A Ministry of HOPE
by Pastor Stanley Soh
Hebrews 6:19 19: We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul
In 1883, a man named William Alexander Smith was concerned by how many of the youths in his time were living their lives without hope. This resulted in many of them picking up bad habits and being influenced by bad company.
As a Sunday School teacher in his church, William Alexander Smith was concerned for these youths. He wanted to bring hope to these youths and so he started a program to reach out, encourage and develop the teenagers through activities like outdoor camping, foot drills and physical training. In the process, he slowly built up their confidence and instill in them character traits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline and Self-Respect. His work slowly became what we know today as The Boys’ Brigade. As he continued with his work and was thinking about a motto for the Boys’ Brigade, he was encouraged by the Bible verse in Hebrews 6:19 which said “We have this (hope) as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”
The verse reminded him that those who are discouraged or feeling hopeless can find their hope in Jesus Christ. He thought about the youths he was working with and the words “Sure and Stedfast” became the motto for the Boys Brigade since then. The Girls Brigade evolved in later years with the purpose of reaching out to troubled girls as well. Similar to the Boys’ Brigade, their varied activities and programs were aimed at helping girls to become mature Christian women. The GB program follows four themes: Spiritual, Physical, Educational and Service. These words spell SPES which is Latin for Hope. “Seek, Serve and Follow Christ” became the motto for the Girls’ Brigade later on.
It is encouraging to note that both the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade movement had their roots in the Christian Church. Both began as a ministry outreach to troubled youths pointing them to the hope they can find in Jesus Christ.
In Singapore, the Boys’ and Girls’ Brigade are recognized internationally as uniformed youth organisations and recognised by the Ministry of Education of Singapore as a Co-Curricular Activity in the schools.
To continue their spiritual links with the church, every BBGB Company has a sponsoring Church and Living Praise has had the wonderful privilege of sponsoring the four Companies under our care – two Senior Companies (5th BB and 28th GB) in KCPSS and two Junior Companies (5J BB and 28P GB) in KCPPS. Since the Presbyterian Anchor Churches partnership started, we have continued being the sponsoring church of two Companies – 5J BB and 28P GB in KCPPS.
Living Praise, as their Sponsoring Church provides:
- Officers, helpers and volunteers who work closely with the school teachers in the BBGB parades
- Spiritual and pastoral care nurturing the children through her Christian Education programs
- Supports and pray for the ministry & activities of the Boys & Girls
Look around you in Living Praise and you will see many were from our BBGB Companies. Some of them are serving as Elders and Deacons, some are serving as Captains and Officers in the Companies and many are also serving in various church ministries. We have much to thank God for these people and how they have come through our Companies as youths and now matured to being faithful servants of the Lord.
Our Brigade ministries in KCPPS are really a wonderful opportunity to befriend the children, be a guide or mentor to them and ultimately to share God’s love with them. As we befriend them, we would also like to invite them to come to our Sunday School programs or even youth ministry programs for the P6s.
As Living Praise continues to reach out to KCPPS and the community around us, one area we could consider serving in is our BBGB ministry. Each Saturday, Carol, Gerard, together with our other church volunteers – Benjamin, Shawn and Grace (to name a few) spend their mornings being with the children. A typical Saturday parade begins with devotions sharing about God’s love, followed by volunteers teaching the Boys and Girls camping skills, tying knots, craftwork, foot drill, life skills, etc. We could also volunteer to help out in their annual BBGB camps or any of their special outings.
Next Sunday on 26 April, our BBGB Companies will come together for our annual Combined Enrolment and Dedication Service. The families of our Boys and Girls will be coming and joining us for this service in our KCPPS School Hall. This is another wonderful opportunity to show our Christian love to the parents and friends of our Boys and Girls. Do make them feel welcome in Living Praise in small ways like greeting them, allowing them to get their food first, sitting with them as we eat over lunch. If you are an adult, you could sit with the families and if you are a youth or young adult, you could befriend their children too.
As we put on our LPPC green polo tee next Sunday, let us pray for the event and pray that God will warm the hearts of those who are coming and warm our own hearts towards reaching out to them. As we interact with the children and their families, may they see the hope we have in Jesus Christ our Lord.