|Republic of Singapore|
Area 648 sq.km. One larger and many smaller islands off the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia, and strategically located for communications and trade.
Capital City state. Urbanites 100%. Singapore is Asia's cleanest and greenest city.
Multi-racial and multi-lingual society.
Chinese 77%. Language origin: Hokkien 1mill.; Teochew 530,000; Cantonese 420,000; Hakka 170,000; Hainanese 170,000; and others.
Malay 14.1%. Both of Malay and Indonesian origin.
Indian 7.6%. 95% speak English. Ethnic origin: Tamil 130,000; Malayali 16,000; Panjabi 16,000; Bengali 14,000; Sindhi 6,000; Hindi 6,000. Also 35,000 Indian migrant labourers.
Other 1.3%. Filipino 60,000; Thai 35,000; Japanese 20,000; Sri Lankan 12,000; Indonesian 12,000; Korean 3,000; Jews 300.
Literacy 90%. Official languages Mandarin (Chinese), English, Malay, and Tamil Indian. English is the primary language for education. All languages 24.
Post-independence growth to become one of the world's wealthiest and most efficient trading and financial centres. HDI 0.888; 22nd/174. Public debt None. Income/person $32,810 (105% of USA).
British rule 1824-1959. Autonomy 1959-63. Part of the Malaysian Federation 1963-65. Independent as a parliamentary democracy in 1965. The strong, paternalistic government of Prime Minister Lee and his successor Goh Chok Tong, have provided direction and stability for spectacular economic growth. The government has wide-ranging powers to limit dissent. While not always applied, legislation is in place which restricts freedom of expression and the press.
Freedom of religion, but concerns to maintain ethnic and religious harmony are expressed in legislation limiting public proclamation of religious belief. All religions are enjoined not to be involved in politics.
1 The growth of the Church in Singapore since 1970 has been high. In 1970, affiliated Christians were 6.8% of the population, but by 2000 this had become 13.1%. Over the same period Evangelicals grew from 1.8% to 7.8% with the greatest growth among Methodists, charismatic churches and several Pentecostal denominations.
2 The responsiveness of the educated. Rapid social change, economic development and widespread use of English have been contributing factors. The population is nearly 15% Christian, but among university students it is 33.5% and it is even higher among medical students. Christians have an influence in society larger than their national percentage.
3 The revitalizing of traditional denominations. Methodists, Presbyterians and others are largely evangelical. The Anglican Church is strongly evangelical and charismatic. Many churches have moved over to, or started out as, 'cell churches' whose influence has spread to many countries.
4 Singapore has become a key Christian base and mission-sending country. About 457 cross-cultural missionaries are serving the Lord almost one missionary to each Protestant/Independent/Anglican church one of the best ratios in the world.
1 Church growth peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s but has since slowed. Goals for growth by 2000 were not attained and young people are becoming less responsive. Pray for a new faith, vision and dynamism to characterize the Church in the new millennium.
a) Coping with affluence while maintaining a spiritual cutting edge, and using wealth effectively for God's Kingdom. Many young Christians become inactive once they marry and become enmeshed in the materialistic rat-race.
b) Handling restrictive government legislation limiting outreach. Christians need sensitivity in Singapore's multi-faith context, but also boldness to stand firm when fundamental issues of freedom of religion are challenged.
d) Unity among churches. The Love Singapore Movement has been a means of drawing churches together. There is great expectation of a significant harvest of people into the Kingdom from 2001 onwards. The Union of Chinese-speaking Christian Churches of Singapore brings together the Chinese-speaking congregations.
e) Mobilization. Creative ways of releasing more long-term workers must be found. Compulsory military service for men, career concerns in a competitive society and cultural perceptions about overseas service are obstacles.
3 Bible training in the 16 seminaries, Bible schools and missions training schools is becoming a key ministry for Christians all over Asia. Worthy of particular mention are the Singapore Bible College, Trinity Theological College, Theological Centre for Asia, Tung Ling Bible School and the specifically missions-preparation institutions of YWAM, Asian Cross-Cultural Training Institute, Discipleship Training Centre and Bethany School of Missions. The Haggai Institute has provided stimulating short-term courses for pastors and Christian workers from all over the world, especially Asia and Africa. Some churches run their own theological training programmes. Pray that graduates of these may have the endurance and faith for long-term service at home and abroad.
4 Young people have been the most responsive segment of the population but there is a growing problem with alienated youth from dysfunctional backgrounds. Many youth ministries such as Eagles Evangelism, Youth for Christ, the Boys' Brigade and others have a decisive impact. Among undergraduates, over 34% are involved with FES(IFES), CCCI and Navigators groups. Pray for continued relevance, freshness and spiritual power in ministry to the rising generation of youth. Pray also that all those discipled might be well integrated into local churches.
5 The blossoming of missions vision in Singapore is cause for much praise. The seminal impact of OM and its ship ministry was a significant factor. The Singapore Centre for Evangelism and Missions has played a catalytic role in unifying and mobilizing the Singaporean missions enterprise. A large minority of churches have active missions programmes. Singaporean missionaries overseas increased from 140 in 1988 to an estimated 386 in 2000. About half of all congregations send their missionaries direct to the field. Many others serve with international missions such as YWAM (49), OMF (34), CCCI (33), WEC (30), OM (32), WBT (27), Navigators (18) and SIM (16). Pray specifically for:
a) The Malay population. All are considered Muslim by birth, and for years the community was economically isolated. Christians of other ethnic groups are hesitant to evangelize for fear of upsetting inter-communal relationships. Less than 100 active Christian Malays are known. Pray for the removal of all psychological, political and spiritual barriers to the gospel. Drug addiction is a major problem among Malay young people.
b) The Indian population is 55% Hindu 25.6% Muslim, 5% Sikh and 12% Christian. There is very little outreach to the Muslims or the Gujarati, Sindhi, Hindi and Bengali-speaking communities with origins in North India. The Christian community has many lively churches, but is only keeping pace with population growth. Pray that the many linguistic and religious barriers within the Indian population may be lowered.
c) Migrant workers have greatly increased. Some Singaporean churches reach out to Filipinos, Thai, Burmese and Japanese. There is a Foreign Christian Workers' Fellowship pray for the right strategies for evangelism, follow-up and integration of converts into local and home churches. There are lively churches among Filipinos, Koreans and Indonesians. The challenge is outreach to the migrant Indians (0.5% Christian), Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans.
7 Singapore is a strategic and stable base for Christian ministries and outreach with its dynamic missions-minded Church and unrivalled facilities. Most expatriate missionaries based in Singapore are involved in international ministry. Various key international organizations have their headquarters there World Evangelical Fellowship (WEF), Evangelical Fellowship for Asia, YFC, OMF, etc. Many others have important hubs of ministry notably the UBS, SU, ASeF, Navigators, IMB-SBC, TLM, OM, SIM, WEC, SIL/WBT, YWAM, etc. Pray that Singapore may be a means of blessing the many less-evangelized nations and peoples around it.
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