The success of the canteen business has enabled us to understand that we are to worship God through our work as well as bring in wealth to extend the Kingdom of God without having to constantly appeal to others for contribution. God rewards diligence and hard work. The religious line dividing the spiritual from the earthly has now been shifted. Jesus is Lord of all of our life. Be it in the marketplace or in the church, we are all serving the Lord with the purpose of extending His Kingdom. Anything less will mean Jesus is not Lord of our life. Our bold venture into the business realm has also become a model for other churches to follow. It is a well known saying in church board meetings, "If Calvary Church can do this, why can't we?"
The original idea of the canteen was to operate only on Saturdays and Sundays, catering to church members only. This was to provide a place for church members to fellowship over meals after services. However, this concept did not work well after the initial excitement as the quality of food served was not ideal. The idea of running the canteen professionally and opening to serve the community instead of members only was birthed. Mr. Goh You Chai, who had experience in the food and beverage industry was asked to head this project. The first year of operation was difficult as members of the public were not sure if they were welcome. Once this wall of segregation was broken down, the community began to come and sample the best char kuey teow and pan mian in Tawau. In 2007, Calvary Canteen was featured in Malaysia’s premier food and lifestyle magazine, Flavours as a must-go food place in Tawau. The canteen is also a must-visit for the folks coming back to Tawau to visit their loved ones.
The establishment of Calvary Canteen was very significant in the development of church ministry because churches were struggling with the concept of whether they could be involved in business. The old mindset was that the church is a spiritual entity and that business is a worldly enterprise. We struggled with scriptures that said we are not to “turn the house of prayer into a den of robbers”. The wrong interpretation of this verse would mean that all businessmen are robbing people instead of being rewarded for providing a service to the community using the talents and creativity that God has given to us.
Canteen's early day 早期食堂
Canteen today 现今食堂
Local favourites - char kuey teow and pan mian本地著名的炒粿条和板面
这对教会服事的发展是别具意义的。因为许多教会一直都在在挣扎 - 到底教会可否参与谋利的生意里。在旧思想里，教会是属灵的组织而生意则是属世的企业。我们挣扎于经文上所记载的：不要“把祷告的殿成为贼窝。”对这经文错误的诠释是：所有的生意人是盗贼夺取别人的财富，而不是因着他们善用上帝给予的创意与才干，以好的服事所带来的赏赐。