Aldersgate Convention 2011
One simple message – and 21 respond to the altar call at Evangelistic Rally
TWENTY-ONE PEOPLE RESPONDED TO CHRIST at the Aldersgate Evangelistic Rally at Toa Payoh Methodist Church (TPMC) on May 21. is was all the more cause for celebration as it was the first time that an evangelistic rally has been held as part of the current series of the annual Aldersgate Convention.
The Rev Dr Eddie Fox, the World Evangelism Director of the World Methodist Council, shared powerfully that God had said “Yes” to us through Christ, and encouraged our “Yes” response in return.
It was a simple message. e call was as plain as could be, and 21 people went forward in response to his altar call at the end of his message entitled “Christ Jesus – God’s ‘Yes’ to the World”.
The Evangelistic Rally was the second event of the five-segment Aldersgate Convention 2011. With the theme “Go and Tell: Proclaiming the Gospel Today”, the convention opened with the well-loved Hymn Festival on May 20, put together by the Methodist School of Music to help proclaim the Gospel – in song.
The third event was the Aldersgate Service on May 22 at which the Rev Dr Fox delivered his sermon entitled “Ambassadors of the Good News”. The next morning, he spoke to the pastors at a session specially arranged for them, and in the evening, gave the Aldersgate Lecture, which touched on “ The Wesleyan Way of Revival”.
The Evangelistic Rally began in a tranquil mood, assisted by musical accompanists rendering hymn instrumentals on the violin and piano. It began slightly after 5 pm when a youthful team from TPMC led those gathered in singing familiar hymns and songs of praise such as “Amazing Grace”.
A team of eight girls and women from TPMC’s Miriam Joy Dance group presented an item to the song “Testify To Love” by Avalon. Mr Steven Chia, a TV news presenter who worships at the Holland Village Preaching Point, testified how God’s provision of children had changed his life, while Ms Cheong Sze Chen presented a song item, “So You Would Come”, depicting God’s Fatherly love and sacrifice for us – His children.
Bishop Dr Robert Solomon then introduced the Rev Dr Fox, whom he described as an “infectious evangelist”, as the speaker for the evening, to warm applause.
The Rev Dr Fox noted that as Methodists we do not celebrate the birthday or death-day of our founder, John Wesley, but rather his “experience day” – referring to Wesley’s “strangely warmed heart” encounter with the Holy Spirit at Aldersgate Street in London that May 24, 1738 evening.
Then, plunging right into the Scripture text for his message, the well-known American evangelist read out 2 Cor. 5:17-19 and 2 Cor. 1:18-20 animatedly, encouraging the congregation to respond with “Amen!”
He spoke for 40 minutes but because it was such a lively message delivered in an engaging style, the time he spent speaking seemed to have lasted only a short while.
He shared about Jesus, the fulfilment of God’s promises as laid out in the Bible and the key to life itself. He outlined how our identity as Christians is made firm by the identity of the One who made the promise – God.
“Jesus is the Good News,” he said in a booming voice. “We need some good news. We look for that, we long for that.
“Christ Jesus is the ‘Yes’ to all of God’s promises, that’s the Good News.
“What do you do to a God who says ‘Yes’ to you first?”
Among the promises the Rev Dr Fox brought up as examples were those of Jesus assuring us that He is “with [us] always” (Matt. 28:20), and that we “will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on [us]” (Acts 1:8). He then explained that Jesus enables those of us looking for life, truth or wholeness to respond to God’s promises to us – to say “Yes!” to new life, healing and forgiveness.
In rounding up, he likened God’s promises through Christ Jesus to a cheque made out to us by God, pledging “Eternal life”. In order to claim what has been written on the cheque, we need to “bank it in” by placing our life in God’s hands and He will then return it to us so we can “spend it for Him”.
The Rev Dr Fox then issued altar calls encouraging all who wished to respond “Yes” to God’s eternal “Yes” to come forward for prayer during the singing of the closing song.
Twenty-one people gradually made their way forward to dedicate or re-dedicate their lives to Christ, many of whom had been invited by their Methodist friends. ey have been channelled to our churches in various locations for counselling and other follow-up sessions for them to get to know Christ better.
It was indeed a joyous close to the Aldersgate Evangelistic Rally 2011!
Story: Peter Teo and Grace Toh ■ Methodist Message pictures: Daniel Lie
Peter Teo is the Editor of Methodist Message and Grace Toh is the Assistant Editor.