Funding and Building Churches

By William Hioe


13 … “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15 (NIV)

The Practice of Missions

Aashish Church

When I was a young Christian many years ago, I was fascinated by three scripture verses from Romans 10 — they are linked together in a cause-and-effect manner. First, someone is sent to preach; second, people hear the Good News; third, they believe in Jesus as Messiah; and lastly, they call on the name of Jesus and are saved.

In a nutshell, this is the Practice of Missions 101 — the step-by-step guide to carrying out the Great Commission. In Paul’s days, which is still relevant today, three main groups of people were involved in the bringing of the Gospel message to the missions field. They were: the goers — individuals who were specially selected to go on missionary trips; the givers — individuals who gave financially and materially to support the needs of the goers; and the pray-ers — individuals who prayed for God’s providence and spiritual protection over the goers.

In most modern churches today, Grace Assembly of God being no exception, more people are given opportunities to be goers besides full-time missionaries. Short-term missions trips with durations up to two weeks have become popular with church members with a heart for missions.

Initially, I was quite apprehensive in participating in any of the short-term missions trips. One big ‘mental obstacle’ held me back — the wrong understanding that I had to preach, which I felt ill-equipped and ill-qualified to do so. Then there was the ‘physical obstacle’ of having to rough it out in treacherous terrain without basic sanitary facilities — especially with my weak stomach. I was comfortable with just being a faithful giver and pray-er.

How Grace Missions Do Missions

Things changed when Grace Missions initiated short-distance missions trips to the Riau Islands over weekends, the aim of which was to propel people (Gracians) to experience first-hand what missions is all about. I took part in one of these trips and found that my past apprehensions were largely unfounded — the trip was even educational and an eye-opener for me. I got to interact with the kids in the slums and learnt that they were happy and contented despite the little things they had. I got to see with my own eyes what real poverty was like when we were invited into some of the locals’ homes. They only had bare necessities and yet they were contented.

This first short-distance missions trip was a humbling one for me. Despite the many comforts and luxuries of life in Singapore, we still grumble and are not satisfied. Yet those who have so little and are living at subsistence level can be so contented.

That first missions trip also ignited the passion in me to go for more missions trips in countries where Grace Missions had planted churches over the years and prepared leaders for pastoral and ministry works. I visited some of these churches and Bible schools and training centres which were funded partially through the generous giving by Gracians to the Grace Missions fund. I also got to see for myself the good works that were done by our missions partners and church planters whom Grace Missions had supported, again through Gracians’ generous giving. Some of the churches which Grace Missions helped to plant have multiplied, by planting new churches through their own efforts. Grace Missions also pioneered the setting up of missions hubs in countries with more mature missions works. The missions hub functions as a regional training centre as well as a base to direct and coordinate missions activities across the region.

Dhangadhi Bible school

During my missions trips, I also witnessed the fruits of our church planters’ labour through the seed fund scheme whereby Grace Missions provided the initial capital for them to earn extra income to support their families through pig rearing, fish farming, vegetable farming and small businesses, etc. Grace Missions has also reached out to other areas of need in the local communities through medical missions, community projects and disaster relief efforts.

Such Hunger for the Lord

By the grace of God, I eventually plucked up the courage to first teach the church planters and pastors the practical applications of the Word of God, and later to preach the Word of God to the local congregations! It was not so frightening or daunting after all — the local church planters, pastors and congregation were so hungry for the truth that they would welcome anyone, especially from overseas, to share God’s Word.

Through the many missions trips overseas, my faith in God has grown stronger and my walk with Him has grown closer. This is because I have experienced first-hand God’s grace, mercy and providence at work in the missions fields. I have seen the real needs out there and how God has been faithful in meeting those needs. In some of the local churches I attended, the congregations were so hungry and thirsty for the Word of God that they would pack the small meeting rooms or homes to the point where it was just standing room only. Most of the time, these meeting places were stuffy, hot and humid and yet the people did not mind. They were attuned to worshipping and focusing on Jesus and Jesus alone.

At some of the services where I had the privilege to share God’s Word, the move of the Holy Spirit was so strong that the whole congregation was weeping and repenting before the Lord at the second or third worship song. The worship team only had a keyboard, a guitar and a set of drums, and yet the worship songs were so powerfully delivered that they tugged at many heartstrings. Even for myself, who did not understand a single word that was sung, tears welled up uncontrollably in my eyes – an intimate touch from the Lord that I had not felt for a long time. Yet back at our local services in Singapore we sometimes murmur that the ambience is not conducive for worship, the music is too loud or too soft or out of sync, the air-conditioner is too hot or too cold, the chairs are not comfortable, etc.

Transforming Missions Digitally

COVID-19 has been an unprecedented disrupter to businesses and livelihoods of people all over the world and it poses a grave danger to human lives and health. Even Grace Missions’ works have been greatly impacted. But where there is a crisis there is also an opportunity. Through the boon of modern technologies such as online video conferencing platforms, streaming media, the Internet and mobile devices, Grace Missions is able to continue its missions’ works through digital missions programmes that involve online training, online worship services, online sharing of God’s Word and testimonies, and even virtual missions trips. In fact, with digital missions, the sky is now the limit — we can reach out to people from all over the world, and more Gracians can be involved, without having to travel physically to those places.


William Hioe had served as the Secretary of Grace Missions Committee for 11 years. He is currently a bi-vocational Minister with Grace Missional Communities.

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