Relationships

From Pastor’s Kid hating the church to Senior Pastor: Daniel Khong on reconciliation between generations

Daniel Khong, Senior Pastor, Faith Community Baptist Church // August 15, 2019, 1:54 pm

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When I was a young kid, I wanted nothing more than to be just like my dad. I wanted to be a pastor.

I would go to church every weekend, see my dad up on the stage and I would say: “I want to be like this man.”

When I was 5 years old, I started preaching. But nobody wanted to listen to a 5-year-old preach, so I would go home and put my toys in rows, like they were on pews, and I would preach to them. 

I had no idea what I was saying. I just said everything that my dad said. I didn’t know how to preach. I just regurgitated all that my dad said. I wanted to be a preacher.

I even asked my mum if I could change my name to Lawrence Khong Jr because I wanted to be just like him. 

But as I grew up, I didn’t want to be a pastor anymore. I didn’t want to be a preacher.

Pastor Daniel Khong (left) and his father, Pastor Lawrence Khong (right), at the Day of His Power 2019.

When I went into a Christian primary school, I was not a fantastic student or the most well-behaved. Every time I got scolded, the teachers would say: “How could you behave like that?” 

And they would ask me this question: “Do you know who your father is? Do you know that your father is Pastor Lawrence Khong?”

I heard that all the time. Every time I got into trouble, somebody had to bring my father into it. Every time I went to church, I was scared to tell anybody what I was feeling because everybody saw me as Pastor Lawrence Khong’s son.

And so I came to one conclusion at that time: I hate the church. 

I am a Pastor’s Kid: I know the pain of being compared to someone else

As I grew older, my mum became a pastor in the church and my sister joined the ministry as well. They started travelling a lot and before I knew it, my family was always away. I was very often home alone. It was just me and my grandmother.

I didn’t have anyone at home. I knew that my parents were doing what the Lord had called them to do, but yet it was so painful. It felt like I had lost something. 

I remember this one time when they had to travel for a long season. The church leadership surrounded my parents during a prayer meeting and laid their hands on them and said: “Pastor Lawrence, Pastor Nina, we know that God has called you to the nations. In the name of Jesus, we release you, go to the nations.” 

I stood at the back of that hall filled with anger. In my mind I said: “Who are these people and what gives them the right to release my parents to go to the nations? They’re not the ones who go home to an empty house every single day.”

If you asked me back then, I wouldn’t have believed if you told me that in this season I’m going to become the next senior pastor of our church – because I hated the church so much.

No more guilt and shame: Day of His Power 2019

But over the years the Lord has dealt with my life, and I came to a point where I learnt to release forgiveness over my parents and the church. 

When I was 17, I shared with my parents about all that was on my heart. I asked for forgiveness for the way I’ve acted out.

This week our church turns 33 years old, and my dad is handing over the church to me. All this wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have that moment of reconciliation.

I know that in this next season, I’m not going into this alone. I know my dad isn’t just throwing this and saying: “Daniel, you mind the church now, it’s all on you.” No, I know that I’m moving into this season hand-in-hand with him. I’ve seen how my dad has had my back. 

That’s the power of generations coming together.

Today I stand here, not saying: “I want what my dad has. I want my dad’s faith.” 

No, I have my own faith that’s built on that foundation from my dad. I didn’t come to a place of knowing God through my dad. I know God for myself. 

The Lord has brought me to that place, and He has taught me that as I come, learn from my dad and humble myself, we can grow together.

Church, in this transition season of our nation, it’s a time when the generations need to come together. The previous generation, the next generation, the older generation, the younger generation – whatever you want to call it – we need to come together as one generation

This article was adapted from a message preached by Pastor Daniel Khong at Day of His Power 2019. This Sunday, he will become the Senior Pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church, taking over from his father Pastor Lawrence Khong, the Chairman of LoveSingapore.

THINK + TALK

  1. Are you carrying any hurts from the past?
  2. How do you view the older generation, e.g. in your family, in your church?
  3. Is there someone you need to ask for forgiveness from?