[The years of 2018 and 2019 are significant milestones in the history
of Singapore. YWAM’s National Director, Joseph Chean, shares a big
picture word with us to remember the special call and development of
our Nation, and challenges us to respond to God’s purposes for both our
society and the Church.]
018 marks the start of three extraordinary years to come. This year, Singapore will have
lived out the prophecy of being an “Antioch of Asia” for 40 years. Such a significant
benchmark in time offers us the chance to evaluate our role as a missions hub. How have
we created and established key paths into the Asian nations to allow for the advancement
of the Gospel? How can we continue to make an impact in the next 40 years?
In 2019, Singapore celebrates the 200th year of her founding and the impact that
Christianity has had in transforming our Nation. When the British arrived in 1819,
Singapore was already a strategic location that facilitated trade routes between China and
India. Yet, although the Lion City was growing in her economic significance in South East
Asia, most Singaporeans were poor and broken. Injustice was rife in society, education
for the young and healthcare for the sick were non-existent. The Gospel had not yet been
preached to us, and there was no church birthed in Singapore.
The British became a catalyst for Singapore’s development. Many English missionaries
soon arrived on our shores. They offered us a two-handed Gospel by attending to both our
spiritual and economic needs; the Good News met the needs of an aching society. Some
missionaries, such as Maria Dyer and Sophia Blackmore, revealed God’s heart for Singapore
by bringing education to our children, while others created marketplace opportunities for
Singaporeans to earn a living.
Today, Singapore has more than 700 churches, over 40 missions and social agencies, and
we find strong Christian influences in many spheres of our society. We surely have so much
to be grateful for. In light of this grand 200th Anniversary of our Nation’s founding, let us
reflect on how we have responded to such grace.
In 2020, I sense that God will give us a 20/20 vision in order to renew our insight into the
Great Commission. The Great Commission, which comprises three commands – a Gospel
for every human being (Mark 16:15), a Gospel to transform all peoples and communities
(Matt 28:18-20), and a Gospel for the marginalized, the poor and the needy (Matt 25:37-40)
– will be woven into one: the Good News for everyone, everywhere.
How do we respond to this? A true understanding of our Father’s heart can only compel us
to “go and do likewise”. Just as the English missionaries supported us, Singapore has a call
to seek out those places where the Church is not yet built, to reach out to the people who
have not yet heard of Jesus.
The Unreached People Groups of the 21st century are vastly different from those of the
19th century. Until now we have been used to the idea of the lost existing in the remotest
of villages, but we must recognise that those who need Jesus are just as present in the
big cities around the world. We need a ‘new language’ to speak to them, so that every
sphere of our urban societies—the Arts and Entertainment, Business, Communication, the
Church, Education, our Families, Government, Healthcare, Science and Technology—will
be saturated with the unchanging Good News of Jesus.
May we all journey with the Father and allow Him to give us new lenses, so that we can
make God known to all.