|Spouse(s)||Rev (Dr) Nina Khong|
|Church||Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC)|
Lawrence Khong Kin Hoong (born 1952) is the Senior Pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) in Singapore. Founded by Khong in 1986, FCBC is one of the megachurches in Singapore with a congregation of about 9,000. Khong has been criticized for his public opposition to equal rights for gay people.
Khong is the son of a businessman and a housewife. His father, a general commodities wholesaler who came from Guangdong province in China, had another family in Hong Kong with four children, but remarried when he came to Singapore before World War II broke out.
As a young boy, Khong was rebellious and did poorly in primary school. However, his grades dramatically improved when he entered secondary school at St Joseph's Institution. Following this, he went on to National Junior College, where he met his future wife, Nina. In the army, his rebellious streak resurfaced; he took to chain smoking, sometimes up to three packs a day. He also stopped going to church.
Khong claims that the first major turning point in his life happened during his first year in University. Despite becoming a Christian at the age of 13, Lawrence says he had "backslid" during his army days. Lawrence recalls his thoughts, “I had decided I wasn’t the Christian type and that I couldn’t fit into the mould”. Despite this, Lawrence found himself at a church camp at Port Dickson. However, he treated it like a vacation and ignored many of the camp rules and activities.
On the third day of the camp, a ten-year-old boy had a misadventure and drowned. Khong says the tragedy made Lawrence reflect deeply on life and on himself. He said he was, at the same time, profoundly struck by the response of the camp leaders who gathered everyone to pray.
That night, Lawrence says he returned to his dormitory feeling both "the emptiness in his life and the hunger to seek meaning." He says he cried for the first time in years. He says he remembers the prayer he made at this turning point, “God I need you but no promises. I’m just a stupid chain smoker but if you think you can help me – help me. Here’s my life.”
Khong claims he never smoked again after that.
He says he returned to church and joined the Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF) and began preaching on the pulpit while he was still an undergraduate. Upon graduation, Lawrence says he received "a strong calling" and that he had no doubts "God wanted him to serve full-time in his church", Grace Baptist Church. Without hesitation, Lawrence accepted the call and worked in the church. A year and a half later, he married his fiancé, Rev (Dr) Nina (who was by then a houseman) and the two set off for Dallas where he attended the Dallas Theological Seminary. While studying there, Lawrence was asked to pastor a Dallas church with a Chinese congregation because he could speak some Chinese. It was a real challenge. “Pastoring a church anchors your life and you have to cry out to Christ”, Lawrence recalls. Returning to Grace Baptist Church in 1981, Lawrence worked hard for the next four years. From a congregation of 300, the numbers grew to 1600. It was the fastest growing Baptist Church in Singapore. At the end of 1985, Lawrence unexpectedly experienced the Holy Spirit and his faith journey took a deeper dimension. This was to signal the start of a new phase in his life. He claims that a time of personal brokenness was replaced by great joy and peace with the growth of the new church, Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC)". Lawrence’s vision is to establish a church that influences the whole of Singapore and the communities within it.
Faith Community Baptist Church
While in university, Khong joined the Varsity Christian Fellowship (VCF) and eventually preached while still an undergraduate. After graduating with a B.A Business Administration from the National University of Singapore, he worked as an intern pastor.
On August 17, 1986, FCBC held its first worship service in a rented auditorium. As Lawrence delivered his first message to the new congregation, the Holy Spirit gave him the words of Haggai 2:9: “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house. ‘And in this place I will grant peace’ declares the Lord Almighty.” Lawrence’s first leap of faith in that church camp so many years ago was admittedly a little reserved and his promise to God in his prayer at that time was also of little faith. Nevertheless, God has clearly taken the mustard seed of faith offered by Lawrence and moved a mountain with it, launching him into a new milestone in the ministry of the Gospel. It has about 9,000 members as of 2000, and is still growing. FCBC was founded as a cell church.
Khong is one of the International Twelve of Cesar Castellanos (founders of the G12 movement), and is committed to bring the G12 Vision to churches in Asia. FCBC is a charismatic church that believes in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lawrence is now actively nurturing a new phase in FCBC’s development with the introduction of the Government of 12 (G12) cell church model. Providing a greater opportunity for church members at all levels to be properly discipled, the model’s “homogeneous” approach where men and women are given separate networks also means that structurally, women now have new opportunities to grow and serve. This new structure could not have come at a more opportunistic time. As a church, FCBC’s size and rate of growth are both remarkable. As such, the G12 approach will poise the church for explosive exponential growth as FCBC members touch more lives with God’s message.
Following the pattern in G12 churches, FCBC is led by Lawrence Khong and his wife, Rev (Dr) Nina Khong.
TOUCH Community Services
Khong founded TOUCH Community Services (TCS), a community arm of FCBC. TCS is a non-profit, non-religious community organisation, which has served over 100,000 individuals since its establishment
In 1998, Khong was conferred the public service medal in recognition of his contributions to the community. In 2002, Khong conceptualised Project SMILE or Sharing Magic in Love Everywhere. For his achievements, he was selected as a finalist for the SIP-Schwab Social Entrepreneur of 2007.
In 2007, TCS won the Outstanding Non-profit Organisation Award in the National Volunteerism & Philanthropy Awards, which recognises best practices in the management of volunteers and donors, including fundraising practices, in non-profit organisations.
Media and entertainment
In recent years, Khong entered the media and entertainment world by producing movies and performing magic shows including "Magic of Love" and "Magic Box" as a platform for him to spread his Christian message.
Khong is the founder of Gateway Entertainment (formerly TOUCH Media), the entertainment ministry of FCBC, which provides Christian-friendly stage and movie productions and magic shows. These productions promote religion to a secular audience. Khong has performed magic shows, with his daughter Priscilla.
Khong shared his experiences of "Magic of Love" in his book Give me the Multitudes! Obeying God's Call into the Media World, TOUCH Ministries International: Singapore but has received some criticism from fellow Christians for his use of magic and involvement in "marketplace ministries."
Views on homosexuality
Khong has been accused of homophobia for actively campaigning against equal rights for homosexuals in Singapore. In January 2013, Khong issued a statement to ex-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong against repealing Singapore's discriminatory anti-homosexual laws. He sees the repeal of controversial Section 377A of the Penal Code, which effectively criminalises homosexuality as "a looming threat to this basic (nation) building block by homosexual activists." and regards the “homosexual act” as “the greatest blasphemy against the name of God”.
Khong and his wife, Rev (Dr) Nina Khong, have four children – Priscilla, Michelle, Anthony and Daniel (Deputy Senior Pastor of FCBC), and a grandson, Isaac. Rev (Dr) Nina Khong has given up her medical practice to serve full time in FCBC. In 2003, Khong publically disclosed about Priscilla's incident of having a child out of wedlock. The family has since reconciled with the church and stands strong on their biblical belief of 'sex after marriage'. He is also a national polo player who won a silver medal with the Singapore team at the 2007 South-east Asia Games.
Notes and references
- "About FCBC", Retrieved 5 October 2009
- "The Pastor Who Does Magic: 'PREACHER'S MAGICAL TOUCH'", The Straits Times, 7 July 2008
- "FCBC: Lawrence Khong", Retrieved 5 October 2009
- "G12 International Conference 2009".
- Lawrence Khong (2000), The Apostolic Cell Church (Paperback)
- "Purpose Driven Church", Retrieved 5 October 2009
- "PastorNet: Lawrence Khong", Retrieved 5 October 2009
- "FCBC: Characteristic", Retrieved 5 October 2009
- "Profile of Lawrence Khong", Retrieved 3 October 2009
- "Public Service Medal Recipients", The Straits Time, 14 August 2009
- "Business With Heart: He's Well-Schooled", The Straits Times, 15 December 2007
- "SMRT Has A Soft Spot for Charity", The Straits Times, 16 November 2007
- "Destiny with HD", TODAY, 25 September 2003
- "Digital dramas", The Straits Times, 14 October 2003
- Lawrence Khong (2008) Give me the Multitudes! Obeying God's Call into the Media World, TOUCH Ministries International: Singapore
- ""Winning the Marketplace", Retrieved 5 October 2009".
- "Rise of New Churches", The Straits Time Interactive, 21 July 2002
- http://www.lawrenceandpriscilla.com/lawbio.html. Retrieved 21 July 2013. Missing or empty
- "Lawrence Khong's Give Me the Multitudes", 13 December 2008, Retrieved 5 October 2009
- "Ikea Singapore under fire for supporting anti-gay pastor's evangelistic magic show". 19 April 2015.
- "Singapore High Court upholds criminalization of homosexuality". Singapore High Court upholds criminalization of homosexuality. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- Khong, Lawrence. "SP Lawrence Khong's statement at ESM Goh Chok Tong's visit to TC". SP Lawrence Khong's statement at ESM Goh Chok Tong's visit to TC. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
- http://www.theindependent.sg/the-passion-of-pastor-khong/. Retrieved 25 June 2014. Missing or empty
- "SG Polo Team Clinch Silver Medal: 'POLO TEAM EARN SILVER TO END SEA GAMES ON NICE NOTE FOR TEAM SINGAPORE'", 2007
- "Polo Player Who Wears Many Other Hats: 'Middle-aged, But at the Top of his Game'", The New Paper, 15 December 2007
- "The Polo-Playing Pastor: 'Being a Sport'", TODAY, 25 October 2007