A thriving church in Kuching shines the light of Christ.
God truly works in mysterious ways. A situation which seemed like a dead-end turned out to be the best thing that happened to City Harvest Church Kuching. CHC Kuching was birthed through a personal crisis faced years ago by its founder and senior pastor, George Tiong Ming Hing. Back then, Tiong was asked to leave his previous church due to some disagreements. This experience caused him much hurt and disappointment, but unbeknownst to Tiong, God was preparing him for the birth of CHC Kuching.
Determined to keep serving God and people, Tiong began a small fellowship group with four others, with a great desire to minister to the unchurched like himself. This small prayer group grew steadily, and eventually became a church. They held their first service in December 2001. Said Tiong, “I found the call of God on my life after I received a revelation from a passage in Ezekiel. God called me to be a shepherd to people who are lost and unchurched.”
|PHOTO COURTESY OF CHC KUCHING|
If fruits are the evidence of success, CHC Kuching certainly is a successful church. To date, the church has grown 150-fold, from five in 2001, to 750 today. Beyond the numbers, CHC Kuching is a church of commitment and quality. Tiong attributes much of the church’s success to the contribution of City Harvest Church Singapore’s founder and senior pastor, Kong Hee, as well as various CHC teams who have ministered in their church.
“We have been greatly inspired by the example set by CHC, and have set up many of our ministries modeled after the CHC’s own ministries,” shared Tiong.
Tiong first met Kong in an evangelistic meeting in Kuching where Kong subsequently invited him to CHC, and the relationship between them started.
During a session at the School of Ministries in 2002, Kong shared a message on building a strong local church. Greatly impacted by the message, Tiong put what he learned into action. As a result, CHC Kuching grew to 140 members in just two years.
In 2004, Tiong answered the call of God and entered full-time ministry, giving up his business career. He enrolled himself into CHC’s School of Theology, deepening his knowledge of God and the practical aspects of pastoring. By holding on to the same “DNA” as Kong and CHC, Tiong opened the way for CHC Kuching to begin an affiliation with CHC.
According to Tiong, the greatest challenge he has faced so far in his ministry is in uniting the different generations in his church.
“The church was started with a majority of older members, and as we grew, younger members started joining the church. However, it was a challenge to get the older and younger members to be united. This posed quite a big problem, as unity is vital in a church,” shared Tiong.
Tiong eventually found a way around this: that is for both generations to have a common vision. The vision of the church is simple yet powerful: to build a church with a strong spiritual atmosphere of faith, to raise up a discipled church and to equip more workers to fulfill the Great Commandment, Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate, so as to reach the whole of Malaysia and the rest of Asia.
The youth ministry was started and proved to be so successful that 50 percent of the church members are now below the age of 25. In 2006, a youth conference modeled after CHC’s Emerge conference was held in CHC Kuching. Two months before the event, the Kuching church members had already begun preparations, fasting and praying, and completing the various games and competitions involved in the conference.
For this conference, a team led by one of CHC’s pastors, Wu Yuzhuang, ministered to the youth. Every session was anointed, and members were challenged to live their lives for God. In an evangelistic meeting during the conference, some 45 youths gave their hearts to Jesus. One of the members on the mission team, Serene Tay, shared, “Their hunger for God and their eagerness for church growth have impacted me greatly.”
Apart from the youth ministry, the church also started a children’s church, elderly, and campus ministry. CHC Kuching has indeed grown to be a congregation that ministers to the needs of members from all age groups, uniting all in the common vision of the church.
Some members of the church have come together in recent years and set up a non-profit organization—City Care Community Services. This body is a separate entity from the church, but run by members of the church. Its motto is “bringing hope, changing lives, one at a time.” To date, the organization has reached out to the elderly, youth, sick and disabled people of the community, bringing the practical love of God into the lives of the people.
CHC Kuching shows no signs of slowing down. In the recent Asia Conference 2010, Tiong shared in an interview that he plans to bring the church to greater levels of influence and effectiveness for God.
“We are a church fervently supporting the progression of the gospel in Asia. We have been inspired by the example set by CHC, in fulfilling the Cultural Mandate, humanitarian efforts, and ministry outreach. My vision for CHC Kuching for the next two years is to continue expanding and growing in influence, and to strengthen our current ministries,” shared Tiong.
CHC Kuching members have big dreams for their church, and their courage and faith can be applauded. However, in this great pursuit, more Christian leaders are needed to direct and grow the ministry. Tiong shared his burden of raising up more leaders in his church, and not just ministry leaders, but marketplace leaders as well.
The church is also currently in their Arise & Build season, raising funds for their new church building.
Armed with their experience gained from the past nine fruitful years, the church moves into its first decade as a new chapter unfolds.