Pastor Ché Ahn: “You shall receive power when The Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses”

The number one problem facing our community is a lack of unity. There are a lot of people who have very similar values but who are constantly and maliciously divided by small meaningless details that are pushed through media channels and by major groups who profit over such divisions. We need to come back to […]

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The number one problem facing our community is a lack of unity. There are a lot of people who have very similar values but who are constantly and maliciously divided by small meaningless details that are pushed through media channels and by major groups who profit over such divisions. We need to come back to our foundational values, often quite obvious, which unite us and hold us in empathy and accountable for one another.

As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Pastor Ché Ahn.

Pastor Ché Ahn and his wife, Sue, are the Founders and Senior Pastors of HRock Church in Pasadena, CA, since 1994. Ché is the Founder and President of Harvest International Ministry, a global revival and reformation movement in over 65 nations with the common vision of “Changing Lives, Transforming Cities, and Discipling Nations.” He is also the International Chancellor of Wagner University, an international network of apostolic training centers established to equip the saints for Kingdom ministry. Ché received his M.Div. and D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary and has played a key role in many strategic local, national, and international outreaches. He has authored numerous books, including Say Goodbye to Powerless Christianity, How to Pray for Healing, The Grace of Giving, God Wants to Bless You, and Modern-Day Apostles. As a member of the Revival Alliance and Apostolic Roundtable, Ché ministers extensively throughout the world, bringing apostolic wisdom with a Holy Spirit impartation of revival, healing, and evangelism.

Thank you so much for doing this with us. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was a Pastor in Maryland, near the nation’s capital, when on September 2nd, 1982 I had a dream. A man appeared to me in the dream and said, “Come to Los Angeles, for there will be a great Harvest.” I woke up and I heard the words in an audible voice again saying, “The time of revival is at hand.”

I shared the dream with my wife and together we bore witness that we were to move to Los Angeles, California. It was a very interesting moment because neither my wife nor I had ever been to Los Angeles. We had no relatives in the area or even any friends. I was an associate Pastor at another church then, and my pastor agreed that it was time to bring the word to California. We arrived in Los Angeles in April of 1984. This is the story of how I came to California and the way I found my calling as senior pastor of Harvest Rock Church and President of a network of churches called Harvest International Ministry.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your church?

I attended Fuller Seminary from 1984 until I founded Harvest Rock Church officially in 1994. In 2004, we were given the opportunity to buy the Ambassador Auditorium, which would be the most profound miracle. We had barely any money at the time and the building — which was valued at 32 million dollars, we eventually purchased for about thirteen million dollars. I do not take it lightly, because even four days before closing we were still short around USD 1.4 million. I stood before the church on Sunday and I thanked the people for their sacrificial giving to raise such a great sum, and that afternoon I received a call from a friend who said, “how much more do you need?” He then told me he had been monitoring our project for months. He said, “God told my wife and I that we were to give a budget so great and to allow you to go as far as you can, and whatever was the bounds of what you need at the 11th hour we were to provide and so we will be wiring you 1.4 million dollars.” That is the amazing story of how we came to buy this magnificent building, and it was tremendously encouraging and affirming that God would come through and give us all that we needed for this major acquisition.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I’ve pastored two churches since I arrived in California in 1984 after having the dream of a great Harvest. The first one was called Abundant Life Church and we rented the Pasadena Convention Center. We went out of our way advertising in the LA Times, inviting my former senior pastor from a very successful church in Maryland. We were expecting a crowd, so when we arrived to the convention center and found ourselves in a large traffic jam, I was excited. Finally, we entered the 500-seat room we rented and had ourselves quite a laugh realizing that no one knew who we were and that the traffic was for a different event. There were only two people in the room, even with all the money we spent advertising. We had to laugh or otherwise we would have been crying. It was just really humbling, and the experience taught me the major lesson: I can’t live in the arm of the flesh and I can’t do things motivated by my own strength — I have to really be led by the Holy Spirit. And honestly, in that instance, I hadn’t heard from God. The first ten years of leading that first church was very humbling and hard going and taught me so much. Christ humbled me to grow my character, and when I think back to the moment of the traffic jam and my surprise on entering that first day it takes me right back to that funny and pivotal moment.

When we started our second church, Harvest Rock Church in April 1994 we began as a prayer meeting in our home for just some of our friends to come and join us. In fact, in this instance on the first day, I remember inviting around fifteen people, but having exactly 30 showed up. The next week in our home, we had 65. My wife counted as people came in. The third week, she stopped counting after 72 and we looked around our packed house: living room, dining room, the hallway, overflowing into the kitchen, and we realized we had to get a larger space. A friend of mine who had a lovely church in Arcadia allowed us to use his building for a Saturday night service, because of course they had services on Sundays, and on the very first night 300 people showed up. And so, with a contrast to the first time around when we made large and diverse efforts to get a large crowd and we have two people, this time we went forth only in the goal to share our prayer meeting with friends which yielded the fruit of many attendees. There’s a scripture in Zechariah 4:6 that says, “Not by might, not by power but by My Spirit says the Lord.” Unless God does, you’re just going to be doing things on your flesh. So, I learned a lot through those two experiences.

Can you describe to me how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?

In 2004 after we purchased the Ambassador Auditorium we were invited to the home of Joe and Alice Cologne, who started Trader Joe’s. They also invited the Mayor of Pasadena. Immediately we began discussing ways that we could utilize the blessing of our beautiful building. We wanted to serve the community and we’re happy to lend out the auditorium whenever it wasn’t being used for church services. The City Police Department of Pasadena uses the auditorium for their awards night. The California Philharmonic and LA Chamber Orchestra has used our space, and it is now home to the Pasadena City Symphony.

We want to serve our community because of the words of our Lord Jesus Christ who came not to be served, but to serve and give His life as a gift for many. More recently, during lockdown, when many businesses have been hurt in our city, we decided to raise money to lend a helping hand. These businesses are not necessarily Christian, but they are people — people in our community who need help. Under the title of City Care Project, we have raised almost ninety thousand dollars and have spread out gifts of 1,000 dollars to each business that are hurting. In some instances where the business or family is struggling harder, we double the gift. I am confident that the more we can give, and the more gifts we can spread through the community, we will be able to have a significant impact.

Another outreach of ours is an organization called 1Race4Life which is a pro-life organization. We believe that life begins at conception and that we’re all made in the image and likeness of God. I intend to bring a large group of multicultural, multiracial leaders together to encourage their people to vote for candidates who are pro-life and in support of families and children everywhere. While the voting encouragement aspect makes this a political ministry, the social issue of the pro-life movement is what is really at stake. We will demonstrate a great unity in support of this issue with an urgency palpable to the comparative statistic that in every 20 seconds there is another baby aborted in the United States. Saving children and the sanctity of families is a universal cause that knows no distinction of race, culture or ethnicity.

As a church, and as a pastor, it is very important to take a stand for righteousness. Our Constitution provides for our first amendment rights very clearly as there is to be complete freedom of religion in the United States of America — to worship, gather in unity, heal, and pray together. So, we wrote a letter to the Governor with 1500 other pastors appealing to him, to not lockdown the church, and to consider us as essential as the constitution has recognized. In California during this time abortion clinics, marijuana dispensaries, liquor stores, and others are being considered essential. It was clear that we were being marginalized and misclassified when in reality there is little to no argument about the importance of religion to the individuals that believe. When we were finally allowed to open, it was with very absurd caveats such as “no singing” which if you know anything about worship or prayer, is quite essential in itself. Meanwhile, riots and protests of thousands of people — screaming, often acting violently — were encouraged by his own person in several televised speeches. The set of double standards was just too great. It was clear as more and more specifics of how we were allowed to worship became dictated by Governor Newsom, while he simultaneously encouraged the same behavior for other groups, that we had no choice but to appeal to the courts. And so, we have sued Governor Newsom. We believe that even if we lose in the lower courts in California, we will continue to appeal. If it means going all the way to the Supreme Court, that is what we will do. We are standing to give encouragement and hope to those who don’t have it, against a Caesar-like power who seems intent on stopping the real essentials in life — worship of God, the ability to freely open one’s business, and a host of other injustices. We are taking this very seriously.

What are three things the community or politicians can do to help address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

The number one problem facing our community is a lack of unity. There are a lot of people who have very similar values but who are constantly and maliciously divided by small meaningless details that are pushed through media channels and by major groups who profit over such divisions. We need to come back to our foundational values, often quite obvious, which unite us and hold us in empathy and accountable for one another.

Number two, is that we cannot be silent any more. There is a lot of global noise opposing unity, and while often as Christians we do not want to rock the boat or be unkind, the fact is that we cannot live in a spirit of fear. Our God given spirit is not of fear. “You shall receive power when The Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses,” he says. And then thirdly, I think we need to use the laws of the land. As citizens we have the freedom to vote, and it’s a privilege and it’s our responsibility. And so, we need to vote. There are millions of Christians in California that did not vote when Newsom was running for office. We can make a difference, but it is time for Christians to speak out, and to vote for righteousness.

Work Together, Speak Out and then Vote.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Access to all my social media links can be found on my website at Please follow me, I look forward to connecting. You can find me on Instagram @cheahn

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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