General Assembly of Indonesia
In 1932, one Indonesian youth became ill three months after his marriage in China. The cause of his illness could not be diagnosed and his condition worsened. He became bedridden for six months. Despite consulting temple deities and taking a range of medication, he was not cured. His aunt advised him to believe in Jesus in the True Jesus Church, and he was carried on a stretcher to the church for prayers. Miraculously, twenty-eight days later, he was healed. Soon after, he, together with his mother and his aunt, was baptized in the True Jesus Church at Putien in Fujian, China. This brother subsequently invited Deacon (Dn.) Stephan Siauw, who baptized him, to visit Indonesia in 1939.
Dn. Siauw accepted the invitation and went to Jakarta, where he started to evangelize. He gathered twelve brethren from China, and together, they held services in the house of an elder from China. Through the power of God, the sick were healed, demons were cast out, and many came to believe. On February 1, 1941, the first True Jesus Church in Indonesia was established in Jakarta.
From then on, the gospel spread to other cities in Indonesia, and later the Indonesia General Assembly (GA) was established, and the church in Indonesia was registered under the International Assembly (IA) in mainland China. The bylaws of the True Jesus Church (Indonesia) were recognized by the Indonesian government in 1952.
The early workers in Indonesia were from China and Hong Kong:
1. Dn. Stephan Siauw (Putien) 1939–1955
2. Dns. Maria Chen (Fuzhou) 1947–1971
3. Dns. Yulia Lim (Fuzhou) 1953–1966
4. Dn. Guo Tze Yen (Hong Kong) 1955–1967, 1970–1983
At the IA’s suggestion, the Indonesia GA established a theological training program on January 10, 1984. Its inaugural batch of students were ordained in 1988. To date, sixteen batches have passed through this seminary; with a total of forty-three graduates having completed the program, twenty-six of whom have since been ordained as full-time ministers. Currently, Indonesia GA has twenty-one full-time ministers serving the Lord.
The Indonesia GA Council comprises eleven council members, including the chairman. There are six departments: the Department of Evangelism, the Department of Pastoral Ministry, the Department of Education, the Department of Literary Ministry, the Department of General Affairs, and the Department of Finance. Each department is managed by one director, who is responsible for mobilizing the work of the church on a national level.
Presently, the Indonesia GA is subdivided into five regions: Jakarta and the surrounding area, West Java, Central Java, East Indonesia, and the Kalimantan region. Each region has a regional coordinator, who is tasked with developing and coordinating the work within the region.
The graph below shows the number of churches and houses of prayer established since 1941. Starting from only three, the number has increased steadily over the years. Today, there are thirty-three churches and prayer houses in Indonesia, with a total membership of around 7,115.
Geographical Distribution of the Churches
The map below shows the geographical distribution of the churches and prayer houses in Indonesia. The majority are located on Java Island.
1. Internal challenges:
- The Indonesia GA needs to strengthen members’ understanding of the important role of the church in God’s overall salvation plan. Members have to realize that the church is not just an organization that caters to their religious lives; she plays an indispensable role in their salvation.
- There are many members who could contribute to the ministry, but they lack training and are yet to be mobilized to serve.
- There are eight Kanaan Christian Schools, but the church has yet to maximize the opportunities to evangelize in these schools.
2. External challenges:
- Indonesia has 17,508 islands[i], with over four hundred ethnicities. Due to geographical spread, the churches are far apart and unevenly distributed throughout the five major islands of Indonesia.
- Although a secular state, Indonesia is dominated by Islam. Oftentimes, this has created obstacles in terms of evangelism and church building.
KANAAN CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
In 1969, the Indonesia GA approved the setting up of the True Jesus Church Foundation and the first Kanaan Christian School, managed under this foundation, was established on January 15, 1970.
In 2000, the foundation established the first Kanaan Global School, which was a play group located at Daan Mogot Church. In 2002, this school was merged with the Kanaan Global School at Taman Surya in West Jakarta. The Kanaan Global School teaches the country’s national curriculum in the English language and employs local teachers as well as teachers from overseas, such as the United States, Canada, Lebanon, Bulgaria, China, India, and the Philippines.
Through the Kanaan Schools, many students, teachers, and parents have learned of Jesus, were baptized in the true church, and are now involved in the work of the ministry. In fact, a number of the ministers and veteran church workers are former Kanaan School students.
Kanaan Christian School Ministry
Religious education (RE) is mandatory in the Indonesian school system, and the Education Ministry requires that two religious education classes be taught weekly. Since the Kanaan School is a Christian school, it is also subject to this requirement.
At the Kanaan Schools, only church members can be the religious education teachers. On top of RE classes, the schools conduct weekly services and daily morning services of twenty to thirty minutes before lessons start. Teachers also attend daily morning prayer sessions. Every year, events such as faith counseling sessions, student spiritual convocations, and parent spiritual convocations are held. There are also optional weekly fellowships and Bible classes for the students.
All teachers are familiar with the basic beliefs of the True Jesus Church, and the Indonesia GA has assigned a preacher to pastor several schools. At these schools, currently about thirty students from elementary to high school levels voluntarily assemble to pray together before the start of lessons and after lessons end, and some students often ask the preacher to help them pray for the Holy Spirit.
Sabbath Gospel Class
In the past four years, the Kanaan Schools have worked together with the church to promote evangelism. On Saturdays, Kanaan Schools in various cities hold Sabbath classes for their students. Parents willingly send their children to these classes, as they prefer them to attend the classes than to spend their time playing at home and watching TV. The classes are conducted by the schools’ teachers together with our church’s RE teachers. In Jakarta alone, more than sixty RE teachers and volunteer members from the churches in Jakarta, Sunter, and Daan Mogot are involved in this project. God’s grace is evident from the high attendance: 200 students in Jakarta, 180 in Banjarmasin, and 296 in Pontianak. Nationally, 1,013 students from our Kanaan Schools attend these Sabbath classes. This brings joy to the hearts of the believers and encourages them to strengthen their evangelistic fervor.
A Fertile Field Waiting to Be Ploughed
God has indeed blessed the Kanaan Schools; as of June 2014, we had six Kanaan Christian Schools and two Kanaan Global Schools located across seven cities, with a total of 233 classes and a student population of 5,445 students. Five percent of the students and around twenty percent of the teachers and other full-time employees were True Jesus Church members.
The harvest abounds, yet there are few workers. We hope that Manna readers will pray for the fertile God-given fields of the Kanaan Schools so that God will move more of us to participate in the evangelistic work in these schools.
The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. (Lk 10:2)
[i] Source: http://www.indonesia.go.id/en/indonesia-glance/geography-indonesia