We believe that planting Covenant EFC in a community allows us to be incarnational and present to the community on a daily and longer-term basis. Our conviction is that the Church is a visible institutional and communal witness to the world and a physical church building would best enable us to achieve these purposes.
Our experience with Bukit Panjang and Woodlands Centres have shown that being anchored in a community enables us to develop close ties and to support more effective outreach and engagement within the community. This is true for Covenant East, both directly as a church and also indirectly through New Life Community Services.
We are thankful that technology has allowed us to continue worshipping God as a body of Christ via online streaming in the recent pandemic. We recognise that the digital platform is here to stay and that in the future, digital engagement will be necessary and critical in all our ministries, especially Sunday Services.
Our conviction is not “either-or” but “both-and”. Physical on-site church services will continue to be core to Covenant EFC while digital online services will continue to increase in importance to allow us to reach a broader audience and meet more diverse needs of the members.
However, we are also convicted that online church services will not be a long-term substitute for the physical gathering of God’s people for congregational worship and fellowship (Heb 10:24-25). There are also large segments of our congregation (e.g. families with younger children, youth, Mandarin-Dialect seniors, etc.) that will benefit in meeting face-to-face in person.
We also believe that the next generation (TNG) need to experience in-person Sunday worship, church community and ministry in their discipleship pilgrimage. As we desire our IDMC mandate and mission to have a long-term, sustained and enduring impact, the church building is also our gift and blessing to future generations that will support their flourishing.
We have always intended our church buildings to be used as centres of outreach to the community, and not just for weekend worship services. Some examples of these are the childcare services in BPJ and the student care facilities in WDL that operate on weekdays. We also use our buildings for various community outreach events such as blessing migrant workers and foreign domestic workers among others. Going forward, we plan to grow our Silver Generation outreach that will utilize our church premises and facilities during weekdays.
We aim to build Covenant EFC into “a church without walls” where our worship centres double up as community service and ministry space that are well-utilized throughout the week. Our recently completed A&A for WDL Centre created more community-oriented space. Any future A&A and/or building projects will be designed with this intent. Covenant EFC’s presence in the community has helped us integrate and garner support for a range of related community services efforts, especially through New Life Community Services. We will build on this and ensure that all our church buildings can support such efforts.
In all our property faith journeys, the Senior Pastors’ Office (SPO) and Church Board have always endeavoured to lead by seeking the Lord’s will and direction. This has not changed because of the pandemic and global crises. While we want to be mindful and sensitive to the times, our posture is to pray earnestly and seek the Lord’s guidance at every step of the way, so that we move by divine timing.
We have also been encouraged that in the last two years of the pandemic (2020 and 2021), Covenanters continued to give nearly $4 million to the Seed Fund despite there being no fundraising efforts. Since Jan 2022, the SPO and Church Board in their regular prayer times together have also sensed the Lord’s leading through His Word and believe that it is time for us to resume our Seed Fund Faith Journey.
To answer this, we need to have a proper eschatological understanding of the end-days and what will happen when Jesus returns.
Firstly, when Jesus returns, the earth will not be destroyed and replaced by something else. Instead, it will be restored and renewed. When the Bible speaks of a new heaven and a new earth when Jesus returns (2 Pet 3:12-13; Rev 21:2), the Greek word for ‘new’ used is not ‘neo’ (which means new in time, completely new) but ‘kainos’ (which means something that is qualitatively new or restored). Therefore, the passages are not alluding to a heaven and earth that are destroyed and then replaced by heaven and earth that will be newly created. Instead, they are both speaking of the current heaven and earth passing from one condition to another (parachomai), and being qualitatively renewed (kainos) to their full glory.
Based on this understanding then, what we do on earth now, matters. As Christians, we are often reminded to bless the communities where we live (Phil 2:15; Col 4:5–6; 1 Thess 4:11–12; Tit 2:9–10). Hence, the work we do now, the relationships we build now, and the places we grow roots in now will continue on in a glorified manner when Jesus returns.
It is natural to want to wait until there is a specific building or land in sight before we decide to give to the Seed Fund. However, so many times in the Bible, we are encouraged by examples of different ones choosing to obey God’s prompting first, before seeing God’s plans unveil before their eyes.
This is not about mere blind obedience or having a lack of prudence, but rather about a robust faith that is anchored on God’s faithfulness to Covenant EFC all these years. His track record of leading us, growing us and using us for His kingdom purposes gives us confidence that when we choose to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7), the Lord is pleased and will reveal to us great and mighty things (Jer 33:3).
At every stage of the journey, the church leadership conscientiously chooses to seek the Lord first before taking the next step, so that we do not become presumptuous with God. When He does call us to venture into uncharted territory, we do not want to be held back by fears. We want to walk with boldness and radical obedience to God, trusting that from a human perspective, it may seem impossible, but “with God, all things are possible” (Matt 19:26).
In our discipleship journey, there will be times when we face disappointments and discouragement. But we believe that even delays and detours are part of God’s plans. The crucial thing then is to have the right spiritual posture to know that while we cannot determine the outcome, we can determine to “devote our hearts to Him and stretch out our hands to Him” (Job 11:13), so that we continue to trust in His will and His timing.
Although we are understandably disappointed at not having gotten Bedok-101, we also see that it was a necessary journey that galvanized the leadership and the whole church in collective prayer and united action. As a leadership team, we learned to act in unison and with conviction, transparency and integrity. Throughout the process, our eyes were always on our faithful God and we trusted in His intervention and timing. Although we did not secure Bedok-101, we did receive the tremendous favour of God in Covenanters’ generous giving to the Seed Fund, which continued even in the last two years of the pandemic, for which we are grateful. We are also hopeful because this has placed us in a strong financial position to be ready to step into the next opportunity that we believe the Lord would lead us into.
Sign up for our fortnightly newsletter to get news and updates delivered directly to your inbox.
This is an opportunity for you to share with us your story and your faith journey. Please send it to us in .docx (Microsoft Word) format, and include a picture.
Copyright © CovenantEFC. All rights reserved.