The Story of Johor Bahru Baptist Church

The story of Johor Bahru Baptist Church began in 1964 when the late Pr. Victor Tan of Queenstown Baptist Church Singapore had a great vision wanting to plant a baptist missionary work across the causeway in the neighboring city of Johor Bahru (commonly known as JB), located in the state of Johor, Malaysia. His vision was re-confirmed by Pr. Jarrett Ragan (Foreign Mission Board) a missionary from Calvary Baptist Church Singapore. Together they presented their vision to their respective churches and with the blessings of their respective churches in 1965, the Johor Bahru Mission was born that year.

Pr. Victor and Pr. Jarrett made frequent visits to JB and eventually started a worship service on every Thursday night in a family home. Other missionaries that were involved in kick-starting the work were Sid & Alvinda Reber. Eventually the outreach work was moved to Century Garden where the present premise is. Bro. Bak Kwan was the first candidate baptized by the Johor Bahru Mission.

On 8th June 1970, the Johor Bahru Baptist Chapel was formally established with its first pastor as Pr. Albert Lim. Bro. Chua Tong Ik was elected chairman of the Church Committee. Pr. Albert Lim, who was instrumental in organising this ministry into the Johor Bahru Baptist Church on 8th June 1975, finished his stint in JBBC in 1977 after serving God faithfully for 7 years. In 1979, Pr. Andrew Lim, a gifted speaker of God's Word, became the Pastor and stayed on until 1985 and thereafter he left for further studies to New Zealand.

On 20th March 1980, the church was officially registered with the Registrar of Society as “Johor Bahru Baptist Church”. Chan Lee Man was elected chairman from 1983 to 1985. For JBBC outreach work since then read at article tilted "About us".

Tan Keng Chong succeeded the chairmanship when he was elected in 1985 and he served as chairman for 9 years until 1994. Pr. Benjamin Ho joined JBBC in his first stint as pastor in 1988. In 1989, under the guidance and foresight of Pr. Ben and Bro. Keng Chong, JBBC purchased by faith, the neighbouring plot and used it as car-parking space.

After 4 years of serving God as a spiritual shepherd of JBBC, Pr. Benjamin Ho stepped down to join the Malaysian Baptist Convention in 1992. The church was without a pastor from 1992 to 1996. In 1995 to 1999, Alex Fong was elected chairman and took over from Tan Keng Chong. During that time, Pr. Benjamin Ho rejoined in his second stint as pastor of JBBC in 1996 and he served faithfully until 2000.  In 1999, Steven Choong took over as chairman from Alex Fong, and served as chairman for 2 years until 2001.

 

The year 2000 began with Pr. Steven Seow taking over as pastor of JBBC for 2 years. Alex Fong once again took up the chairmanship in 2002 and he remains as the chairman of JBBC until today. After 3 years of being without a pastor, Pr Jerry Boo joined JBBC as pastor in 2005. He left us in 2010 for Perth, Australia when he heeded a call to study for a Master in Theology course so that he can better serve God. During Pr. Jerry's stint, a separate Mandarin service was set up to complement the English service but could not sustain as it was a drain on our existing members who had to do double duty.

After the departure of Pr. Jerry Boo, JBBC was once again left without a pastor from 2011 onward to shepherd the church. Though the pastor search committee had been looking for a replacement, our heavenly Father has yet to send one to lead the church in spiritual matters. However, we are thankful that God provides visiting speakers to help us in the pulpit ministry. Even though JBBC lacks a full-time pastor, the members look to our Lord Jesus as their spiritual shepherd who uses ordinary men and women to actively lead and operate the various ministries, lead by our current chairman, bro. Alex Fong. JBBC, as a Baptist church believes in the priesthood of all believers and hence, everyone is a minister in Christ. All glory to God!

On 27th May 1990, the church received its first eviction letter from the then local Town Council. The church premise, which was located on residential land, then appealed to the authorities to rescind the order, but didn’t receive any reply. In the same year, JBBC applied for conversion of the present residential land to religious status, but was rejected as there was no support from the State Government.

On 11th May 2003, the church received a second warning notice from the City Council instructing the church to cease all religious activities in the premise within 30 days. JBBC appealed to the City Council to set aside the notice and to allow JBBC to proceed with the application to convert the church land into religious status.

On April 25th, 2005, JBBC was informed that the conversion of the land to a church was approved by the State Government. JBBC had neither political nor financial might, yet, against the odds, God moved the authorities to allow the conversion. Praise the Lord.

The Lord has given JBBC rest, just as He gave rest to King David and his son King Solomon from adversity from all sides.

Currently, we are waiting on the LORD to give us the go-ahead to re-develop the present old building and the car-parking plot to a more spacious and purpose-built church. To God be the glory.

To learn more about the JBBC Journey of Faith, please click on article titled "Building God's House". Praise the LORD.

Footnote:

From 3.27-3.30 minute, the video clips should read as "Church Camp, Sedenak, 2009" instead "Church Camp, Kulai, 2009"