City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur crowns 10 years of ministry and the move into a new building with thanksgiving and celebration.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
Youthful energy from the young and the young-at-heart kicked off the service over the weekend of Aug. 27 and 28 at City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur in double celebration of its tenth anniversary and dedication of its new building, No. 3, at Subang Jaya. The church had outgrown its previous premises, No. 8, which it had called home for the last seven years.
Overhead lights illuminated a grand piano as Adrieana Tan performed a classical piano piece, opening the Saturday evening’s service on an enchanting note before it took off into hip-hop mode with beatboxer Shawn Lee. Against a stunning backdrop of stained glass, the Children’s Church sang the classic “Amazing Grace.”
After an exuberant praise and worship session led by Abel Teh and Laverne Chee together with Joe Pringle from C3 and international recording artiste Will Tan, the dance crew awed the congregation with a dance number that opened with slow-burning marionette-like movements and erupted into a slick breakdance filled with acrobatics.
CHCKL’s founder and senior pastor, Kevin Loo, 36, tells City News, “The last 10 years have been fun and fulfilling. Of course, we have had our fair share of challenges, but to see the church where it is today, I want to thank my entire leadership and congregation for their love for God and their sacrifices. They have been most amazing, and I have enjoyed every part of the journey with them.”
In attendance were Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church Singapore, and his wife Sun Ho, as well as Phil and Chris Pringle, the senior ministers of C3 Church, Oxford Falls. After Kong led the congregation in reciting a prayer to dedicate the building to God, he invited the Pringles on stage. It was a momentous sight, seeing three generations of spiritual mentors and their disciples standing side by side on stage, brought together by the celebration of God’s faithfulness and providence.
Kong delivered a stirring sermon about how one must stretch out in order to lay hold of the blessings of God, illustrating with the story of the man born blind whom Jesus healed. The themes of faith and obedience were driven home as Kong pointed out that the blind man could have simply insisted that Jesus heal him on the spot instead of obeying his command to embark on an arduous journey to the pool of Siloam.
In closing, Malaysia Philharmonic Concert mistress and violinist Lisa Chia, together with electric guitarist Kysern Lim, capped a thoroughly memorable service with an electrifying face-off. That weekend, attendance reached a record 3,842 people.
It all began in 1997 when Loo, then 22, enrolled into the School Of Theology at City Harvest Church, Singapore. Equipped with a firm theological education, Loo discovered his passion for the unsaved and responded to the call of God to start a church in 2001 with 20 people.
Running on a burning passion to see a revival in Malaysia especially among the youth, coupled with the guidance of Kong, Loo has seen the church growing to more than 1,800 people on an average weekend now. Cell groups also grew from two groups to 120 groups as of July 2011.
But it is not so much about the numbers as it is about the lives that have been changed. “Thanks to the discipleship of Pastor Kevin and the teachings of Pastor Kong Hee, I am a changed being. My early ambition was to be a professional gambler and the casino was my second home,” admits 34-year-old Neo Eng Kim, an intellectual property consultant who joined the church in 2002.
“Back then, the majority of our members were college students and young working people. There was no permanent venue for our services, so every week a group of us gathered hours before a service to transport equipment from Pastor Kevin’s home to the venue and set everything up. Serving the church and its people taught me to be more giving and loving. Wherever there was a need, someone would meet it. This spirit of loving one another continues till this very day,” shares Neo.
Full-time staff member Shirley Boon, 30, who has been with the church since day one, says, “[Throughout this weekend’s services] I couldn’t stop thanking God for His faithfulness and love towards us. I’m truly grateful that I can be part of the journey of growing the church and witness the amazing things that God has done in CHCKL over the past 10 years.” Boon, who helped pioneer CHCKL’s Chinese Church in 2008, has seen God bring the ministry from 30 people to 170 today.
A NEW HOME
With the tremendous growth came the stretching of the physical capacity of the church. Just three years after the church had settled in a venue located in Subang Jaya, the search for a new building began in September 2007, with the location secured a year later. It then took another year for the deal to go through, and an additional two years before the design was finalized. Finance was a major constraint, but construction for the building began in March 2010. The church held its first “soft launch” service at No. 3 on July 30.
One of the main considerations for the new premises was location. “Ten years ago, when we first started our church, God gave me a vision that one day Subang will be a transportation hub. Being right smack in the center of Selangor state, it allows people from all ends to congregate here,” explains Loo. It is also highly accessible to the student community studying at the nine universities and campuses around the area.
The other main consideration was space; at 100,000sqm, it is sufficiently large enough to house various recreational facilities such as a futsal field, a café, a dance studio, a children’s playground and a hair salon, besides the main service hall. A swimming pool and a gymnasium are under construction. Loo’s vision behind the comprehensive facilities is for the church to be a place where people want to be at, seven days a week.
The service hall, with a seating capacity of 1,300, is finished in black. A large LED screen takes centerstage, which creates different themes as befitting the occasion of the church service besides facilitating the projection of song lyrics and sermon notes.
“I want CHCKL to be welcoming and warm. It has to be a place where people find God, yet one that is cool to hang out in,” adds Loo. The entire project costs approximately RM25 million.
The process has been an edifying one for the entire congregation, thanks in no small part to the financial hurdles the church had to surmount. “It was tough, with escalating costs and difficulty in securing a loan. Knowing we did not have sufficient funds, yet seeing the hand of God at work every step of the way has caused our faith to increase. As a result, we had to be very creative in making full use of whatever we have and stretch every dollar God had given us.” The outcome: industrial chic—bare bricks, exposed metal roof beams and unfinished cement flooring—exude a raw, contemporary vibe, all at a low cost.
For church members, the new building doesn’t just mean no more having to attend service in the overflow room, or sitting on stairs. It is a testament to God’s presence and faithfulness to CHCKL. “It was the sense of knowing that He has not forgotten us that encouraged the entire congregation. We know this is the working of God. Without Him, we would not have been able to complete this building project,” says Loo.