“Missionary zeal does not grow out of intellectual beliefs, nor out of theological arguments, but out of love,” noted Roland Allen, a British missionary in the 20th century. For the past 25 years, it is this love that has driven and continues to drive the work of the Methodist Missions Society (MMS) of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS).
“The mission mandate that we endeared in the Methodist Missions Society originated in the heart of God,” wrote the late Rev Dr Clarence Lim, Founding Director of MMS, in the June 2005 issue of Harvest Force. He added: “[God’ s] heart for the nations is clearly enunciated in numerous Scriptures.”
Missionary zeal was also a hallmark of John Wesley’ s ministry after his heart-warming revival experience at Aldersgate. The late Rev Dr Lim continued in his message: “Convinced that people needed Christ, [John Wesley] went beyond the confines of the homes and churches of his day by preaching to the ‘ down and out’ – the unreached and neglected people.
“As believers in Christ in the Wesleyan tradition, we are called to regard the ‘ world as our parish’ as we invest our lives for the redemption of the world by affirming God’ s mandate for our mission.”
The primary mission of MMS is to establish indigenous churches where none currently exist1, in line with the Apostle Paul’ s ambition to “preach the gospel where Christ was not known” (Romans 15:20). MMS’ first five fields were Cambodia, East Asia, Thailand, Vietnam and Nepal, with Timor-Leste and Laos being added later. These countries had no Methodist presence at the time when MMS began ministries there.
In achieving its mission, MMS works closely with and supports the efforts of local Methodist churches. Indeed, its founding Constitution states that “The object of the Society shall be to initiate, encourage and develop missions awareness and involvement in the local churches by participating, wherever possible, in their missions programmes and projects.”2
It is therefore fitting that among the celebratory events for its 25th anniversary, MMS seeks to equip the local churches in their mission efforts through “Catching The Urban Wave”, a missions conference to be held on 20 Aug 2016 at Trinity Theological College (see sidebar). Speakers include Mr Joseph Chean, National Director of Youth With A Mission, and the Rev Dr Gordon Wong, President of Trinity Annual Conference.
Other 25th anniversary initiatives include a Thanksgiving Service (see sidebar) on 19 Aug 2016 – where a new logo and new book on MMS’ story is slated to be launched –and the refreshing of MMS’ vision, mission and core values.
As the first home-grown denomination-based missionary sending agency in Singapore, MMS is clearly not resting on its laurels – and neither are the churches it has planted. Wesley Bardan Methodist Church (WBMC) in Nepal, for instance, has recently established two new preaching points in Farsidole (Lalitpur District) and Haldey (Kavre District). WBMC has planted four churches and preaching points in the past 14 years – with a multiplier effect as one of the churches, Phulbari Methodist Church, has gone on to start its own preaching points.
To continue in its commitment to “make and multiply disciples in every nation, tribe, people and language”, MMS needs your help and support. In this 25th anniversary year for MMS, how will you answer the following questions3?
* Not “Will I pray?” but “How much have I prayed?”
* Not “Will I give?” but “How am I strategising to give more?”
* Not “Am I willing to go?” but “Where am I now investing my life for the redemption and transformation of the world, God’ s world?”
Timeline with the following milestones:
* 1975 – The MCS launches Mission Endowment Fund at its 90th anniversary
* 1989 – Study Committee on Missions Agency and Policy set up
* 1991 – MMS officially inaugurated, becomes full agency of the MCS
* 2016 – MMS celebrates its 25th anniversary
Celebrate with MMS its 25th anniversary!
* Attend the Thanksgiving Service on 19 Aug 2016 (Fri), 7 p.m., at the Trinity Theological College Chapel –
Register at http://tinyurl.com/mmsts2016 for catering purposes
* Register for the “Catching The Urban Wave” Missions Conference on 20 Aug 2016 (Sat), 8.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m., at Trinity Theological College-
– Fee $20 (including conference material, lunch and tea breaks).Register at http://tinyurl.com/mmsmc2016
* Pray for MMS
– For open doors and more opportunities for our mission work to be carried out in the different fields. Pray also for MMS to stay focused, faithful and fruitful in fulfilling God’ s mandate for missions.
* Go on a mission trip with your local church
– The timeless message of the redeeming work of the Risen Christ must be proclaimed and God is counting on us to be part of His harvest force. During the trip, allow God to grow the burden and vision within you.
* Find out more about work in MMS’ mission fields
– Cambodia –firstname.lastname@example.org
– East Asia –email@example.com
– Laos –firstname.lastname@example.org
– Nepal –email@example.com
– Thailand –firstname.lastname@example.org
– Timor-Leste –email@example.com
– Vietnam –firstname.lastname@example.org
Methodist Missions Society Address: 70 Barker Road, #06-01, the Methodist Centre, Singapore 309936
Tel: 6478-4818 Website: www.mms.org.sg
Photos courtesy of Methodist Missions Society
1 The Book of Discipline of The Methodist Church in Singapore, Para 371.1.
2Appendix 3 to the MMS report under the Council of Missions, at the 5th Session General Conference of The Methodist Church in Singapore, 1992.
3 Drawn from the late Rev Dr Clarence Lim’s Director’s Message in the November 2005 issue of Harvest Force.
Grace Toh –is Assistant Editor of Methodist Message. She put this article together with valuable input from the Rev Philip Lim Kian Leong, Executive Director of Methodist Missions Society.