Bartley Christian Church has humble beginnings and was the first English-speaking church established by the Chinese National Evangelism Commission (CNEC). We started with only 25 members who worshipped faithfully at 83-H Bartley Road on 1 July, 1962. It was only later, that 3 fellowship centers: Macpherson, Bartley and Brighton, joined together for a main service at Bartley CNEC.
We grew over the years and there was a pressing need for a permanent building.
In 1978, God led us to buy a piece of land at 4 How Sun Drive for $6 per sq ft for our first church building. The building was completed in 1980 without the need for a bank loan and commissioned in February 1981. Over the years, God continued to bless us with much growth.
In 1988, the leaders were led to expand to the north-eastern part of Singapore. It was another faith challenge. We bought a piece of land for $23 per sq ft to build Riverlife Church at Pasir Ris. We had to raise $1 million cash in 3 short months to complete the land purchase and build the first phase of Riverlife Church without the need of a bank loan. Today, Riverlife Church is fully completed at a cost of $11 million and has well over 3,000 members in a 1,300 seater sanctuary.
In 2006, the Lord gave us a vision to rebuild Bartley Christian Church at 4 How Sun Drive. The old building that served us well in the past could no longer contain the growth and we decided to build a brand new church with a main auditorium with seating capacity of 1,120 as well as another worship hall that can seat 430. The total construction cost came to $16 million. The people prayed and gave generously and we completed the new building in 2009 without the need for a bank loan. God is good.
Today and beyond
On 28 Jun 2009, we moved into our newly completed building and had our first worship service with more than 1,000 worshippers in attendance.
In Dec 2009, we held our first Mandarin evangelistic live drama in our new auditorium. Five shows were all sold out with an estimated 4,000 people stepping in through our main doors to watch the evangelistic drama on Kelvin Soh's life story.
On 27 Feb 2010, we had our church official opening. The Guest of Honor was SM Goh Chok Tong. There were many other community leaders present with MPs Seah Kian Peng and Lim Biow Chuan in attendance as well. We launched the Pastor John Willis Missions Endowment Fund as well as a time capsule sealed by SM Goh and to be opened on the 100th Anniversary of Bartley Christian Church in July 2062.
In July 2010, we co-hosted the inaugural Global Consultations on Music & Missions (GCoMM) Asia conference. Over a period of 4 days, missionaries & musicians from more than 30 nations stepped through our main doors to worship God in our modern auditorium. In the same month, we hosted the Streams of Praise Concert with the auditorium filled to capacity with extra seats needed.
Between 11-13 Dec 2010, we partnered with JES Media and hosted our first stage drama production, "Awaken". Based on the true life story of Kelvin Soh Say Min and directed by veteran director Chen Bang Yuan, the stellar cast included Nick Shen, Lina Ng, Huang YiLiang and Liu Shi Xuan. The Main Auditorium was packed over the 5-shows and saw over a 100 people giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
On 31 Jul 2011, we held our first ever Combined Service which included all the congregations in Bartley. For the first time, the English, Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Nepali, Telugu and Indonesian congregation came together under one roof to celebrate and worship Jesus, the Hope of All Nations.
Between 11-13 Dec 2011, Bartley once again held our second stage drama production, "Restore". Based on the life of Olive Vine owner Judith Harlim, the Main Auditorium was transformed into a mini-theater was packed over the 4 shows. The audience were drawn in by the excellent portrayal by lead actress, Eelyn Kok.
On 07 Jul 2012, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary in Bartley together with the leaders of the past. It was a beautiful reunion for many whom we have lost touch with. SP William Lee and Rev.Dr William Wan preached a message of restoration and God's faithfulness.
God has provided us with a new facility with sufficient seating capacity for us to expand our ministry in missions and evangelism. It has also enabled us to bless other churches and para church organisations that have used our facility for their events.
Today you can hop onto an MRT train anywhere in Singapore, enjoy a swift, comfortable ride, alight at Bartley MRT Station, take Exit B and walk into our modern worship hall (fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio visual equipment).
Looking Forward - 2019 and beyond
God has been faithful to us all these years. We look forward in faith and excitement as we see God unfold His plans for Bartley in the future.