The Love Penang Network (LPN), comprising 10 churches in Penang and one in Sungai Petani, held the 40 Days of Purpose (DOP) campaign simultaneously from June 20 to August 7, 2005. Each church had a campaign director, with Georgetown Baptist Church taking the lead as overall campaign director to coordinate the event.
Pastor Thomas Ch'ng of Penang Christian Centre (PCC) says the campaign has reinforced what Christianity is all about by creating awareness of basic Christian principles based on the five purposes stated in Rick Warren's book. "The campaign has managed to pull people together in one direction. There are many questions from Christians. Many of their questions were answered. Now from awareness [of the purposes], they need to move on to application and the next level of Christianity," he says.
The campaign has also given the youths in PCC a chance to showcase their creativity. They had fun coming up with a storyboard for each of the purposes and acting and videotaping the mini-dramas.
More than 1,000 worshippers turned up at the colorful 24th anniversary cum 40 DOP Celebration service in Hotel Equatorial on Aug 7.
Pastor Prem Kumar of Fettes Park Baptist Church says it's the third time the church is doing the campaign, so the members focused on reaching out to non-believers by watching videotapes of Georgetown Baptist's Pastor Lim Soon Hock preaching instead of Rick Warren. He adds that the members focused more on evangelism and reaching out this time around.
Pastor Lim says his church created a website. "Someone visited the site and contacted us through e-mail. We invited her to church and when she came, she committed her life to Jesus," he adds. This is the second time the church is taking part in the campaign.
Georgetown Baptist and Fettes Park Baptist held a combined worship service at the Masyarakat Penyayang premises with more than 1,000 in attendance. The highlight of the service wasn't the dance and drama, much as the presentations were awesome and inspiring, but the response to the altar call. About 20 people went forward to indicate that they needed Jesus and wanted Him to be their Savior.
At Living Word Centre in Gelugor, Pastor Looi Eng Seng says some of its members who are USM students joined in the middle of the campaign when they came back after their long vacation. The church has 75 members and about 50 took part in the 40 DOP campaign.
"The campaign has helped us to develop an eternal mindset. The five purposes fit into our church vision. We will plan our activities and strategies based on the five purposes," says Pastor Looi.
FGA Centre held its Celebration Sunday at Fort Cornwallis on a large scale. It invited VIPs and members of the public for the Lai Lau Juak… A Peranakan Experience event in the evening. Attractive door gifts were given out to the first 200 guests and to kick off the celebration, the sound of firecrackers was heard as a procession of men, women and children dressed in Baba and Nyonya costumes walked in, followed by beca or trishaw riders ferrying the guests of honor. Dondang Sayang musicians were there to entertain the visitors while they roamed around the food and craft stalls and experienced the culture and cuisine of an earlier and gentler era.
Jenny Ooi, FGA's joint campaign director, says this is the second time they are doing the campaign. "On May 1, we held a training session for host home leaders. And before that, the cell group leaders met for a brainstorming session. So the quality of discussion when the cell group members met was better," she adds. There were a total of 52 host homes, with two from the Chinese congregation.
Now that the campaign has ended, the churches in Penang will be busy following up on the many newcomers who have joined their cell groups. May they all find joy living lives of purpose now that they know what on earth they are here for.