The church weekly plays a key role in addressing the pastoral needs of the congregation. The writing of weeklies is patterned after the Apostles, who often wrote letters to the churches addressing various issues affecting the flock of God.

Consider the following epistles:

Galatians. This epistle was written to refute the Judaizer s who had infiltrated the Galatian churches. These false teachers taught that the rite of circumcision was necessary for salvation, a teaching that was contrary to the true gospel of grace.

Colossians. This was written to guard the church against the rising tide of asceticism. Some were advocating a morbid denial and punishment of one’s flesh as a supplement to Christ’s atoning work (c.f. Col. 2:16; 20-23). Paul refutes this teaching by pointing out that Christ is pre-eminent, the only and all-sufficient Saviour of mankind. “The deity of Christ, the efficacy of His death on the cross, His deity, the efficacy of His death on the cross, His sovereignty and supreme lordship, and His continuing mediatorship, are all part of Paul’s doctrinal message, because these were the very doctrines being denied by the false teachers.” (Jensen)

1 & 2 Thessalonians. These epistles focus much on Christ ’s Second coming addressing the Thessalonian churches’ confusion with the eschatological timeline. The problem was exacerbated by a letter which was alleged to have come from Paul and his associates (2 Thess. 2:2). Furthermore, there were also people who were lazy and idling their lives away. Paul hence had to address the issue in the epistles officially. He exhorted the Thessalonian Christians to be watchful and sober, for the return of Christ is imminent.

1 & 2 Corinthians. These epistles were written to admonish the Corinthians church for her carnality and lack of spiritual understanding. There was a sectarian spirit among the congregation rather than unity in the work of Christ. Other miscellaneous issues were also addressed, such as eating food offered to idols, the role of woman in public worship, and the abuse of the Lord’s Supper. These epistles lay wide open the emotions of the Apostle Paul, or as how Homer Kent would put it, “a heart open wide”.

1 John. This epistle was written by John to address the Gnostics who did not believe that Christ had come in the flesh.

The contemporary church weekly continues in the same spirit as these epistles. It is the vehicle of the pastor to fulfil his duty to feed and guard the flock. Each article, whether personally written or selected, is carefully and prayerfully thought out to address the spiritual needs of the  congregation. Thus, it is important to read the weekly and understand what is written. The weekly is a chief way to know the pastor’s doctrines and thoughts.

Another element present in the epistles are testimonies and reports by Paul of his missionary trips and activities (see for example 2 Corinthians 1 & 2). Thus, the church missionary reports are published in the weekly at appropriate seasons. There are also mission reports from our own brethren, and selected reports on camps and VBS.

The mission reports in the weekly achieve several objectives:

Firstly, this promotes accountability of the missionaries to the church and her leaders according to the infallible pattern set by the Apostles in the book of Acts. “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” (Acts 15:4)

Secondly, the reports inform us of the progress and challenges of the mission stations. They allow us to know our missionaries and their needs so that we can pray for God to accomplish His will through them.

Thirdly, the reports allow the congregation to see God’s working in the mission fields, and thus be encouraged in God’s sovereignty and power.

Finally, we observe that epistles are interspersed with the writer’s requests for prayer. These requests are often specific and concise:

 In 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, Paul requested the brethren to pray “that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.”

 In Ephesians 6:18-20, he requested the brethren to pray “that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.”

 In Romans 15:30-31, Paul asked the Roman Christians to strive together in prayers for him, that he “may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea” and that his service which he had for Jerusalem “may be accepted of the saints”.

 In Hebrews 13:18, Paul asked for prayer that he and his fellow labourers may “in all things willing to live honestly”.

Similarly, the Tabernacle Church weekly has a Prayer Times. This section contains the brethren’s requests for prayer. Elder John has conscientiously streamlined the section to make it concise and pertinent. Therefore, do pray for the items in the prayer times. Even better, come for the prayer meeting and pray for the brethren. “Brethren, pray for us.” (1 Thess. 5:25)

May the Lord use the weekly to help His people grow in the grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18). Amen.

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew