Recently a letter allegedly written by him was leaked to the public. In a mega-church, a pastor is like God in the sense that the probability of meeting them face to face is about the same. That used to be the common joke shared among Christians during that time about being in a mega-church. FCBC is about 8000+ now, I heard. In my days, it came close to 10,000. I remember chanting 10,000! 10,000! with my hands raised up together with 9000+ others. We were that close. City Harvest exceeded that by a mile some time later. Or it could be my faulty memory. Don’t take anything I say to be the gospel truth, it’s just my personal recollection.
The photo in the article was not very flattering to him, it was probably a photo of him while in one of his magic acts, probably some kind of Houdini-esque performance.
Positive impressions about him.
I like that he took full responsibility for his church in every aspect. He was like the King David of the church (except for the bad parts), in that everyone answered to him and he answered to God + Peter Wagner, whoever that was. He was appointed as an Apostle by Peter Wagner? Something like that.
In that sense, FCBC was organisationally strong. To be honest, I enjoyed my time in that church. Our cell group was very close, we helped each other out in many aspects of life. I remember my cell mates even helped me out in painting my flat and quite a few other things. To be fair, we had a good cell group leader. Maybe not every cell was like that.
He started the Love Singapore movement, and it’s a movement comprising of many churches in Singapore, so it felt good that FCBC was the flagship church in Singapore, competing closely with City Harvest. We were proud of our pastor, and our church. Even later on when I had moved on to other churches, my pastors in those other churches would often be attending conferences organised for pastors by Lawrence Khong. So he was the man.
To this day, FCBC has a strong charitable presence in Singapore, Touch Community Services.
He’s always taking the church in new and exciting directions. FCBC was humorously known to be the abbreviation for Forever Changing and Busy Church.
We did strange things like pray-walking the island, and the neighbourhood. I remember walking around the HDB heartlands praying for every household, as we walked the stairwell. How quaint that is, looking back.
We organised lantern festivals, and then invited our neighbours to join us, then we sang songs like the moon represents my heart (in Chinese) together. Wow.
Before collecting tithes and offerings, we chanted that we will be able to find money on the floor, in letter-boxes…
Our vision was to have a cell-group in every HDB flat by what was it, 2010 or 2001?
Courage to say sorry
I am also given to understand that he later repented of some of the things he had done before, and even closed the church for a few days in remorse, something like that.
Zest for life
He encouraged dancing and jumping around during church services. I found that very fun indeed. It was scripted as dancing before the Lord; it felt very liberating at the time. From someone who had gotten used to singing hymnals solemnly, it was a breath of fresh air.
He also performed as a magician to the public. He once performed some tricks during a service. It was very good. His presentation was superb, flawless and seamless.
He was an engaging speaker. Even in the audience, I’m not the only person who has felt his eyes on you, like he was speaking to you, and just you alone. He has good eye contact with the congregation. When he is speaking the numbers go up. When he is away, or not the speaker for that Sunday, the numbers drop noticeably.
All in all, I had a very good time while I was in FCBC, and if you’re going to insist on being a Christian, I couldn’t recommend a better church, or rather, FCBC as I knew it at that time.
P.S. Experiences may vary.