The roots of Zion Full Gospel Church (ZFGC) reach back to September 1949 when the first Finnish missionaries, having had to leave China, arrived on the shores of Singapore. Some of them continued their journey to Japan, Taiwan and Thailand, whereas Sisters Nilja Nikkanen and Aira Kolkka stayed in Singapore to become the first Finnish Missionaries in this city. The Lord answered their prayers for leading them to find ways and means to share the Gospel with Singaporeans.
The Lord then moved the hearts of the local people and soon they rented a small wooden shop house in that area, which became a lighthouse in spiritual darkness. In that area, they met with some Chinese Christian families. Those faithful believers later became great contributors in sharing the Gospel. The families of Rev & Mrs William, and Rachel Lee, were the first ones to help these foreign ladies.
Soon the sisters received more helpers from Finland when Sis Mirjam Paukku, Bro & Mrs Elias & Rachel Kossila and Sis Mirjami Rasi arrived by the end of 1959. As the number of missionaries increased, new areas were reached with the Gospel. Sis Aira Kolkka and Sis Mirjami Rasi moved to the Sembawang area. The Lord impressed Sis Rasi’s heart to reach those thousands of Tamils living in that area, whereas Sis Kolkka was engaged in reaching the Chinese population. Thus, ‘The Praise Evangelical Church’ got started.
On or about 1965, ZFGC, then known as Zion Centre, moved to a building of their own at 24, Tiverton Lane, Tanglin. At about the same time, in conjunction with the move, Bro Joel Ikonen from Finland arrived to add to the work force. This building was a product of financial contribution of Finnish Christians living outside Finland, especially in the USA, Australia, Sweden and of course, people living in Finland too. Sisters Hilja Nikkanen & Mirjam Paukku, Ps Joel Ikonen and Rev Ong Hun Siang (the first local full-time pastor of ZFGC) worked together in building up the church in the late sixties.
In the year 1971, the church moved to Queensway Shopping Centre, having acquired two units of office space at level 3. In those days, Queensway Shopping Centre was one of the more happening places in the neighbourhood. It was well-known for sports accessories and a haven for jeans. More importantly, it was a fertile ground to reach out to non-believers.
The church grew from strength to strength at Queensway under the dynamic leadership of Pastor Joseph Ong (who took over from the late Rev Ong Hun Siang). At its height, its congregation surpassed 200 worshippers. It was during this season that the leaders and members laboured long and hard to raise funds for a new building to house the growing church. The adults collected old newspapers, magazines and clothes day and night. The Sunday School children put in their fair share too by selling ‘kilometrico’ pens to raise funds.
By the grace of God, and the labour of love by the leaders and members, in 1980, the church moved to its present premises at 44, Hoot Kiam Road. It is a two-and-a half-storey freehold property sitting on 10,000 square feet of prime land in the prestigious District 10. Following the move, ZFGC was formally and legally registered as Zion Full Gospel Church. It was extremely remarkable that the current property was purchased and paid in full without having to dispose the office premises at Queensway Shopping Centre.
1985 to 1988
Since the premises at Queensway Shopping Centre was then still owned by ZFGC, in the years between 1985 to 1988, ZFGC ran a Coffee House Ministry every Saturday Night to reach out to non-believers who were either invited by our members or were wanderers in the shopping centre.Besides serving ‘Suzuki’ Coffee, the leadership arranged for live concerts every Saturday Night to entertain the visitors.
Guest performers include well-known local Gospel artistes, and our very own home grown talents who are still worshipping in our church today! After the concert, the Gospel was then shared by counsellors deployed to the various tables. Praise the Lord for the souls reaped over the years from the Coffee House Ministry!
1980s and 1990s
On or about the late 1980s, Rev Charles Tan took over the pastoring of ZFGC from Pastor Joseph Ong. Pastor Tan was no stranger to the folks at Zion. Prior to being Senior Pastor, Pastor Tan often came to minister to us as a Bible Teacher. He is fondly remembered for single-handedly teaching courses such as Walkthough of the Old Testament, Walkthrough of the New Testament and Seven Laws for The Teacher. Pastor Tan must also be credited for being the pioneer advocate of the witnessing tool “Evangelistic Explosion”, affably known as EE. In recent years, the youths in our church have interestingly been equipped with EE for street witnessing.
Due to wear and tear, in 1998, the church embarked on an ambitious major building project to restore the church premises through an ‘Alteration and Addition’ (commonly known as A&A) with funds from the sale of the premises at Queensway. The church was very blessed to be able to sell the premises at the height of property prices in Singapore. The sale price was more than sufficient to cover the A&A with enough to spare for the subsequent years of annual maintenance.
The restoration was completed in March 1999 and we now enjoy spanking new facilities to worship and serve God in a more conducive environment. Praise the Lord! Indeed, one marvels at just how good the Lord has been to ZFGC all these years!
In its state of glory, after serving as a Senior Pastor of ZFGC for some fifteen years, Pastor Charles Tan decided to return to his former church to fill the vacancy of the Senior Pastor in 2000.
Rev Randy Sing assumed the appointment as Senior Pastor in 2000 and led the church into the new millennium. Under Pastor Randy (as he is often known), ZFGC was transformed to a missions focused church. With Pastor Randy’s burden for missions, two ZFGC outposts were added. The local outpost was a branch church at a rented shophouse at Bukit Panjang along Upper Bukit Timah Road and the overseas outpost was in the Malaysian town at Kluang. Services at both outposts were on Sundays in the evenings. During Pastor Randy’s tenure, with the assistance of Pastor Yang Feng Yuan (then pastor of the Mandarin speaking congregation), ZFGC also had a weekly ministry to the construction workers from mainland China on Sunday evenings. Dinner was prepared and served by our members and these services were very well attended averaging at about a hundred each time. Though Pastor Randy had pastored the church for only a brief period from 2000 to 2003, looking back, Pastor Randy had meaningfully deposited in ZFGC the first seeds of a missions-focused church, and effectively challenged the church to be outward-looking, bigger-hearted and practise more giving for God’s work.
As the post of the Senior Pastor was then vacant, the Elders approached the Assemblies of God (AG) of Singapore for assistance. The AG kindly agreed to release Rev Alfred Yeo to serve as ZFGC’s Interim Pastor for five months from July to November 2003, while the leadership waited for the confirmation of the new senior pastor. Rev Yeo was then the full-time Executive Director of the AG Singapore.
Thereafter, in lieu of Rev Alfred Yeo, Rev Peter Chng assumed the role of Interim Pastor of ZFGC from November 2003 to February 2004.
As the post of the Senior Pastor remained vacant with the departure of Rev Chng, Rev Alfred Yeo was then invited back to assist. This time round, Rev Alfred Yeo assumed the post of the Senior Pastor in April 2004, albeit, on a part time basis. In January 2005, Pastor Yeo assumed the full time pastorate till this day.
In July 2004, the leadership having obtained the support of the congregation, ZFGC then became the 49th church to be part of the Assemblies of God (AG) movement in Singapore. Nothwithstanding the new affiliation to AG Singapore, ZFGC is always mindful of its birth through the sterling commitment and sacrifices of the Finnish Missionaries and our early ties with the Pentecostal Evangelical Mission (PEM) in Singapore.
In January 2005, we were very blessed with the inception of Pastor Joyce Kwek and the dynamic Hokkien Congregation to be part of ZFGC. With this new congregation, the church has since run three weekly Worship Services i.e. for the English speaking, Mandarin speaking and Hokkien speaking.
On Saturday, 15 June 2005, ZFGC celebrated 25 years of God’s faithfulness since ZFGC’s legal registration in Singapore with a Gala Dinner at the Holiday Inn Atrium. Incidentally, 15 June was the date of ZFGC’s legal registration in 1980. In attendance were 350 members, guests and well-wishers to join the grateful hearts of the folks of Zion.
In 2014, ZFGC celebrated its 65 years of founding by the Finnish Missionaries since 1949. The anniversary celebrations culminated with a gala dinner at the Raffles Town Club celebrating God’s unending goodness and renewing our total commitment to Him. After pastoring ZFGC for more than 13 years, Rev Alfred Yeo was called home to be with the Lord on 18 Jun 2016.
Pastor Jason Tan assumed the appointment as Pastor of the English speaking congregation wef 1 Jan 2017.
Rev Jason Tan appointed as Senior Pastor of Zion Full Gospel Church on 1 Jan 2021