Rick Chan served on the City Harvest Church Board from 2012 to 2018, heading the Audit Committee from 2012 to 2014 and serving as the chairman of the Investment Committee. He supported the church in the areas of accounting, finance and governance. He recounts the miracles God performed in those years.
My wife Jasmine Foong and I came to City Harvest in February 1998 just after we got married. We were married in Kuala Lumpur, where I’m from—she’s from Ipoh. We moved to Singapore after the wedding. Our pastor said, “Go to this church called City Harvest Church. I think it will suit both of you very well.” We found CHC through the Yellow Pages, we came, and we have been here since. I went to the School of Theology in 1999, and then I led a cell group for five years.
I was elected to the board in 2012—the board needed a person with accounting and audit background because that aspect of the church was very important and needed support. I actually didn’t know what to expect and I wasn’t even sure if I was able to serve, so I sought advice from the regional head of my audit firm at that time, who is a Christian. He said, “If you have the capacity to help, go and help.” So I went ahead and did it.
The first year was most difficult because I was pretty much working full time as a partner in a firm and doing night shifts as a “finance officer” for the church (laughs). The thing is, when God asks you to do something, you may not know what to expect. You will find yourself inadequate, but He will bring help along the way when you least expect it. I thank God for the finance team as they were all committed to assisting the senior management to get the process running.
It was a challenging process as we had to work with whatever information we had available. We spoke to various parties and slowly but surely, the Lord gave us the wisdom to piece things together to understand our church’s accounts.
But, thank God, by 2013 we finally had all the accounts together. At that point, the accounts were not yet audited, but we could present them at the Annual General Meeting and give an overview of the financial situation of the church to all our Executive Members in 2014. After the 2014 AGM, [my wife] Jasmine joined the church office as Chief Finance Officer.
I realize now, that somehow, despite my lack of knowledge of the crisis the church was in, God was with me and guided me through the entire process. Then God reminded me of the fact that I have experienced hard and intensive training throughout my 20-year career as an auditor, and He said, ‘Now you know why you went through all that? It was in preparation for what I had planned for you to do.’ So sometimes, when I asked myself, ‘Why am I doing this? Is everything going to be all right?’, the only impression I would get from God was, ‘I’m still the boss. I call the shots. Even if I never reveal everything to you, you’ve just got to trust me and trust that I have a plan. So, you just do your job.’
So I obeyed the Lord and did what He told me to do. By God’s grace, through a process of seven years, our finance staff, together with our auditors, managed to get all the audited accounts up to date as presented in the last AGM in 2019. Praise the Lord!
Isn’t it amazing that God did everything for us, both on the audit side and the finance side? Each step of the way, from accounting to auditing to financing—God brought exactly what we needed when we needed it. Even when it came to the building fund, we did a forecast of how much we needed to pay off the loan so that the church could be self-sustaining, God was in the midst of it. The board, management, pastoral staff—all worked together with the congregation—and last year, our building loan was fully paid up! Isn’t that a miracle?
It’s also miraculous that in the seven years I served on the board, my work clientele grew. Now my firm is one of the fastest-growing in the region. I took on the leadership as head of the audit business unit by the third year. It’s all by God’s grace. There is no way anyone could have done it without His grace.
One thing that is very interesting for me personally, as I served on the Board in those seven years, is that whenever I came up against something I had never encountered before, I learned on the job. That prepared me for similar challenges at my workplace. The skill sets I gained serving in the church helped me to deal with this.
Psalm 23 was my comfort those seven years. As v4-5 promise, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.”
In moments when I felt inadequate and alone as I didn’t know where I was headed, God assured me of His presence and guided me throughout the seven years. He is my Shepherd in Whom I lack nothing!