Articles

The years of 2018 and 2019 are significant milestones in the history of Singapore. 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. This article was first published by YWAM Singapore in February 2018.

2018 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.

By Joseph Chean, National Director
Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Singapore

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