The highly-anticipated go4th National Missions Conference featured speakers who inspired and mobilized churches for missions in today’s changing world.
Contributed By Reuel Eugene Tay
The Great Commission is for disciples of Christ to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you …”
The theme of this year’s go4th National Missions Conference, which took place at the Singapore Expo from May 26 to 28, was “Beyond Going Places.” The national missions conference was first founded in 2002 by several Christian bodies and organizations, with the goal to challenge Christians and churches in Singapore to do missions, regardless of denomination. Held every three years, this was the fourth go4th conference to date.
This year, the organizing committee put together some of the best speakers to challenge, inspire and galvanize the Church to take the gospel to every people of every culture within and beyond Singapore. “This is the time for churches and believers to rethink missions, to go deeper and look further; beyond going places, for the sake of God’s name among the nations,” said Lim Yeen Fun, chairman of the organizing committee.
Keynote speakers included Robert Solomon (president of National Council of Churches of Singapore), Rick Seaward (the apostolic overseer of Victory Family Centre in Singapore), K. Rajendran (chairman of the World Evangelical Alliance Missions Commission), Peter Tsukahira (co-founder of Kehilat Hacarmel in Israel) and over 50 plenary and workshops conducted by more than 70 missions luminaries, pastors, leaders and missionaries. City Harvest Church members, Eileen Toh, Johann Sim and Lim Koon Jin were among those invited to speak at the workshops.
MISSIONS IN THE MODERN WORLD
Sim, a zone supervisor in CHC, shared on the importance of embracing modern technology and media to engage today’s children. His workshop was titled “Understanding The Mindset Of The 4/14 Generation.” Sim encouraged the attendees to put away the traditional “I teach, you listen” hierarchical approach, and instead, adopt social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with children and youth who are tech-savvy. Sim was quick to caution that one should not forget personal touch and connection that only comes from face-to-face interaction. He said, “Children are leaders of today. They are in training, not in waiting. God wants to use children as they are today. Give them opportunities to participate and to lead. Train them, release them and watch them bloom!”
Pastor of City Harvest Children’s Church, Eileen Toh, spoke at the “Raising And Reaching The IPOD Generation” workshop together with Penny Armstrong from Create International and Stephanie Tan from Youth For Christ.
According to Toh, children today are also known as the IPOD generation (for “Internet-savvy,” “Play,” “Overloaded” with information, “Digital” world). They tend to be restless and uneasy when they are not stimulated by technology and media. Toh said, “Therefore, wholesome and fun activities must be prepared for them, otherwise, they will end up playing their iPhones and PSPs while in church.” Toh revealed how her CCH team uses contemporary music, on-screen interactive games, and animation to capture the attention of the kids and educate them. Reconciling contemporary ways of reaching out to children with the traditional, Toh expressed, “At the end of the day, more than just utilizing the advancement in technology: we cannot lose the personal touch with the children and their families. And that is why my team visits about 2,000 children every week, both Christian and non-Christian.”
This year’s conference focused heavily on the changing “worlds” that Christians are called to evangelize. Apart from the challenges of conducting “urban missions” (vs the Third World missions that is the tradition), the rapidly-evolving information age and reaching the youth, who make up 40 percent of the global population, the world is also seeing more natural disasters, and Christian mission groups must be equipped now to minister to people in these areas.
At the “Meeting The Basic Needs” workshop, managing director of Crisis Relief Singapore, Lim Koon Jin spoke on the overview of phases in a disaster, meeting the basic needs in a post-disaster area, food, shelter, medical needs and more. Lim asserted to the crowd that disaster relief work is for everyone and not just a select few. “All of us can be used by God to be the ‘salt and light’ with whatever abilities and resources we have. Let’s all avail ourselves to bring relief to the widows, the fatherless and the victims in disaster situations,” he exhorted.
The CCH worship team led praise, worship and ministry at the last session of the conference. Worship leader Veroy Chua brought the congregation into the presence of God as they sang “My God Reigns” while Peter Tsukahira prayed and imparted the anointing of God on those who answered the altar call for missions.