Pause and Reflect
2022 is coming to an end, and before we begin the new year, it would be helpful to pause and reflect on this past year.
It has been a busy year in the life of the church, and it certainly is ending on a rather different note from when we started. At the start of 2022 for example, we were still limited by a number of regulations regarding our corporate gatherings. However, most recently, we were able to celebrate Christmas together without restrictions on numbers, could join our voices in singing and could even have a time of feasting together.
God also provided for us by adding new elders, a new family ministry pastor and a ministry apprentice to our pastoral staff team.
LEARN ABOUT GOD
We thank God for these, and more in 2022. Here at the GBC communications team, we’d also like to reflect on this year in order to thank God for His provisions for us as a church. It was a year where we learnt more about God together as a congregation. We recited all 52 questions and answers in the New City Catechism, which focused on the key doctrines that Christians ought to know about the faith. This is a helpful resource and it certainly is something worth going back to.
We also had a total of five sermon series, beginning with a series on prayer, that taught us how to adore God, confess our sins, thank Him and present our supplications to Him. We also had a prayer devotional to accompany the series and help us to practise what we’ve learnt.
Next we worked through Genesis, and saw God’s faithfulness and grace through the generations as He sought to preserve and redeem a people for Himself. This formed a helpful context, as we moved to see how God’s promises were fulfilled in Christ in Galatians. Galatians taught us time and time again, that there is only one Gospel, and adding or removing from it makes it false.
Our Lenten series, The Servant Saviour, walked through the gospel of Mark, and taught us about Jesus’ life and how He came to fulfill God’s promise to redeem His people. Our recent Advent series in Psalms 96 to 100 prepared our hearts for Christmas, by showing us why we have many reasons to rejoice in Christ this Christmas.
Apart from the regular Sunday services, we had many opportunities to deepen our understanding of God’s nature and work through the various platforms and ministries in church. In particular, our EQUIP trainings had a packed schedule in 2022. Apart from going through core doctrines that are always important for Christians to know, the team also had sessions that delved into more specific topics. There was a parenting series, which sought to equip our parents to disciple and care for the children whom God has entrusted them with. There was also a special session on God’s good design for gender and how Christians can think about and relate to the world around us.
LIVE OUT HIS COMMANDS
2022 was also a year where we learnt to live out His commands. The relaxation of COVID restrictions as the year progressed allowed us to not only sing God’s praises congregationally, but also resume gathering together as one service on Sundays. As a church, we had to rebuild some disciplines that were disrupted, but it is a precious opportunity after a period of social distancing. One such effort is also the Reformation Concert, which was the first concert since 2018. This churchwide effort sought to encourage our members to sing out God’s wonderful truth.
Throughout the week, different ones in church continued to meet up to study God’s word together and more of such gatherings took place in person, instead of virtually. Our care groups have been faithfully seeking to obey Hebrews 10:24-25, and this past year, the various groups worked through Genesis and Galatians as it was preached over the pulpit. Through this regular meeting of God’s people, members sought to further understand and apply God’s word. We are thankful also that new groups were started. We continue to pray and trust God to raise up more leaders for new groups, so that more members can be a part of the important work of spurring one another on in faith and good deeds.
Our ladies have also been meeting faithfully through the various Bible study groups – Mums Connect, Friday Bible Study and Precepts. They also had a chance to gather as a ministry over two Saturdays in 2022 at the Women of Grace events. The first allowed them to get to know one another and the second sought to deepen relationships by helping one another bear burdens and persevere in Christ.
What we’ve mentioned here is only a tiny fraction of all that goes on in the life of the church. Every day, there are many instances of members meeting each other in formal and informal discipling relationships. Members have been open to inviting other church members into their houses, or been willing to be invited to others’ house. We have been heartened to hear about some of these at our congregational meetings, prayer meetings and even in conversations. This is really something to be thankful for in 2022—that God’s church is being the church throughout the week.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER
Love is a mark of Jesus’ disciples (c.f. Jn 13:31-35) and we’ve had opportunities to do that in 2022. In His providence, God brought new members to our church, so that we “are not lacking in any gift, as (we) wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:7). Each new member is a precious reminder that God is at work in our world to redeem sinners to Himself, and how He also places us in His family for our good.
Resuming church activities meant that there were many needs and ministries that needed volunteers, and different ones in church stepped up to teach our children, provide childcare, help prepare coffee and tea every Sunday, welcome visitors and members etc. It was also heartening to see church members support our youths at their recent camp—by providing meals, coming down to help in discussions, or even trusting the leaders with their children for the duration of the camp. This is a wonderful picture of love in action. There are still many areas in church that need help, and you can refer to our ministry guide or write to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more about ministry opportunities.
Our church also had the chance to share this love with the community. A team has been faithfully reaching out to the guest workers throughout COVID and continue to seek to build relationships with them. In the month of December, we were able to restart some of our initiatives with Gladiolus Place and partnered with the Chinese Congregation to reach out to the community in MacPherson.
We are also thankful for the chance to love those beyond our church and even beyond our shores. 2022 presented us with opportunities to partner with other churches in Singapore. From August to December this year, a team of pastors, elders and members from GBC has been preaching at ACTS Baptist Church. Our missions trips to Pua resumed this year, and so far two trips have been made to Kathy’s Home, with more planned for next year.
What a year it has been, with many things that we can be thankful to God for together, as God’s church. Let us take time to thank Him not only for His good gifts, but also to adore Him for who He is! He is our sovereign and wise God, who is in control of all things and has also lovingly and mercifully saved us and placed us in His church. May our knowledge and experience of Him in 2022 encourage us to persevere and know Him more in 2023!
As you read through this long recap of the year, what kind of a year did you have personally? We leave you with some reflection questions too, to help you to reflect on 2022, and move on in 2023:
- What did you learn about God as you sat through the various sermons and Bible studies?
- How have you lived out His commands? Are there areas of your life that you need to repent of sin and turn back to God in obedience and faith?
- Who are the people that God has placed in your life to love? Are there ways that you can learn to receive love from the community?
More in Church Blog
March 29, 2023Installation of Elders (March 2023)
March 28, 2023Together in the Truth (Part 2)
March 21, 2023Partnership with First Baptist Church of Bandung