With many thousands of churches in Singapore ranging from the traditional to the contemporary, so diverse in style and background, yet each upholding the central focus of worshipping the only One True God, Jesus our Lord, how then does a new Christian find the most balanced Church here?
Each church has both its strength and its weaknesses, so they can appeal to some but are unsuitable to another. By and large, they appear similar to each other but they are subtly distinct with their own individual qualities.
That’s the reason why I write this blog.
As a Christian for many years going through stages, changes and major crossroads of life, I had attended at least 10 churches ever since my youth, to schooling years, to adulthood and then now during my graying years.
The churches varied from Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical and to Anglican. In Boston which I lived for 1 year, some 30 years ago, I attended the Vineyard Fellowship led by the late John Wimber.
However, there had been a period of 10 years plus when I did not attend any Church service, not for the reason of drifting away from my faith but rather due to my inability to attend as a result of many years of prolonged illnesses that impeded me.
Yet during those trying ‘desert’ years, I managed to attend every Friday, a prayer meeting at a Methodist church in Serangoon Gardens for simple fellowship and for God’s divine healing.
Recently, the leader of this prayer meeting himself had personal health issue, being almost 90 of age and the meeting occasionally was suspended. In addition, after more than 7 years, I found myself outgrew their role. So, I took an interim break for a couple of months, wondering where to go next.
One Sunday morning in Sept 2017, I was going home from grocery shopping, walking up the pedestrian ramp opposite my home, suddenly and unexpectedly, I felt the strong desire to attend a church service in a nearby church only 6 bus stops away, which I bore a deep longing to attend since 10 years ago but was unable to.
Quickly, I made some simple adjustments to my usual Sunday schedule and the next Sunday, found me going alone to attend this church service.
After attending this church, namely St John’s-St Margaret’s Church in Dover Avenue for the first time, I have to say that I admire this church tremendously and hold her in high regards.
If I have to give it a ranking on the scale of 1 to 10, I will give it without hesitation: 10 points.
Fantastic!!! This is just the church that I have found to be balanced and sensible, absolutely Bible- centred and certainly down to earth.
Below are the reasons why I find them worthy to be mentioned in this blog:
1. This Church is extremely Bible- based. The preaching of the Bible and its teachings is central to its Church services, a church that has not deviated from the core principles of the main stream Christian faith.
2. This Church is a praying church. Every Sunday, the Church will devote much time in corporate prayers. I also understand that the Vicar himself is a praying pastor.
3. The folks who attend the church are mainly middle- class and middle- age and this suits me. To me, this is the right assembly, too young, it becomes too juvenile. Too old, everyone falls asleep!
4. Their worship services are mix of traditional hymns with modern contemporary songs. Though I do not know the latest worship songs, they are God-centered, not self-centered, catchy enough and appealing for anyone to pick up promptly.
One thing about the worship service is that there is no rock and roll band with heavy guitar playing whilst the worshippers jumping up and down like kangaroo, as if they are attending a gym class. This makes the church service rowdy and distracting from focusing true worship to God.
But the worship session of SJSM is well controlled, orderly and respectful.
5. They serve Holy Communion twice a month, on the 1st and 3rd Sundays. In the book of 1 Corinthians Chapter 11, Jesus says to remember His death as often as we can. Hence, twice a month is undeniably better than once a month as practiced by other churches.
6. Their sermons are short and sweet which are all Bible based. They are timed to be just right, about 25 mins. Too long and ha, some will dream off.
7. I like their practice of collecting the weekly tithe and offering with the offering bags brought to the foot of the Cross at the altar and are laid there. To me, this act is very significant and very touching.
8. After attending the church services for more than 4 months, I have never once heard any pastor or anyone asking for money or more fund in spite of their urgent need to raise fund to build a new village comprising of a $80 million nursing home with elder care and childcare for the next 3 years.
9. They do not preach Prosperity Gospel. To me, prosperity Gospel is not the True Gospel. The True Gospel of Jesus is to save, to heal and to restore mankind to God.
Some churches that I had attended would urged the members to give more and yet more, always saying that God would bless with 100 folds return.
Who are we to expect God to bless 100 folds? The Bible mentions about returns of 30, 60 and 100 folds. The amount of blessing lies with God, not the preacher!
Jesus Himself was never wealthy when He was on earth though He could have everything and every wealth on this earth. Yet Jesus chose to live a humble life, focusing on doing His Father’s will.
Nonetheless, I like to mention that blessing and great wealth from God is never wrong, but should never be the focus of our giving.
10.The Church believes in divine healing and the full manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Many times, during worship services, there are words of knowledge, visions and the like. They are to guide, to counsel, to encourage and to bless us along the journey of our lives whatever God gives us individually.
After every service, those who need prayer can proceed to the Altar for ministry time.
It’s surprising to note that some churches, even mega churches are lacking in this area.
Lastly, I like to mention that the points mentioned above are not conclusive as I carry on to attend the services and may discover additional worthy facts.
To me, this is the most balanced Christian Church in Singapore.
To everyone reading this blog, most welcome, happy reading but only positive feedbacks are welcome.
I like to mention that the ministry of the leader of the prayer meeting in the Methodist Church had helped me tremendously. After many healing sessions in the time frame of about 7 years, my health was marginally restored .
Great thanks from the bottom of my heart to God and to Brother Yan. I will remember what God and what he has done , I will definitely remember with much gratitude forever.