Pastor Yong Te-Chong shares how he has been spending his work-from-home days, and how he keeps his faith burning in this time of coronavirus.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has seen City Harvest Church take its services online, while staff alternate in teams to work in the office. While social distancing has become the new norm, our pastoral staff members are finding creative ways to connect with their zone members and ministry members even as they spend quality time with the Lord. In this series, we talk to CHC’s pastors to see how they are making the most of this season of slowing down.
Pastor Yong Te-Chong is City Harvest Church’s Hospitality Pastor, overseeing the Hospitality Ministry. On service weekends, leaders’ meetings and other church occasions, he ensures that pastoral staff and guest pastors are properly fed and rested. You would also know Pastor Yong as a worship leader.
He shares with City News what he has been doing this season, given the additional time at home.
“The first two weeks, I definitely did enjoy the weekend break from the normal service. However, after that, there was a feeling of disconnect.
“[So] it’s great to meet up with [Hospitality] ministry members one by one—I have met up with five or six of them individually over the last few weeks. This period is an opportunity to build quality time; however, nothing can replace the feeling and joy of congregating as a Church over weekend.
What do I miss most about spending less time in the office? The simple ‘hi’s and ‘bye’s that I have taken for granted till I am unable to do so this period. What I miss about not having weekend service at Suntec is the happy, warm feeling of meeting together to praise and worship God.
Staying home to work can unknowingly become unending work. There are certain days I find myself troubleshooting one problem after another nonstop. Working from home seems to be more intense than in office! But I definitely snack way, way less at home than in office. I get hungry less than when I am in office!
I do end up also having to cook almost every single meal at home—it’s tiring to keep inventing and not repeating the recipe. But that results in quality meals, less money spent eating out, and better family time over meals.
I do have slightly more time to pray while exercising since I save time by not having to travel to work so often— something I am really thankful for. Those extra 20 to 30 minutes are precious for quiet time.
It’s the school holidays this week, and I’m extremely thankful that it coincides with my work-from-home week. It’s a Godsend. I wake up around 6am for my personal time, then about 7.30am, I work out with my boy for one and a half hours—yes, he does 30 minutes on the elliptical, 30 min on the treadmill. For me, 50 minutes brisk-walking on treadmill and some weights, plus some outdoor walking and talking. Of course, I also spend time cooking for him when he places an order!
How do I keep my faith strong during this season when we are not able to be physically in the house of God? I spend time meditating on the Word, thinking and feeling how God would want us to act during these difficult times instead of acting how I personally want to act, according to my flesh, will and thoughts. Worshipping and praying In tongues are a great help to calm me and let me see God’s perspective.
Some of the reflections I have had these last six weeks are, one, meet up in twos or threes. Do not stop meeting, because that’s when lives are touched and strengthened, and when our personal God-experiences are exchanged. Of course, observe social distancing, don’t hold hands or hug, but meet up in twos or threes.
Two: always greet God in the morning. When I wake up early, greeting Him in the dark dawn at my balcony is precious.
My suggestion for thriving in one’s pursuit of God at this time, is to really set aside the best time to talk to God. Don’t give Him the last few remaining moments of a tiring day. Giving Him your most alert and awake self show God how much you treasure this important relationship. You want to give Him your best energy, because He deserves it.
Take delight in and enjoy chatting with God instead just trying to pray for every single prayer item. I still do pray my prayer list, but way after my great chats with Him first. Relationship comes first, then duty.
My prayer for the church and our members is this: I pray for strength and a unity with God that makes us pretty much unshakable in any situation. We are human. We do get flustered, but do we really need to constantly feel flustered first, then repent and come to Him after that? Why not build a lifestyle of always approaching Him first, before getting in touch with our own feelings?
But whatever the sequence, God must be the center of our lives. Though things may be tough or discouraging, when God is with us, we will get through it.
I know some members are really feeling the loss of not meeting together in church. But I feel that, whether we are member or pastor, as much as we want and desire to meet together at service, let’s make the best of it while we are going through it. Let’s trust the leadership—of both the nation and our church—to do what is wise and best for us.
Think: how can God work through whatever situation we are going through? The Bible says that God causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him, so whether we have service together or online, good things can come out of it if we were to trust in the Lord, and in the leading of the Lord, and in the season of the Lord. Sometimes it’s best to just have the wisdom of God and to be thankful that we can also have online service, instead of totally no service at all.