A key element of Emerge is providing the platform for City Harvest youth to glorify God with their talents. This year, they did so through four events that centered on this year’s theme of “Passion”.
Discovering that they are fearfully and wonderfully made is a gift from God that every youth is meant to embrace. Each year, Emerge offers a range of events that provide outlets for all kinds of talent to be expressed. This year, the youth showed their goods in sports, art, performance and preaching the Word.
The event that kickstarted Emerge was Emerge Sports. Held on the weekend of Mar 18-19, over 800 youths participated in games like basketball, Captain’s Ball and soccer.
The basketball event took place at Mountbatten Community Club; Captain’s Ball at The New Charis Mission’s basketball court and soccer at The Cage @ Kallang. Participants and supporters gathered as early as 9am to kick off a day of adrenaline.
Ong Wei Ren, 34, the pastoral supervisor in charge of Emerge Sports said, “Sports has always been an integral part of the youth ministry. Other than being creative and having talents like singing or dancing, the youth are also strong, active and athletic. [At Emerge Sports] they can come play and show off their skills.”
He added that many youths surprised themselves and made it to the top three teams of the different events. Games were played in the knockout format where winners would proceed to the next round. The winners of each sports segment won attractive prizes like $150 worth of shopping vouchers.
Student Isabel Tan Jia Hui, 17, said, “I think the most important thing of playing in a match is to enjoy yourself. Let it be a friendly game and support other teams as well.” Regardless of their own performance, players shook hands–a sign of sportsmanship–at the end of each game. Many, like Tan, stayed behind to support other teams that made it to the final rounds.
Emerge Sports is also a platform for CHC youths to reach out to their sports—loving friends. Each participating team comprised CHC members and their friends—this encouraged the youths to invite their friends.
Merilyn Lim, 25, a teacher, was part of the administrative team helping to coordinate participating teams. She said, “A few teams had one member bringing one whole group of friends. Another cell group saw two members bringing eight friends. It was very fulfilling to see members bringing new friends.”
One of the most iconic competitions of Emerge is the Preaching Challenge. This unique competition allows young people to experience preaching on stage. It also provides a platform to train effective future preachers of God’s Word.
Held on the weekend of Apr 1 and 2, Emerge Preaching Challenge saw 112 youths having a go at preaching. Following Emerge’s theme for 2017, each contestant was to prepare a three-minute sermon on the topic of “Passion”. Contestants were judged based on content, delivery and audience participation. The final and most important instruction they received was to preach from their hearts.
The preliminary rounds kicked off with sermons by youths in the Secondary School category, followed by the Tertiary category, and, for the first time in Emerge history, the Cell Group Leaders and Potential Cell Group Leaders category.
A participant from the tertiary category, Aw Yao Feng, 23, a national service man told City News Weekly, “I enjoy sharing about the truth of Jesus and the great life that we can live for Jesus. I also realized that I really wanted to preach and I’m called to preach.”
He also shared his challenge of preparing a good message. “I’m not sure if it’s a ‘preacher’s syndrome’ or ‘youth syndrome’ but one of my challenges in sermon preparation was my desire to talk about everything. Eventually, I asked God to tell me specifically what He wanted me to preach.”
“The preaching challenge is a platform where youths can shine and share what is in their hearts,” said Crystal Tang, 18, a student. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is the best preacher. To me, the best preacher is one that preaches from the heart.” Tang was a participant from the Cell Group Leaders and Potential Cell Group Leaders category.
“One has to be passionate to preach about passion,” she added.
EMERGE’S GOT TALENT
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”
These are the words spoken by renowned Christian American author and motivational speaker, Leo Buscaglia. These same words mirror the mission of City Harvest Church’s talent competition, Emerge’s Got Talent: to be a platform for youths to showcase their God-given talents.
The auditions attracted a large crowd of youths on Jun 10. Some came as solo acts while others came in groups. Each participant or group had two minutes to perform their act.
“There are three criteria we are judging each contestant on this year,” said Pauline Kong, pastoral supervisor in charge of Emerge’s Got Talent 2017. “Skill, presentation and creativity.” Kong was one of the judges at the audition.
The 35 competing groups gave their all at the audition. Amidst the variety of performances, one particular contestant stood out with his fresh act.
Student Keith Wong, 25, took the hall by surprise with his act of “Spoken Word Poetry”, a unique blend of gospel preaching and performance poetry. With his poem, titled, “The Creator’s Creation Creates”, Wong breathed new life into the well-known story of how God created the world in seven days.
“My inspiration came mainly from the poet and preacher David Bowden,” Wong told City News Weekly. “I first chanced upon his work on YouTube and I was instantly attracted to this unusual mixture of poetry reading and preaching.
“I was eventually given the opportunity to do my first poetry performance during a mission trip in the Philippines last year. We were going to perform a song for a local church at first, then song became a rap, and we eventually ended up doing Spoken Word Poetry,” Wong continued.
During the two-hour audition, many contestants performed original songs. Twenty-four year-old Bryan Tsao was one of these budding songwriters.
“I was chosen to be the music coordinator for my zone’s camp this year and together with the team, we wanted to write a song that carried the camp’s theme,” Tsao explained.
He went up the stage amidst the thundering cheers of his zone members, who came to support him. “This song is about laying down your life for God and God’s unending love,” Tsao said before he silenced the crowd with his mesmerizing vocals.
The finals happen this weekend at the Emerge conference.
Kong said, “I feel very encouraged after looking at all the contestants in the audition today. These are youths who are not just talented, but are also ready to use their gifts to honor and bring glory to God.”
The evening of Mar 31 saw 48 arty youths gathering around the in Suntec Singapore Hall 605. Emerge organizers set up easels and canvases, and played a specially curated selection of music to create a relaxing atmosphere.
This was Art Jam, an Emerge youth event that gives youths who love art a chance to express and explore their creativity together with their friends.
Pastoral supervisor-in-charge Josephine Lim said that Art Jam was not an art competition. Instead, its goal was to create a platform for youths to gather and freely express themselves through art set on the theme of “Passion”.
Art Jam was sponsored by Little Art Connoisseur, a Singapore-based portable art class business, which provided art materials that exposes participants to a myriad of tools and materials.
Student Shirnise Lee, 22, was attracted to the idea of Art Jam and encouraged her friends in her cell group to join her. “I know it wasn’t a competition,” she said. “I simply wanted to enjoy time with my friends while doing something that I enjoy. When I knew that I only had to contribute $5 for the art materials, I immediately signed up.”
Jazz Tan, 22, a student, was stumped when she realised that all she had was a theme and a blank canvas to work with. Although she lacked experience in art, she found herself fully immersed in the process. She shared, “It felt therapeutic to be sitting with my friends, painting whatever comes to my mind. Even though it was my first time working with paint and canvas, it was fun to see where my creativity led me.”
Everyone had different interpretations and expressed the theme differently. At the end of the two-hour session, the art pieces were submitted to the organizers.