Kenny Low is the executive director of the Church’s community services arm, City Harvest Community Services Association. He is also the founder of City College, O School and Little Big Preschool. He talks about the concept of the church as family—a commitment that has kept him sowing his life into City Harvest Church.
If we think of a family, that relationship is one of blood. It’s not a transactional relationship.
If you’re a team, you work together because you all want to win. So you look for players, and you can replace players to form the best team.
If you’re friends, you are grouped together by your common interests. You enjoy each other.
But when you talk about family, you may not have the most productive combination of people, as compared to a team. You may not have common interests, you may not really like each other. But because of the blood you share, you are committed to each other. For us, of course, that is the blood of Jesus.
I think this is a concept that is very ideal, but very hard to live it out. In a family, there is no exit option. It can either be a constant delight or a constant pain to you. You cannot say to one another “I’m bored of you already. Please go away.” So when we call church a family, that concept is never really tested until you have a crisis like our case.
You have to deal with thinking, “How did we end up in this place?” When we were young, we heard the Joshua type of sermon: “Lay down your life for the Lord”. We never thought we’d see it play out like this. For me, it hit really close to home because I was there at the Crossover from the start. I saw all those souls getting saved. So if you ask me, it was definitely a mission.
Someone said to me when the case broke, “You followed the wrong guy.” I thought about it for a long time but God assured me that He is still with me; He is still with City Harvest Church. That is what gives me a sense of hope. We are not perfect but if there is a big Guy out there watching over us, then somehow He will help us to work it out.
When the pain comes, when the pressure comes, I’m not sure everyone really can withstand it. And even if we can’t, that doesn’t mean we don’t love each other. I guess, we’re just not as strong as we want to be. But one thing I know: God gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Through this whole experience, I have come to realize I am part of the church, and if there are certain things I don’t like, then I have to take ownership, and not expect change to just come from the leadership. So when there was a leadership gap in 2017, that was the first time I actually reached out and told Sun, “If you ever need someone to lead CHCSA, I can take it.” I didn’t want her to be burdened by this, or to worry about this, on top of everything that was happening. This was one way I could support her as a family member.
CHCSA has always been special to me because I lived through the “second wave” in church, that is Church Without Walls. CHCSA was birthed to carry out the Church Without Walls vision, to bring the goodness of the Gospel beyond the four walls of the church. For City College—which started as our Tuition Ministry—Little Big Preschool, even O School, they were God-ideas that were put to me because they served a purpose in the church.
I think this is a season that we have to have a voice, we have to take part in the whole process of being the church. Ask yourself: can the church have more of me? In our whole collective, as a church, maybe we are closer to the image of Christ as we love one another, just as Christ loves us in this spiritual family.