Regaining a Passion to Win the Lost

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City Harvest Church in Singapore started with just a handful of people. Today this congregation is one of the largest in Southeast Asia and a model for effective evangelism.

Spotlights beam onto the stage of City Harvest Church, lighting up flags from around the world that serve as part of the platform's backdrop. The enthusiastic strains of the praise and worship team compel the crowd to sing, shout and jump. Young and old alike worship the Lord with abandon.

Deep in prayer, the pastoral team walks onto the platform. Immediately, everyone in the congregation raises their hands, praying fervently in tongues. The thunderous sound builds a spiritual atmosphere that prepares the way for the Holy Spirit to move. And move He does. When the invitation for salvation is given, hundreds of people stream toward the front, waiting to be led in the sinner's prayer. Nearly 400 salvations are recorded every Sunday.

Welcome to my church: City Harvest Church in Singapore. Our 11,000-member congregation, which meets in a former movie theater converted into a church building, holds at least nine services each weekend. We conduct high-energy services with a keen spiritual purpose to reach young urban professionals, or yuppies, and their families for Jesus Christ.

Our church, which started with just a handful of people, is now one of the largest in Singapore and all of Southeast Asia. It has truly been amazing to watch how a small group of believers blossomed into a congregaiton that is used to touch so many lives in cosmopolitan Singapore, one of the financial giants in Asia boasting a population of 4 million.

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Small beginnings. My wife, Sun, and I founded City Harvest Church 11 years ago. The church has since grown to a membership of more than 11,000 and has navigated itself to the cutting edge of soul-winning.

Effective evangelism has been the key. The converts first came in groups of 10, 30, 70, slowly rising to 150 and 250. Now almost 400 people each week accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Out of this number, an average of two-thirds are first-time decisions for Christ. And the average age of the church membership stands at 24.

Confidence is high among members as they bring their friends to church services. Surveys have shown that typically six out of 10 visitors give their hearts to God the first time they attend our meetings. This high conversion rate is only possible because the members themselves have been actively sowing acts of kindness into the lives of their friends long before they are ever brought to a service.

Though evangelistic fervor may be high among the congregation, their confidence for success is not reliant on one main church personality or system but on the simple concept of loving God and loving people. This is the basic tenet Sun and I strongly believe in with all our hearts, and it has been catalytic in the short but fruitful soul-winning history of our church.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

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