Aries Zulkarnain is the Executive Pastor of City Harvest Church. He is also the Chairman of the church Board.
Becoming an executive pastor was a matter of not my will, but the Lord’s be done. It was because of the need that arose during that period of time.
The most difficult thing these last 10 years was being “thrown into the fire”. We were quite inexperienced in the beginning, and we had no choice but to, in a very short period of time, work with others such as the newly appointed Board members, many whom were working with each other for the first time. But we did our best, and by God’s grace, He gelled us all together and it worked.
I don’t think we will ever be completely equipped. By virtue of the fact we are a church, when a problem comes, it is not just a problem. It comes with human emotions, which vary in every crisis. Every person is different; there is no fixed equation to solve every problem.
On the other hand, the greatest reward has been to see God’s grace that is evident in all of us. When we were weak, then the Lord showed Himself to be strong on our behalf. I think learning to journey together with the Lord, learning to depend on Him is very important. Trust the Lord to lead us towards it, rather than us asking Him to give us the solution right now. At the end of the day, the purpose of God is not revealed to us immediately, but gradually. That’s how God works in our lives.
I came to church when I was 14. I don’t think my relationship with Sun has changed a lot. I’ve always regarded her as discipler and pastor, with her guiding me, spiritually parenting me. But I think it’s come to a place where we can exchange ideas and feelings, and have respect for each other’s opinions. Like a child growing up, and being able to talk to your Mom, you know? That’s what these 10 years has been like.
The hardest thing for me was to see Pastor Kong, someone whom I love and adore being separated from his family, having to go through this prison term. It is one thing to prepare yourself for what is ahead of you but it quite another having to go through it. Spontaneity comes from a prepared mind. As such, it wasn’t as hard for me to preach and take on the role of an executive pastor to do all these things during the last two and a half years. The hardest thing was that, in the end, it really happened—I had to accept the reality that he was going in.
I’m very happy for Pastor now to be reunited with his family. He has always taught me that, at the end of the day, if I can help him with the church, I would have been a great help.
In the midst of all that we as a church have gone through, I realize that our ultimate aim is to have a deeper love relationship with Jesus; what truly matters is our personal walk with God. We do not want to just worship God so that He can bless us; we want to worship Him for who He is.
Putting on this renewed mindset, I see the value of having a very strong spiritual walk with God: one where you are not easily bought in by competition or comparison; nor easily jealous of other people’s success. You are not after popularity, chasing after the highest number of Instagram followers or Facebook Likes. You are not after material things and worldly success. As the song goes, all the things of the world should grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. It is He we need to be focusing on. All glory be to Jesus!