Trust in God for doing His great works

By Rev. John Kao

Our Heavenly Father’s manifold works were accomplished throughout the history of TCCC for we had learned to trust Him in all things and in all times!

Dated back in the summer of 1974, with the Lord’s call for church planting, it’s a daunting task!  How was I going to get believers together or finding the place to plant a church?  I recall the morning of that last Sunday in August, Esther and I were driving along Yonge street in Toronto where we stopped at a small church near Lawrence subway station to attend worship service. We made acquaintance with the pastors then we headed for home after.

Then during September, I had accepted an invitation from CNEC to spend 4 months in Asia, travelling between Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. I met many families who had their children studying abroad in Canada. The parents said to me: “Rev. Kao, it’s great to have you living in Toronto, you can keep an eye on our kids there.” Hearing these requests, God’s call became clear to me.  That same year in December, I was commissioned by CNEC with the goal of planting a church in Toronto. The Lord’s bountiful provision for us, Bedford Park Chapel which was a few minutes from Lawrence subway became the place where Toronto Chinese Community Church first Sunday service was held on January 12, 1975.   There were seven founding couples committed themselves to minister to the Chinese visa students.  The Bedford park neighbourhood had very few Chinese residents at that time, these students travelled via subway to come to church.  In 1973 a reform on Canadian immigration policy allowed visa students to become landed immigrants. Since the demographics of our church were mostly students, this policy change effect was timely resulting in rapid church growth within couple of years. We had witnessed the 1st marvel of our Heavenly Father’s work. Praise be to God!

By the end of 1976, the 140 seating capacity at Bedford Park Chapel had reached maximum. God then lead us to move across the other side of Yonge Street to Bedford Park United Church where it could hold 350 people. On June 3- 1979, we planted another church in Agincourt, Scarborough—by renting Agincourt Collegiate for Sunday worship.   At that time, the needs of the Chinese community in Scarborough were commensurate with the growing population that had recently begun to settle in the area. In dedication to Family ministry during the time period between Mother’s day and Father’s Day, a special evangelistic meeting with it’s theme on “the Prodigal Son” was held.  An essay competition in “honouring parents” was organized and the winner awards were presented by invited government officials. At the end of the event, Mr. Tom Wells expressed that Public School facilities should be available for rent to different churches.   T3C could rent the facility for temporary use but Mr. Wells challenged us to plan for having our own church building, he had kindly offered to help us in looking for a suitable location.

In less than 2 weeks, brother Ernest Cheng (who was working at the Toronto Board of Education) and Mr. Wells found a United Church for sale located at 2230 Birchmount Road. In the company of several church members, by faith we approached the United Church with the property price of $125,000 to build our church on this location. The challenge facing us was that we only had about $20,000 as our church building fund, and 80% of the congregation were students who did not earn income. After fervent prayers from both Lawrence church and Agincourt church and joining efforts in fundraising—by August of that year, we came up with sufficient cash to purchase the new property. By our Heavenly Father’s gracious provision, this was a spiritual boost beyond our expectation.  Within 2 years, God gave us a 500 seating church building as our house of worship.     Oct 17-1981 marked the dedication of the TCCC new building and many pastors flew from New York to attend the dedication ceremony. We had witnessed the 2nd marvel of our Heavenly Father’s work.  Hallelujah!

Since 1981, T3C continued to grow with the commitment of obedience to the Master to preach the gospel and to plant more churches. In 1985, Rev. Sam Chan lead the Lawrence Church to move north to Yonge & Finch, the church was renamed Yonge North Church. While in 1982, T3C started the first Sunday service in English. 1987 the MillikenCCC was planted; 1990 a group of brothers and sisters rented a high-school in Markham to plant MarkhamCCC; 1994 we began North YorkCCC planting; 1996 was the T3C Mandarin church; in 1998 Cornerstone English congregation began worship at a high-school. God’s faithfulness had been amazingly evident, TCCC has been blessed with the vision for church planting and the Lord added to our number day by day those who were being saved.

Retracing T3C’s Church planting history, even before we planted our 3rd church—T3C pastoral team and leaders have constantly been thinking about the church direction. Should we partner with an existing denomination? Should each of the new planted churches be self-governed, etc? The final consent was to retain our identity as community church. After several subsequent meetings, the founding of the Association of Chinese Evangelical Ministries (Canada) was materialized and our mission statement was affirmed. ACEM launched 5 major mandates: 1) Unity and Love; 2) Discipleship Training, 3) Church Planting; 4) World Missions; and 5) Social Concern. With God’s enablement, we are grateful that progress had been made on the 4 mandates in recent years. The 5th mandate: Social concern, by started Good Shepherd Day Care, and involved with relief help to address emergency needs, we still look for opportunities to serve the community-at-large.  We hope that Social Concern is not only the goal but through social caring and increased participation in our community we can build bridges in communicating the gospel.

TCCC-Agincourt church eventually began planning for expansion and re-location.  In November 1995, we had discovered the piece of property on Acadia which was being auctioned by Royal Bank. With the approval of ACEM conference and T3C’s congregation, the Agincourt church and Mandarin church acted on the purchase of 1.37 acres land at the asking price of $291,000.

Both Agincourt and Mandarin churches had an agreement by which the Mandarin church would buy back the existing Birchmount building while Agincourt church under the leadership of Rev. Harding Ng and Church building committee would prepare for church planting at Acadia. The 1.37 acres lot size was not big enough to build a church to accommodate the size of our congregation so we needed special permission from neighbouring business owners to let us use the additional parking space on weekends--but we’ve encountered oppositions.  Alternatively, we asked our lawyers to re-examine the Property title deed, to our surprise we had discovered the additional parking spaces actually belong to our purchased property. A total of 4.17 acres, this was corroborated by Markham Council so the neighbouring business owners could not have any objection. God sent the miracle our way, to give us a building with seating capacity for over 1000 congregants.

Ground-breaking for the Acadia site was on March 28, 1999 and the building was completed in 2001.  There had been many sceptics who said it was impossible to build a church for multi-purpose functions. In response I had written an article titled: “Trust in God that He does great things” which was published in ACEM Monthly.    Without any doubt, our Father’s loving hand is working all things for our good—Amazing…Hallelujah!

Following the move to 100 Acadia since 2001, T3C’s congregation increased in numbers again.  By God’s grace— all ACEM churches practice “unity and love”, each church invests in “disciple training” and equips many church leaders as well as many pastors being ordained. For “church planting”, we had multiplied from 8 churches to 12; our budget funds for “world missions” has increased 2 folds in the recent years. The Master explicitly sets the new goal for us for which we are entrusted to fulfil our Christian social responsibility. This is no small task and again we need to trust in God to accomplish the task—our Community centre! Let’s move forward in extending the youth ministry, senior ministry, new immigrant ministry as well as caring for the poor and the oppressed in our community. Through living in obedience to Christ’s call, we are salt and light to the society, to show love and mercy, and remembering the words of the Lord Jesus himself said “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.

Time and again T3C trusts in God, time and again our awesome and loving God demonstrates His great works to us. We are now presented with a new and exciting challenge, by our strength alone, it is huge and impossible.  But the truth is that faith connects our weakness to God’s strength, we will rise together, in seeking God in prayers, reaching out in love and looking forward to the manifold works that will be accomplished by our Heavenly Father… Hallelujah!  To God be all the glory!

Last modified on Monday, 01 April 2019 08:47


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