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In the Beginning of ACEM

Sam Chan

When it was time for Rev. John Kao to return to the Lord, I was moved by the Holy Spirit to say some final words to him. Sitting next to his hospital bed, I told him how I whole-heartedly appreciate his continuous love and care for me since I became one of his flock years ago. I was forever grateful for his kindness, thoughtfulness, and encouragement over the years. Without his guidance and inspiration, I might not have taken the path of serving the Lord.

In 1975, I was an undergraduate student majoring in education at the University of Toronto while regularly attending the newly established Toronto Chinese Community Church. Rev. Kao promptly invited me to be a counsellor for the youth fellowship. He said, “Since you are learning about education and pursuing a teaching career, you can certainly be a coach to the teenagers.” Before Rev. Kao had an in-depth understanding of me, he readily affirmed my gifts and boldly gave me the responsibility of taking care of the youth group.


When I graduated from university, it was very difficult to find a teaching position. I became a substitute teacher while participating in church ministries in my spare time. Every now and then, Rev. Kao would encourage me, “Don’t despair, God has a wonderful plan for you.”  Half a year later, I found a six-month contract teaching position in a Northern Ontario high school. Being away from my home church and friends and in the midst of the harsh, cold winter, I was sometimes lonely and disheartened. Rev. Kao often wrote to me and asked me how I was getting on.  In his letters, he not only sent his warm greetings, but also kept me posted about the home church and asked me to regularly pray for the ministries. Rev. Kao wanted to instill in me a heart for Christ and His Kingdom.


Upon finishing my contract term, I returned home and worked as a research assistant at the University of Toronto. At that time, I sensed God’s calling for me to serve Him. I was especially interested in counselling and my goal was to pursue a career in Christian clinical psychology and become a Christian counsellor. However, Rev. Kao said to me, “If you want to dedicate your life to serve God, don’t set your mind on a particular job. You should first offer yourself, both heart and soul, to God and allow Him to use you in His way.” He believed that if I wanted to be God’s servant, I should have a heart for spreading the gospel and discipleship.  He suggested that I should first equip myself with theological education at the Ontario Theological Seminary (now Tyndale Seminary). I enrolled in the seminary and even before my graduation, Rev. Kao and the Church Board already offered me a position and asked me to join the pastoral team. Before long, I became an English pastor and also continued to pastor the young people of the church.


Even after I became a pastor, I still clung on to the idea of advanced education in counselling, and hoped to pursue a Doctoral degree in this specialty. Nevertheless, Rev. Kao advised me that if I wanted to care for His sheep, I should focus on becoming a pastor. After praying and seeking God’s will, I decided to follow Christ and serve as a pastor for the rest of my life. Rev. Kao recommended that I should pursue my Doctor of Ministry studies as further equipping would bring greater joy and satisfaction in ministry. In reality, getting my D. Min. degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and learning about church growth greatly enhanced my ability to pastor a church, especially in the development of RHCCC.


Rev. Kao’s encouragement and advice affirmed my desire to serve God and His people. His assurance gave me the confidence to move forward with faith and courage. In my 32 years of ministry, Rev. Kao gave me much valuable guidance and pastoral support. Without his teaching and advice, I would not be able to have such satisfaction and joy in serving God. Rev. Kao started the first ACEM church and planted many churches. I surely hope that we will strive to work diligently and fulfill the vision that God has given Rev. Kao and all of us.

(Rev. Sam Chan is the senior pastor of RHCCC.)


相愛合一 . 培訓門徒 . 增長植堂 . 普世差傳 . 社區關懷

地址: 2750 14th Ave., Suite G-05, Markham,
ON L3R 0B6

Tel: (905) 479-2236   Fax: (905) 479-2232
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Website: http://www.acem.ca

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