By Rev. Loh Soon Choy
Extracted from Our Story, His Glory (2016)

Why mention past difficulties?
An honest look at where PJEFC has been and is today is important for us to reflect on our preparedness to continue as a church in the future. “Never let a good crisis go to waste,” said Winston Churchill, because critical reflection can make us stronger and wiser.

Looking back on PJEFC’s 50 years, the Lord has indeed been gracious to spare us the sort of trials that involved immorality among leadership or dispute over doctrines leading to splits in the church.

Some of the church’s crises in the early 1970s are described in the historical timeline, e.g. the shocking deaths of an entire family in a road accident and its impact on the small congregation, a series of broken relationships that shook members’ unity, and a transition period of uncertainty when missionary Rev. Ben Sawatsky, who led the church, had to leave.

Later on, PJEFC experienced pressure from a complaining neighbour and the local authorities, which caused the church to vacate its new building in Section 14 just months after moving in. In years to come the church would again be affected by the government’s hand, as seen during Operasi Lallang in 1987.

The sources of these crises were largely external. In PJEFC’s more recent history, internal factors involving differences over leadership, practices and resources appear to reflect the natural challenges that afflict a church growing in size.

PJEFC has twice seen two Senior Pastors depart over disagreements with the church leadership and despite pleas not to resign.

There has been closure and all parties have moved on. Former leaders and pastors of the church remain much loved, but these episodes remind us to be humble and chastised. We should be painfully conscious that “warfare” within and over the church – both spiritual and physical – is not always black and white or right or wrong.

Different Takes
Some crises may be a matter of perception. People view the same episode through different lenses, whether philosophically, theologically, in terms of organisational development or for its impact on a community. Those closer to the heart of the crises may take the events more personally and emotionally.

But every crisis carries an opportunity, as clearly depicted by the Chinese character for the word “crisis”, which bears both the symbols for “danger” and “opportunity”.

For God’s church, a crisis carries the opportunity for repentance, revival and renewal. History speaks to this, with the Protestant Reformation and the Evangelical Awakening which came about following great moral, spiritual and social crises in the Western world.

PJEFC’s current situation may give the impression that some bigger churches in the Klang Valley with a shorter history than ours seem to have achieved more. We have resources, a congregation of many educated persons and professionals; yet, as our history timeline notes, we have struggled with being inward-looking and falling short of our fullest potential to reach more for the Kingdom.

Is this a crisis for a church aiming to last well into the future and impact others for Christ?

As one who has long observed Malaysian Church trends over the years and who has been with PJEFC since its early days and walked alongside the different leaders who have served the church, my view is that much more is needed for PJEFC in the areas of discipling, training disciple-makers and leaders, raising and mentoring potential leaders from within, improving leadership selection procedures, and integrating all these into the church’s “system”.

We can do more. Our gifts and blessings from the Lord have not been small!

Rev. Loh was PJEFC’s first local pastor, serving for one year before leaving to become a founder member of the Malaysia Bible Seminary English Department and its first Dean. He returned to the Lord on November 11, 2020.

Get Involved

🙌 Thank the Lord for His grace and faithfulness in seeing PJEFC through the storms.

🥵 Invite friends, colleagues, siblings or neighbours to sweat it out at any of our Sports activity. It’s a great way for community transformation.

🤝 Have you heard of our 3-2-1 Mentoring? It’s one way for the church to last well into the future and impact others for Christ.