Combined Thanksgiving Service 2023
On 12 August 2023, we held a Thanksgiving Service to celebrate 64 years of God's faithfulness to Grace Baptist Church. This was held together with our Chinese-language congregation, and was the first one held since the pandemic restrictions were lifted.
The theme of the service was "Gospel Faithfulness", and members, pastors and elders of both services participated in different elements of the service. Every aspect of the service—from the singing to prayer and to preaching—was done in both English and Mandarin. This was definitely different from our regular Sunday worship, but it also served as a reminder that God is calling people who speak different languages, from different nations and cultures, back to Him.
Through the singing, sharing and preaching, we were encouraged to keep holding fast to the gospel! In Christ, we have been saved, and even brought together as a church body. Our past experience of God's faithfulness should encourage us to press on, to keep trusting in His steadfast love, and to bring this gospel to those around us.
Pastor Eugene and Pastor Peter both preached from the same passage in Isaiah 40:1-11. From this passage, Pastor Eugene exhorted us to remember that God comforts His people by proclaiming the good news of His salvation. As gospel people, we hope in the comfort of the gospel and we proclaim the power of the gospel. You can read a transcript of this sermon here.
At this service, there was also a time to share about ways both congregations have worked together, or are planning to work together, to grow deeper in and share the gospel. One past opportunity was the Christmas outreach to MacPherson held at the end of 2022. Pastor Oliver and Kai En shared about this event. Our member, Ryan, had previously written about this effort, and you can read it here.
Another new opportunity is a combined training to be held by the Young Adults ministry of both congregation. This was shared by Elder Nehemiah and Wei En. Leaders from both ministries have been meeting to get to know one another and to pray in recent months. The elder and deacons from the EC YA ministry have also been reading the primer with some of the CC leaders. Learning to be better readers of God's word is a desire of both ministries, and the leaders are excited for this opportunity to gather around God's word! They have also requested prayer, that the leaders will be built up, and in turn, be able to teach and encourage the members in their ministry.
The service ended in an apt manner—in prayer. This was something new and unlike a usual service, where members had a chance to pray for all that was shared and all that they heard. Indeed, let us be praying for these efforts and for more ways that we can partner together to bring the gospel to those around us. Let us also be praying for our own gospel faithfulness, that we will continue to hold fast to the gospel and grow in it.
The service was followed by a dinner in the Fellowship Hall. It was a hearty meal, and we thank God for the provison of good food. But beyond that, let us also look forward to that day when all of God's people—past, present and future, from every nation, tribe and tongue—will enjoy an eternal feast, at the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:6). May we press on, with that hope in mind!