When I first joined full time ministry, my cell leader advised me that beyond doing ministry work, I should keep a lookout for what God is doing. This has been one of the simplest yet most valuable advice I have received so far amongst many other precious wisdom passed down to me. I realise that I can slog on and on, but if I am oblivious to what God is doing, where He is stirring, I miss the big picture. And I hate missing the big picture.
Over the past year, I have seen how God has strengthened the unity movement in the Singapore church. He is empowering the next generation towards fulfilling its destiny, often pouring out His blessings through our elders. Multi-generational worship is starting to take place. The local church is developing deeper interest in missions, marginalised groups like the LGBT, as well as friends from a major faith. The shifts in the atmosphere are a result of the Holy Spirit’s work.
These unity movements are also part of God’s timing. I once said to a friend and colleague that these unity movements only happen once every 30 years. While the former generation grappled with past hurts within the local church and is tied down by stiff traditional practices, God raises a new and younger generation to answer His call.
The beautiful part is that God doesn’t forget the former generation. Instead He uses them to bless the next generation. He also brings healing to the former generation as He thrusts the next generation forward. As both generations gather together expressing unity in the body of Christ, we reflect His love and glory. God is indeed doing something in our nation we have not seen for quite a while. He is doing something He took many years preparing us for.
Then again, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I see and feel this way because I am meeting the ‘right people’, who are reinforcing this view. Maybe those serving with Interserve Singapore are among the privileged few poised in a position to enjoy this slanted ‘view’!
Oddly enough, God has repeatedly demolished any doubt I have towards what He has shown. I went for the recent Burning Hearts conference, to hear the national message for the local church. To me, this is quite an important conference, as 80% of the audience are 30ish and below, and many ‘churches’ are represented there. A message delivered to such an audience will have huge rippling effects.
The first night’s sermon was on martyrdom. The second night was on suffering for Christ. These are not messages spoken over the pulpit on a regular Sunday in the Singapore church. As I ponder over these messages, I wonder what God is saying to the next generation and to the local church.
There was this particular line the speaker said on the second night, ‘I believe they are reaching a critical mass, where God will surface them from underground to above-ground.’ Who is the they this speaker was referring to? I pieced together a few other points he mentioned that night and surmised that he was talking about both our MBB brethren and the persecuted church in our midst, in our region.
I too believe that God will surface them when they have reached a critical mass. But are we ready to embrace these brothers and sisters in our midst who are persecuted? Are we ready as a local church to deal with the security implications?
As time pushes our nation chronologically forward, more of our friends from a major faith will come to know Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. More of them will taste of His goodness, His mercy and everlasting love. They are already numbering in the thousands and many house churches have sprung up across our island. Personally, this is very hard to imagine, but the 2010 national census attests to it. Seven years have passed; many more have been added to that number. All glory to God!
Indeed God is working in many ways. My prayer is that God will multiply the work of our hands, effecting impact our eyes may never see.
Let us eagerly seek out what God is doing, partner together and advance His kingdom forward.
On earth as it is in heaven.
Photo taken from Thir.st, read their article at: thir.st/blog/now-is-the-time-to-unite/