City Harvest Dialect Church members learn to apply biblical principles to daily living.
Contributed By Tang Kong Choy
|CN PHOTO: Tan Song Kow|
City Harvest Dialect Church has been creatively finding ways to help their members grow in their walk with God each week. What began primarily as an outreach to the elderly who live in the poorer housing estates of Singapore, is now a ministry that has also seen a “younger” crowd of those in their 40s and 50s.
Today, there are more than 500 people in the dialect ministry—all thanks to the committed team of leaders and volunteers who continue to befriend and practically meet the needs of these members on a weekly basis.
City News spoke to Maria Tok, the zone supervisor of the DC, who embarked on a 4-week Bible study series which began in mid-August. The purpose was twofold: To help members who are illiterate understand the Bible and what it teaches; and secondly, to extract meaningful principles from the Bible that can be applied to daily living.
Through regular interaction with the elderly, the DC volunteers discovered several struggles that the older generation grapple with, areas such as loneliness, low self-esteem and even suicidal tendencies. Because of the lack of adequate family support, many of these elderly have to face these problems alone. As such, Tok decided to use several characters in the Bible who faced mounting difficulties in life as examples to encourage these members.
She explained, “This Bible study series identifies the struggles and problems that the Bible characters experienced themselves and how they overcame their own weaknesses through their relationship with the living God. I hope to share with them that God loves them and He treasures them, such that they can live life to their fullest. For example, Bible character Jonah wanted to end his life when he faced difficulties, but we want the elderly to know that taking their own lives is not God’s plan for them.”
Tok planned this series as early as July this year when she was inspired by City Harvest Church’s founder, Kong Hee, who was preaching on several characters in the Bible. Noting the needs of her flock and wanting to cater to those who were illiterate, she decided to bring the Bible to life by introducing several characters in the Bible for her series.
Keeping the messages simple yet meaningful, Tok touched on areas that were easily understood and could be a source of comfort. She shared, “In the example of David, one thing we can learn from him is how God looked at his heart and not what he had outside. He was a man after God’s heart. With this example, I want to let my members understand that God does not look at what we have outside; He looks at the heart. Therefore what comes from our heart is more important than what we have on the external.”
When this verse from 1 Samuel 16:7 was shared in the service, the congregation listened earnestly, several heads nodding in agreement. The story of David, one of Israel’s greatest kings, captivated many in the crowd as they heard how God raised up David to defeat Goliath, even though he was just a small shepherd boy. And even with his failures and weaknesses, God still loved David because his heart was faithful to Him.
Likewise, Tok encouraged the congregation to love God and obey His Word in spite of their weaknesses and limitations. She also urged them to renew their commitment to Him and live their life with purpose and meaning found in Jesus alone.