Aldersgate SG is organised by The Methodist Church in Singapore to commemorate Methodism’s founder John Wesley’s experience of assurance by the Holy Spirit on 24 May 1738. Through this annual event, the Methodist family reunites to celebrate the values of compassion and discipline of our rich Wesleyan heritage, and be inspired anew to serve God through social action, evangelism and discipleship.
That evening in 1738, discouraged by his Anglican brothers’ rejection of his enthusiastic preaching of the gospel, Wesley went to a meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, with a heavy heart. Hearing Martin Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans being read, his heart was “strangely warmed”. Wesley described the stirring of his heart as: “I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” He was convicted that the Christian life involved knowing Jesus Christ personally, and not just knowing about Him.
Wesley began preaching the gospel with renewed vigour and evangelistic fervour to all who would listen. He formed societies to help Christians grow in their walk with God and one another. He became deeply engaged with social justice issues of his time. The movement he started in the Church of England would later become known as Methodism.
John Wesley and Missions
“I want the whole Christ for my Saviour, the whole Bible for my book, the whole Church for my fellowship and the whole world for my mission field.”—John Wesley
Obeying Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28:19 to “make disciples of all nations”, Wesley started spreading the gospel beyond the confines of the Church of England. His relentless efforts in evangelism led to the mission movement and church planting in England, America and around the world.
Mission of God’s People
Chris Wright, the author of The Mission of God, writes that that one cannot change society without changing individuals, while transformed individuals will not idle in a society that is desperately needing justice and mercy.
Wright cites examples of the mission work by early Methodists that transformed souls and societies. The early Methodists were actively involved in God’s mission, preaching the gospel and bringing individuals to repentance, growing the church population and nurturing them to be disciples of Jesus Christ, perfecting them in the love of God. They also brought about social transformation by setting up schools and clinics, establishing ministries to the marginalised, and speaking against social ills such as slavery and alcohol abuse. Wesley’s commitment to Methodism and sacrifice towards realising his vision of making the world his parish have impacted generations till today.
As Methodists, we too must continue to have a missionary will, whether by going, giving or praying. It is a mandate (not an option) for the Methodist Church to be a missional church, to actively participate in missions.
During the GoForth National Missions Conference in June 2018, Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon shared that it is God who arranges the body of Christ and “puts everything together” (1 Cor 12:19 and 12:24). As followers of Christ, we are all called to be engaged in the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to take the whole gospel to the whole world—to go where the Good News has not been heard, where the church is weak, or where there is no church at all, to the poor and marginalised in cities, towns and villages. God’s mission requires the involvement of every church member, and not just clergy or full-time missionaries.
Aldersgate SG 2019
Themed “A Task Unfinished: Together in God’s Mission”, the Aldersgate SG 2019 Conference seeks to refresh, inspire and empower us to participate in God’s mission. Aligned with Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung’s quadrennial vision of “Together as one in spirit and purpose,” this year’s conference highlights the importance of Wesleyan missions, an integral part of the Methodist heritage.
The conference will be held at the Paya Lebar Methodist Church from 23 to 25 May 2019. There will be a celebration service and lectures by two keynote speakers: Bishop Emeritus Dr Hwa Yung (from the Methodist Church in Malaysia) and Bishop Emeritus Robert Solomon.
Come and be renewed in your relationship with Christ. Invite your church friends to come, learn and glean precious lessons from the Lord through our eminent speakers. If you have never been part of the Aldersgate SG, we strongly encourage you to join us this year!
Col (Ret) Quek Koh Eng is the Field & Church Engagement Director in the Methodist Missions Society (MMS), and Area Director for Thailand and Vietnam. He is a member of Charis Methodist Church and the Chairperson of the Aldersgate SG 2019 organising committee. This article was jointly written with Florence Fong, a volunteer who worships at Wesley Methodist Church.
Photos courtesy of the Paya Lebar Methodist Church Photography Team. All photos in this article are of Aldersgate SG 2018.