How wide a net does City Harvest Church’s missions cast and how much further does the church plan to go?
Any City Harvest Church member worth his salt knows that he is a minister, called to fulfill the Great Commission—to spread the gospel to the nations and make disciples of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). The Great Commission can be carried out within the context of Singapore, as believers share the gospel to those in their sphere of influence. But as Jesus specifically instructed believers to “make disciples of all the nations”, there is also a call for believers to leave their homeland and travel to foreign nations to preach the Gospel—this is known as mission work.
In the traditional sense of missions, one who feels called to the mission field uproots and goes to wherever the Lord leads him. Today, mission work takes on many different forms, but at the heart of it all, the objective remains unchanged: to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to further the work of God’s Kingdom.
In CHC, mission work comes in the form of short term mission trips involving church members taking time off from work to travel to various countries, typically throughout—but not limited to—Asia. The churches in these countries are blessed by CHC’s missions, but after the teams return to Singapore, the fruit of these outreach efforts may wane over time. CHC sought a way to make the impact of missions sustainable in the long-term.
THE SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
In 1994, in line with CHC’s mission statement: “To build a church with a strong spiritual atmosphere of faith and purity, where every member is released into ministry, discipled in the Great Commandment, to obey the Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate”, the City Harvest Bible Training Centre (today, the School of Theology) was founded with the purpose of training potential pastors and missionaries from around the region and beyond to establish strong local churches in their own cities and nations.
Instead of just having a team of Singaporean missionaries go to a country and minister there for a short period, a church in that country sends its people to get trained and equipped to continue the work of God on a permanent basis. The benefits are plentiful: these Bible school students already understand their own culture and people, and can connect to the congregration on a basis that a foreigner cannot.
Up to 2015, SOT has trained and equipped 6,986 students from Southeast Asia, China, Australia, America, Sweden, Romania and Nigeria. Alumni meetings are held on a yearly basis for graduates to gather, connect and be renewed in their faith.
AFFILIATE AND ASSOCIATE CHURCHES
Since the inception of SOT, the church has seen many of the school’s overseas graduates return to their home countries, apply the principles they have learned at SOT, and experience revival in their churches. Some of these graduates have, over the years, requested to remain in touch with the CHC leadership and for continued discipleship by CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee. Eventually, some of these churches request to come under the spiritual covering of CHC and become part of its affiliate network. To date, CHC has 50 affiliate churches and 30 associate churches. Out of the 50 affiliates, 16 of them are part of the Harvest School of Ministries. CHC pastors visit these 50 churches every year to conduct training sessions and Bible study programs.
This year, the Missions department of CHC will be going full force in its outreach efforts, setting up a formal ministry within the church to make going on mission more achievable for its members. Missions Ministry volunteers will be able to choose which of the ministry’s two arms they wish to serve in—church support or humanitarian work—and carry out mission work on a yearly basis.
According to Bobby Chaw, missions director at CHC, who is also the dean of SOT, there are mission trips planned for the Bible Schools in Indonesia (Bandung), the Philippines (Bacolod) and Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh). Ministry volunteers can sign up to go on these trips to support the pastors who are teaching, by encouraging, counseling, reaching out and praying with the local Christians. Chaw also shared that there are trips planned for the Philippines and China to carry out leadership training. Humanitarian trips are in the pipeline for 2016, to Nepal, China, the Philippines and Vietnam.
CONFERENCES & SEMINARS
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18 underscores the importance for leaders in the church to always keep their eye on the vision. To that end, CHC not only supports its affiliates practically, Kong also pays attention to the state of the leaders through regional or global leadership seminars.
This past week, on Mar 22 and 23, CHC organized a Leadership and Revival conference for all its leaders, affiliates, and SOT alumni. More than 120 churches, from 17 countries and more than 50 cities were represented in those that came to hear Kong share insightful truths on leadership in the church. Many came away refreshed and recharged, ready to take on new heights in their ministry.
In 2015, CHC held its inaugural Chinese Leadership and Revival Seminar, which drew some 300 Chinese church leaders from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The conference served to strengthen the vision to bring the Gospel to the Chinese-speaking world. A second Chinese seminar is slated for June this year.
On top of all these efforts, CHC’s Missions department also has extensive Bible Study curricula, translated into various languages to bless and equip churches overseas that have their own Bible schools. The department’s target this year is to do a six-week Bible study program in Ho Chi Minh City, Bandung and Bacolod. Zone pastors and pastoral supervisors from CHC are tasked to travel
to these countries to teach the Word of God.
The past six years have not been easy for CHC, but the church has stayed the course when it comes to mission work. For CHC, there remains the call of the harvest, the call to extend the kingdom of God, and the call to build strong local churches that will impact society for Christ, no matter what the church goes through. For CHC, this is its core mission and the heartbeat of its leaders.
A HEART FOR MISSIONS
City Harvest Church is launching a Missions Ministry. If you have a heart for missions, why not join this ministry?
The purpose of Missions Ministry is to establish a core group of volunteers for missions (church support) and humanitarian work. Preparation includes training and prayer meetings. Volunteers will be involved in church-planting efforts, humanitarian work and organizing outreaches during CHC’s overseas missions trips.
Criteria (applicants will be interviewed):
- Must be available to go on one trip per year
- Attend one regular meetup every quarter
- Update mission reports and post about mission trips on social media
- Must be recommended by cell group leader and zone or pastoral supervisor
Contact: Yvonne Chua
Tel: (65) 6737-6266