23 April 2013 by Donna Uning CM –
With over 30 years in ministry, Elder Lian Paran remembers starting as a Sunday school teacher and cell leader with the Full Gospel Assembly (FGA), Kuala Lumpur. “During appraisal some would write my name as ‘Mary Lian’s husband,’” he laughs.
He first gave his life to Christ in 1966 in Marudi Secondary School. He was water baptized in 1974 at First Baptist Church, Petaling Jaya during his first year in university and was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1981 at the FGA. “You get the best of these churches,” he says listing a short version of his milestone.
Elder Lian considers himself in the tent making ministry, like the Apostle Paul. “I work as a missionary while supporting myself,” he tells about working as a branch manager with Maybank, posted in Limbang, Bintulu, Miri and Kuching, Sarawak while serving as an Elder with the church on weekends. Now retired, Elder Lian serves in The City SIB, Kuching.
In the second part of the interview, Elder Lian continues about his walk with the Lord.
You were in Indonesia for some time. Tell me about that.
Elder Lian Paran: I was asked to be the director with Maybank Indocorp, a subsidiary of Maybank. In 2008 I retired. I was given a 3-year contract, but only completed two years. They converted to Maybank Syariah; that’s why I came back.
Did you serve with the church there?
Elder Lian Paran: I didn’t serve as an Elder. I wanted to experience life there. There are so many big churches in Jakarta compared to KL. In almost every high rise building, you find a church. Our friend goes to GBI or Gereja Bethel Central Indonesia at the Jakarta Convention Centre. He would pick us up from the hotel to go there and that’s why we ended there.
Earlier, you talk about being a tent maker. How did you decide to go this path?
Elder Lian Paran: In ministry, everybody is full time. A tent maker supports himself. As a pastor, the church supports you. If you are called to be a pastor, you are full time. As a teaching elder, my priority is more on teaching. I’m a teaching elder; that’s why I can be a missionary always on the move. It’s good to be a tent maker and it’s good to be a pastor. It depends on your experience or background. Theoretically, it is difficult to say who is suitable for this or that.
You started as a leader/elder in Limbang, Sarawak after serving with the FGA, KL.
Elder Lian Paran: As a cell leader and Sunday school teacher with the FGA from 1980 – 1985, I work closely with the elders of the church, Dr. Koh Eng Kiat and Elder Ang Chui Lai. They are like our Chinese fathers, they adopted us. We (Elder Lian and his wife) saw how they serve in their house. This helped prepare us for leadership positions in Limbang. That helps me a lot. I see how they handle the church and problems. The church grew from a detached house to a theater. I see how they managed the church.
What plans or vision do you have for The City SIB?
Elder Lian Paran: We move as the Holy Spirit leads. We are a small growing church. We have not much planning ahead. Even with short notice we get speakers come in. Our program is very open.
In the years, almost every month we have a visiting preacher. God has been gracious to us, sending a visiting preacher once a month. We work in fivefold ministry – apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. God sends people to minister to the church. That’s why we allow visiting preachers to come and that’s why we open our church. Otherwise we miss this blessing.
What about growing into a theater-like church?
Elder Lian Paran: We believe in growth. God is the one who gives the increase. We sow the seed, God gives the increase.
I want to see more people go into the Kingdom. There are 700,000 people in Kuching. We want to bring the people into the Kingdom.
Finally, any last words before we leave?
Elder Lian Paran: My desire is always to see people go into the Kingdom and manifest themselves in the Holy Spirit.
Thank you so much!
Having a conversation with Elder Lian is always engaging. His wisdom and passion for God and truth is straightforward. From being a tent maker to a full time elder with The City SIB, Elder Lian Paran continues to make his biggest tent for God in Kuching.
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