The Crossing Church Turns 10!
By Denesh Divyanathan
The Crossing’s story began with a vision. It was not our vision but an ancient vision that the LORD had given to His prophet Ezekiel (Ez 37:1-14). Ezekiel was brought to a valley of dead, dry, divinely cursed bones as far as the eye could see. It was like standing in a mammoth graveyard – only this time the corpses were in full view. And there, surrounded by death, God asked Ezekiel: “Son of man, can these bones live?” (Ez 37:3)
At first glance it seemed a ridiculous question! After all, life simply cannot emanate from death. And yet it was also a profound question of faith. For the questioner was none other than the Lord of Life. Ezekiel answered brilliantly: “O LORD God, you know.” (Ez 37:3)
What happened next was nothing short of miraculous. The Lord commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the valley of bones and there was a rattling and bone came to bone and it was joined with sinews and flesh and skin, but there was no life. The Lord then commanded Ezekiel to prophesy to the breath or Spirit of God and then life was breathed into the bones and they stood alive, an exceedingly great army. What was being enacted before Ezekiel was a re-run of creation – Creation 2.0! For just as God had formed Adam first from the dust of the earth and then breathed life into him in a two-stage process in Genesis, God was promising to do the same again in this vision.
Although God could have sent His Spirit to the bones and brought them back to life without Ezekiel’s preaching – that is not what God does. Instead, God commanded Ezekiel to prophesy or preach and that is how the Spirit came and breathed life into the dead bones. In other words, God was providing a timeless model of how He always works in salvation: God brings the dead to life through His Spirit-empowered word.
But just who was God making this promise of resurrection to?
Well in the first instance the valley of bones was a picture of Israel under God’s curse (Ez 37:11). So God was promising to raise Israel to life again from the ashes of the Babylonian exile by His Spirit-empowered word.
But of course the rest of the Bible teaches us that the valley of bones is also a picture of humanity in every country in every generation. For spiritually we are all the walking dead – dead in sin (Eph 2:1) and in desperate need to be born again (Jn 3:1-8). And so God’s vision to Ezekiel is a promise that the spiritually dead in every corner of the globe in every age of humanity can come to spiritual life by the power of His Spirit-empowered word.
That was the vision we began with at The Crossing. Our hope was to bring life to the spiritually dead in Singapore and Asia. We did not feel we were being bold – we just believed God’s promise. We did not think we needed to be particularly creative – because God saves by grace through His Spirit-empowered word, not our gimmicks. All we were doing in planting The Crossing was trusting in the Giver of Life to raise the dead to life, just as He said he would.
We dreamt big: that, God willing, we would be an expository preaching church planting church for Singapore and our region. But we began small: 16 adults and 8 children huddled around God’s word in a living room of a HDB flat on the morning of 7 May, 2009.
And what has happened in the 10 years since has been a testament to God’s faithfulness to His promise. He said that He would work by His Spirit-empowered word and that has exactly been our experience – many times over!
We grew from 16 to 40 adults, still in the same living room. Then we moved to very basic rented facilities in Hersing Hub in Toa Payoh as we launched publicly a year later as a 4pm church. On the first Sunday there we had 62 adults, 22 of whom were guests. But God kept adding to our number such that within a year we outgrew Hersing and had to move to the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Little India. We were about 100 people there on our first Sunday meeting but as we kept to the task of preaching God’s word, God kept to His promise and continued adding to our number. Soon we filled the room at Grand Chancellor and planted a morning congregation at 11.30am. The popularity of the new timing ensured that we grew even faster and within a year, God filled the room again. In total we were a church of about 300-350 people now and it was time for bigger premises yet again. In 2015 God led us to Aperia, a brand new office-mall complex in Lavender, and again, God brought more and more people. The morning service was soon full and we planted a third congregation, an earlier morning service at 9am in 2017. Today, by the grace of God, we are a church of about 1,000 people every Sunday in three congregations. And God willing, we will plant a new church in the west of Singapore later this year as well as a Mandarin-speaking congregation the year after.
In that time, by God’s grace, we have also begun to bring His Spirit-empowered word to the spiritually dead in our region. We helped to finance a new Cantonese-speaking church, Living Grace Christian Church, in Kowloon (Hong Kong). And we have established links with mission partners in Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Japan, training pastors in expository preaching and equipping potential church planters. God willing, three of our mission partners will be granted visas later this year to train with us for a few years before heading home to plant new churches in Penang (Malaysia), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), and Manado (Indonesia).
It is easy to praise ourselves looking back on all that has happened. But that would be sheer foolishness! For we were all just dead, dry, divinely cursed bones once. It was God who brought us to life. And it was God who used us to further His Kingdom plans. We have been privileged partners, but God has definitely been the primary mover!
What will the next 10 years hold for us? Our prayer must be for God to continue His work in and through us. As a church we must keep striving to grow in maturity, godliness, love for one another, and zeal for local evangelism and global mission. We have been blessed to have already seen 14 people train for full-time ministry through our Gospel 360 Training Scheme (as well as 14 others from other churches) and we should pray for many more times that number to be raised up in the years to come. After all as we look out onto our country and continent, we are still surrounded by a valley of death.
So to the question: “Can these bones live?” (Ez 37:3), the answer is a resounding yes! Not because of anything to do with us, but because of everything to do with God’s Spirit-empowered word. I love Martin Luther’s assessment of the Reformation: “I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing…the Word did it all.” Without a doubt, that has been our experience and the story of our church. And we look forward in eager expectation to what God will continue to do in the next decade at The Crossing, Singapore and our region for His glory.