We remember and celebrate the life and faith of Pastor Tan Kim Hock.
In the late afternoon of 26 September 2023, Pastor Tan Kim Hock was promoted to Heaven.
A founding member of City Harvest Church, Pastor Kim Hock served as the Pastor (Missions) of the church, travelling to countries across Asia to strengthen churches in The Harvest Network. He was also the Academic Dean at the School of Theology, ensuring the genuine learning of hundreds of students across many cohorts over the years. Pastor Kim Hock was also known as the “theologian of CHC”, being not only greatly learned but also a deep and profound thinker. He was a loving husband to Pastor Lily Yong and his four sons Abel, Asher, Aden and Ansel.
Pastor Kim Hock started his full-time ministry as a Zone Supervisor in CHC in 1999. During this period he became active in mission work. In 2008, he was made Academic Dean of SOT and in 2010, the Missions Pastor. Being effectively bilingual in English and Mandarin, he preached in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. He was also involved in the church’s humanitarian work such as the Tsunami relief effort in Banda Aceh in 2004. Wherever he could serve in whatever capacity he was able, Pastor Kim Hock loved and served the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul and strength.
Pastor Kim Hock held a Bachelor of Computer Science from the National University of Singapore, where he graduated in 1997. He also held a Diploma in Theological Studies in December 1998 from Oral Roberts University and a Master of Divinity in May 2010 from Trinity Theological College. He pursued a second Masters degree in Theology with the aim of further developing the Christian educational curriculum in the church and SOT. Despite his ill health in the early part of this year, he faithfully endeavoured, holding on to the vision of attaining his Master of Theology.
In 2017, Pastor Kim Hock was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. He battled the disease with the same tenacity and intellect that he applied to his life, conducting boundless research to understand his condition. He was cancer-free by the end of that year.
However he experienced various recurrences of cancer over the years, some minor, some serious. Through it all, he faced each one courageously, always armed with the facts about his various treatment options. He said in 2020, “Cancer is not the biggest enemy. Fear is. I’m allergic to fear. If you are afraid of cancer, half the battle is already lost.”
Over the last six years, Pastor Kim Hock took every opportunity to bring the Good News to all around him, from the individual to nations through mission work during the months he was physically well. He continued to teach at the School of Theology, touching the lives of hundreds of Bible school students with his testimony and his kindness. He took to social media to share his journey—the good, the bad, the ugly—an act that encouraged those also going through cancer and other setbacks, and moved others to pray for him and his family. He is remembered for his joyful demeanour and his perfect faith in God.
Pastor Kim Hock was an intensely intelligent person who applied his thinking to every aspect of life. City News had the privilege of interviewing him and also inviting him to write his reflections a number of times over the years, and each time he would bring up such profound truths in his writing that each story needed to be read a few times.
In his memory, we bring you those writings.
In Feb 2018, we interviewed Pastor Kim Hock and his wife Pastor Lily about their relationship and marriage, and how they were affected by his diagnosis.
“For me, Romans 8:28 is a key verse I hold on to. Sometimes we don’t need to know why things happen. Over the years we’ve come to know there’s no need to ask why. When it happened, I asked God, “What do you want me to do? What do you want me to learn?” [The episode] was good because finally I had time to pray more, to read more, to meditate more (laughs). So it was actually quite a good journey for me, even though there was pain. I had time to ponder, to reflect, to spend time with God and with Lily. So, it was a blessing in disguise. In the midst of all the challenges, you feel at peace and you let God work all this for good. You just have to go along with Him, and trust Him.” ~ Pastor Kim Hock, 2018
In this adaptation of Pastor Kim Hock and Pastor Lily’s interview for Harvest Kidz, the couple talked about how they go through the illness as a family with their four sons.
The children are aware of Pastor Kim Hock’s condition, and though they are quite typically “not so expressive”, the pastors are assured of their sons’ care and concern for them. “When I came back from hospital and I could stand up straight—they had seen me bent over in pain—our youngest was so happy he came and gave me a hug,” shares Pastor Kim Hock.
“They do know my condition, and they also see my Instagram posts,” he says, adding that he posts regular updates on social media about his ongoing experiences. “They are watching, and they are concerned, but not overwhelmed, because we talk to them, and we assure them that the situation is now under control.”
That said, the pastors have prepared their children for the eventuality of death. “We are their parents, we are older so it’s likely we will go before they do, not because of cancer,” points out Pastor Kim Hock. “So I tell them, what I want to teach you all now is responsibility and accountability. They understand; they’re sensible boys. So they’re not overly worried. We always nag them, so if we don’t nag them, that’s when they will worry!”
This is the first in a series of three reflections that Pastor Kim Hock wrote for City News. It was birthed out of him sharing at a meeting that through his illness, he received the revelation that with whatever time he had on earth, he wanted to do one thing: to be about Father God’s business, just like Jesus. This deeply honest reflection came following a difficult period physically for Pastor Kim Hock.
Once again I felt His Presence and heard His Voice. With tears, for many nights, I repented before the Lord for all my wrong thoughts, mixed motives, selfish ambition and stubborn pride. I have been a Christian for 31 years and served in full-time ministry for 21 years, but I realised there were many moments when I served out of my personal gain; the needs of the family; the demands of the church ministry and the opinions of others. I had done so many things with a divided heart and devotion, but God the good Father has been lovingly guiding me in spite of all my foolish mistakes. Because He loves me so much, He is lovingly chastening me in His mercy (Heb 12:5-11), and His goodness always lead to repentance (Rom. 2:4).
I came to realise that I cannot serve God for the next 30 years using my previous 30 years of experiences. I must continue look to Jesus, the author and finisher (developer) of our faith if I want to fulfil the will of God (Heb. 12:2). Since God encountered me in that valley moment, my life began to transform by His grace. I received many fresh revelations and understanding, and I was so blessed. I realised the Kingdom of God is way superior to what the world can offer. Daily, I learned to seek Him, rely on Him and dwell in the realm of righteousness, peace and joy in the Spirit (Rom 14:17).
I was very much convicted by the Holy Spirit. I wanted my healing so that I could get back to my agenda, family needs and church ministry. What Jesus wanted from me was to “seek FIRST His Kingdom and His righteousness” and trust Him that “all these (other) things will be added to you” (Matt: 6:33). Suddenly, it dawned upon me that this earthly life is really simple. All I need to do is to focus on the “Father’s business”, seek His Kingdom and I will live my life to the fullest, regardless of the surrounding conditions or harsh realities.
In this second instalment, Pastor Kim Hock shared his revelation that Father God’s first business is His Word.
Our Father, the Sovereign God and Creator, has many “businesses”. From personal to global; from our spirit to our soul and body; from families to cities to nations; God wants His Kingdom to come and His will to be done in every segment of human affairs. He desires souls to be saved, families to be restored and societies to be established in righteousness, peace and joy.
So I began to ponder, what is the Father’s first business? Recently, some of the pastors had a spiritual retreat with Pastor Kong; and we had a wonderful time in the presence of God. Pastor shared with us from the Gospel of John, which I believe, was not a coincidence. John 1:1 kept coming back to me the past few weeks; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
I would like to propose that the Father’s first business or first priority is the Word of God! (Of course, you can disagree with me.) By that, I mean (in simple terms) that a believer must know the Word of God and experience the Word. The Bible is the written Word, Jesus is the Living Word and our lives are supposed to be living epistles (words) written by the Spirit of God (2 Cor 3:2-3).
That is why Jesus was urgent about communicating God’s Word because His Words “are spirit and life” (Jn 6:63) and the moment you know the truth of God’s Word, “the truth shall make you free” (Jn 8:32). God’s Word keeps us from sin (Ps 119:9-11); cleanses our lives (Eph 5:26); produces faith in us (Rom 10:17); heals and delivers us (Ps 107:20); guides our decisions (Ps 119:105), and the list goes on.
In this final instalment, Pastor Kim Hock took his revelation further to urge believers to let God’s Word manifest in us, so that He will be glorified.
God’s only solution for lost humanity with all its problems is for “the Word to become flesh”. There is no plan B; no other way of salvation (Acts 4:12) and no other mean to be reconciled with God (John 14:6). The birth of Jesus Christ—the God-incarnate, His life and ministry—His complete work on the Cross and His resurrection are the only way to eternal life and blessing! Praise God that all these are already accomplished by Christ!
Just as Christ was the Word of God made flesh and manifested the glory of the Father, we as children of God must let His words become flesh in us so that we can demonstrate His glory! The knowledge of God’s Word cannot remain as mere theology in the human intellect; it must be translated into genuine spiritual experience and manifested in our environment. In the parable of the wheat and the tares, the good seeds are the sons of God’s kingdom (Matt 13:38), that is, those who received God’s word into their hearts and bore fruits which glorified God (Matt 13:23).
In the final article we asked Pastor Kim Hock to write during Lent last year, he revealed with great depth of understanding and personal conviction that a believer becomes strong through sharing in the suffering of Jesus.
If we just know Christ in His victory only, our understanding and appreciation of Him will be limited and partial. I am convinced that every believer must have a right “theology of suffering”. It is something that we don’t hear or talk about much in faith-filled churches like ours, yet it is crucial if we want to emerge stronger through every storm of life. The great apostle Paul’s greatest cry in his personal life was “to know Christ experientially” (Phil 3:10) and to “attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:11). Yet Paul was very clear that he needed to experience Christ in a two-fold dimension—“the power of His resurrection” and “the fellowship of His suffering” (Phil 3:10).
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REMEMBERING PASTOR KIM HOCK
Pastors, members and friends have taken to sharing their wishes for and memories of Pastor Kim Hock.
If you wish to share your personal memories of Pastor Kim Hock, do leave it in the comments.