From Australia to Singapore – the Spirit lives

In October 2019 I travelled to Singapore to offer a teaching seminar for pastors and church workers of the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS). The seminar was on the Person and work of the Spirit in mission, and was based on some of the material in a new book ‘Spirit Filled: Normal Christian Living (written by myself and Steen Olsen). In addition to the seminar, I was able to confer with the Bishop, Terry Kee, and others of the LCS, and then preached at a large celebration event for Reformation Sunday. The preaching, also related to the theme, was based on the text “it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” (Jn. 16:7 ESV).

The Spirit is doing great work in the LCS and while the Singaporean situation is unique (in geography and cultural mix) we should not let that detract from the things we might learn for our Australian context. There were many blessings and I found much to be encouraged about from this visit.

The LCS has been creative and adaptive in problem solving, not least around infrastructure and the interdenominational work that is then enabled (see for example, the remarkable development called Jurong Christian Church). This gives them enormous scope for local mission and great flexibility around the use of facilities.

The LCS has embedded local mission into the heart of their work which spills over to evangelistic mission work in other parts of South East Asia. The leadership and focus of Bishop Terry and Martin Yee (to name just two key leaders) in this area is crucial. Significantly, both of these men are adult converts to the faith. Reaping the harvest is in their DNA.

Apartment living is on the increase in Australia cities. Neighbourhoods look different in multi-storey high rise apartment buildings (e.g. the Vertical Village Project in Sydney). The LCS can teach us how to live among these communities in a different way. How the church engages is different and new skills of church engagement will be needed. The harvest is still plentiful. In Australian cities already, and increasingly in the future, we will need to learn from those who have spent decades of gospel work in such places.

The nature of ministry and evangelism in the LCS is fundamentally inter-cultural. While that has been their lived reality since their inception, we are soon to follow. Our local mission will need to be cross cultural, as 50% of Australia’s population are now one generation or less in the land. There will no longer be a ‘landlord/tenant’ relationship between the core Anglo group and others who use our premises. A new relationship will develop: a combined, mutual learning community in leadership, ministry, mission and fellowship.

This visit to Singapore was a mutual experience of being subject to one another in the Spirit, sharing together in one Word. The blessings went both ways. We have a lot to learn from them and I was both blessed and humbled to be amongst them. I came away deeply encouraged. I hope they were too!

If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email For more information, go to

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