An Informal Conversation on the Singapore Church

Jenni Ho-Huan
5 min readJan 3, 2024
a dark sky over Singapore cityscape with lit iconic buildings
Mike Enerio, Unsplash

So my friend who teaches at one of our Bible Colleges and I had a convo about concerns and issues in the SG church and society.

As a city pastor, this is a question I carry around within me as I pray, read, observe, and listen. The conversation is a personal exchange over zoom, but the discussion is worth taking note of. So, here is a sorta record of what we shared:

First, the good stuff:

1. we have more data

We are learning to observe and use our well-schooled skills to churn out information and cultivate exchanges. From the state of the family to the FOPx report and others, we have more information that allows for more thoughtful engagement and nuanced understanding.

2. we are still mostly passionate

O yes. Things are persevering: LoveSingapore for example (thirty years!). New things are sprouting: Antioch 21, movements and causes for families, Men & Fatherhood, Mothering, Homeschooling, and plenty of ground-up initiatives (mostly outside local churches though) such as the Open Home Network, Home for Good, and more…

And when I am tempted to be discouraged, God has whispered: my children work hard.

But are we working wisely and well for a durable and expansive future? To do so, we have some Concerns and Issues to address:

  1. Are we looking under the hood and diving deeply enough?

Singaporeans are by and large pragmatic, which colludes with our market-social-welfare society to create consumers who want cheap, fast options. This is the water we all swim in. Are we aware of what it does to us and how it should inform our discipleship? The tendency is to spot-respond to crisis and challenges by scanning the horizons for programs that will set our people straight. “Reaching out? Alpha works.” (It does, but it sits atop of other essentials, and I don’t mean the meal). “We need church to be safe space” — what does this mean and how do we get there?

2. What does it mean to pastor?

I have noticed that we don’t seem to have clarity about the core essence of this important and influential role. Those from traditions have liturgical processes often well-worded and soon…