The mega-church was huge. A semi-circle of comfortable seats faced a large stage backed with three large TV screens. Cameras were positioned in the centre and on either side, relaying live images to the screens. The worship was led by a Malaysian man with several backing singers, both male and female. There were well over a thousand people in attendance, almost entirely young Malaysians.
I have an instinctive dislike for mega-churches. The kind of slick, prosperous message which they often pump out often seems to be at odds with the humility and simplicity of Christ: rather too much money lavished on TV screens and sound systems; perhaps it would be better spent on serving the poor. Yet this one didn’t seem especially prosperous, just large and energetic.
The preaching was good, Biblical, and honest. The worship was passionate. As a first-time visitor I was encouraged to stand and was warmly applauded by everyone. Outside, in the lobby, there is a bookshop and a free café serving iced coffee to anyone who wants it.
Yet here is the thing that struck me the most: the overwhelming evidence demonstrating that God is doing something remarkable in the world. The English-language congregation has an average of 1,500 attending every week. They also have a congregation for Bahasa Malay speakers. There is also one for Tamil-speaking Indians and Sri Lankans, another for Nepalis, and one for people from Myanmar. The Myanmar congregation meets at midnight. Most are restaurant workers, busy until the restaurants close at 11pm, at which point they head to church. Hundreds of them, every week.
After the service I met some of those attending: Malay Chinese, mostly first generation believers who have come to Christ in the last few years. I met an Iraqi Kurd, two Iranian couples, a family from southern India, an Indonesian student, a lady from Bangladesh, a group of Chinese students. People from all nations, tribes and tongues, coming together to worship God. The vision from Revelation is coming true in front of our eyes.
In all our talk about refugees and immigrants we focus on security, on national identity, and on the economics of immigration. We are missing the point. God is moving people around the world for his own purposes. Let us, as a church, not miss the opportunity to see Biblical prophecy fulfilled before our eyes.