10 May 2013 Natasha Kim CM –
Rev Kevin Loo, age 37, is the Church Leader of City Harvest Kuala Lumpur (CHCKL), an amazing Church with a majority of young adults that happily serve God. All the way from East Malaysia, Kevin grew up in Sandakan, Sabah. The young and faithful Christian wanted to explore the world and options for his career. He loved God with all his heart but didn’t want to be tied down. When expectations mounted, he wanted to flee! Never could he have imagined that God was specifically calling for him to do something much bigger than he thought he could. The message couldn’t be clearer, he just needed faith!
During my interview with him, Kevin recalled his humble beginnings at Sandakan when his aunt would constantly bring him to church. His father was a Christian while his mother wasn’t but through attending church he made his own decision at the mere age of 8 to accept the Lord.
When his family moved to Tawau after his primary years, Kevin started attending Church more regularly. After high school, he started working in Church, helping them with everything he could. It started off with him just trying to kill time while waiting for his high school results. During that one year of serving fervently his pastor asked him to think about whether he was called by God and asked him to pray to seek Him for confirmation. From that time he recalls random people walking up to him saying, “I think you will be a pastor one day.”
A Boy Running Away From God
After he got his results, Kevin moved to Kuala Lumpur to study A-Levels at Kota Damansara Utama (KDU). Then he said, “I was kind of active but not so active in church. There was a lot of pressure needing to be a full time pastor.” He was hoping that the call wouldn’t be so obvious once he went away, that it would perhaps die down so that he wouldn’t need to be a pastor.
Little did he know a lady who was at his previous church in Tawau had a vision. In this vision she could see a young man running away from God’s calling. She then asked the pastor there if there was anyone like that in the Church, but the pastor replied with a “no”. This recurred about three times. She then questioned, “If it’s not from God why is the vision so clear?” and continued to pray asking God for a name to connect to the vision. Then miraculously the name came to her. The vision was about Kevin. He knows this story because his pastor came down to K.L to share to him what had happened. “At that point I knew for sure that God has put a calling in my life” said Kevin.
Kevin then continued on with his life, carrying with him thoughts of that divine appointment and his calling. After his A-Levels, his church in Tawau sent Kevin to England for a year to be apart of a church exchange program, and when he got back they sent him to City Harvest Bible Training Center in Singapore. “It was life changing” he shared.
The Vision for a New Church
In 1998, his Church sent him back to Kuala Lumpur to pastor a student church (now known as Faith Christian Centre (FCC). He was there for 3 years and in the year 2001, he had a vision. “In the vision I saw a Church building with a lot of people” he said. However, he thought that the vision was about FCC. They tried to purchase a building but there wasn’t any breakthrough, so Kevin prayed once more and received a clearer vision. “I couldn’t recognize the people in the church. It impressed upon my heart that it was a brand new church, that I haven’t met these people before” shared Kevin. He then knew he needed to pioneer a new Church.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8
Close to a year he then left to start a new church. He didn’t have a clue about how to start but he had faith in the vision that God have him. Since he needed spiritual covering he went to Pastor Kong Hee for help and spiritual guidance.
It was a learning process as they started City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur (CHCKL), in a small apartment in Subang Jaya with close to 20 people. As his story goes, a few years later he got married to his wife Esther Khoo whom he knew since he was in Tawau.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.2 This is what the ancients were commended for.3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. Hebrews 11:1-3
When asked about what inspired his creativity? He shared that he had to be creative when CHCKL moved to their current location now. “I really had no choice because the cost of construction was very high.
We had a lot of difficulties coming up with the design, the work of architect and how to make full use of the place and yet, at a very minimum cost” he said. It was way beyond what they could afford! At that time, the church had already grown to about 1300 people and they had to move.
While the construction was going on he was truly discouraged and disappointment because they couldn’t get it started due to funds.
In 2010, he followed his wife to New York for her summer program. There he noticed how all the buildings were “completed but not completed”. “They had a very bare concept. It wasn’t very polished…it was a flavour of its own” he said.
He then brought the idea back and they began reconstructing! They made use of items that were left behind and kept the building very bare and simple. “It slashed the construction price by a lot!” he said. His creativity flourished from there. “I believe there’s a lot more we can do if we can just be creative” he added.
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
He started painting as well while the construction was going on. “To me it was quite therapeutic” he said. When he couldn’t sleep he would listen to music or listen to the audio Bible while painting, before finally praying and heading to sleep. Kevin also writes. He began with writing seven day devotionals which was added on and turned into “365” a years’ worth of devotionals, his new book.
He lives by Faith and Action
When asked about what’s the biggest miracle he’d experience? He said that there are different aspects of miracles and started naming a few such as him seeing his brother saved and getting the location and the building that costs 12.5 million.
“The presence of God in a service is very important. If people walk into our church and they cannot feel the presence of God then there is no point in having a church anymore. To me the presence of God is very much determined by our attitude we carry. If the heart is right it’s easier to bring in the presence of God” he said.
When asked what he thinks about the churches in Malaysia? He said, “I think the churches in Malaysia are in a very exciting time. I think the time that we moved here, a lot of churches also moved into a bigger building, so there’s a very good sense of momentum in the churches.” He added that, “The churches are very united and the pastors are always encouraging one another. As a Malaysian church, that would be our strength!”
For now, Kevin does not know how the future will be like but faith and prayer keeps him going! He is a very creative pastor and had a lot of ideas and he is also one who encourages team work built upon a strong friendship. “Faith is an important theme in my life. God always wants me to stretch my faith” he said.
“I want to encourage everybody to pursue what is really on the inside of them and who they are. If you ask me, I’m very sure this is what God wants me to pursue” he said. He gets a kick out of talking to people and seeing the young rise up and grow! Through the grace of God the congregation of CHCKL has risen up close to 2000 people.
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