A Taiwan church rises above its challenges to become a shining example of love and hope in its community.
Rhema Harvest Church in Tainan, Taiwan, became an affiliate of City Harvest Church in 2008, after having worked together with the Singapore church for many years prior.
In 2001, when CHC’s senior pastor, Kong Hee, held a special revival meeting for the youth in Taipei’s National Taiwan University Stadium, one person among the crowds of people gathered was deeply impacted by the event.
Yan Guang Ming, senior pastor of RHC in Tainan, witnessed the vibrancy and energy of CHC’s youth in action; this left an indelible mark on him. Moved by what he saw and experienced that week, he was inspired to raise up a similar group of young people in his own church that would be as joyful, confident, and full of life and energy for the Lord.
That was Yan’s first encounter with CHC.
Two years later, Yan had another opportunity to work with CHC during their eight-month long gospel missions campaign in Taiwan, where a series of revival concerts were set to take place in several conference halls all over Taiwan.
Together with other churches, Yan partnered with the local pastors to assist in CHC’s missions project that year which involved large-scale preparations and execution. This time, Yan was impressed by another aspect of CHC’s workers.
“I was very amazed by the spirit of excellence and team dynamics that the CHC mission team displayed,” Yan shared, recalling the role he played back then in supporting the event.
From these early encounters with CHC, Yan developed a desire to build a church that would be strong in its faith and in its ministry toward God. As such, he decided to equip himself and get additional pastoral training so that he could strengthen his church and disciple his members. The following year in January 2004, Yan enrolled in CHC’s School of Theology.
“Prior to joining SOT, I remembered receiving a prophetic word that confirmed my desire to enroll in Bible school to be trained. I was also greatly encouraged by the prophetic word which reinforced the new direction that I was aiming to bring my church into. The word I received was that once I would take the step to study in SOT, I would be led into a totally different direction in my church ministry.”
The time he spent in SOT was a fruitful journey. God spoke to him from Numbers 14:24 about the “different spirit” that resided in Joshua and Caleb and how they inherited and entered into the Promised Land. Yan learned to cultivate a spirit of faith and in doing so, trusted God and “wholly followed” the Lord as did the two men of faith in the Book of Numbers.
Yan received a vision to raise up a Joshua and Caleb generation, to develop a new spiritual DNA, and to focus on discipleship. Upon his graduation and return to Taiwan, he encouraged four other full-time church workers to be trained in SOT.
In addition, Yan also took the opportunity to send other church members to the various events that CHC organized so that they could gain spiritual insight and learn practical tips from the latter. He believed that one of the most important keys to a successful church life was developing positive faith attitudes among his congregation.
However, his zeal for the Lord and His house was not met with equal fervor. Because the church had its roots in more traditional styles of conducting church, some of his older members found it difficult to accept his vision and new way of doing things.
In fact, a faction of members who were working professionals left the church. Undaunted by this setback, Yan purposed in his heart to focus on God and on training a new generation of dedicated believers for the kingdom of God.
What began as a small seed eventually grew. Today, RHC has undergone several changes, one of its most apparent being a collective sense of unity and discipline in the church
|PHOTO COURTESY OF RHEMA HARVEST CHURCH|
Out of his desire to raise up a new generation of people, Yan’s focus on youth outreach resulted in many young leaders being trained and released into church ministry. Other areas were also developed, such as tuition classes, music lessons, street dance programs, multi-media workshops and art classes, to attract more young people to the church.
As these youth began to cultivate a deeper relationship in their walk with God, many of them expressed their desire to be trained in Bible school so they could be even more equipped to serve God.
Another area of breakthrough was in the church’s evangelism outreach efforts. As the members began to apply CHC’s Caring System (a system of reaching souls within one’s sphere of influence through love, friendship and genuine concern) and share the gospel more openly, the congregation crossed the 100-mark in their weekly attendance. With the larger size however, came greater responsibility.
There was always the need for more leaders, better ways to do ministry, a larger budget and a greater anointing. More importantly, the church required a larger premise to conduct their weekly services. As such, RHC now has her own building fund campaign patterned after CHC’s annual Arise & Build program.
In spite of these challenges, RHC remains committed to God and building the church. This year, the leadership aims to grow the church to an average attendance of 200 people and plans to raise up another 20 cell group leaders. As such, every zone is challenged to set goals for growth and to come up with strategies and plans.
Prayer meetings are held,
and online miracle prayer meetings were recently launched to increase the spiritual momentum of the church. Special meetings and “Big Days” (special outreach days) are being organized to share the gospel to friends and family. RHC members are also encouraged to attend CHC events, like the upcoming Asia Conference 2010 in Singapore, and the church even enrolled four members into SOT this year.
Apart from church growth, RHC also remembers its role in the community and seeks to be a blessing to the public. Thus far, RHC has helped to conduct courses to coach primary and secondary school students in their studies and impart positive life values to them. In August 2009, the church brought 30 young people to Taidong to provide disaster relief during a major flood, helping them to play an important role in the community at large.
Indeed, RHC has grown in reputation as a church with a great attitude that is full of faith.
When CHC staff, Allen Yu, 32, was invited to preach at the church last year, he observed the humility and hunger of the people in the church. “It’s the hunger of the people to hear the Word of God that touched me, especially that of the youth. They were extremely responsive during the preaching. I was also blessed by their attitude because not only were they friendly, they went out of their way to ensure that the short time I spent with them was a fruitful one. Pastor Yan himself epitomizes the humility and servanthood traits which his congregation displays.”