City News got in touch with Dave Thong from Rhema Church in Sitiawan, Malaysia to find out how this church has been impacted by the ministry of City Harvest Church (CHC). Thong recounted that during the period from 2003 to 2005, his church was a small town traditional church that had stagnated in growth and was on the decline in attendance. For 3-4 years, there was a high turnover in church members. The pastoral leadership was in great need to stem the outflow of members.
It was a divine appointment when Thong got in touch with the founder of City Harvest, Kong Hee through a mutual friend and pastor, George Ong. Inspired by the strong vision and amazing story of growth of CHC, he decided that he needed to be more equipped to do the work of the ministry and enrolled himself in the 2005 intake of CHC’s School of Theology (SOT). It was during SOT that God placed in him a fervent desire to grow the church through discipleship and engaging the youth. While attending the Emerge Youth Conference in 2006 and 2007, Thong received a clear vision and mandate to focus on youth. By implementing the caring system, he taught his members to actively reach out to meet the needs of those around them.
By discipling the members on an on-going basis, they learnt to love God wholeheartedly and serve God with a spirit of excellence. Through the impartation received from CHC and by putting into practice keys to growth such as discipleship, prayer and cultivating spiritual hunger in the members, since then, his church has doubled from 65 to more than 130 people!