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2127: Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Woodlands, Singapore
Covenant, Singapore
Mystery Worshipper: Rebirth2006.
The church: Covenant Evangelical Free Church, Woodlands, Singapore.
Denomination: Evangelical Free Church of Singapore.
The building: They meet at two worship centres in two suburbs of Singapore: Bukit Panjang and Woodlands. The Woodlands facility was completed in 2008 and has six levels: two underground for parking and four above ground for the church proper. The building is served by two elevators and a dual direction escalator that links the foyer to the sanctuary.
The church: CEFC is a church with a vision of producing authentic, intentional disciples of a certain kind, which is their strategic foundation of the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 ("Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..."). As a result of this, they have launched a two-year intentional discipleship training programme that involves scriptural study, journaling, and a semester exam.
The neighbourhood: Woodlands is a suburb of Singapore linking the island nation with the neighbouring city of Johor Bahru in Malaysia. It is a typical high rise suburb of Singapore, with many flats towering around the church building.
The cast: The Revd Edmund Wong was the preacher, and worship was led by Wei Shing Low.
The date & time: 6 February 2011, 11.00am.

What was the name of the service?
Eleven o'clock service.

How full was the building?
The sanctuary seats about 800, including a gallery level, but a third of the seats were cordoned off with covers. When I arrived, there were only about 50 people, but this began to fill up to about 500-600 people.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
There were ushers at the outside of the sanctuary who shook my hand and handed me the church bulletin. Newcomers were invited to stand, and we were given some time to greet other people as well.

Was your pew comfortable?
We had red seats that resembled those found in cinemas, except that they were joined together and looked more like a big sofa. They were very comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
The worship team was still testing the equipment but the room was still relatively quiet.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
"Good morning, church. Thanks for coming early."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
A bulletin with sermon outlines and a list of activities we could take part in. The lyrics, Bible verses and sermon notes were displayed on screens at the left and right of the stage. A video feed was placed in the centre.

What musical instruments were played?
Two keyboards, guitar, bass and drum. There were also six singers, including the worship leader.

Did anything distract you?
People came strolling in as the service commenced. It was also very distracting to rotate my field of vision between the video feed and the song lyrics, as they were projected on different screens!

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
It was a typical contemporary service. People clapped during the upbeat songs and raised hands.

Exactly how long was the sermon?
45 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 – Pastor Wong illustrated his sermon clearly using scriptural and cultural references that were easy to relate to but did not undercut the seriousness of his subject.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
CEFC is doing a series on Proverbs for the whole of 2011, and the sermon was based on Proverbs 1:1-7 (a summary of the role of proverbs in the knowledge of God). He challenged us to make two paradigm shifts: (1) from human information to divine insight, and (2) from reverence of self to reverence for God.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
We were asked to pair up with the person we were sitting next to, and to repeat to each other the six points of wisdom from the previous week's sermon. It was great in reflecting the church as a community of believers who do life and study the Word together.

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
I didn't appreciate the fact that people came strolling in irreverently during the worship.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
An usher approached me after the service and invited me to the connections corner for some coffee and snacks. There, she kept the conversation flowing (which is what impressed me the most about CEFC) while at the same time having me fill in a connection card.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
I was served free coffee with the option of milk and sugar, along with an assortment of Singaporean snacks. When I told the usher that I was going to have lunch soon after, she smiled and said that she would share her snack with me instead.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
9 – CEFC is a healthy church in the aspect of biblical discipleship and fellowship. If I hadn't already been attached to a church in Singapore, I would have strongly considered attending this church.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, especially a Christian with a love for Godly wisdom, discipleship and fellowship.

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
The usher who shared her snack with me.

 
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