City News traces the exciting journey of Shekinah Harvest Church through the eyes of its senior pastor, Sim Chee Teck, and his wife Serene Lo, who built this ministry from scratch.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF SHEKINAH HARVEST CHURCH|
Shekinah Harvest Church, led by senior pastor Sim Chee Teck and his wife Serene Lo, consists mainly of a group of creative and artistic youth. The church has gone through many challenges in order to get to where they are today; considering that both Sim and Lo have no prior pastoral experience or church-planting training.
Sim says, “It started in December 2000 when I felt the Lord was speaking to me through a pastor-friend to spearhead a ministry. Since then, I started to pray and seek the Lord for His direction.”
Meanwhile, a few friends who had left the faith turned to Sim and he began to minister to these lives through regular counseling and encouragement. Several months later, as Sim was praying one day, the word Shekinah flashed through his mind.
“I knew instantly that the ministry I would be pioneering was one that would minister to the down and out, all for the Shekinah glory of God. I knew that whatever we would do in this new ministry needed to have the presence of God because Shekinah in Hebrew means the indwelling presence of God’,” he says.
On June 3, 2001, Sim took a step of faith and birthed a house ministry under the name, Shekinah Place.
The early years were challenging as the congregation was young and growing in their walk with God. Sim had to strengthen the spiritual lives of his flock. Sim explains, “As most of my pioneering members had ‘broken wings,’ I had to counsel frequently. Financially, it was also very challenging as all of us were ordinary working folk.”
Thankfully, the couple received spiritual support in the early years of their ministry from the senior pastor of City Harvest Church, Kong Hee. Sim remembers how Kong would avail himself to help the church and advise him on many areas of building the church. Sim also received constant encouragement from Tan Ye Peng, the deputy senior pastor of CHC, who ministered to Sim and Lo during the challenging seasons of their ministry.
Apart from pastoral backing, CHC helped to develop the sound and music ministries in SHC. Through the years, the training and assistance proved to be fruitful as SHC saw growth in the creative aspects of their church.
In September 2001, they held their service at Singapore Christian Conference Centre, and here, God began to expand their vision, to reach out to people beyond the four walls of the church. SHC saw the need to be relevant in reaching out to the masses, especially the youth. As a result, through their evangelistic and outreach efforts, SHC saw many young people give their hearts to God and get planted in church.
Two years later in July 2003, SHC was officially registered as a society and became an affiliate of CHC under the name Shekinah Harvest Church.
Although the ministry was now officially a church, both Sim and Lo understood that there was still a need for them to be properly trained and equipped to build a church that would house the Shekinah glory of God. The couple enrolled themselves in the School of Theology in 2004. At SOT, Sim and Lo went through many important lessons and experiences that helped to shape SHC into what it is today.
Sim reveals, “SOT taught me many precious lessons. It was not just the knowledge that impacted my life; it was the atmosphere and the ministry as a whole. I have learned that building one’s spirituality is of much importance, and excellence is required of us whenever we serve God.”
After his graduation from SOT, Sim returned to his church and began teaching and emphasizing the need to build a strong spiritual atmosphere in every aspect of the church, from Bible study to cell group meetings and prayer meetings. At the same time, Sim also shared with his members on the importance of discipleship and the need to shape lives according to the ways of God. He then taught his members to embrace a spirit of excellence and shine for God, “Do everything to the best of your ability,” he told them.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF SIM CHEE TECK|
What is their key to balancing ministry and home life?
“There is a time for everything. Ministry and church work should never be an ‘idol.’ At the end of the day, it’s the family that matters most—no one else can replace the responsibility of the man in the house. I take my family very seriously, especially raising my two kids, Joshua and David, whom God has entrusted to me and Serene,” says Sim.
The future looks bright for SHC as the church works to attain their five-year goal of reaching 2,000 people for Christ.
For more information on Shekinah Harvest Church, log on to www.shcsg.org.