The theme for 2016 was winning souls for Christ as we continue to walk in obedience to do what He commanded us in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore” to make disciples of all the nations, through “conviction”, “compassion” and “commission”.
The Council welcomed on board Derek Giam, Ruth Lim and Ike Kie to the Youth Council, formed with the purpose to nurture promising youths who could potentially take over the Council leadership at the appropriate time. The members of the Youth Council would not be assigned office-bearer roles; but for the next two years, would observe the proceedings of Council meetings to understand issues and how decisions were made. This is an intentional leadership renewal process initiated by the Council.
We started the year with a Mission Camp in Batam from 10 to 13 December 2015, the first of its kind. The Camp was attended by a mix of adults and youth taught by Rev Aow Kwong Bu on signs and wonders. The Camp participants then spent the rest of the time visiting an orphanage, children’s homes and churches ministering to the sick, the broken-hearted, the poor and the lost, practically applying what was taught in the Camp. The practicum brought a new experience to the campers as we witnessed some of the signs and wonders as recorded in the Book of Acts re-enacted before us. Following its success, the Church Camp held in Batam from 16 to 19 June 2016 was run in a similar fashion and it was attended by more of our members.
To intensify our efforts to reach out to the lost, the Cell Groups (CG) were encouraged to invite pre-believing friends, colleagues or relatives to attend the CG Meetings or other appropriate social functions, using these gatherings as pre-harvest events. Harvest Events were held on Good Friday and Celebration Sunday. Prior to that we committed ourselves to a 21-day corporate fast, and we went out to the neighbourhood to distribute invitation cards to strangers on two Sundays to attend these two Events. This new means to reach out to the unchurched was a close parallel of the strategy adopted in the parable taught by Jesus in Luke 14:21-23. A Harvest Event was also organized on Mothers’ Day in which our mothers interacted with the visitors and released blessings to them.
To equip our church to carry out personal witnessing in a structured manner, an 8-week intensive training course conducted by Evangelism Explosion (EE) was initiated in March 2016, and 14 participants from the Community Evangelism Ministry, the Council, the Youth Leaders and others who were zealous for personal evangelism took the course. Also the training entitled “ZLSCC Evangelism” which modified and simplified the EE approach for outreach by the John 3:16 pictorial illustrations, was conducted on 26 November 2016 for our members. Those of us who were trained were expected to train other church members in personal witnessing through hands-on practicum. Just as the Lord promised Moses that He will be his mouthpiece when He commanded him to convince the leaders of the Israelites that he was sent by the Lord in Exodus 4:12 “Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say”, likewise we could claim this promise, having the full confidence in Him teaching us what to say when we share the gospel to the lost. The teaching by Wallis Sultan inspired some of our members to launch out street evangelism in greater confidence.
As the adult CG members carried on to read through the New Testament, they were encouraged to read one chapter a day and to journal using the SOAP method to deepen our spiritual walk with the Lord. To edify the CG, each CG member was expected to share in the CG Meetings what God speaks through a particular verse and how this revelation was applied to his or her situation. The CGs continued to take turns to lead the prayer segment in the Sunday service. To further promote the prayer culture amongst our members, corporate Prayer Meetings were held twice a month. Furthermore, Sunday pre-service Prayer Meetings were initiated since July 2016.
The Council invited Ps Rusty Russell and Ps Darren Tay to conduct teachings on spiritual giftings to equip us for service. Together with the Spiritual Gift Assessment conducted by our members, we have a greater awareness of which areas we are gifted in. As we discovered our giftings and exercised them to edify the body after receiving affirmation, truly we could fulfill the exhortation Peter gives in 1 Peter 4:10-11. In the area of community outreach, the Council identified four areas in which ZLSCC could partner with MKFC in the coming year:
Activities spearheaded by ZLSCC
community outreach ministry
Activities organized by MKFC with ZLSCC providing support for execution:
support in events of LCSS
support in daily activities/programme of LCSS
Our church members participating in these activities should regard themselves not as mere helpers but that they are blessed with the privilege to serve as gospel messengers to impact the lost in the community. These activities would also provide avenues for our participants to exercise the giftings that they have identified.
The acquisition of the church property was held in abeyance since the industrial property market continued to soften during the year. Our church members were encouraged to pray along with the Council as we together sought the Lord for clear directions on this matter.
The sermon topics for the last few months of the year was based on the Book of Acts. The preaching on this Book which placed an emphasis on Christian living aptly summed up the activities that our church had gone through this year.
While we have made some progress since the start of the revival meetings in December 2015, we must be on guard to check that we are not lulled into a state of satisfaction with the status quo. May the Lord give us the desire to develop the holy discontent as Paul did in Philippians 3:12-16. Let us build on what the Lord had blessed us thus far, and continue to focus on Him alone. Let us continue to move ahead in the coming year to Love God, Love People and Love the Nations single-mindedly and with a unity of purpose, that we could be a storehouse of salvation in due season as He promised.