Singapore Church hosts Movement Day Asia Cities for the first time
Emilyn Tan // October 5, 2022, 4:40 pm
Some 500 leaders from across the Asian Church and marketplace will come together to prayerfully seek the Lord for lasting Gospel transformation in their cities. Photo by Kirill Petropavlov on Unsplash.
When “gentle prompting” becomes “strong sensing”, it is clear the Holy Spirit is nudging something along, discovered the organisers of Movement Day Asia Cities (MDAC).
The two-day invitation-only event will see some 500 leaders from across the Asian Church and marketplace coming together to prayerfully seek the Lord for lasting Gospel transformation in their cities, and then return to where they came from to obey Jesus’ leading as one body, working together.
Taking place this Thursday and Friday (October 6 and 7) at Church Of Our Saviour and Church of the Good Shepherd, MDAC is spearheaded by the two sons of the late Canon James Wong, Timothy and Jonathan.
Catalyst for change
The Movement Day event has been at least four years in the making, the brothers told Salt&Light.
As early as 2018, Movement Day co-founder Dr Mac Pier had expressed keen interest in Singapore as a host city because of it being “a key global city with outsized influence”.
“Singapore can play a role in being a catalyst.”
He believed that the “Antioch of Asia” was well-positioned to facilitate the spreading of the Gospel, as well as to unite churches and develop young leaders in cities throughout the region – exactly what Movement Day was all about.
Jonathan’s “original sensing was that Singapore already had a lot of strong unity movements and networks and did not need another ‘thing’.” He was thinking of local entities like the National Council of Churches, the Alliance of Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches, Love Singapore and Festival of Praise, to name a few.
Nonetheless, “whilst the idea did not resonate initially, there was a gentle prompting from the Holy Spirit to continue to track with Mac on this”, said the Church of the Good Shepherd pastor.
That “track” was extended when Timothy, while attending a gathering for Movement Day at the Museum of the Bible in Washington DC, came across a prayer booklet for Indian cities.
He said: “It dawned on me that whilst Singapore may not need a Movement Day, the rest of Asia needs one, and that Singapore can play a role in being a catalyst for this.”
Steps of faith
Timothy, a veteran banker who is the current Group Head of Research with DBS, then shared this idea with his brother, and their synergy led to Dr Pier being invited to the Love Singapore pastors’ prayer summit in January 2019.
“It takes the whole Church, taking the whole Gospel, to impact the whole city.”
In 2020, a small team was convened “to pray and process what a Movement Day expression would look like in Singapore”, and an event was piloted in 2021.
Explained Jonathan: “The unique aspect of Movement Day is that it seeks to bring all stakeholders around the table to pray and ideate around Gospel transformation in the city.
“This has the potential to lead to a greater sense of ownership. It takes the whole Church, taking the whole Gospel, to impact the whole city.”
The success of the 2021 pilot – held virtually due to Covid-19 restrictions – did not automatically mean a full-blown, in-person gathering was the next step.
The decision to proceed only came with the passing of their father, Canon James Wong, on April 8, 2022.
A harvest of plenty
Timothy shared: “As we went through the wake and funeral services, we realised that a Movement Day expression for cities across Asia really encapsulated much of what he was passionate about in the course of his life’s work.”
Canon James’ passion for evangelism throughout Asia was such that he took a year’s sabbatical in 1978 to organise the Asia Lausanne Conference on Evangelism in Singapore.
Seemingly tireless, he also positioned himself as a link to bring the church and marketplace together and held lunchtime Bible studies in the Central Business District for many years. He was additionally an advisor to the Full Gospel Businessman’s Fellowship (now called Gatekeepers) in Singapore.
This, on top of his work as a full-time clergyman.
“There was a strong sense that the hand of the Lord was on all this.”
“Hence, we felt a strong prompting to undertake this task to have Singapore host the Movement Day Asia cities gathering,” Timothy continued.
“We also found it somewhat providential that our father was called home to the Lord just before the Easter week – the biblical Festival of First Fruits.”
The lead-up Movement Day Singapore UnConference was held on May 4 (Festival of Pentecost), and MDAC was slated for October 6 and 7 – the week before the Feast of Tabernacles, “which represents the ingathering of the final harvest”.
“There was a strong sense that the hand of the Lord was on all this.”
Furthermore, the meeting venues were both churches that were used mightily by God in the early days of the charismatic renewal of the 1970s. “They are also located prophetically at the head waters of the Singapore River.
“Hence there was a strong sense of God’s providence on this,” said Timothy.
Plenary speakers for MDAC 2022 are Jim Yost, Discipleship and Discovery of Bible Learning Mentor, and Asiri Fernando of Youth For Christ, Sri Lanka.
Singapore’s Philip Ng, Far East Organization CEO, and Rev Edmund Chan, Global Alliance of Intentional Disciple Making Church founder, will also be featured.
Movement.org‘s Dr Pier and Tom White, Global Leader Team Leader for the South Asia, are among the breakout discussions’ facilitators, as are Director of Movement Day South Asia Mark Visvasam and Rev Dr Anton Tarigan, Chairman of Movement Day Indonesia.
As if to add further confirmation that they were on the right track, God seemed to be ahead of the MDAC team in bringing about a Singapore foundation that would subsidise the accommodation for leaders coming in from around Asia.
Many of these continue to face difficult financial circumstances as a result of the impact of Covid on their cities, but “we felt strongly that we needed to make it possible for everyone who needed to be in Singapore for this gathering, regardless of their financial resources”, the Wong brothers declared.
God also moved on the hearts of several individuals to give sacrificially, including that of an intercessor who sowed the funds meant for her housing deposit into the MDAC gathering.
“On the day of Pentecost, it took just 120 believers gathered and empowered to turn the whole Roman world upside down. We are praying that this will happen in cities all over Asia and leaders return inspired and renewed in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
From their readings through the books of Acts, Timothy and Jonathan affirmed: “We believe that the Holy Spirit will inspire leaders from across cities in Asia to gather the body of Christ in upper rooms, and from there for the Holy Spirit to empower them to reach their ‘Jerusalem, Judea and Samarias’.”
Movement Day Asia Cities is a by-invitation only event. However, the closing worship celebration on Friday, October 7, 7pm, at Church Of Our Saviour, is open to all. More information is available at the movementday.asia website.
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