Bishop's Message

Urban fishers of men

Jun 2018    

During His ministry on earth, Christ preached the gospel in major towns around the Sea of Galilee as well as cities to the south, including Jericho, Bethany, and Jerusalem. He called His first disciples while they were going about their daily work – Peter and Andrew were fishing, James and John were repairing their nets, and Matthew was collecting taxes. These harvest fields of His, Jesus emphasised to the disciples, were ripe and urgently needed workers.

As the disciples obeyed, the Lord led them to bountiful harvests. After Peter and his fellow disciples had a fruitless night fishing, the resurrected Christ told them to let down their nets in deep water, and soon they had a plentiful catch of fish. In a similar vein, the Holy Spirit led Peter to preach the gospel in Jerusalem at Pentecost, and 3,000 people believed and were baptised that day, later growing to 5,000.

Where then are the “deep waters” of our age, where thousands gather and can be reached with the gospel message?

It is projected that by 2030, there will be an influx of 1 billion people into Asia’s cities. Not only will these cities become even more densely populated, rapid infrastructural developments will also cause dramatic economic, educational, and technological changes. Priority must be given to developing strategies and methods for urban evangelism.

As city dwellers, Singaporeans are familiar with urban environments and social relationships. We are well-placed to relate to our neighbours. To be even better equipped as urban fishers of men, I urge all Methodists to attend the GoForth National Missions Conference from 21 to 23 June 2018.

GoForth is a conference for all Christians, not only those who are preparing to be missionaries someday. Its multi-lingual programme includes seminars and workshops suitable for Christians of diverse language and age groups. Besides themed talks, there will be sharing by missionaries from different regions, as well as booths for missionary organisations to introduce and showcase their ministries. All these will help broaden our missionary horizons, as well as give us a better understanding of how to interact with believers of other religions.

Christ preached the gospel with such great urgency; so must we. Register for GoForth today, and invite your friends to join you.

Visit goforth.org.sg, and register by 15 June 2018.

Bishop Dr Chong Chin Chung was elected Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 2016. He served as President of the Chinese Annual Conference for two quadrennia from 2008 to 2016.

Picture by Manash Pratim Dutta/Bigstock.com

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