LIVING WORD THROUGH THE YEARS
The Living Word Fellowship owes its humble beginnings to Church of Praise, a local Assemblies of God church, which started its evangelistic outreach to the Filipino community in 1989.
Pastor Albert Kang started a gathering of 10 Filipino houseworkers under Church of Praise. When the group grew to 50 people, Church of Praise employed Pastors Sande and Lydia Wilson to lead the Filipino Fellowship at Hyatt Hotel.
1990 was a year of firsts: the Filipino congregation had its baby dedication, water baptism, choir presentation, and evangelism (tracting) activity.
1991 saw the formation of various Care and Share Groups (later called “Oikos (Greek word meaning household)”, and now “CARE Groups”). These groups reached out to the ever-increasing Filipino community in Singapore.
Between 1992 and 1997, as the congregation continues to grow, worship services moved from one place to another around the city area. All along, the Lord has been building and strengthening this Filipino Fellowship in quality and quantity. It was as if the Lord is preparing them to become a sovereign church. Eventually the Church of Praise decided to release them to become an independent church body.
The historic moment came in January 13, 1997 when the church was officially registered with the Registry of Societies of Singapore. From then on, it took on the new name, “The Living Word Fellowship”. It became the first Filipino church in Singapore that is not attached nor receiving any support from a mother church. As a legal entity, Board Members were elected and the Constitution was established.
Ever since its independence, Living Word continued to prosper spiritually and numerically as deep spiritual hunger grew in the hearts of many of its members. Cell groups sprang up; Bible studies and personal witnessing increased both in frequency and intensity. Thus, our members were able to effectively reach out to more Filipino migrant workers of varying professions like house workers, architects, engineers, nurses and computer programmers.
In July 1997, the World Trade Center Extension Church was opened by Pastor Lydia Wilson to accommodate the Filipinos working at Star Cruise. Meanwhile, two extension churches were opened in the Philippines: one in Cubao with Pastor Eli Bognalbal in June 1998, and another in Olongapo in October 2000.
In 2001, “Faith Promise” was launched to help fund the church’s mission projects in the Philippines.
In November 2004, the “Women of Worth” Ladies’ Fellowship was formed to address the needs Filipino women in Singapore.
Towards the end of 2004, Pastor Sande began informing the church body about their family’s plan to migrate to the US. From then on, they began preparing the congregation for the transition.
On January 9, 2005, Pastors Sande and Lydia Wilson handed over the leadership to Pastors Jerry and Gloria Madarang who were formally installed as the new pastors. At this time, the worship services have just been moved to YWCA Multi-Purpose Hall.
The year 2005 was a major transition period for the church. The new pastor introduced the G12 vision to the church. In line with this vision, Pastors Jerry and Glo conducted the first Encounter Retreat on Feb 9-10 in which 55 leaders and ministry workers attended. In April 3, the School of Leaders started and in December, after 8 months of regular Sunday classes, there were 85 members who were among the first batch of graduates.
Along the way, some significant events happened that marked milestones in the church’s growth. Starting February, the church body responded to the call for the All-Church Prayer Night every last Friday of the month. In April, there was a need to arrange for two morning services to accommodate the growing attendance. Later on, starting June, a night service was started in Lucky Plaza to for those people who cannot attend the morning services.
In July, the Lord blessed Living Word with a new church office at YWCA Fort Canning Lodge. This centralized all the church services, activities and operations in one location, accessible to everyone. Around this time, the church saw the increase in the number of first-time visitors, creating the need for the Welcome Reception at the end of each service.
In September, the ministry to the OFW Center was started, in close cooperation with the Philippine Embassy.
The Lord indeed was so faithful in bringing the increase. In 2005, the church held 5 baptismal services (baptizing 32 adults and 18 young people) and 5 Encounter Retreats (with total attendance of 207 adults and 18 young people). There were 7 new CARE Groups, bringing the total to 21.
In 2006, with renewed commitment among its members, the church sustained its growth and revival. The vision of winning souls and making disciples are now firmly established in the hearts of its members.
As in the previous year, the School of Leaders was again successful, with 42 adults and 10 young people forming the second batch of graduates. Meanwhile, the G12 structure has started to form, as the members become involved in Men and Women G12 groups.
Encounter Retreats have become regular activities throughout the year. There were a total of 4 Encounter Retreats that were held in 2006. The Encounter Retreats even went to territories beyond Singapore, as the Lord guided our members to lead 5 Encounter Retreats in Marikina, Sagay (Negros), Paris (France); Solano (Nueva Vizcaya), and Laguna.
The “Men of Valor” was formed in January 2006 as the men’s counterpart to Women of Worth. God also blessed the church with 2 S-Leadership Seminars conducted by Sis. Selene Yu, attended by 127 members from Living Word and 35 others from the Filipino community in Singapore. With prayer now an essential part of church life, the church was able to hold 2 Overnight Praise and Prayer meetings with the last one on New Year’s Eve having the most attendance.
The Lord has indeed answered prayers for multiplication. In 2006, the church held 4 baptismal services (baptizing 18). The number of CARE Groups increased once more, with 13 new cells being opened, bringing the total to 34.
In January 2007, God provided a bigger place of worship, the Singapore Power Auditorium (formerly PUB), to accommodate the ever-increasing attendance.
Today the church celebrates 10 years of God’s faithfulness. Indeed, all glory, honor and praise is to be given to our God who is faithful yesterday, today and forever.