A joyous time for City Harvest Church leaders.
|CN PHOTO: Michael Chan|
It was a rowdy, noisy night, yet one filled with moments of retrospection and reflection on the days gone by for City Harvest Church at the Leaders’ Appreciation Night 2010, an event acknowledging the achievements and efforts of the cell group and ministry leaders of CHC who form the backbone of the church and its affiliate organizations.
The event, which took place at CHC’s Jurong West St. 91 premises, was a night for the church’s hardworking staff and volunteers to let their hair down with performances, games and video presentations lined up for the evening.
One such video presentation which tickled the funny bones of many was a look at the evolution of CHC’s praise and worship song-leading styles through the last two decades. It was a real sight to see how far they had come, from simple guitar and keyboard ensembles during the late-80s days of Ekklesia Ministry (CHC’s name in the 1980s), to the strobe-light and sound experience of the current generation.
The “journey” did not end there, with the worship team leading the congregation on a “praise and worship flashback” with popular songs through the years. Oldies but goldies such as “Jesus My Heart Is Overflowing” and “Gotta Give Him The Glory” were met with raucous applause and joy as the attendees relived their days of singing those songs in church. The juxtaposition of the catchy, tap-your-feet sounds of the “older” praise songs with the newer infectious and rhythmic rock-and-roll beats of songs such as “Your Generation” set a nostalgic tone for the rest of the night.
The first group to receive the evening’s honors were the various ministries who had sacrificed much ever since the move to the Singapore Expo premises. With memorable events like the Celebrity Weekend in 2009 and the Asia Conferences in 2008 and 2010, as well as the 74 humanitarian trips to places such as Haiti and Sichuan, it was evident that it has been a busy past five years for CHC. It was thus appropriate to commemorate the efforts of ministries such as the photography, television and drama ministries as well as the much-appreciated missions and humanitarian workers, just to name a few. Recipients of the night’s honors were given gifts such as eco-friendly notebooks, water bottles and thumb-drives emblazoned with the theme of the night, Walk On.
Up next were the heroes of the Jurong West era. As a result of the history-making accomplishments from the teaching of the Cultural Mandate, a tour throughout 36 Asian cities recorded over 100,000 salvation decisions, and the School Of Theology, O School and City College were established. This was the era when CHC began its foray into engaging and shaping culture. In a segment hosted by principal and founder of O School and City College, Kenny Low, it was inspiring to hear how some of the dancers had their lives changed for the better upon encountering the love and support of the church members through the establishments.
Turning back the clock further was a short video presentation of the various ministries in CHC which started during the Hollywood Theatre days in Tanjong Katong. Though small when they started, ministries such as the Children’s Church, Chinese Church, Dialect Church and City Harvest Community Services Association have grown into the pillars of the entire CHC organization today. Fueled by a vision to build a “church without walls,” efforts among the members to engage the less fortunate in society resulted in unprecedented growth for the church. Said Wong Jie Yun, 23, an attendee since the Hollywood days, “It was a time when it was ingrained in us by Pastor Kong’s teachings to find a need and meet it, and to find a hurt and heal it.”
Other groups honored during the night included the first ever adult cell group in CHC, as well as other pioneers from the days when the church gathered in the now-defunct World Trade Centre premises.
Departing from the group-themed awards, Osim iPampers were also given out to five individuals who received the Family-Oriented Cell Group Leader Award. These awards were given out to CGLs who had been exemplary in the way they juggled the commitments of family, work and ministry. One such example was Lee Kiam Hiong and his wife, Ong Sin Lee, who were pleasantly surprised to receive the award. Despite the busy and at times tiring schedule of being a CGL, Ong said what keeps them going is, “seeing people grow. That gives us the greatest encouragement.”
Before the end of the night, every leader in attendance was presented with the Courage Award, a coveted award given out to a particular individual who had displayed bravery and strength in the face of overwhelming odds. This year, the award was given out to every cell group and ministry leader in CHC for their commitment and unwavering support of the church despite the criticisms it had received and tough times it had gone through in the past year.
The eventful night closed on a poignant note as founder and senior pastor Kong Hee led the congregation in a time of worship on the guitar with the song he had written years ago entitled “Draw Me,” with support from his wife and CHC co-founder Sun Ho. For many there that night, especially CGL Lau Quan Han, 24, “it was the highlight of the night,” he said.
This segued nicely into a heartfelt speech from Kong to all the leaders expressing his gratefulness to the church for their support and love all these years. Kong ended the night with the following words for every one of the leaders in attendance, “Every dreamer must be prepared for every eventuality. Count the cost, be willing to pay the price and … live life with no regrets.”
With the highly anticipated move to CHC’s new home at Suntec City Convention Hall, there will no doubt be more milestones marked, more pages of CHC’s history written, and more future leaders and heroes to commemorate.
Walk on, CHC.