Praising God With Flags: One Worshipper’s Story
Zoe Choo is a City Harvest Church member who waves flags as a form of worship. She shares how God led her to this unusual practice.
If you are a CHC member who attends weekend services on Saturday, you might have spotted one or two people waving large coloured flags at the far right tiers in the Suntec auditorium during praise and worship.
Curious as to why this practice recently started in church, City News spoke to Zoe Choo, 24, the first of the group of (so far) three flag wavers. Here is her moving account.
“The desire to flag in church first came to me during Emerge this year when we, the youths, were at the front worshiping. All that came to my mind was, ‘I need to flag, not dance but flag.’
“I first flagged a flag at a rooftop bar called Lepark (a tapas bar in Chinatown). They have a weekly worship group made up of youths from all over, no denominations. This group started after Kingdom Invasion in March this year. Carmen and Lionel are the owners of Lepark, and God gave them a vision of a youth revival in Singapore. When they first got the space for the business (the rooftop area of an old building), it was filled with used drug equipment and condoms, but they cleaned it up. God also placed a few people in Carmen’s heart. Carmen and I became Facebook friends and she reached out to me and invited me to join this spontaneous prayer and worship session—no agenda, no denominations—just worshiping Jesus and being expectant for Holy Spirit to move.
“One night, I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t shake off the nudging desire to flag. So I asked God, ‘If this is from You—’ and immediately I got an impression it was from Him. That was Sunday night. On Monday evening, coincidentally, we held a farewell dinner for this year’s School of Theology students at Lepark.
“During that dinner, I spoke to a girl from China, Xiaoman. As I shared with her what God had been impressing upon me about waving flags, she becomes very excited. She said that God had been telling her to flag in church, but she didn’t obey—she didn’t dare to ask for permission because of our (CHC’s) church culture.
“So I knew that God really wanted me to do this. So I told my pastoral supervisor Ong Weiren what God had been telling me. Weiren asked me for details of the logistics, like where I would flag, etc.
“I was very afraid. It had never been done before. I would be viewed as insane. Weiren also expressed concerns about the congregation’s ability to accept such worship. I wondered if I was offending our church’s culture.
“But if it was something God wanted me to do, I had to do it. I told my zone leader Ong Weiren, I will do it slowly.
“This happened two weeks before CHC’s anniversary. That weekend that I told Weiren about it, I was supposed to flag. But I didn’t even make a flag. When I came to church, I knew in my heart I had disobeyed God. And I said, ‘I’m going to do it.’
“God gave me downloads as to how to start: ‘Buy cloth from Chinatown.’ ‘Go with your mom.’ Step by step, He gave me instructions. As I researched, I looked up this YouTube channel, Called To Flag. When I clicked on the playlist, Pastor Kong’s sermon on ‘God in Ancient China’ popped up. It was like the confirmation. So I went to the tailor with my mom. The first one, whom we wanted, was not around, so we went to another tailor, and this one turned out to be a Christian. Before church, I went to Daiso and got a pole to attach the flag to, and then I sprinkled some anointing oil that Pastor Kong gave us on the flag.
“The first time I flagged was the week was on Oct 16, the week before anniversary service. I was very, very afraid. My cell group friend who serves in the Security Ministry happened to be stationed at the area where I was flagging and therefore he was able to answer for my flagging.
“I double-checked with Weiren again that it was okay and we talked it out. I wanted to make sure I’m not dishonoring. Church security did stop me twice, but they don’t stop me now.
“Now there are two others who flag with me. Felicia’s flag is turquoise, which symbolizes healing. She had been keen to flag with me, but conviction really came when her mother went for a CT scan and there was a white spot in her remaining lung, which meant possible recurrence of her cancer from four years ago. Felicia immediately felt led to wave a healing flag for her mother and also for those in the congregation who need healing. When we had bought the turquoise cloth and went to the seamstress to have it sewn, again the first lady was unavailable, and the second one we approached was not only a Christian, she prayed for the flag and anointed it. Was it a coincidence or was it from God?
“The colour of my flag is royal blue; it represents the revelation and the verse I got for my flag, which is from Habakkuk 2:1-4, ‘The righteousness shall live by faith.’ I know my flagging is in obedience to God, as well as an act of faith. When I flag, I am intentionally declaring victory over our church, in the atmosphere.
“There is true victory and freedom in Christ, divine breakthroughs and hope.”
*This story was updated on April 22, 2018. As of this date there are five flag wavers in the group. The gastropub Lepark has been closed since end of September 2017.
What The Pastoral Supervisor Says
Ong Weiren, 34, who heads WR Zone, gives his take on flag waving as worship. “I think waving flags and banners in praise and worship have been around in the Body of Christ for a long time, for example, we used to see it during the Festival of Praise. Recently we see flags and banners coming back in churches like Bethel Church and some other smaller movements and churches in Singapore.
“Zoe felt led by God to flag during service. Initially, she and the others got into trouble with the security because they were running around the hall and up and down the terrace. But now Pastor Jimmy has kindly allocated space for flagging.
“Personally I feel flagging signifies two things. One, it declares victory. God is our Jehovah Nissi, which means the Lord is our banner. This is the name given by Moses to the altar he built to celebrate the defeat of the Amalekites at Rephidim.
“During one of our cell group meetings a few months ago, I saw a vision of Jesus waving a flag while we praised and worshiped. It was like God cheering us on as we proclaim His victory when we praise and worship Him.
“The second thing I feel flag waving is, is a dance, a type of twirling and dancing like David when he brought back the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.
“Currently, there are three people who flag during service and they are all in my cell group! But Zoe has said that there are some others who are inspired and want to join in.”
by Theresa Tan