Someone has said, “The greatest fear in life is not of death, but of unsolicited change.”
In other words, we generally don’t mind change, as long as we are the ones who initiate it.
But on the other hand, it is also good to acknowledge that some changes, even if unsolicited, are not necessarily bad. In fact there are many changes that we might actually consider to be far preferable to those we are currently enduring! For instance, if we were to go from homeless to homeowner, most of us would consider that to be a welcome change! If our bodies were to go from painful to pain-free, we would likely feel that to be a delightful change. All of us welcome those kinds of changes, even if we didn’t personally initiate them.
If you have served the Lord for many years at Grace, you may be sensing that we are a church that is in transition. And as with every transition, you are very likely looking to the future with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. There is anticipation because increasingly there is the joyful awareness that we will soon be back in our own building. Additionally, there is hope that in and through this building, God is going to use Grace for His glory.
But there is also anxiety: anxiety that comes from loss of influence, loss of control, and from a loss of familiar faces who had earned our trust through their ministry.
Some of us may even be wondering “What kind of church are we becoming?!” In the past, the answer was simple: we were a Chinese church informed both by God’s word and our Singaporean context. We all came from the same continent, we all spoke the same language(s), and we were all trying to establish ourselves in a newly-birthed nation.
But now we have a growing group of young adults who have been educated in four continents. We are increasingly a church of people who have not personally known war or hunger. We have different worldviews and even seem to speak different dialects of the same language.
Does that mean that our church culture will change? Absolutely!
But this will be true for all of us, not just our pioneering members! Every one of us, by the grace given to us by God, must be willing to sacrifice the culture of our heritage, education and tradition for the transformational culture of Christ! Only in submission to His work in us will we achieve our ambition to discover His pleasure, and so begin to live and serve Him with divine power and purpose. Only as we allow the gospel to do its daily, sanctifying work in us, can men and women throw their crowns at the feet of the One who died and then rose again!
Illustration by Nathasha Raj
So these are defining days for those of us who feel called to the faith family of Grace Baptist Church. In the words of the famous Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, “We have come to a turning point in the road. If we turn to the right maybe our children and our children's children will go that way; but if we turn to the left, generations yet unborn will curse our names for having been unfaithful to God and to His Word.”
I pray that in these days we will be determined to choose to turn to the right and give daily evidence of an absolute allegiance to His word… and that the generations that follow—both children and grandchildren—will gratefully follow the path of faith that draws our nation and indeed, all nations to the resurrected Christ!
This article also appears in the print copy of Grace News.