This article was originally posted in our September 2019 Word@Work.
Empowering and Equipping to Edify
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,
to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…”
— Ephesians 4:11-12
In his letter to the Church in Ephesus, Paul exhorts the Church to use their spiritual gifts to equip her members to do the work of ministry. As an inter-confessional missions organisation that seeks to serve the Church, The Bible Society of Singapore (BSS) works to build up the Body of Christ by providing resources to empower and edify all her members. It is our hope that they in turn, will go out into the world to spread the Gospel, with the aim of transforming and impacting the lives of those around them.
Empowering Local Communities
We live in a fast-changing world, where values and morals are constantly shifting. As disciples of Christ, we need to equip others within the Christian body to face these challenges. BSS works to empower the local Christian body through our Centre for Advocacy, Relations and Engagement (CARE). CARE aims to bring about the transformation of lives and society through the Word, by making the Bible credible and relevant (Advocacy), working with others through partnerships (Relations) and making the Bible understood and lived out (Engagement). Through this holistic approach, we hope to nurture Christians who will bear fruit for His Kingdom (Matthew 13:23).
This year, CARE has organised various programmes catering to different people and language groups, creating opportunities for them to engage with the Word. From 7 to 10 June, DECLARE, a 72-hour-long Bible proclamation initiative was held at the Bible House, where believers from different denominations and churches came together to participate in collective worship. The Bible was read by participants who spoke different languages— showing how believers of different denominations and churches are united by the Word of God. (Read more about the event on page 23.)
Although worship is a key part of the edification of the Church (1 Chronicles 16:29), disciple-making involves much more. Family also plays an essential role in enabling believers to grow in spiritual maturity. This is why BSS also believes in the importance of equipping families to disciple members of the Body of Christ.
On 26 and 27 July, the D6 Family Conference was held at Faith Methodist Church. This year marks the fourth run of the conference, with the theme Church + Home. The goal of the conference was to equip participants with strategies for effective family ministry. With the success of past years’ conferences in English and Chinese, D6 expanded this year, catering to Tamil-speaking congregations. A similar conference was also held in Hainan, China in August. (More information about the conference in Singapore can be found on page 24.)
Edifying Christian Communities
Scripture engagement is not limited to reading and learning about the Bible. That is why BSS also encourages creative forms of engagement
with the Word. To provide an opportunity for budding artists to engage themselves with the Bible, BSS partnered with the Embassy of Israel to hold the annual Colours of the Bible art competition. This year’s theme, Hope and Promises in the Bible, encouraged participants to use their talents to share their interpretations of God’s Word. The art competition took place from February to July. In August, an art exhibition was held at Far East Plaza, showcasing the winning entries and some of the remarkable submissions.
Empowering the Underprivileged
As it is the aim of BSS to empower and edify the Church, we also aim to extend our reach beyond the local Christian communities. Just as Jesus came to serve others (Mark 10:45), BSS also serves the wider society by reaching out to the vulnerable and marginalised
This year, BSS launched a new ministry, SowCare, which aims to serve the underprivileged. In partnership with the Alliance
of Indian Ministries (AIM) and Hope Initiative Alliance (HIA), SowCare is actively involved in a new initiative to reach out to guest workers in Singapore— the Alliance of Guest Workers Outreach (AGWO). AGWO hopes to provide guest workers in Singapore with holistic care and provide a platform for organisations to partner and collaborate to care for these guest workers.
To kickstart this new initiative, AGWO has organised a series of events such as Walking in Your Shoes, an exhibition that will take place from 19 to 29 September at Far East Plaza, a Feast of Appreciation on 13 October at the Fullerton Hotel, the AGWO Cricket Cup on 28 October, and Guest Workers’ Appreciation Day on 18 December. (Read more about AGWO events on page 26.) By working with different organisations and communities for a myriad of causes, BSS hopes to foster relationships so that we may not only build up the Body of Christ, but also make a difference in society.
Equipping to Edify and Transform Lives
At the heart of our work is also our aim to carry out the Bible Mission—to bring the Word of God to all peoples. It is not enough to merely serve the local Church; the Body of Christ extends far beyond the confines of geographical boundaries. This is why BSS is also actively involved in overseas Bible Mission work, in countries such as Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh and many more. BSS supports these countries by providing humanitarian aid where necessary, such as in the case of the Rohingya refugees, as well as supporting various Bible translation projects in these countries.
In undertaking the Bible Mission, bringing the Bible to peoples is just the tip of the iceberg. The ultimate goal is to edify God’s people, which involves empowering and equipping believers. This means making the Word of God engaging and relevant to them, allowing the Word to transform their lives, and ultimately enabling them to cultivate a sense of missionmindedness— so that they may go out into the world to do the works that God has prepared for them (Ephesians 2:10).