Since Jan. 16 when senior pastor Kong Hee announced that City Harvest Church had successfully acquired a property for its new church venue, located in the central- south of Singapore, CHC members have been buzzing with eager anticipation of exactly where their new home will be.
Bound by a non-disclosure agreement, church management could not reveal the location until Mar. 6. Kong will finally end speculation and announce the specific location of the venue during this weekend’s services. For the past six weeks, he has only promised, “You will not be disappointed.”
Church building committee member Lee Tat Haur, who practices as an architect, told City News what the committee looked for in its search, and why the final destination was selected.
“A few key factors that the building committee looked for in our new property were a central location, accessibility to food and beverage outlets, easy access to the MRT, ample parking space and facilities that could support all the needs of the various ministries in CHC,” explained Lee. The new church location fulfills all these criteria.
|CN PHOTO: MICHAEL CHAN|
Time To Arise & Build
This weekend also marks the start of Arise & Build 2010, a season of fundraising for the new premises. The project costs S$310 million.
This will entail members pledging monetary amounts that they plan to give to the building fund over four months, from March to June. The church aims to raise S$17.3 million during this round of Arise & Build. This will be the fifth campaign in a series of 13.
CHC’s history in churchbuilding has demonstrated the importance of this campaign. With 1,686 members in 1995, the church mounted a seven-year Arise & Build campaign to fund their first self-owned building at Jurong West St. 91. By 2001, the then 10,000-member church had outgrown its location at the former Hollywood Theatre along Tanjong Katong Road. The Jurong West building project cost S$48 million and was fully paid
Martin Ong, chief executive officer of First Automobile and also a member of the building committee, says, “We must all know that we are building a house for God, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this great work. In the Bible, King David had a vision to build the first temple, but though he gave more than what would today be a billion dollars, he was not given the privilege to witness the actual building — that honor went to his son Solomon. I am glad to be able to both give and witness the building of our new ‘temple’.”
Ong and his wife, Paullyn, “are committed to continue giving, and believing that God will provide the finances as we work on our businesses and investments.”
A theme that runs through every Arise & Build campaign in CHC is “unequal amounts, equal sacrifice.” The congregation consists of people with different backgrounds and from all walks of life. From working adults to students, from retirees to the unemployed, every member gives the best that he or she is able to.
Some members are sprouting new business ideas to increase their income during this season.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF ELJIAH TED NG|
Elijah Ted Ng, 14, is a student with a big idea. In November 2009 he set up an art cart at VivoCity, called Art with a HeART, aims to encourage all Singaporeans to own at least a piece of art in their homes, hence prices range from S$10 to S$50. The cart runs two Sundays a month at VivoCity, and Ng has further plans to start “art parties” to help parents short on birthday party ideas.
“My target is to raise S$500 for the building fund through my new business,” says the young entrepreneur. “In fact, I’m nearly there already.”
Though his business was started so that he could give more to the building fund, rev enue has grown steadily to cover Ng’s tuition expenses, even allowing him to provide some financial assistance to children from needy families
|PHOTO COURTESY OF KENNETH TAN|
Kenneth Tan, 27, recently started a tuition center, K-Cube, in collaboration with two other partners. The center caters to secondary school students, and lessons are conducted at a rented space on Orchard Road. Tan’s tuition center has a three-fold purpose. “Firstly, we want to provide quality tuition services to help students improve their grades. To this end, we are only hiring trained teachers. The second purpose is to generate additional income for ourselves so that we can give to the building fund.”
Lastly, K-Cube rewards for referrals. Church members who refer secondary school students in need of tuition to K-Cube will receive a commission of 20 percent of the first month’s fees.
For professionals like Lee, “I will source for additional projects to increase my income during this season.”
For these members of the church, the Arise & Build campaign “is a time when our faith and love for God is built and strengthened,” explains Ong. “God appeared before King Solomon twice— both times, Solomon was making sacrifices to the Lord when he had the encounters.”
True stories abound of financial victories and personal triumphs experienced by givers. Some who participated in Arise & Build for Jurong West have become very successful since, and are looking forward to giving again.
In the 21-year history of CHC, members have traditionally excelled in the midst of Arise & Build campaigns, with better performance at work and school, investments paying off, healthier family relationships and expansion of church ministry. Indubitably there will be more such stories in the coming months.