Sandakan Baptist Gospel Center, 1964
Sandakan Baptist Church, 1970
In the beginning, God sent Mr. And Mrs. Tsui See Chung to start a Baptist church in Sandakan together with Charles and Erica Morris on 24th October 1964. Through foreign support, they purchased a wooden house on Peony Street and they called it the “Sandakan Baptist Gospel Center.” Through tracts and invitations, the first Thursday night Bible study was held on 5 November 1964, with 29 persons present. As the gospel work progressed steadily, in 1967, with the help of Southern Baptist in the U.S.A. money was granted to acquire a land.
In July 1967, Pastor and Mrs. Evans came to help in the work. The church grew steadily under their ministry. The average attendance was 61. They served until March 1969 when Pastor and Mrs. Holley came to work with the chapel members. In 29th March 1970, Phase I of that building was dedicated to the Lord, and the Sandakan Baptist Church was finally organized with 20 charter members.
In 1973, there is a miracle. A group of youth leaders about 22 young people, experienced a terrible road accident with the vehicle went hurling downhill and came to a sudden halt, about 80 feet below. Through this great accident, leaders were called out, went to MBTS for training, and returned to offer strong, on-going church leadership, which has moved SBC continually forward.
In 1979, Pastor Thomas Chin served as the Pastor in Sandakan Baptist Church. The church had grown with an average attendance of 80 to 90 in the morning worship service. As a result, a new church had been started in Bandar Leila by January 1982. Since Pastor Thomas Chin left the church to join the seminary faculty, Pastor Clement Chong pastored the church. One of the most significant ministries under Pr. Thomas Chin and Pr. Clement Chong’s leadership was the “Kingdom Service Program.” Many people have given their time and talents in serving the church and quite a few have continued on in full time ministry. Under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Clement Chong, the church had begun to increase both numerically and spiritually.
With the blessings from God, SBC was able to purchase 5 acres of land in the Mawar and Sibuga area and the ministry there was led by Pastor John and Jennifer. It was until 1997, that the Neighborhood Baptist Centre building was completed.
In 1992, a Cantonese worship service was begun which has about 40 in regular attendance. At that time, the English service has grown to about 85 in regular attendance. While a thriving Filipino congregation continue actively ministers among their own people.
Under the leadership of Pastor John Kwan, in 1998 SBC organized themselves along the lines of “The Purpose Driven Church”. The church grows steadily from 130 average attendances in 1998 to 188 average attendances in 2003. Later, he moved on to Penang where he started “LifeIMPACT Ministries” that has impacted over 25,000 lives in the world.
In 2004, the church continues to grow under the leadership of Pastor Wong Siew Mooi where the church started a new Cantonese congregation at our Neighborhood Baptist Centre in 2007. Indeed, the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So, let us continue to pray that the whole SBC Family will be mobilized to join God in His exciting work of changing lives.