After nearly 3 years trying to grow the Gospel in the Klang Valley from within a major denomination and being hampered repeatedly,
Robin had worked out that the best way to achieve those goals would be with a new church.
His last day in that ministry, was August the 31st, and became subsequently the Foundation Day for CERC.
From Sept to the year’s end, a small group of Christians converted or discipled through Robin’s work began to meet in the home of Joy’s parents to study the book of Joshua.
In the meantime, No 26 had been given by God’s grace and renovation works were proceeding the hall would soon be the new church’s first gathering place.
A place for preaching God’s sovereign grace without fear or favour
On the 4th of January the first public meeting was held.
Robin preached on Colossians. The first sermon was titled appropriately, ‘To the holy and faithful of the Gospel’.
It was a real ‘do what we can with what we have’ church plant.
Adriel was perched at the staircase to capture video.
Sunday School was done in a small room up the spiral staircase with the Gan children.
Joy was on piano with Latimer in between.
The hall had filled with visitors.
CERC Sundays were a reality.
Growth was challenging
for a small church
After the visitors had left, there was only a small group of 12.
But the goals were clear. A membership course was started. It was nearly as hard as it is now for the candidates.
Little People was launched for evangelism to parents and children.
Robin preached the next series, and the next.
We started CERC Camp in that very first year.
Also, Women Encouraging Women.
Eventually CERC on Sunday was actually large enough that another place might actually be needed.
Getting more space:
Being in PJS 7 was all part of the mission to reach out to the Klang Valley, and as God would have it, there were shoplots nearby for rent.
Although the young church had hardly any money, we needed the preaching space, so we took the plunge.
To make ends meet, most of the work was done ourselves.
Included in the fixtures was a creche where the mothers could keep viewing the sermon with the rest.
The pantry was separated from the hall by a simple curtain. We were (and are) still bootstrapping. But we had a library!
Soon enough, even this hall began to fill.
Growing by God’s Word
Evangelistic nights were especially full. CERC people were active in inviting others to hear the truth.
In 2010 began for the first time in Malaysia, a ministry apprenticeship like the one in MTS Australia.
Robin had trained under Phillip Jensen in St. Matthias and Campus Bible Study, UNSW, and was now ready to attempt raising a new generation of Church Ministers, beginning with Jerome.
Starting with the same name, MTS, it would eventually be renamed CMA.
Moving out to move up:
In 2011 it was clear we needed to move out again. At first nothing seemed available. A last minute phone call revealed an opportunity with the corner lot nearby. We made the move.
Again, we did a lot of work ourselves. Finances as always, were tight.
But the larger space and the two floors soon proved their worth easily.
Student numbers had been growing steadily and ministry needs as well — the multiple rooms today are used for administration, meetings, bible studies, a youth room, a studio, a kitchen and a staff office.
We even built rooms to accommodate our growing number of apprentices.
It came with a baptism pool, so many of us were actually baptized in a pool right next to the church kitchen!
We could also especially serve the Gospel by helping to house the equipment of a holiday camp that had been started for evangelizing youths, WWSC.
And the hall space was great for dinner evangelism, and skits!
In 2012 we introduced ‘Introducing God’ which brought a 2 Ways To Live style dinner evangelism to Malaysia.
Subsequently we created a new platform called Geddit for speaking to our friends about the Gospel over a meal and with accompanying thought provoking content. It would reach more than 1000 unique newcomers in 4 years.
Again, we did all the work inhouse, and saved hundreds of thousands of ringgit in the process.
We also performed some interesting and humorous skits to get people thinking!
The move up to North West:
In 2014 the time was ripe for us to venture into a new location, and offer a morning meeting. It would accommodate the growth in numbers, as well as provide a possible place for ministry to students in the North West area of Klang Valley.
This campus congregation eventually grew to nearly fill the hall, and we renovated again to accommodate this growth.
But the Sunday School children still needed more space by the end of 2017.
Our first apprentice was now ready for theological training, and with the recommendation of Dr. Stephen Wellum, we committed to the hugely costly undertaking for both his undergraduate and M.Div qualifications.
It was a first step in this direction that our little church was taking but one of many in our pursuit of a faithful and qualified generation of pastors who could handle the Word ministry here in Malaysia.
We also had the first volunteer who would serve the church fulltime for a period in a scheme known as Basic Ministry Training.
It was to give Christians an opportunity to taste the work of fulltime ministry, a gentler version of CMA.
‘Wait...what?’ was what
Our goal of growing theological understanding in the Klang Valley was being pursued as a church in regular preaching and bible studies.
Our partners in the Gospel Growth Fellowship were also actively offering conferences and the like for this task.
But there were also many opportunities in the Scriptures for challenging Christian thought and practice, so we started ‘Wait...What?’.
CERC Sundays were still growing and we rented No 32 for Sunday School, for the married apprentices, and for baptism. Now we didn’t have to squeeze into the kitchen to celebrate baptisms.
We knocked down the creche in the main hall to accommodate more growth.
We also managed to find new office space for the growing staff. The drama team also finally had a place to store costumes, and the video team a place to edit.
An explicitly Reformed church in the Klang Valley:
Nearly 10 years after we started, and nearly 500 years from the date Luther began the Protestant Reformation, we celebrated it with our partners at the Gospel Growth Fellowship.
In 2017, we got started for ministry in Chinese with Chinese SOCM.
We also made the decision to move all of CERC Sundays back to the Central location to accommodate the growth.
In addition, we managed to rent No 20, named ‘Anna House’ to accommodate the growing number of ladies doing ministry in both CMA and BMT.
At the end of 10 years:
We celebrate the ministry God has given us, to pursue the growth of faithful churches in the Klang Valley.
- 20 Growth Groups,
- 108 members,
- 122 candidates for membership,
- 3 in seminary,
- 10 having done CMA and
- 8 for BMT and
- 45 leaders in Word and Works ministries,
we look forward to another 10 years of being able to stand for the Gospel in Malaysia.
To a New Decade:
So far, 2019 has been a year for new things. We began new Growth Groups in Kepong and Puchong. A new Growth Group dedicated to Bahasa Melayu Ministry was initiated, preparing us for more evangelism opportunities.
We welcomed Daniel, a former apprentice who recently graduated from Trinity Theological College in Perth, Australia, back into our congregation, but this time, as a Pastor Trainee.
We now also occupy the ground floor of CERC Central, which has been renovated to house a bigger, better crèche for the increasing number of young families in our midst, improve our accessibility among the elderly, and of course, to accommodate continued growth.
We started our new decade of faithful ministry by breaching many new frontiers. We are committed to preach the truth about the world as revealed by God’s Gospel, and if you would be a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, we welcome you with open arms here at CERC. Although new persecution, challenges and adversities are inevitable, we hope that new allies will join our continued campaign to establish God’s kingdom in the Klang Valley and beyond. For the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few.