A look at the personal life and ministry of one of Taiwan’s leading pastors.
|CN PHOTO: Albert Soh|
Abraham Ku is no stranger to City Harvest Church. The senior pastor of New Life Church is a familiar face in the Chinese Church congregation where he preaches several times a year. At other large-scale events, like the Emerge youth conference in Singapore, Ku has also appeared on stage to testify of God’s goodness in his personal and ministry life.
Today, Ku who is in his 50s, pastors a vibrant congregation of 2,600 members in downtown Taipei. These believers are committed Christians on fire for God and relevant in their evangelistic outreaches. This has resulted in a burst of creative ideas within their campus ministry outreaches, community service programs and other social events.
Ku firmly believes that people are the key to society’s problems even though many times, people also create problems. In fact, he acknowledges that in pastoring a growing congregation, a lot of the issues he grapples with concern people. The challenge is to help these individuals experience breakthroughs in their lives because “it is only when there is a change in their mindset and having a life of brokenness that the members would receive a breakthrough in their lives.”
New Life Church embraces three steps in their approach to helping people: pastoral care, leadership (directing them) and discipleship. Speaking from his own experience, Ku noticed that whenever the church leaders themselves were “broken” in Christ, they grew in their faith and level of anointing. The people they lead would also grow as a result because sharing helps to strengthen other people’s faith. “Life is a journey,” he adds.
Indeed, life is a journey for Ku who has been serving in the full-time ministry for many years. Age is also no deterrent to Ku whose constant prayer is to be able to serve God as long as he can, especially among the youth in Taiwan. He is very involved in his church’s youth ministry—an area which is close to his heart as he remembered the vision that God gave him about young people. He constantly prays for God to enlarge the vision in his heart and to establish new ground even as he is appointed to do His work.
With this prayer, Ku makes an effort to remain relevant to the younger generation by learning to understand their way of life and using appropriate topics as a point of discussion when engaging the youth. “We need to love the youth and understand them. The church plays a very vital role in building an environment for the youth to come in and feel comfortable. This is why the church of the youth needs to be relevant with the culture.” He adds that it is also crucial for the church not to be overwhelmed by the problems that young people deal with, such as bad parent-child relationships, dating issues, homosexuality and the temptations to do drugs. The church should instead seek to find an answer to such problems.
It is his passion and love for people that motivates him everyday to keep serving God unreservedly. Investing his time and effort into people brings him great joy and satisfaction, which is why Ku was reluctant to undergo a second eye operation that would require him to take a long break away from ministry.
The first eye operation was done in 2009 which was a success. Having battled a serious case of myopia and astigmatism since young, coupled with the onset of presbyopia at the age of 40, his sight deteriorated until he could not see people or objects clearly.
While his eyesight was restored to near-perfect vision, doctors subsequently discovered he had diplopia or double vision. Initially Ku attributed that to his short-sightedness but realized it was not so. This condition can be treated except that the surgery requires a longer healing time, which Ku will be considering.
In the midst of his demanding schedule, Ku makes special mention of the substantial amount of support that his wife has given him throughout the years. To him, not only is it necessary for a family to spend time together, it is equally important for them to serve God together and encourage one another in the faith.
Mrs. Ku helps to oversee the daily running of the church and is like a spiritual mother to the members and staff; often providing a listening ear or taking care of their practical needs. Ku’s son, Isaac, is also serving alongside him in the church. He is currently in this year’s School of Theology cohort.
Ku shared about the time when his faith was being tested after he lost his 5-year-old son to cancer years ago. That event made him question several areas in his life, including his personal relationship with God. He could not comprehend why his son died even though he believed and had been preaching about a miracle-working God. But despite the crisis, Ku chose to follow God and leaned on Him for strength. “I would often pray and ask God to teach me how to face this situation and show me how to submit myself to Him.”
Looking back, Ku recognizes that season of loss as a time where his faith grew and he learned to trust God even when he did not understand why. At the lowest point of his life, he chose to follow God and He has not failed him since. Today, every time he hears an uplifting testimony from his congregation; he is reminded of God’s goodness and faithfulness in his own life.
Ku encourages believers to excel in whatever they do and bring the love of God into their homes and offices, balancing both church and family life. “At the end of the day, it is not about dividing our lives into different parts; it is about handling our priorities well.”