My name is Lester Ong and I live in Perth, Western Australia.
I became a Christian in 1990 when my sister was born 9 weeks premature. People at Full Gospel Assembly came and prayed for her and my family was touched by their kindness, so we went to visit the church. Our whole family came to Christ on 22 July 1990 and we began attending the church.
I didn’t quite get the whole church thing. Everyone spoke a different language and the one hour sermons were a great opportunity to doodle in your notebook. But what kept me going was the worship. I didn’t understand everything I was singing about, but there was that sense of something different in the atmosphere which I now know is the presence of God.
The church back then was at the height of its charismatic zeal. I remember when we’d sing whole choruses in tongues (although at the time, I thought that some of the singers had learned Hebrew). During a lull in the music, there were times when someone up the back would shout out a word of prophecy; then something at the front would have another word; sometimes another person would have a tongue and someone else would interpret it. It was awesome.
I used to listen to lots of music when I was a teenager, but a pastor challenged me about the stuff I was listening to. One day, I decided to destroy all my tapes (both the profane and the pedestrian) and channelled all my energy into worship music. That started on track to becoming a worship leader.
My first experience of leading worship was in a youth group but actually I honed a lot of my skills leading worship in a family care group. I was 15 but the older folks seemed to enjoy my worship leading.
I started leading worship at church in 1993 and it remains one of my ministry passions.
My other ministry passion is in teaching. People used to say I had a teaching gift. I read a lot and liked to explain things. So, I started reading lots and lots of Christian books and over time, I started devouring books on worship as well.
In 1998, another leader in the worship ministry and I wrote and taught a worship course called Worship Megatrends. Since then, I have been regularly teaching on worship. Some of the courses I’ve taught include “Worship God with Your Voice”, “The Expressions of Worship”, “The Charismatic Century: 100 Years of the Holy Spirit” (this was when I got interested in church history); “Guitar Fundamentals”; “Worship Revolution” and “Worship Leadership”.
I had the privilege of leading a team to Sapporo, Japan in 2007 to teach a worship seminar. I believe God used that to plant a seed of transformation in the worship of the church there.
I started listening and reading about grace in 2008, and since then grace has infected my theology and teachings.
During the day, I work as a lawyer. But my real passion is in worship and worship leading.
I am married to Ling Chua. She has an awesome voice, honed through hours of listening to Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. We have a pug called Lucy. She can’t actually hold a pitch nor enunciate so we have kept her off the worship team. Besides, I think she would be distracting.
Today, Ling and I attend Faith Community Church where I serve as a worship leader. Ling is actively involved in the prayer and healing ministries. The same cannot be said of Lucy.
About The Worship Revolution Blog
I have always enjoyed writing. (Besides law, I also have a major in English Literature.) It’s also a discipline which works well together with teaching.
This blog is about that gloriously undefinable concept called ‘worship’ and in which all Christians are called to participate. As a worship minister, I need to not only lead worship, but to also understand its biblical basis and how it is borne out in the practice of the church.
So in this blog, I explore different trends in worship; teach on worship and ask questions about worship.
This blog is also about the Church. Not a church necessarily but the Church – because worship should always be practised in community in addition to solitude. Even the monastics had community!
And lastly this blog is about me and my life journey. And how I grapple with the call to live out a life of worship before God.
In many cases, I will raise questions rather than present answers. I will challenge the accepted status quo. I am not the authority on the subject – I have not arrived and only see through a glass dimly. I welcome your comments and your views even if they are the opposite of mine. Rather, let’s find meaning together. It is only through such a process that we will truly see a revolution in worship.