What new chapters will the Church in Singapore write this year?
In this we include not just the hundreds of churches in the nation, but also Christian organisations and missions agencies who together we make up the body of Christ here.
Though we worship at different churches, come from different denominations, or serve different agencies – we are one Body. Members of the same household (Ephesians 2:19).
We asked a few leaders and pastors about what they feel 2019 holds for their ministries and the larger Church in Singapore.
We sought the views of:
- Joseph Chean, National Director of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Singapore
- Jeffrey Chong, Senior Pastor of Hope Singapore
- Ian Toh, Lead Pastor of 3:16 Church
- Jeffrey Tay, Ministry Coordinator of Alpha Singapore
- Jason Chua, Founding Director of Burning Hearts House of Prayer
First up, let’s #kaypoh about the part they feel the next generation will play in serving and growing in Church.
YOUNG PEOPLE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
We asked Joseph how YWAM sees a continuous stream of youths and young adults step away from traditional paths to instead go boldly to where God has called them.
“This is where the whole discipleship of a person comes in,” Joseph says.
“When you come to a place in your Christian faith where you realise that it’s not about ‘What can I get out of Christianity?’, but rather, ‘What can I be a part of?’, you no longer live for what you can get out of it. Your compass begins to change, your priorities begin to change, and what existed you and what thrills you is to please the Father.”
Pastor Ian of 3:16 Church sees this generation raising up more and more to reach out to the marginalised within their spheres of influence.
“They can ignite their world with the Father’s love. They are great at helping others be pointed back to their God-given identity and to move towards a life of dignity and authority,” he tells us.
“I want to encourage young people that they do not need approval for doing what is right. Just do it! Let the work speak for itself!”
“They can ignite their world with the Father’s love.” – 3:16 Church Lead Pastor Ian Toh
Over at Hope Singapore, Pastor Jeff emphasises the key role student ministries will play in the church’s vision of planting one cell group for every 1,000 people in the nation. “They will continue to plant life-giving communities that make the Gospel reasonable and available to their schools, marketplace, and neighbourhood.”
He notes that this generation’s passions extend beyond Singapore’s borders.
“We are seeing more young people fulfilling the Great Commission through mission trips,” says Pastor Jeff. “Our daughter churches in Japan, Myanmar, India, and Malaysia have been pioneered and built by students.”
Over the last few years, Jason of Burning Hearts has seen an increase in ground-up prayer gatherings. “Whenever there is an increase of organic and voluntary engagement of prayer, you know that God is doing something in our midst and He is about to birth forth His purposes and plan through a company of people who chose to respond in the place of prayer.
“The hallmark of these initiatives was the unprecedented unity – seeing these young people from different denominations and backgrounds banding themselves together towards impacting their sphere with their gifts and the Gospel.
“I believe we will see even more missional/social initiatives and collaborative effort in the body of Christ next year, if we stay faithful in the place of prayer and allow the Holy Spirit sustain us in the midst of serving and doing.”
The word of advice Jeffrey of Alpha has for the next generation is to be their real and authentic selves. “God don’t need us to fake it,” he says.
WHAT’S NEW IN YOUR MINISTRY THIS YEAR?
For 3:16 Church, 2019 will be a year where young people are activated to their Kingdom purpose through discipleship. “It will be a year of double portion for 3:16 Church. The youth and young adults will connect heart-to-heart with spiritual Elijahs. The integration of the Elijahs and the Elishas is vital!” says Pastor Ian.
Burning Hearts will mark its seventh anniversary in 2019, and Jason is excited to see the emergence of a second generation of leaders.
“Our focus for 2019 to 2021 is to shape the culture of prayer in the body of Christ in Singapore by raising up forerunner messengers (likened to the ministry of John the Baptist) through a 3-to-6 month training programme,” says Jason.
“We hope that they will take all that they learn and experience, and start to reproduce it in their local community and shape the culture of prayer.”
“Our focus for 2019 to 2021 is to shape the culture of prayer in the body of Christ in Singapore.” – Jason Chua, Burning Hearts
Jeffrey tells us that Alpha Singapore will continue to help people “untie the knots” by answering questions about Christianity and who Christ is. And it is important that they demonstrate the importance of partnership in ministry, that “no man is an island and ministry cannot be done in silo”.
“We need each other in the extension of His Kingdom. No church or individual should stand alone for it takes a community,” explains Jeffrey.
A new year should not see a church change tack, Pastor Jeff of Hope Singapore tells Thir.st.
“We will continue to do what we do, with greater conviction and fervour,” he says.
“In our church, we do Discipleship, Outreach and Care. We may have different emphasis on certain things, but our end goal never changes. In all that we do, we revolve around the Great Commission.
“We will also be doing a student conference where we will envision the student body and continually emphasise to the students and the church at large that we are intentional about reaching young people.”
In 2019, YWAM will continue to focus on their key pillars of ministry, says Joseph, explaining the organisation’s three pillars: Training, mercy, and frontier missions (church planting) and evangelism.
“We run a lot of our training programmes, our schools, and our mercy ministries here in Geylang. We do outreach amongst the people here, among the street ladies and among the children.”
WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL HOPE FOR THE CHURCH IN SINGAPORE THIS YEAR?
Jason of Burning Hearts hopes for the Church in Singapore to “strive towards weakness, humility and brokenness – rooted in God – instead of strength, glory, and accomplishment that is rooted in man”.
He adds: “Singapore is blessed with resources, freedom, and knowledge, but they are not supposed to be our source of confidence. We have to remember these things comes from Him. Though we have acknowledged these truth many times on our lips, our actions are far from what we confess publicly.
“We trust more in our planning than our praying. We give more time to our doing than our waiting on Him. We are more convinced by being relevant to the trends of the world, than to be convicted by the truth of His Word. We like the idea of changing the world, but we don’t want to be changed by The Word.”
“But with a great challenge comes a great opportunity for transformation. I believe God has shown us mercy by helping us realise our weaknesses, and He gives us grace to overcome it.
“I’ve put my hope in God for our nation, and I know this is what the Church of Singapore will be known for: Being like the rich young ruler who said ‘yes’ to Jesus.”
Jeffrey of Alpha hopes for the awakening of the sleeping giant, the Singapore Church. And he sees that we could go two ways: “To change in order to engage, or disengage because of unwillingness to change. It’s going to be an exciting year which can swing either way.”
“I hope that Singapore churches will be missional, locally and globally, building the Singapore church strong so we can spiritually reproduce ourselves to the rest of the world.” – Pastor Jeff Chong, Hope Singapore
Both Joseph and Pastor Jeff note that 2019 is the 200th year since the founding of modern Singapore.
Joseph says there’s a spiritual lesson to be learnt when we compare Singapore at the time when Sir Stamford Raffles first arrived, to the modern city-state of today.
“We were unreached, we were broken, we were poor, and nobody even knew that we existed. But God found us and God brought people to come,” says the head of YWAM Singapore.
“And when they came, their Gospel was not just a churchy Gospel, their Gospel was a social Gospel, because they met the needs of our community. One of the most significant thing that they created were schools!
“I see 2019 as a year to reflect, to pray, to seek what is in the heart of God for us in Singapore, look at what God has done for us for the past 200 years, and see what can we can do likewise.
“So the word for me is ‘go and do likewise’, just like in the parable of the good Samaritan. We are to go and do likewise to the rest.”
Says Pastor Jeff of Hope Singapore: “Beyond these 200 years, I hope we can continue to remember how we’ve been blessed by the missionary work from other countries. I pray that as we give thanks to God for our spiritual roots, we will rise up and fulfil His call for us to be the Antioch of Asia.
“I hope that Singapore churches will be missional, locally and globally, building the Singapore church strong so we can spiritually reproduce ourselves to the rest of the world.
Adds Joseph: “How can we give? How we can share? How can we reach out to communities around us? I don’t think an individual person can get the job done, I think it has to be a community of people who come together, who believes in that together.”
Christ in us, the hope of glory: What will God accomplish through us (Romans 15:17-18), His Church in Singapore, this year?
In 2019, the Year of Proclamation, the highlight event is the Celebration of Hope, which will centre around 5 rallies to be held in the National Stadium over May 17-19, 2019. Key church networks are uniting to bring the event to fruition and all churches are invited to participate in this call to personal evangelism on a mass scale.