Centered on the leadership of Jesus, the Chinese Leadership and Revival Conference this past June gave Chinese church leaders fresh insight into church ministry.
“Leadership is influence,” said Kong Hee, senior pastor of City Harvest Church at the first session of the Chinese Leadership and Revival Seminar (CLRS) in June this year. “Jesus is the best leader we can learn from.”
Held on Jun 10 and 11 at Suntec Singapore, CLRS saw over 1,000 Chinese-speaking leaders from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and Malaysia gathered for eight sessions of teaching. The theme of the seminar was “The Leadership of Jesus” and the sessions focused on how Jesus led His disciples and conducted ministry. Sharing his personal experience pastoring CHC for the past 27 years, Kong encouraged the attendees to put the vision of soul-winning in their hearts and to preach the Gospel with urgency.
LEARNING TO LEAD LIKE JESUS
“When you step into a room, you will be able to tell, very quickly, who the leader is,” Kong said as he began the first session. “He is the one that everyone gravitates towards, the one they ask for advice, and they would wait for him to make decisions.”
As a leader, Jesus inspired his 12 disciples so much that they continued in His work long after He ascended into heaven. Kong taught that Jesus inspired the disciples by His calling, His passion towards God, His anointing, His humility in service, His love, His spirit of victory and His ability to organize. The senior pastor encouraged his audience to do the same.
The calling in Jesus’ life was “to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus felt the urgency in fulfilling this purpose. In the parables of The Lost Coin, The Lost Sheep and The Prodigal Son, Jesus made it clear that no effort was spared in looking for that which was lost. Kong urged the congregation to share Jesus’ urgency to reach the unchurched.
Referring to a 2008 book by Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door, Kong told the room that only five percent of the world’s population is antagonistic towards Christianity, and 11 percent are actually very close to receiving salvation. He encouraged the congregation to focus on that group of people and to draw them into the house of God.
Kong also preached about faith, encouraging the leaders to build up their faith by reading the Word of God. Kong described how Mary (Luke 1:26-48) was filled with faith when she heard the words of the angels, that she would bear a Child and her Child would be the savior of the world.
“When Mary heard what the angels said, she immediately praised the name of God and proclaimed that she is blessed. She hadn’t even felt anything yet,” Kong said. “Mary received the Word and it became a Baby. So why can’t we receive the Word and let it become a building for our church or a promotion in our job? This is how the kingdom of God works—by faith!”
Kong, reading Matthew 11:28-30 preached that serving God ought to be fun and filled with joy. He told the leaders not to let ministry become so tiring that they start to detest the work that they do.
“Work in itself is good, it helps people reach their potential,” Kong pointed out. “But toil is bad; it wears us down. God doesn’t want us to be so busy that we have no time for our children, no time to build our marriages. If we work too hard, we will leave no room for Jesus to work on our behalf.”
Using the story of how Peter “toiled all night and caught nothing” in Luke 5:1-11, Kong explained that the world system is such that people toil and yet fail to amount to anything. But when Peter obeyed Jesus and let his nets down for a catch, he caught a net-breaking amount of fish.
Kong shared another revelation in this story: when Jesus helped Peter and his fellow fishermen to fish, it was not to fulfill their greedy ambitions, but to call them into ministry. Similarly, when Jesus provides for His workers today, it is to help them take their minds off their daily necessities and to focus on serving God.
TOUCHING MANY NATIONS
The night session on Jun 10 was the highlight of the seminar. In 2002, Kong received the burden of reaching the Chinese speaking world and the vision for China. The session was a showcase of the fruits borne out of that vision.
Over the past 14 years, CHC has reached the Chinese speaking communities in many cities all over Asia. Bobby Chaw, CHC’s mission’s director, Tan Kim Hock and Sun Aizhen, pastors in CHC, were among those that led mission teams to these cities. They went on stage to share their experiences, challenges, as well as their passion for the Chinese-speaking communities.
The Crossover Project was key in opening doors for CHC in Taiwan and Malaysia. Subsequently, CHC worked with the local churches to grow and reach out to their cities, using events such as the Emerge Youth Conferences.
Overseas pastors and CHC members shared on stage of how the Crossover Project impacted their lives and changed their perspective about soul-winning. Among these was the senior pastor of Passion 99 Harvest Church in Taipei, Sophie Huang, who told of how she started producing Gospel films because she was so inspired by the Crossover. Her church has been using these films to reach out to schools in Taiwan.
Sun Ho, co-founder of CHC and the face of the Crossover Project, presented a song written by a Christian songwriter, Huang Guo Lun. She said that the One who can change a person’s life is not CHC nor the Crossover, but Jesus. At the end of the song, Kong joined her onstage and together, they washed the feet of the representatives from China, Taiwan, and Malaysia. It was a moment that moved the hearts of many.
WHAT THEY LEARNED
David Saw, the senior pastor of CHC Prai in Malaysia, was most impacted by the lesson on the sharing of personal testimonies. “Although I’ve always known that it is important to share our personal testimony with others, I’ve never thought about how to be effective in this area. I’ll bring this back to my church and teach my members how to share their testimony effectively in just a few minutes. Pastor Kong also talked about the leadership of Jesus, how He assigned work to his disciples and how He instructed them to do certain tasks—all these are revelations to me.”
The two-day seminar proved a great opportunity for pastors to fellowship. Tsui Feng, a pastor from Arise Church, Hong Kong, said, “This is a very good platform for all the Chinese leaders from different places to gather and connect. Not just to connect to CHC, but also to find companions in the ministry. I realize that when we walk together we can raise up together to do greater works for the Chinese-speaking world.”
“For me, the most important thing was the impartation of faith—Pastor Kong’s messages always encourage us and after the meeting, we feel like, ‘Yes, we can!’” said Liu Zijun, a pastor from Taipei Revival Church. “Even my members feel the difference in me every time I return from these meetings; I’m always recharged. The messages are very practical to us—after returning from the seminar last year—we started a branch church in November. We used Pastor Kong’s teaching in our church and we grew from two to 50 members in just half a year. That is quite a breakthrough for us.”
What Has Happened In One Year
CHC held its inaugural Chinese Leadership Revival Seminar in June 2015. One year later, some of the attendees returned with praise reports.
One pastor from southwest China shared how the CLRS encouraged them and gave them faith to overcome a difficult situation.
“We felt very encouraged when we came for seminar last year,” he said. “We applied Pastor Kong’s teachings in our ministry back in our home church. The authorities came knocking; they wanted us to comply to their rules and regulations. We were worried but we remembered Pastor Kong’s teachings and all that he is going through. Even when he’s facing such pressure, he has never given up on his ministry or on serving God.
“I thought to myself, the government officials coming to us is only a small matter, we ought to continue doing what we are called to do,” he continued. “So we prayed, and when the officials came again, we told them they were welcome to join us. I told them if they are so concerned about what we are doing, they could come and see for themselves. They came a few times and then they stopped coming. And they told us we could do whatever we want in our church.”
Another pastor from a church in south-east China told City News Weekly: “When I came for the meeting last year, Pastor Kong’s message on how Jesus reached out to the Samarian woman really spoke to me. I realized the need for my church to find a need to meet and to find a hurt to heal. I started bringing my members to visit orphanages and old folks’ homes. We also went to a village of lepers to reach out to them. When we start doing that, our church started to see breakthroughs and revivals, and people started coming. We grew from 300 members to over 400 members in a year. We also started building churches in two other cities.”
He added, “Our members also grew a burden for winning souls. We learned, from the seminar last year, to be more focused on sharing the Gospel, to fulfill the greatest call that Jesus has for His Church. This is the lesson we received: that all the ministries of the church ought to center on the sharing of the Gospel and winning souls.”