Partners in His Service

This article was originally posted in our June 2018 Word@Work.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.”—Ecclesiastes 4:9 (ESV)

Well-known 17th century commentator Matthew Henry remarked, “[Two] are better than one, and more happy jointly than either of them could be separately, more pleased in one another than they could be in themselves only, mutually serviceable to each other’s welfare, and by a united strength more likely to do good to others”.

Henry’s words aptly describe the joy and fruits of the camaraderie that the Bible Society (BSS) enjoys in partnering with others to further Christ’s Kingdom through the Bible Mission. With the help and support of churches, Christian organisations and faithful individuals, the knowledge of God and His Word is spread to more communities more effectively, impacting and transforming more lives than before.

Fulfilling the Great Commission together

The Bible Mission—to make God’s Word known to all people—arose out of the Great Commission that our Lord gave to the universal Church. Being called the pillars of truth whose primary task is to proclaim the Gospel to the world (1 Tim 3:15; Mk 3:10), local churches are therefore vital partners of BSS in the Bible Mission.

One key example of this partnership is the Bible Society Sunday programme, which began in 1915. Churches of various denominations work with BSS in holding Bible Society Sundays in their churches to raise awareness of and support for the Bible Mission among their members. One of our faithful partners the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) of the Methodist Church in Singapore, with whom we have been organising Bible Society Sundays for several decades.

BSS also enjoys partnerships with different local churches in a variety of other initiatives, such as:

  • Collaborating with the Anglican Diocese of Singapore to organise the Living Word Conferences
  • Working with the Trinity Annual Conference and CAC of the Methodist Church in Singapore to host the D6 Family Conferences
  • Partnering with the Presbyterian Church in Singapore to coordinate fundraising efforts for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

These efforts not only foster a greater love and hunger for God’s Word among local churches, but also open up more avenues for them to taking part in sharing and demonstrating its power among the peoples they minister to.

Serving local and global communities together

BSS also has valuable partners in various other local Christian organisations and ministries. These include interdenominational organisations such as the National Council of Churches of Singapore and the Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore; local seminaries such as Trinity Theological College and Singapore Bible College; and focused ministries such as Arts Collective and the newly-established Alliance of Indian Ministries (AIM).

As each institution directs its resources and energies at different areas of ministry and outreach, our partnerships enable us to bring the light of God’s Word to as wide and diverse a populace as possible with more concerted efforts. These include:

  • Promoting Christian unity and coordinating unified missional efforts through events such as the GoForth National Missions Conferences
  • Advocating the relevance and credibility of God’s Word through programmes such as the ETHOS Lectures and Conferences
  • Stimulating engagement with God’s Word among several ethnic and interest groups through initiatives such as DECLARE and the AIM Conference

Our partnerships are not limited only to Singapore. As a global mission agency under United Bible Societies (UBS), BSS works closely with Bible Societies in other countries, especially those in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, to further the Bible Mission in their lands. We are thankful to have met up with the American Bible Society earlier this year to explore ways in which BSS may better serve the Asia Pacific region as a hub for Scripture translation and engagement.

We are also honoured to be involved in the work of overseas ministries in Singapore, such as WorldTeach in organising Walk Thru the Bible seminars, Concordia Center for the Family in the USA in holding family life education and ministry courses, and most recently the Planetshakers in publicising their tour in January. We look forward to similar collaborations with even more ministries to spread the light and hope of God’s Word to people of all ages in all nations!

Pooling our varied gifts together

It may be tempting to think that significant gains in furthering the Bible Mission are only obtained through partnerships with formal public organisations. Yet some of our most valued partners are individual Christians whose help and support are integral to our work at BSS. Indeed, the global Bible Mission itself came about as a vision of a single individual (18th century Welsh minister Rev Thomas Charles).

More than 200 faithful believers volunteer with BSS as Sowers-in-Action—bringing a multitude of different gifts in areas of leadership, teaching, service and administration—to sustain and improve BSS’s daily operations. Several donors are also generous and regular in their donations to the cause, which BSS is able to use to fund numerous local and overseas outreach projects. Still others participate in various programmes such as Friends of the Bible and our upcoming Mission Banquet in August to support the mission in their own special ways. Though often hidden from the public view, these contributions are vital for the continuance and furtherance of the Bible Mission work, both locally and globally.

To grow the Body and spread the Gospel

Whether big or small, public or private, we are thankful for God’s provision in and through these relationships and partnerships, which enable us to bring God’s Word and its message of life and hope to the peoples. Their help and support have made a real difference in the transformation of the lives of many in the Church and the world.

We hope and pray that even more will join us in this work, so that the Body of Christ may grow to maturity, and the Gospel may spread to all the nations, to the glory of Christ our Lord and Saviour!