At the official relaunch of City Harvest Church’s Marketplace Ministry in May this year, nearly 500 business owners and professionals renewed their faith to pursue their God-given vision at their workplaces.
“Faith feeds on the impossible. You can only build your faith when you do impossible things,” said Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church. “So, start doing something you ‘cannot’ do.”
Some 480 business owners and working professionals attended the Marketplace Dinner held in Suntec Singapore on May 13 this year. It was a night of faith-building.
Division pastor Wu Yu Zhuang, who heads the Marketplace Ministry explained, “The Marketplace Ministry is built upon two paradigms of CHC2.0— Paradigm 9: ‘The Cultural Mandate is the strategy to fulfill the Great Commission’; and Paradigm 10: ‘The Cultural Mandate is only completed when the character and presence of God is ushered in.’”
He added, “Our work is worship. The Hebrew word avodah means ‘work’; in the Book of Genesis, God asked the people to worship him, and He called it avodah.”
The Marketplace Ministry of CHC exists to support and strengthen Christians who work or do business in the marketplace. It conducts monthly fellowship sessions for business owners and professionals at different locations in the central business district. Response has been good, said Wu, and the ministry is looking to expand these sessions across the island in time to come.
“We want to raise up godly business owners and professionals in City Harvest who will usher the character and presence of God into the marketplace,” said Wu, “to empower, to engage and to evangelize.”
Two business owners took the stage to share testimonies on how they have applied their faith and Word of God in their businesses. Dave Ng, Group CEO of Bok Seng Logistics Pte Ltd and Chairman of Singapore Transport Association, shared his testimony of how God led and guided him in his business in ways that human wisdom could not. As a result, the family business was transformed into a modern, relevant and thriving company.
Ng said, “I hope to see many other [business owners] on fire for God! No matter what position we are holding in the marketplace, God is real and miracles happen—we should focus on Jesus, just believe, and allow God to lead us. As business owners, we are in our servant leader positions because God has placed us here to shine for His Kingdom and lead by example to direct people to Jesus through our daily lives.”
Social entrepreneur Elim Chew spoke of the days to come. “The next lap for believers in the marketplace is having greater influence during the difficult economic period that is coming—we are beginning to experience it already. This is where the Marketplace Ministry will shine, when it is able to support and help many businesses out there. There will be greater breakthroughs and people will see God’s hands in the marketplace,” she said. “Through prayers, Godly principles and values, our experiences shared in the marketplace will help one another to grow in business.”
A WORD-BASED FAITH FOR BUSINESS
Kong shared a short message on faith, quoting from Matthew 9:29 that Jesus acts according to the faith believers have. Thus, it is not race, skin color, educational level, the state of one’s bank account or one’s family background that decides a person’s success.
Kong also emphasized the importance of building up one’s faith: it connects one to the power and ability of God. He explained that in business one deals with money, but in the Kingdom of God, the most important currency is faith.
Kong spoke of two animals that symbolize the marketplace minister: one is the eagle, which has powerful vision, and the other is the lion, which has an attitude of faith. Kong encouraged all to be like the lion, full of faith, confidence and boldness. He reminded the attendees that the tribe of Judah lives inside of them. “When lion sees a strong and huge elephant, it sees food, not a strong enemy!”
Kong urged all in the ministry to operate in faith at God’s level, and not to worry but to rest in God and His promises. The dinner ended with a heartfelt worship session. Attendees shared and prayed with each other, and Kong and his wife Sun also ministered in prayer.
“I was keen to meet business owners and executives who share the same vision as the church,” said Lionel Choong, 27, co-founder and coach of Innervate CrossFit. “I learned from Elim Chew how to be versatile and adaptable when it comes to shifts in industries and market conditions. And I was encouraged by the message shared by Pastor Kong and will apply my faith by truly going for the impossible in my business.”
Edwin Yap, 32, the principal consultant and owner of Untamed Collective Pte Ltd told City News Weekly: “It is beneficial for us business owners to share and seek wise counsel. After attending tonight’s dinner, I realize that it’s not just the vision, mission or the value of one’s company, but it is the purpose of the business that matters. I believe that my company will begin to embrace the purpose of reaching and impacting the life of each employee.”
“I was blessed by Dave Ng’s testimony, especially when he said that the vision of his company is to improve people’s life by delivering goods,” said Renata Triani, a high school biology teacher. “It’s always a good reminder that God has put me in my marketplace to deliver knowledge and values to our next generation. Going forward, I want to stay focused on sowing Biblical values into my students’ life.”
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Life And Business, Transformed
At the Marketplace Ministry dinner on May 13, Dave Ng, CEO of logistics company Bok Seng Group and the chairman of the Singapore Transport Association gave this testimony of what God has done in his life and business.
“Back in 2009, we had a customer by the name of Amey. Amey happened to be a member of City Harvest Chinese Church, and on many occasions she tried to share the Gospel with me.
“I was a very staunch follower of traditional Chinese religion. When I got married, I forbade my wife, who was a Christian, from bringing the Bible into the house or attending church. One day, Amey invited me to her friend’s Bible school graduation ceremony, which was really her excuse to get me to attend a service. However, coming to CHC left a favorable impression on me, especially the leadership principles taught by the pastors.
“Shortly after that, my wife Jennifer suffered her first miscarriage and I didn’t know how to console her. I told her that her God wants to talk to her. So I brought Jennifer back to CHC, and this time, I was personally touched by Jesus. Two weeks later, I surrendered my life to the Lord.
“Subsequently, I actively shared the good news about Jesus with my wife, my siblings and their spouses, and also invited them to CHC. Praise the Lord: my wife re-dedicated her life to Jesus, and my siblings and their spouses also came to Christ.
“During the first 10 years of our marriage, Jennifer and I tried to have children. We underwent IVF twice but failed in both times. After knowing the Lord, Amey shared with me about the story of Hannah, who prayed for a son and God gave her Samuel. With anticipation and excitement, I went home immediately to share the story with my wife. Lo and behold, she was also reading 1 Samuel 1:9-28, and she was weeping and pleading before the Lord for a child!
“In October 2011, my wife gave birth to a son and guess what we named him? Samuel!”
“I decided that I wanted to be equipped to serve the Lord in sharing the Gospel. So, I enrolled myself into SOT in 2013. My father was upset with me because he thought that I was going to quit my job and become a pastor. However, I manage to convince him that the training I received in the Bible School would only help me become a more effective leader in the marketplace. Although he had his doubts, he let me attend SOT for seven months! God is faithful: our company’s revenue for 2013 increased by almost $10 million compared to 2012. That was a breakthrough in our business.
“Around that time, we were also feeling that as a company, we were losing our purpose in the market. We forgotten the very reason why we exist as a company. I learned in church that the place of agreement is the place of power. I also received revelation from Proverbs 27:23-27—to be diligent to know the state of the company.
“We started to put the core purpose of our company into our daily activities. We placed a vision before all our colleagues that each of us played an important role in society. For example, our logisticians (also called “lorry drivers”) are the ones who put daily necessities like water, milk, clothes on the table in every household.
“We work late at night to transport and lift overhead bridges, and install them across busy roads, so that the public can cross the roads safely. We also transport MRT cabins from ports to depots so that more trains can be added to serve the public.
“Hence, Bok Seng’s core purpose is ‘Improving People’s Lives’. With that, our staff became united behind our purpose and ran with the vision, and the company was able to move forward together.
“As a form of outreach, we invite CHC’s pastors to our office to conduct office devotions. We hope that through these office devotions, the non-believers in our company will get to know Jesus Christ and give their lives to Him. We are already seeing the fruit of our labor. A few of them have given their hearts to Jesus, and others have rededicated their lives to Him when they come to CHC on Easter or Christmas. One of our office aunties, who suffered from cancer, received the Lord through our office outreach. Though she eventually succumbed to the disease, we know that she has gone home to be with the Lord.
“Ever since I gave my life to Jesus, I have known that God will bring me from glory to glory. But I am careful to guard my heart against pride and being caught up with the blessings instead of the Blessor. We changed our company logo to a Biblical design, so whenever we share about the success of the company, we remember that our success comes from God.”