

All photos courtesy of Bill Yap

I believe there’s extreme power when an entire generation comes together – regardless of denomination, youth ministry or background – and are desperate to seek the face of God.

So naturally when the invite came for FOPx’s Worship Night, I blocked off my calendar. I was excited for what God was going to do.

Perhaps it was my way of trying to be efficient in my explanations or my corny sense of humour, but I had dubbed last year’s FOPx Worship Night and this year’s as “Christian Coachella”, after the American music festival known for it’s open tentage and vibrant atmosphere.

Right before the event last night, however, I saw an Instagram post by none other than FOPx worship leader Isaac Ong himself. 

“To anyone coming tonight: This is not Christian Coachella.

While there is music, it is not about music. While there’s a stage it is not about the people on it. While there will be an electrifying atmosphere it’s also not about the vibe. The object of our worship is God.

Recreating vibe and hype is easy peasy. Rig the lights, turn up the music and get high on the energy that everyone brings. What we will never be able to manufacture is His presence…” 

I was stunned. 

Initially, I felt a bit called out by God for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t that I had intentions to come to an outdoor music festival like Coachella or Ultra; I was more concerned that I might have misled others in my declaration of what FOPx Worship night was about.

I turned up anyway alongside a crowd of more than a thousand young people – it was so packed that my group of friends got pushed all the way to the back of the field at St Andrew’s Cathedral.

As the worship began, the band started leading us towards seeking God’s face above all else. The songs Nothing Else and To Worship You I Live stood out to me.

With Nothing Else, our hearts repented from religiosity, turning back to the one thing that matters the most. As we sang To Worship You I Live, I was also reminded that our sole purpose is to live with soul purpose.

When Pastor Mavis from Bethel AOG stepped up to the platform, she spoke about how the worship of God is not an emotional hype, but a cry and desire of our hearts to walk in obedience daily.

She then released a call for the generation to arise like Josiah in 2 Kings 22:2, to walk right in the ways of the Lord.

I will not forget the next sight: As Pastor Mavis ushered us to kneel, I could see from the back a sea of young people kneeling, crying out for themselves in earnest repentance.

This was clearly not hype; this was a generation seeking out God’s name and face to be established in their lives, in our lives.

From there, we continued praying over different issues such as our families and the salvation of our loved ones. Little did we know, God was not done with proving that this was never meant to be a hype party.

As we sang Raise a Hallelujah, the power went out, but no one stopped singing – not for a moment. The praise became a capella. Some were clapping, some were harmonising, but all were worshipping with all we had.

If this was indeed an Ultra or a Coachella event, this would have been a failure.

Right in the middle of a literal thunderstorm almost everywhere else around the island and the situational storm of a power outage, the chorus was almost deafening: 

I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm
Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar
Up from the ashes, hope will arise
Death is defeated, the King is alive!

There were no lights, no sound, and almost no one could hear anything from the stage. If this was indeed an Ultra or a Coachella event, this would have been a failure.

But as praise continued to rise, we knew that God was not interested in a hype party or a lights show, but in raw and honest worship. God was redeeming what men would have deemed a failure to a divinely prophetic moment.

The power was never fully restored, but we still praised anyway, even praising fully to songs such as One Way and Go. Though there was no atmosphere, there was His presence – and we still danced and praised.

If I could sum up this year’s FOPx Worship Night in one verse it would be Psalm 27:4.

“One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

We didn’t come for a brand but we came for a name: JESUS! It didn’t matter if almost everything went wrong. All that mattered was that we sought Him and found him when we sought him with all our hearts.

This was not Christian Coachella, this was worship.


For more live coverage of FOPx Worship Night 2019, follow @thir.st and @fopxsg on Instagram.

Can’t get enough? The FOPx Conference will take place on November 21-23, 2019. Look out for more details.