In 2008, when we had to renew the lease of our church office at Bukit Merah Central, our search for a third property began. It was to be a production and training centre with office spaces to support it.
As chairman of the Property Search Task Force, finding a non-residential property of about 20,000 sq ft at the fringe of the central business district and near an MRT station, at a price of not more than $1,000 psf, was not an easy job.
Nevertheless, I was mindful to approach the project with our core value of efficacy, and not effectiveness or efficiency. We waited upon the Lord to do the God-thing, in God’s time, in God’s way, with God’s motive, to achieve the God-result. We did not attempt to maximize our search by putting up advertisements, contacting as many estate agents as possible, viewing every prospective property, etc. We simply waited for divine appointments to accomplish the divine assignment in divine alignment.
The Lord Has Spoken
Lo and behold, I was introduced to a Christian fundraiser for a Christian charitable organisation, who knew the developer of CT Hub and saw the development as a potential for Christian organisations that needed large spaces for their use. The developer gave us a free hand in taking as much space as we wanted. It was both a privilege and an awesome responsibility.
As the chairman of the Task Force, I wanted to be doubly sure that CT Hub was the place from the Lord. One part of me was tempted to take more space, given the attractive price and features. The other part of me believed that no matter how attractive the place was, if it was not from the Lord, we must give it a miss and look elsewhere.
In my solitude time, the Lord spoke to me from Exodus 16. In verse 16, on the manna that the Lord was going to provide, the Lord commanded the Israelites through Moses, “Everyone is to gather as much as they need …” and added that no one was to keep any of it until morning. While the majority obeyed, some Israelites paid no attention to the command and kept part of it until morning. However, the next day, it was full of maggots and began to smell.
Additionally, God commanded the people that on the sixth day, they were to collect twice as much for each person as the seventh day would be a day of Sabbath rest (v.26). Nevertheless, some people disobeyed and went out to gather manna on the seventh day, but they found none. Such is the kiasu spirit of a man.
The Lord impressed upon me from these two incidents, “Take only what you need. Don’t look for what I have already provided.” There were no accidents! The Lord had spoken. My heart was rested. The Lord had identified — and provided — His third property for Covenant EFC. But that’s not the end of the story!
Platform for Faith-Raising
Having found the property, I thought my job was done. But it was not so. Elder Hock Choy, the Board Chairman, asked me to be the fundraising chairman to raise $25M for this property! Wow, $25M! “What if I failed?” I thought to myself. I didn’t want the job. Then in one of the Board dawn prayers, God chided me through a word shared by Ps Kay Kiong from Isaiah 49:6, “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
There and then, I knew the LORD was asking me if I thought the job was beneath me; to think again — do I know whom I am really serving? And so, I said, “Yes, LORD. I serve the King!” God then showed me that the fundraising is really a platform for faith-raising in the congregation. My real job title is not the Fundraising Chairman, but Faithraising Chairman. To do this, I am to lead the congregation to do the following:
- To make decisions based on the SPO paradigm: Spiritual, Personal and then Organisational — to seek to listen to the voice of God for themselves first, then to obey that voice (be it to give and if so, how much, or not to give as the case may be)
- To walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)
It was an exhilarating journey — the easiest fundraising job! The people simply gave and gave. There were no fundraising dinners or events. Just lovingly, consistently and creatively pointing the congregation to these two paradigms in one way or another, month after month, as I joyously addressed the church, “Good morning, Church! Good morning, Committee!” and with a “Ruach!” battle cry.