This article was originally posted in our December 2019 Word@Work.
Feature Article: Connecting and Caring for All
In one of his letters, C.S. Lewis wrote, “For the church is not a human society of people united by their natural affinities but the Body of Christ, in which all members, however different… must share the common life, complementing and helping one another precisely their differences.”
What does a united body of believers look like today?
Cultivating Community Connectedness
The Bible Society of Singapore (BSS) is committed to building communities of believers who are united by their common love for the Word of God, regardless of church, denomination and nationality. For it is only with a united church body that we may become an effective model of Christian love to the wider community—demonstrating the unconditional love lavished upon us by our Father in heaven, and leading them to Him.
With this in mind, BSS hopes to connect believers from different walks of life by encouraging them to engage with the Scripture in meaningful ways. In August and September, BSS organised the Colours of theBible Art Exhibition and the Bible and Chinese Culture Festival as opportunities for participants to express themselves with Scripture-inspired art pieces—illustrating how art and Chinese culture can be integrated with the Bible. (More information about the Bible and Chinese Culture Festival can be found on page 26.)
BSS also seeks to equip Christians with the Word to tackle various societal issues through the ETHOS Institute for Public Christianity—a research think tank formed in partnership with the National Council of Churches of Singapore and Trinity Theological College. ETHOS aims to engage believers in contemporary issues and trends from a Biblical perspective by offering free seminars, lectures, conferences, and resources for the public. Since its inception in 2014, the ETHOS website alone has seen nearly 50,000 visitors each year. (For more information about ETHOS events and publications, visit ethosinstitute.sg or read more on pages 25, 36 and 37.)
Apart from these initiatives, BSS also has a community of volunteers, who are known as our Sowers-In- Action. These volunteers constitute a very diverse group of Christians who regularly volunteer their gifts to support Bible Mission work in various ways—from photography and helping out at events, to administrative work. Gatherings are held at Bible House twice a year to thank our volunteers for their contribution, as well as to provide an opportunity for them to engage in fellowship. (If you would like to volunteer with BSS, visit bible.org.sg/volunteer for more information.)
By creating platforms for Christians to connect, BSS hopes to cultivate a spirit of unity among believers—so that we may labour together as one body, and fulfil God’s mission for us.
Cultivating Collective Care for All
“Jesus Christ did not say, Go into all the world and tell the world that it is quite right.” — C.S. Lewis
Fulfilling the Great Commission not only encompasses spreading the Good News but also requires the Church to first model the love towards others that Jesus exemplified in His ministry— reaching out to the least, the last and the lost.
Although Singapore has successfully transformed herself into a modern city-state, there are still vulnerable and underprivileged communities in our midst. Just as the Son of Man came to serve (Mark 10:45), we too, are called to extend a helping hand to these communities—by meeting their needs and extending God’s love to them.
To initiate a collective effort to reach communities in need, BSS has launched a new ministry, SowCare, which aims to reach out to the poor and needy in Singapore. To kickstart the outreach efforts, SowCare partnered with Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA) and over 100 organisations to launch the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO). AGWO seeks to provide guest workers in Singapore with holistic care by meeting their immediate needs, and fostering a welcoming environment for them that is free from discrimination. From 20–29 September, Walking In Your Shoes—an exhibition aimed to provide a glimpse into the lives of guest workers—was held at Far East Plaza. Other AGWO events included a Banquet of Appreciation at the Fullerton Hotel on 13 October, as well as an AGWO Cricket Tournament on 28 October. (Read more about AGWO’s initiatives and events on pages 16 and 17.)
Beyond Singapore’s shores, BSS has also been involved in Holistic Mission work in multiple countries. The International Bible Experiences (IBEx)—a ministry of BSS—offers Bible Mission Trips, where participants are involved in meeting the locals’ needs for Scripture materials, and also their immediate needs where necessary. These efforts comprise of providing humanitarian assistance to countries, which have been affected by natural disasters or political turmoil, as well as providing opportunities for the locals to receive proper education.
Most recently, BSS was involved in mission work in Hainan, China, ministering to the local students and providing them with resources to facilitate their studies and improve their quality of life. (Find out more about IBEx and other BSS’ mission trips on pages 32 and 33.)
Cultivating Godliness within Communities
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20)
With various avenues for Christians to be equipped and to serve, our ultimate aim is to connect different communities to and through the Gospel— so that we may all become disciples of Christ who share a deep love for God’s Word and people. As we remember the birth and life of our Lord Jesus Christ this Christmas, may we seek to embody the sacrificial love and care that He showed to mankind.