Maak Hay Chun 麦希真

1930 - 2021
Evangelist, church-planter, theological educator
Baptist
Singapore
Canada
Hong Kong

Rev Dr Maak Hay Chun was born in 1930 in Guangzhou, China. He grew up in Hong Kong and became a Christian in his youth. After his baptism at age 14, he immediately began serving by starting a Sunday school at home. Called by God in 1949 for Christian ministry, he received theological training in Bethel Seminary, graduating in 1953. He aspired to serve in Northwest China. God closed that door but opened another for him in Southeast Asia.  

He and his wife Madam Chan Wing Huen travelled by ship to Singapore as pioneer missionaries to evangelise the neglected Cantonese-speaking people. Starting with Sunday school for children, two Baptist churches were planted – Cherith and Eternal Life. 

The founding of Nanyang University in 1956 created opportunities for Mandarin-speaking outreach. Maak worked with Christian fellowship groups both in the university and secondary schools. He preached the gospel and many lives were transformed, with many also answering the call to serve God full time. 

His attendance at a graduation service at the Singapore Bible College (SBC) in 1959 seeded the vision of training and multiplying workers to preach the gospel and shepherd Christ’s church.[1] To equip himself, he furthered his education at Hong Kong Baptist College and Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary, completing his B.A. and M.Div. studies between 1961 and 1965. 

His heart for missions led him, his wife and two daughters to Penang. Between 1961 and 1968 while teaching in Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary, Maak planted two churches. From 1969 to 1973, Maak served as the chaplain of Hong Kong Baptist College, while completing his Doctor of Ministry degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in the United States.

One day, Maak received a Christmas card from Rev Yap Un Han, the principal of SBC. Yap was straight to the point, urging Maak to assist him in the ministry at SBC: “Is not your receiving Singapore citizenship like Esther becoming queen, for such a time as this?”[2] After fasting and praying for three days and experiencing peace in his heart regarding God’s leading, Maak accepted the invitation as from the Lord. In 1975, Maak and his wife returned to Singapore and dedicated themselves to the mission from God – long-term focus on training young Christian workers. He spared no effort in carrying out this mission. 

Appointed as the vice-principal, he worked closely with Yap in raising funds for the building of Block 2 (faculty housing, dining hall and library) and the purchase of the property at 13 Adam Road in 1977. 

In 1979 Maak was appointed the principal of SBC. Under his leadership, the college expanded in terms of building construction and academic advancement. He led the college to become one of the founding members of the Asia Theological Association (ATA), an academic accreditation body in Asia. The construction of Block 3 with dormitory, classrooms and a lecture theatre was completed. In 1983 the School of Church Music was established and in 1984, the Master of Divinity in Chinese was launched. Two adjacent properties were purchased, one at 12 Shelford Road in 1985 and the other at 15 Adam Road in 1989. With faith in God, courage and hard work, Maak greatly expanded the ministry of the college and laid the foundation for further development.

After Maak completed the fund-raising for the purchase of the properties, he decided with a glad heart that it was time for him to retire. He recommended Rev Michael Shen to be the principal designate and the board approved it. After a six-month transition, the Maaks moved to Toronto to focus on writing a 10-volume Workers of Christ Series. Between 1992 and 1996, over a period of five years, Maak completed the 10 volumes of Workers of Christ.

Throughout his life, Maak trusted and obeyed God in undertaking strategic ministries of the gospel. After the completion of his writing project, Maak was commissioned as the general secretary of the Chinese Coordinating Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE) to accomplish its arduous mission – Chinese Churches Worldwide in One Accord, Proclaiming the Gospel till Christ’s Return. CCCOWE’s headquarters are in Hong Kong and he served in this capacity from 1996 to 2001.

Under his leadership, CCCOWE organised many gospel-related conferences that brought together Chinese leaders worldwide for fellowship, learning and consultation to fulfil Christ’s command to make disciples of all nations: Internet Ministry Consultation (Hong Kong, 1997); African Missions Conference (Pretoria, South Africa, 1998); Sisters’ Missions Conference (Kuala Lumpur, 1998); Youth Missions Conference (Singapore, 1999); Theological Education Consultation (Hong Kong, 2000); Brothers’ Missions Conference (Toronto, 2000); and a Gospel Rally (Kuala Lumpur, 2001). These were attended by more than 2,000 people from 35 countries, with more than 150 decisions made to serve God full time. 

In 2001, the Maaks once again moved to Toronto and remained there till 2014. When Maak turned 75, he resigned from all administrative positions to focus on preaching, teaching, listening, comforting and encouraging. Though his eyesight was failing, he continued to serve fellow-workers and churches, especially through his essays, CDs [3] and books (The Christian Workers series).

In 2014, the Maaks returned to Hong Kong to live in a retirement home. Maak shared: “Now I am old, blind and have to sit in a wheelchair. I wear a stool bag and have a urine tube inserted. I am no longer able to serve the Lord. How am I to show my gratitude to Him? God’s Word enlightened me: ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus’.”[4] After seeking God in prayer, Maak and his wife decided that doing the will of God for them meant being happy as older persons and offering their gratitude to God.

Maak Hay Chun rested peacefully from his labours at the age of 90, on January 26, 2021. Mrs Maak noted that in his last moments, his mouth was moving. “Maybe he was preaching the gospel,” she surmised.[5] What an apt description of one who loved Jesus and seized every opportunity to preach the gospel while he was alive!

Notes

  1. ^ Whenever Maak taught God’s Word, he often shared about the multiplying effect: While he could start and build up at least 10 churches in his lifetime, he could also train 10 young workers who would each start and build up 10 churches. In this way there would be 100 churches. If he could build up 100 young workers, then there would be 1,000 churches, and so forth. Maak believed SBC was the place where this could happen. By 1992, SBC had graduated over 1,000 workers! (Abundant Grace, The Life of Maak Hay Chun, story based on a video by C3 Productions, 2021, internal circulation only.) 
  2. ^ Recollection of the writer from the many conversations he had with Rev Dr Maak.  
  3. ^ Maak Hay Chun, The Blessed Life and The Bright Life, voice recordings of Dr Maak Hay Chun, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, (n.d.) 
  4. ^ Holy Bible, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. 
  5. ^ The writer’s recollection of a conversation with Mrs Maak after the home-call of her husband in 2021. 

Rev Dr Michael Shen

The writer is the principal emeritus of Singapore Bible College.

 

Bibliography

Unpublished:

Oral history from conversations that the writer had with Dr and Mrs Maak over the many years that were recorded, together with the many unpublished documents that were filed away in the Principal’s Office which the writer had access to as he took office after the retirement of Rev Dr Maak Hay Chun.

Abundant Grace, The Life of Maak Hay Chun, story based on a video by C3 Productions, 2021 (For Internal Circulation Only)

Published:

Maak Hay Chun. The Christian Workers, a 10-volume series written in Chinese with titles translated into English as below:

(1) The Christian Worker and Suffering, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(2) The Christian Worker and Counselling, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(3) The Christian Worker and Personal Standards, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(4) The Christian Worker and Daily Life, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(5) The Christian Worker and Co-working, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(6) The Christian Worker and Mentoring Fellow-workers, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(7) The Christian Worker and Preaching, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(8) The Christian Worker and Personal Growth, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(9) The Christian Worker and Leading People to Believe in Jesus, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited, 1992-1996

(10) The Christian Worker and the Model of Life and Ministry, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited,  1992-1996

Maak, Hay Chun, Iron Sharpens Iron Pastors’ FAQs, Hong Kong: CCCOWE, 2001.

CDs

The Blessed Life, Voice recordings of Dr Maak Hay Chun, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited (n.d.)

The Bright Life, Voice recordings of Dr Maak Hay Chun, Hong Kong: Christian Communications Limited (n.d.)