New Horizon Church: great hope for small churches

new horizon church

This church is a model of hope for small churches. Two small churches merged into a unified larger body and out of that union, a new fellowship emerged, aptly re-named, the New Horizon Church.

Ministry at New Horizon

I was invited to preach at their facility at Wing Fong Building, Guillemard Road. It was a mere 10 minutes drive from the church where I serve.  Euclid Tan, who spent a year in Bill Johnson’s  School of the Supernatural in Redding, accompanied me. Extra firepower! The worship hall was pleasant, and the congregation looked about 200. The worship leader led with enthusiasm, and the receptiveness of the congregation was gracious, and they warmed up as the message developed. I preached about the characteristics of God’s love. Yes, I added some ingredients to a used message. I micro-waved “God’s Love Tattoo”, and served the Word with a fresh spirit. Then we prayed for the sick and released prophetic words. The Spirit manifested himself and we were all blessed.

How the two churches merged

What happened? How did the two churches get together? I see the finger of God and the wisdom of seasoned ministers at work in the merger. The Herald Assembly of God church pastor was retiring. Out of discussions with Rev Lawrence Koo, then senior pastor of Agape Community Church, emerged the possibility of a church merger.

What followed were many meetings and a master plan that stretched to a year or more. Planned discussions by pastors and key leaders of both groups were held.  They organized a combined church camp, many joint services and church events where they got to know each other, like in dating and courtship.

They allowed a lot of internal discussions and time for each group to process the idea of a merger, to envisage what it would look like, and to imagine and live in the new feelings in the new state. Perhaps it was at the same time a necessary period to surrender preferences,  grieve and say goodbye to their respective former histories and identities. Thankfully, the decision over who would be the senior pastor was a no-brainer. The tough call was probably the name and the place of worship and the new identity and vision of the unified body.

In the end, all ended well, and they got married, and I wish I can say, and they had lots of children and lived happily ever after. I cannot so all readers are urged to lift up a prayer that this new entity will move from strength to strength;  and is able to fulfill its new destiny; and provide a beacon of hope for small churches.

Ps Lawrence Koo with meRev Lawrence Koo

I first heard of this process of merger from Rev Lawrence Koo, a veteran pastor with the Assemblies of God.  Besides being the senior pastor of Agape Community Church, he is a council member, a respected minister in his denomination, and the founding chairman of Global Leadership Summit.  Together with his wife, Nettie, during their Bible college days, they actually planted what is now a dynamic church in Seremban . Lawrence made regular trips to USA, particularly to Willow Creek Community Church. I got to know him when I joined him in one of those trips. During that trip, we also attended the Toronto Airport Church for a conference, and visited Jim Cybala’s Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. Occasionally he took my pulpit.

Tough to be small church

This promising merger will be a great hope for small churches because it’s tough to be small in Singapore. We are a well-connected tiny little red dot of an island. People are educated, exposed, sophisticated and want the best for their families. They are more consumer-oriented in their decisions than they realize. They compare; they shop; they look for what meets their needs best. The small church, like the old provision shop, finds itself marginalized by the large church “shopping mall experience”. A small church of below 30-60 finds it tough going. But if they go over 100, they struggle less financially and are more stable. Closer to 200, there is even better synergy and resources. Anything above that is a good size to be in: good for disciple making, strong community, and having sufficient resources for resilience and advancement. It’s tough to be small in Singapore but if small churches can merge like what New Horizon Church has done, there is great hope for helping small churches to move ahead in the Lord.

Help!

Perhaps larger fellowships (denominations) like the Assemblies of God have the resources and experience to make available and encourage and facilitate the merger of small churches. There are wise spiritual fathers and mothers respected by younger pastors and the many small churches. These veterans can help prod, probe, explore such mergers without trampling on the dignity or passion of small church pastors and their dedicated, battle-hardened troopers. Maybe this is apostolic work too.

There is always a new horizon when small churches dare to risk an intentional merger.

 

 

Church of True Light: many nations in one church

Church of True Light on Perak Road

God Positioning Something (GPS)

Tucked into a corner on the edge of Little India, stands a church gazetted for conservation, an Anglican church called Church of True Light. In this easily Indian services signboardignored tight space, God seems to be doing a divine positioning of sorts. Spiritually skilled “craftsmen” with experience seem to be brought together by divine orchestration to set up the stage for some supernatural workings of God that will glorify the Lord and add people to the church.

Indonesian service signboardLight to the nations, testimony to Singapore

Not that nothing had happened before that. God has already been at work in this church with its ups and downs. And the remarkable changes it had gone through are nothing short of surprising from my viewpoint. For one, this originally Chinese church with an English service offshoot is dominantly Chinese but had opened its doors for the outreach to Indians. To date they have an ordained Indian priest, a Tamil service, a Malayalam service, a Sinhalese service and a Hindi service. Not to forget recently they have started an Indonesian service, an international service and a small Korean fellowship also worships there.  I like the way that this church is going counter-culture. While Singapore society totters on the edge of xenophobia, this church, even with its physical signboards, declare that there is nothing to fear: the good news is for all races and God is bringing all things together in His Son, Jesus Christ. Amen and amen.

passionate leading by sis Rebecca in worship

Friends and familiar faces in the church

The current pastor of the English congregation, Rev. Vincent Hoon, invited me to preach last Sunday, and so I did, on the topic: God’s Love Tattoo.  This church is not new to me. I have taken two of their church camps two decades ago. One was in Port Dickson and the other was in Cameron Highlands. My daughter was in kindergarten then and now she is an adult. The camps were followed by several invitations to preach in the church. Then for many years we were out of touch. They outgrew me for sure. So I was pleased to see at least 8 couples that were still there faithfully serving in the church.  A faithful man who can find? In this day and age, they are as uncommon as mousedeer in the nature reserves.

Drs Samual Cheng and Chay Giam

One of the friends I met and took pictures with are Drs Samuel Cheng and  Chay Giam his wife, an earnest and lovely couple who love the Lord and are the Singapore representatives of the Elijah House. He is himself a psychiatrist and a trainer of ministers of inner healing and wholeness. With his practice and experience, he brings a useful down to earth perspective and spiritual discernment to bear on the fine line between demonic intrusion and mental illness.

The Church of True Light is very much setting up the sails to catch the supernatural wind of the Spirit. My prayer for them is that the Holy Spirit will visit them in waves that will carry them farther than any man-made fan or motor can. May they ever carry the torch of Christian hospitality to the foreigner and stranger.