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Sam Tan• Timely Word •

The Christian Landscape in Singapore

By 13 August 2016September 26th, 2017No Comments

During the past 15 odd years, the percentage of Christians in Singapore has grown steadily from 14.6% (2000) to 18.3% (2010) and slowed down to 18.8% (2015) (source: General Household Survey 2015, Dept of Statistics Singapore; “Christians” refers to both Protestants/Catholics). The Survey also found that the percentage of households identifying themselves as Christian households in each housing type are 32.9%    in condominiums / apartments, 38.3% in landed properties, 19.9% in 5-Room HDB flats and 13% in 4-Room and smaller HDB flats. This means that of those living in private properties, an average of 1 out of 3 are Christian households butof those living in 4-Room HDB flat and smaller, only 1.3 out of 10 households are. Could this be because Singaporean Christians have been reaching out mostly to their social peers?

Bless Community Services (BCS) is the supporting entity for St Luke Eldercare’s Serangoon Centre. YCKC/Gospel Hall have a group of volunteers, mainly seniors, visiting and befriending their clients for many years and continues to do so. We are thrilled each time we receive reports of new friendships made and of people coming to believe Jesus as their Saviour.

This is a great example of members making the Gospel and God’s love relevant in the neighbourhood through providing services that meet needs and through connecting regularly. BCS also offers other services. However, the percentage of YCKC members who have volunteered in one way or another is still very small.

The Bible speaks of a time when every believer will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10). There, each one will be judged and will receive honour and rewards from the Lord Himself for the things done while in the body with the gifts and opportunities given (1 Cor 3:10-15). Apostle Paul refers to this as the “race marked out for us”(Heb 12:1b). God’s calling given to him then was to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles (Col 1:25). To ensure he is fully prepared for the Day of accountability, he does not take his calling”like a man running aimlessly” but he “runs in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Cor 9:24-27). Towards the end of his life he could confidently say, “I have finished the race…now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness” (2 Tim 4:7-8). Prize here does not refer to salvation (which is by grace alone) but to honour and rewards from the Lord.

Likewise, out of a heart of deep gratitude and indebtedness to Jesus because of grace, God’s children must live their lives prepared forthe Day of accountability by knowing and living out their calling. This is done firstly not by taking gifts for granted but giving thanks for them. Secondly, by intentionally discerning and living out the Lord’s specific calling to each.

We celebrate religious freedom in Singapore andthe peaceful inter-religious groups’ relationship. Singaporeans uphold respect for one another’s religious practices and are opened to listen to each other’s views. Given what we see in other countries, we treasure this precious gift.

One of the calling to believers is to make disciples. Given the gifts, the opportunity we have and the statistics presented above, how can YCKC (i.e. our members) do more to make disciples in Singapore (Matt 28:19-20)? Individually, what percentage of our time over a year have we volunteered in one or more of BCS’s activities to befriend someone. What other ways can we be involved in BCS (e.g, financial, prayer, skills/time to initiate appropriate services that meet needs)?

How prepared are we for the Day of accountability?

By Sam Tan, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 13&14 August 2016)