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Interview: Watchnight Service 2014

Every year, GBC celebrates the end of the year and welcomes the next with the Watchnight Service. As 2014 draws to a close, we asked Chan Kok Pun, one of the members of the planning committee to share with us more about this year's service -- what we can expect, how we can prepare for it and why it is so important. 

1. What should we hope to see for the Watchnight Service (WNS) this year?

The ministry team would like the GBC folks to take this time to come before the Lord as a congregation – to stand before Him as we cross the Jordan into 2015, praising and thanking Him for 2014 and declaring our faith and commitment for 2015.

We introduced a new format last year, and received favourable feedback from many of you, hence we shall continue using the same format this year with some improvements. What was missing last year though was to give time for more personal worship in remembrance and hope. It still remains a challenge to achieve this in 2014 as the program is tight. We would encourage people to come into the sanctuary 15-30 minutes before the program officially starts at 7.30 p.m. so as to spend time alone with the Lord in remembrance and prayer for 2014 and for 2015.

2. Why and how did you end up getting involved in this program? Does Watchnight hold some special significance for you?

We worship every Sunday under rather tight schedules. As such, we hardly have time to come into the sanctuary for personal prayer and neither do we have time for that after the service. After observing previous Watchnight services, I felt that there were insufficient time given for people who had that special story to tell – stories of brokenness and defeats, stories of victories and grace, of God’s special leading in that year. Also missing were memories like key events of deaths, marriages and births. We try to address these disparate wants altogether and make the WNS personal again - to borrow the symbolism of Joshua 3 & 4 again, each person has his/her own story, his/her own anxieties, hope and faith as he/she crosses the Jordan into the New Year. So, let our testimonies, our songs and prayers, be the memorial stones that we set into the river as we commit ourselves afresh for the New Year.

3. Why should we come together as a church on New Year's Eve - a great evening to be out and about with family and friends - is there some special reason?

Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. For Jehovah your God dried up the waters of the Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as Jehovah your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were passed over; that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of Jehovah, that it is mighty; that ye may fear Jehovah your God for ever. (Joshua 4:22-24)

There is no shortage of reasons not to attend the WNS but what the alternatives cannot do is to provide you the opportunity to hear how the Lord had provided the manna and the quail in the present day to those amongst us. Learn about someone else’s burden and be part of the prayer support. Learn about the victories and give praise to the Lord. No doubt, the WNS is also the platform for you to tell your own story of how Jesus was experienced in a real and personal way.

5. How can we prepare for Watchnight service this year?

And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose and worshiped, every man in his tent-door. (Exodus 33:10)

Be prepared to worship reverentially, to be holy before Him. We live in 'modern days’ in Singapore and we dispense with tradition and ceremonies. Perhaps, we could individually consider making it a family tradition to attend the WNS every year, to come before Him to look back at what He did for us, to ponder, to consider, and to walk in faith in renewed commitment for another year. If you can, register early to be one of those who would testify of the Lord on that night. We have made testimonials easier as you have a choice of appearing in person on stage, give a pre-recorded video (e.g. using the handphone) or even have have someone else read out your story.