Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Star Reports on Crisis in Calvary Church

The Star today reports the on-going crisis that confronts Calvary Church in Kuala Lumpur. Looks like there is no solution for the crisis anytime soon (For further details of the crisis, see Calvary Today blog).

I have often questioned mega projects for the church. Over the past few years, we have witnessed numerous churches in the Klang Valley pumping millions of Ringgit into church building projects. I am not against building physical building for the church - but my question here is this: Is it necessary to have a mega building project just to house a single church?

For example, a church is willing to invest RM150 million in a building project. I wonder would it be better if that money is used to build a single large mega building or plant 75 churches nationwide, assuming that it would cost at average of RM2 million to acquire a 3- to 4-storey office block in various location in the country? Would the latter be a better strategy in reaching the community with the gospel?

And if a church is willing to invest that amount in physical building, would she be willing to invest the same amount for the training and equipping of the workers to serve the church?

Strangely though, I have heard of many large scale fund raising projects organised for the building of church buildings, but I have yet to hear a large scale fund raising project to raise money for theological education - funds for the libraries of our seminaries, for scholarships for faculty members in theological colleges to upgrade themselves, for scholarships for seminaries, for theological research and publication, and for improving the facilities of seminaries. Just imagine what would have happened if the Christian community is willing to invest RM150 million in theological education.

Is something wrong with the Christ believing community when we are only interested in building physical buildings for the church at the expense of neglecting theological education in the equipping and empowering the people of God to serve and pastor the church?


sp lim said...

And so when the pastor saw that the plan for the building was good for his ego, and it was a delight to the eyes, and the building was to be desired to make one famous and popular, he started the fund-raising campaign and commenced construction of the building and his congregation went along with it.

Then the church members said, "Come, let us build ourselves a mega convention centre like a spaceship that can reach the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we become unknown in this country (after all many of us are datuks, datins and tan sris).

Jesus wept. And so should we.

anthony said...

great adaptation of a biblical answer. things have obviously not changed all these centuries.

Kar Yong said...

I could not agree with you more - and like what the Reb said, nothing has changed in planet earth.

In the end, it's all about ME building MY kingdom and then give it a religious flavour to it by saying it is for God.


Paul Long said...

I am praying that with such a report in a prominent local paper, something concrete and positive will quickly to solve the CC crisis.

CC is a prominent church and its witness will affect how many will view the Christianity in Malaysia,.

Really sad it has come to this

Isaac said...

it is a sad story though. when you preach this, it triggers me to think further, why Churches do not really fully support a lecturer in Seminary. Some lecturer need to attach to a church then they can have their allowance. this really burdened the lecturers and sometimes they can't give their best because they are divided with responsibilities.

Kar Yong said...

Hi Paul,

I really pray and hope the crisis can be resolved - but looking at ways things are going, this will be tough. More so, the project is now stalled - and this is going to be ugly.

We need a miracle here.

Kar Yong said...


I guess for any seminary, unless there is adequate funding, it will be hard to sustain its ministry. For my case, my church contributes a large chuck of my salary to STM, and as a result, I am required to work in church as well - hence my attention is always divided between the seminary and church. Like you said, it is tough to give wholehearted devotion to the students - hence when we as lecturers are labelled as not being pastoral enough and not spending time with students - I wonder whether students see things from our perspective? If they were to be placed in our situation, how would they juggle their time between the semianry and the church?

The Hedonese said...

"Just imagine what would have happened if the Christian community is willing to invest
RM150 in theological education."

Hmm... It is very hard for me to imagine what kind of theological education the church will get with RM 150 these days hahaha...

Kar Yong said...

Opps, typo...haha.

Dave, with RM150, you can still do a 2-credit hour TEE course at STM.

So, you can still get something out of RM150 :-)

Von Rad 文纳 said...

it worthy to note that malaysia AG grow tremendously over last 30 years not because of promoting solid theological education,but channelling most resources into mission and church planting,,,,

something intriguing?

I personally favour investment in theology,but I think,,,,

it may does justice if AG choose to focus in mission rather than education.

then who do the education?

hehe,,,let methodists and EFC do lah!

we are in the big family of Christ so to cover each other's back...

sp lim said...

RM150 for 2 credit hour? Cannotlah. Now it's RM90 per credit hour already. But still very cheap.

Well, RM150 can buy you a copy of some good commentaries or biblical/theological books.

Imagine if every Christian in Malaysia contributes RM150 to STM library. I will apply for the post of librarian there. Any vacancy?

Kar Yong said...

Hi SP,
Thanks for pointing out the figures. But nevetheless, you can still audit a 3-credit hour course for RM135?

If Calvary can only give STM 1% - just 1% of the RM150 million, we could do wonders to the seminary!

sp lim said...

Hi KY,

You may want to check this out

Very interesting. Wonder which church in Malaysia has the most valuable brand?

Kar Yong said...

Hi SP,
Thanks for the link. Interesting that now churches are talking about branding....