18 October 2019
by Rev Dr Clement Chia
Dear friends and family of SBC!
Grace and peace be to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 67 begins by saying, “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us, so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.” For the psalmist, the reason for asking God to bless his people is not for their own benefit, but in order that God’s salvation be made known among all nations. Indeed, I am thankful for this opportunity to share with you how God blesses SBC in order that his ways and his salvation may be made known in Asia and beyond.
We live in a time when people are shaken and impacted by fast-moving and devastating events that have global impact beyond their control. Pollution and haze threaten the health of millions; terrorism, religious and political fanaticism threaten lives and security in society; trade war that eventually will lead to accelerating cost of living… We live in a time when traditional beliefs regarding the definition of marriage and family are now being challenged and taken as an outdated opinion in a pluralistic world. We live in a time where many people are suffering from tense and broken relationships with family and associates, as well as with people in the society at large (such as the civil unrest in Hong Kong), causing anxiety and depression, anger and rage, alienation and pain…
People need the Lord. They need sound theology based on solid biblical foundations to keep them anchored in the sea of rapid change and confusion.
God blesses SBC with faculty and staff who not only teach with words but with their lives, modelling to the students what it means to be faithful disciples of Christ.
God blesses SBC with the Schools of Theology Chinese and English, and the Advanced Studies programmes, to teach and engage in deeper biblical studies and theological reflections to counter the spiritual threats and the false teachings facing the Church and society in these “last days”. Events such as the Mission Week and International Night on “Persecution and Perseverance” help us see the reality of the broken world and the urgency of SBC to live out our mission. SBC is also actively engaging in conversation with biblical and theological scholars regarding how the teachings of the Bible may serve as a beacon of light for human flourishing, especially in relation to the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act in Singapore and the LGBTQ movement here and beyond.
People need the Lord. Those who are suffering and broken need healing that can only come from our Lord Jesus Christ. God blesses SBC with the School of Counselling and the School of Church Music to train people in providing guidance for the spiritual and emotional health of the Church and society. The Counselling Week earlier this year addressing topics such as divorce and depression brought in around 1000 participants each day during the week. The Hymn Festival on the theme “Broken but Restored” acknowledges the brokenness of this world, yet through songs, Scriptures, and stories, people find hope of restoration in Christ. Participants of these events are not just locals, but many leaders fly in to Singapore from the surrounding region to participate in these events.
People need the Lord… and so God has blessed SBC with three new programmes to equip those in marketplace ministry. Working professionals are trained so that they will be able to integrate Christian faith with their mission and vocation.
People need the Lord… and He brought in 443 students from 27 countries for us to train. God continues to call more people into the harvest field, and a record high of 83 people joined our Open House last month, seeking God’s will for their vocation.
God continues to bless SBC still as He brings our ministry beyond Singapore through the Selah Retreats in Manila, Philippines and Surabaya, Indonesia. Music and worship ministry leaders, pastors and seminary educators saw the futility of growing churches defined by key performance indicators such as numbers, programme sprawl, and overactivity. Instead, they committed to realign their ministries to God’s kingdom agenda through intentional spiritual leadership and discipleship.
This past year, God blesses SBC as we provide lifelong learning and support for our alumni and pastors to promote ministry effectiveness. The Centre of Servant Leaders was launched last year. Pastors can hone ministry skills such as preaching, or find help in addressing issues such as suffering from renowned and seasoned practitioners. Early-career pastors are now being mentored by an experienced pastor through peer group sessions and retreats.
God also blesses SBC with you, through your prayer support, financial support, partnerships in events, and the sending of your church members to be trained or to serve at SBC. As the lyrics of the song written by Steve Green says, “People need the Lord… We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be too great a cost for sharing life with one who’s lost? Through His love our hearts can feel all the grief they bear. They must hear the words of life, only we can share.” Psalm 67 ends by saying, “God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.” We look forward to your continuous support, such that when God blesses SBC through you, He will also bless the nations through SBC in Asia and beyond.