23 August 2020 (Pastoral Page) DECLINE OR FLOURISH IN THE MIDST OF CRISIS?

By Elder Tan Chin Tiong

For the past few months, we have been seeing many small businesses closing down. Big and well-established companies are also not spared. Many more are trying to survive through this crisis.


Even churches everywhere are quietly hoping that they will not be impacted negatively during this challenging season. Moving forward, will we see a church in a survival mode or will we see a flourishing church as we enter an era of the ‘new normal’ way of ‘running’ church.


The leaders are asking questions such as:

- Will members still be interested in a church that meets physically or will they now prefer more virtual online services? What are the implications?

- Will members’ sense of belonging to a particular church be eroded due to convenience of online church hopping?

- Is the bond of Christian community loosening as we do not meet on a regular basis?

- Are our communication channels extensive and effective?

- Are members’ physical and spiritual needs sufficiently met during this season?

- How have our church ministries been adapting to the ‘new normal’ so that they can stay relevant and engaged?

- How is the church doing in terms of local and global outreach with restrictions on physical meetings and overseas travel?

- Are members still giving financially on a regular basis to the church?


Please pray alongside the leaders as we seek to lead the church through this difficult time. Moving forward, the future for the church may be somewhat uncertain but it need not be dark and gloomy. It can be exciting if we are prepared to wait upon the Lord for directions, seize the opportunities to change our mind set, adapt to the ‘new normal’ and ride the wave. God has pushed the ‘reset’ button so that as a church, we can be refreshed and recharged for a new season.


Meanwhile, there are some immediate opportunities for us to embrace so that we can continue to flourish as a church.


1) Prayer opportunity

- In the past, coming for prayer meeting in church once a month can be quite daunting. You have to rush to church from your workplaces. Often, you have to skip your dinner so as not to miss the first half hour of the meeting. When the meeting ends at around 10pm, you still need to take another 1 to 1.5 hours to get home, by which time, it would be close to midnight.

- Now when the prayer meeting is held through zoom, you can easily take away 2 to 3 hours of travelling time and on top of that you can have a leisurely dinner or supper before/after the meeting.

2) Mission opportunity

- In the past, mission engagement usually entails travelling by ferry or plane.

- Now, you can engage with the different groups of people overseas through online platforms.

- Prayers, discussions and one-on-one meetings for encouragement can be done without having to leave your house.

- Teaching and equipping workshops can be carried out without incurring