Rising from obscurity to a faith phenomenon today, City Harvest Church (CHC) was birthed to be a blessing to God and to the lost. Each weekend, the church’s 14 worship services, more than 500 cell groups and 5 support fellowships touch a multitude of hearts across varying demographics in Singapore. And its live webcast reaches millions more globally.
A clear mandate for missions translates into teams of full-time and lay missionaries sent out annually. They reached 82 cities in 2012. To date, CHC’s School of Theology has equipped close to 7,218 students from over 30 countries with a passion for the Word and a heart for the harvest. And CHC’s vision for strong local churches has resulted in 49 branch and affiliate ministries as well as 2 Bible schools globally.
At its essence, the story of this ministry is one of partnership—where God’s love and destiny, coupled with man’s faithful obedience and dedication, have brought about an indelible impact on Christendom and secular culture, both in the local community as well as nations beyond the shores of Singapore.
Back in 1989, Kong Hee, then a 25-year-old computer science graduate, was about to embark on a journey to become a full-time missionary to the Philippines when the Holy Spirit encountered him, saying, “Kong, raise up a new generation of believers that will take the nations by storm.”
While he had no idea how the vision would come to pass, he had a deep love for God as well as a burning passion for the next generation. So on May 7, 1989, with a group of 20 teenagers, Kong heeded the word of the Lord and the story of CHC began to unfold.
Under Kong’s discipleship, rooted in the fundamentals of Christianity, the church grew in faith and consecration to the Lord. The youths were hungry for a touch of God, and Kong taught them core biblical principles such as evangelism, the power of fasting, prayer and giving, the works of the Holy Spirit, as well as living a godly life of obedience and holiness. Through radical worship, the anointed preaching of the gospel, and a genuine passion to bring the gospel to the unchurched, the name of Jesus Christ was highly lifted up in everything the church set out to accomplish.
As a result, multitudes responded.
Revival struck and the church grew exponentially each year, with hundreds responding to the call for salvation weekly. This was a move of God that knew no bounds: as of 2012, CHC had a congregation size of 19,819.
1996 was the year in which God spoke to Kong and his wife Sun to take the love of Christ beyond the four walls of the church. “Church Without Walls” was born from that defining encounter and this radical, yet simple concept revolutionized the lives of every CHC member.
Many people who had never stepped inside a church were touched and transformed as City Harvest members actively modeled the love of Christ—healing hurts and meeting needs.
As the church’s community work grew, Sun founded City Harvest Community Services Association (CHCSA) on March 1996, a social work agency that caters to the needs of the less fortunate. CHCSA’s services cover a wide spectrum of our society, serving close to 9,000 lives in the local community each year by caring for the children, the elderly, youths, families, ex-offenders, people with special needs, the hearing-impaired, and the chronically-ill.
“Loving God Wholeheartedly, Loving People Fervently” has become a core statement for the church, and the passion to make a difference in the lives of others has given City Harvest a social influence that extends well past its four walls. With greater resources, the church has also broadened the scope of its social services and extended its helping hand beyond the local to the global arena.
The humanitarian work undertaken by our church and members are driven from 3 agencies: CHC itself, CHCSA and CITYCARE, a non-profit organization founded by members of CHC that aims to promote volunteerism and fund-raising for disaster-stricken regions. Whether working together or as separate entities, CHC, CHCSA and CITYCARE have contributed much financial and practical aid to the areas of education and disaster-relief, being active participants in providing relief support personnel for some of the greatest natural disasters in recent history.
As City Harvest looks ahead to the coming years, it remains to be seen how the church is going to grow and continue to impact global culture in greater significance. But one thing is certain, as long as the City Harvest DNA of love, creativity, relevance to culture and an absolute commitment to Jesus continues to live strong, the church will unquestionably go from strength to strength, shining forth the glory of Christ our Lord!