City Harvest Church celebrated 22 years of ministry with high-energy performances and inspired preaching.
Contributed By Terence JR Lee
It was bold, audacious and visionary.
CHC turned 22 with a birthday blast that was an exuberant mix of creativity, innovation, and powerful preaching. Over the weekend of August 13 and 14, thousands thronged the church’s worship premises at Suntec Singapore to celebrate. Hundreds more were guided to the overflow room due to the unexpected turnout.
Visitors came from far and wide to attend the anniversary services. A Korean delegation of 49 middle school students and their teachers attended the Sunday morning service, en route home from an outreach trip to Indonesia. Cheolha Kim, a teacher with the delegation, explained that she had come to see Kong Hee, City Harvest Church’s senior pastor, as well as the church’s unique style of worship. Pastors and friends from throughout Asia also came to share in the festivities.
Congregants were treated to a captivating opening performance, a Tron-inspired marvel that prominently showcased the Dance and Strikeforce ministries. In pitch darkness, dancers popped and locked, wearing black bodysuits trimmed with LED lights—the multi-colored “moving lights” created a visual feast. Percussionists from The Strikeforce were similarly illuminated, with LED strips decorating their instruments as they drummed up a rousing performance.
To top it all, the praise and worship team cracked open a new praise song, “Come Together.” The fast-paced track featured the male vocalists wearing silver spaceman jackets with brilliant white LEDs sewn into the piping. Along with the similarly-clad backup dancers, they brought the exuberant atmosphere to a fever pitch, and had the whole crowd chanting “Come together, choose love!”
The service segued smoothly into worship with a duet by CHC’s co-founder, Sun Ho, and Amos Ang. Ang and the accompanying dancers were discovered at CHC’s Emerge Youth Weekend held in July this year. Their rendition of “I Will Rise,” written by Chris Tomlin, was so beautiful that it brought tears to the eyes of listeners.
The video greeting from CHC’s friends from around the world created another teary-eyed moment in the hall. Their patchwork rendition of “Because You Loved Me” opened a session of thanksgiving from Sun and the beneficiaries of CHC’s good works around the world. Pastor of Kumamoto Harvest Church Yoji Nakamura thanked the congregation for their love and support after the Japanese earthquake earlier this year, and Indonesian pastor Debora Henubau shared how coming to the CHC School Of Theology in 2002 gave her a vision for her ministry with slum kids in Indonesia.
CHC’s humanitarian work was praised by Dr. Kim Sung-Hae, president of Hansei University, Korea, accomplished concert pianist, and minister of God’s word. “I am proud of your church,” she said, “especially [of] Pastor Kong and Sun.” Kong refers to her as his spiritual mother, and only half-jokingly as “one of the two women I am afraid of.”
Kim explained that God wants the church to know its calling, and CHC’s calling has always been to serve the needs of the community. Furthermore, she encouraged the church to work together with God and believers around the world to overcome and surmount difficulties. “Your church is not alone, and you have so many friends around the world. There’ll be storms in our lives, but the question is how we come through those storms.”
She concluded with a beautiful performance of Franz Lizst’s “The Fountains Of The Villa D’Este” and “Amazing Grace”. Impressed, the congregation leapt to its feet for a standing ovation.
Humorously calling himself “the husband of Dr. Kim Sung-Hae,” Dr. Yonggi Cho is better known as the founder of the world’s largest church—Yoido Full Gospel Church. He is a healing evangelist, and a well-respected figure in the world, as attested by his being presented the prestigious Family of Man Medallion in 2005 by the Council of Churches of the City of New York—the first time an Asian and a Christian minister has been honored.
Cho spoke about the importance of visions and dreams from the Holy Spirit, and explained that these visions and dreams are the foundation of faith, righteousness, and a person’s Christian life.
“The Bible says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’” Drawing from the story of Abraham, Cho explained that faith comes from having a vision from God, and that this faith makes us righteous, meaning we can stand before God without condemnation. Throughout the sermon, Cho repeatedly shared how visions had shaped, and even saved, his life.
“When I was 17, I was dying from tuberculosis. It was during the Korean War, and I was close to death and helpless. Then, a friend of my sister told me about Jesus … and the Spirit of God gave me a vision. I knew I would overcome my troubles and I began to speak my vision. I told my family, ‘I’m not going to die.’ In front of me they said, ‘You’re not going to die,’ but they told my sister, ‘Your brother’s sickness has driven him crazy.’ But, in six months I was still alive, and in one year, I stood up on my two feet and I was completely healed!”
Cho started his church with a similarly audacious vision: to build the world’s largest church.
“When I started, I had no money and no congregation, but I was seeing my church—day and night I was seeing my church. God gave me a vision for 300 people, and I saw 300 people, then 500, then 1,000, then 5,000. When you see the vision, then you can possess it, because the vision brings possession.”
Cho encouraged the congregation to be dreamers, and to have bold visions for their lives. “A vision must be impossible—a possible vision is no vision at all!
“Are you a dreamer? I’m a dreamer! My wife is a dreamer! Dreamers can change the world!”
Buoyed by the tremendous faith that Cho’s message brought to every heart, hundreds responded to the altar call for salvation. The celebrations came to a fitting end when everyone sang “Happy Birthday” as Kong and Ho, with Cho and Kim and the leaders of the church, gathered to cut the giant birthday cake.