The pastor of Grace Harvest Church shares why he believes they should grow and impact society.
Contributed By Jonathan Teo
|PHOTO COURTESY OF GRACE HARVEST CHURCH|
Every Sunday morning, dozens of youth can be seen gathering in front of a building located at Hsinchuang in Taipei, Taiwan. Setting aside time from their commitments, church members of Grace Harvest Church come every week, expectant of a personal encounter with God.
With their affiliation to City Harvest Church, GHC embraces the Cultural Mandate and exhibits the DNA of CHC. Led by senior pastor Garrick Li, GHC has a mission to win the lost, raise up disciples and send them out to be salt and light in their society.
The story of Li and GHC is one of humble beginnings. After graduating from the School Of Theology in 2006, Li joined GHC as a full-time youth worker. “It was then a small and conservative church of 20 people,” says Li.
Li and his fellow youth workers started to invest their time and efforts into youth outreaches and pastoral work, incurring the displeasure of the older members in the church. “They felt that we were wasting the members’ time and money. Those who were critical left the church eventually, leaving us with only a family and five young people,” recalls Li.
Unfazed by the setback, Li’s love for God and for non-believers did not waver. He started from scratch and worked with the remaining members to rebuild the church. This time, he applied everything he had learned in SOT and his hard work soon paid off as fruit began to bear forth. There was a revival in the lives of the members and the church began to grow in number.
AFFILATION AND GROWTH
Li first got to know about CHC and its founder, Kong Hee, in the year 2000 during a conference in Taiwan. Li was deeply transformed by the messages Kong shared and became inspired by all that CHC was doing. He enrolled into SOT and upon graduation, returned to Taiwan and answered the call of God to enter full-time ministry.
The year 2008 was a significant milestone for GHC as it became affiliated with CHC. A year later, Li took over the leadership role of GHC. Today, the church is one of the fastest growing in Taipei, with a weekly attendance of 120. Ninety-five percent of the church members are first-time believers who come from non-Christian families. The average age of the congregation is only 17.
In a continual effort to inspire his church members to be on fire for God, Li describes three key things he does in his church.
Firstly, he challenges every member to serve in a ministry within the church, believing that they will grow as they serve the Lord. Li points out that everything in GHC, from accounting to productions, is run and managed by volunteers from the church.
Secondly, Li conducts weekly Bible study classes. The Word of God, Li explains, is important in a believer’s walk with God. As the members learn more about God’s Word, they will grow to be spiritually mature.
Thirdly, weekly prayer meetings are held where members encounter God as they come together to pray. Weekly cell group meetings are also held in Li’s home throughout the week.
OUTSIDE THE FOUR WALLS
Like CHC, GHC believes in making a difference in the community and does its part by providing practical help to the less fortunate in the community.
With Seed of Hope project, needy families who are in financial difficulties are given aid. Food necessities such as milk powder, lunch boxes and other groceries are made available for these families whenever the need arises.
Another service that GHC provides is an education center for its students in school. While the church believes that students should shine for God in their studies, it also understands that some families might not have the financial means to provide tuition for their children. The education center thus provides students from low income families with English and Mathematics tuition classes at a low tuition fee.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Li shares with City News four reasons why he believes that churches should be progressive and growing. One, the church is the body of Christ and the house of the living God.
Everything that has life will, and ought to, grow. Two, God did not call His believers just to be faithful; He called His believers to be fruitful and multiply. Three, a growing church is needed to contain the harvest. The church needs a bigger capacity to accommodate more people. Finally, God is a big and powerful God. He expects and desires His church to have His DNA.
“Pastor Kong’s Cultural Mandate message and vision has always been a core message and DNA of our church. Our members are encouraged and reminded every week to excel in their performance in work and in school,” Li shares. He adds that teams were sent out last year to do relief work in villages that were flooded and affected by the typhoon. The Seed of Hope project itself serves as a channel for the members to show their compassion and love to the needy and poor in society.
GHC plans to conduct its Arise and Build church building project next year. Li hopes to move the church into a bigger facility to accommodate 300 by 2012.