The Early Years
TMC Mentakab, an Outreach of TMC Kuantan, was formed as a Local Conference on 9 February 1984. Rev. David Jayabal was the first Pastor of this church and he served till June 1985. At the time of formation there were 66 Full Members. The worship service was held at the Chinese Methodist Church. The WSCS and the MYF functioned well. The Church was self-supporting. In 1985 the Full Membership was 58. The church reached out to Bentong, Karak, Tuan Estate, Bukit Dinding towards East and to Triang towards the South. The church did not have a place of worship. Rev. Hendry Ponniah was the next Pastor and he served till 1986. The area of ministry covered by this church was vast and remote. The MYF, WSCS and the Church School played an important role in the life of this church. The lack of a place of their own for worship and the distance from the estates hindered many people from attending the weekly worship.
Reaching out to Bentong and Estates
From 1987 to 1990, Rev. Joseph Komar was the Pastor. In 1987 the Full Membership was 53. Sunday worship services were held at 7.30am. Regular attendance was between 20 to 25 adults. They had outreach ministries at Bentong, Bilut Valley, Tuan Estate, Sungai Bertang Estate, Karman and Kemasul Estates and Semantan Estate. The church received subsidy from the Conference. There were about 15 children in the Church School with 3 teachers. The pastor conducted worship services and bible study in the Outreach areas. In 1988 the Full Membership was 54. Three adults and 10 children were baptised. In 1989 the Full Membership was 55.There were 4 strong Outreach Points: (a) Bentong/Tuan Estate: Worship services on Tuesdays in the homes of members. Average attendance was 20 adults. (b) Karman/Kemasul Estate: Three families met together for worship once a fortnight. (c) Semantan Estate: There were four families and worship services were held in homes on a rotational basis. (d) Mentakab Estate: The lay people carried out the work here with the supervision of the pastor.
Weekly Worship in Bentong
In 1990, the DS reported, “Rev. Joseph Komar has done good work. His travel takes him deep into the estates. He uses his car to transport members from the estates without which some will not be able to attend services. He has been a faithful servant of God even in difficult situations.” The Full Membership was 66. There were 6 Adult and 6 Child Baptisms. In Bentong, about 20 people attended the weekly worship service, conducted on Tuesdays at 7.30pm in the homes of believers. Although the work was started in 1984, it was only now that weekly worship services were held. The group was mostly made up of Affiliate and Associate members. The people were happy with the ministry and wanted an assurance that this ministry will continue without a break. There were three families each in the Sungai Pertang and Tuan Estates.
They were encouraged to attend the Bentong Service. The worship service for Karman and Kemasul Estate was held fortnightly in the homes of the members. There were 4 families. One person accepted the Lord in the Sungai Kawang Estate. Due to opposition, the church was instructed by the management not to have services in this estate. The pastor visited them once a month. Weekly services were held in the Mentakab Estate. The Committee on Evangelism was in charge of this work with the pastor’s supervision.
No Money in the Bank
The finances of the church was affected when the church Treasurer left suddenly, leaving no money in the Bank. The church had to write-off about RM3,700.
Significant Membership Increase
From 1991 till 1994 Rev. Devadass Ratnam was the Pastor. In 1991, the members were enthusiastic and worked at getting a place of their own for worship. They prayed and looked for a place to rent. In 1992, the Full Membership was 64. There were three adult baptisms. The congregation was scattered. The members were of simple faith and gave what they could. They believed God and rented church premises which was fully equipped. The Outreach work in Bentong desperately needed of a fulltime worker. In 1993, the Full Membership was 81. There were 12 Adult Baptisms and one Child Baptism. 8 were received into Full Membership through Confirmation. From December 1992, Supply Pastor S. Jayabalan served in Bentong. There were 5 Outreach Points. The church rented their place of worship and were blessed with a van. The DS described Pastor Jayabalan as a tireless and faithful worker. He was a man of faith with a pastoral heart. In 1994, the Full Membership was 89. This was the highest number the church had in their membership. Nine people were baptised.
In 1985 Tamil Methodist Church Mentakab, being themselves a year old as a local church, reached out to Bentong, which then became their Outreach Point. They recommended Bentong to become a Local Conference in 1994. Bentong became a Local Conference on 26 March 1995.
Finance and Morale of the Church
From 1995 to 2000, Rev. Peter Devadason was the Pastor. In 1995, there were 40 Full Members. The drop in membership was mainly due to Bentong becoming a Local Conference. The average Sunday worship attendance was 35. The Sunday worship was at 8am. On Fridays there was outreach service in Ladang Sementan and Ladang Mentakab. In spite of frequent attempts to revive the outreach ministry in Triang, Menkuang, Mengkarak, Kemayang, Karak, Ladang Sungai Pertang, it was futile. The average monthly income was RM1,300. The church received a subsidy of RM400 from the Conference. The rental for the place of worship was RM350 and the rental for the parsonage was RM250. Spending RM600 monthly on rental, affected the finances and morale of the church.
Memorandum of Transfer
On 20 January 1995, the church applied to purchase a vacant lot no.230, GRANT NO. H.S. (D) 9230, P.T.1408, sized 520.24mp for RM60,000. The whole sum was settled and the Memorandum of Transfer went to the Registration office for change of ownership to the Methodist Trustees. An “L” shaped building, parsonage with 4 rooms attached baths and toilets, mezzanine floor for hostel on one side and a sanctuary in the size of 3 classroom which can be used as a kindergarten was designed and the plans were drawn. The construction was expected to cost RM95,000.
Possession of New Building
In 1996, the Full Membership was 52. Eight were received through Confirmation. There were two conversions. Worship service was at 8am and was held in the home of Mr. Joseph, a church member. The pastor was staying in the home of Mr. Paul Elisha, a member of the church. The pastor moved to the new building from 17 November. The church was thankful to every individual, family and the churches which participated in the realisation of this RM150,000 building. In 1997, the Full Membership was 52. The church received a RM 450 monthly subsidy from the Conference. In 1998, the Full Membership was 42. The Church School had 7 children with 1 teacher. In 1999, there were 48 Full Members. There was one adult Baptism. The church School was active with 18 students and 3 teachers. The MW was the most active Agency in this church. In 2000, the Full Membership was 40.
Leaving for Education and Employment
From 2001 to 2003, Rev. D. B. Laurence, the pastor of TMC Bentong, was the Pastor. In 2001, Ministerial Student Mr. Samy Dass assisted. The attendance for the Friday prayer was poor, only 2 – 4 attended. The church membership was dwindling, as many were leaving to major towns for studies and employment. As such, the leadership continued to have problems. The church was centrally located and so many district programmes were held in Mentakab. They faced difficulties in getting the Certificate of Fitness for the building.
Increase in Giving
In 2002 Mr. Samuel Periathamby was placed here on Assignment. Mentakab’s location was also in a rapidly growing semi urban township. The DS reminded the church of the many opportunities for ministry and that they should take advantage of them. In 2003, Supply Pastor S. Krishnan was posted here. Sunday worship was at 9am. Around 40 to 50 people attended. The Building Plan was approved. Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) approval was sought for further action. The DS reported that about 75% of members give regularly. Giving for other causes by the church also improved. Though many were illiterate, they had a genuine desire to learn. Mrs. Saras Subramaniam, in her short life as a Christian, made an impact on the members and also in her family.
Low Church Membership
From 2004 till April 2009 Approved Supply Pastor S. Krishnan was the pastor. The Full Membership was 37. The church continued to pursue the CF for their building. There was joy in coming together to worship. In 2005, the Full Membership was 37. Though the church was small, with their good facilities they opened the church for District functions. The CF matter was nearing settlement while the septic tank was being upgraded. The leadership planned to renovate the Parsonage too. In 2006, the Full Membership was 38. After ten years of waiting, the authorities finally awarded the Certificate of Fitness for the sanctuary. They renovated the parsonage for the Pastor and his family to move in by end of November. The cost was RM40,000. In 2007, the Full Membership was 37. Though Pastor Krishnan went through much trials and illness, yet he carried out very well all the ministries of the church by the grace of God. After much hard work, the church building and the parsonage renovation were finally completed. In 2008, the Full Membership was 38. TMC Mentakab continued to be the venue for all district meetings. The pastor and the leaders were very supportive and faithful in arranging for all these meetings. The church is situated in the heart of the town and it has a great advantage to reach out to people in the vicinity. The pastor had made a lot of effort to motivate and encourage the members and build the total ministry of the church.
Upgrading Church School Ministry
From May 2009 to 2012, Rev. Mark Subramanyam, the pastor of TMC Bentong, was also the Pastor in charge of Mentakab. At the same time, Mr. Steven Arumugam was appointed as the Supply Pastor. The Full Membership in 2009 was 37. There was a good working relationship among the pastor, the leaders and the members, but there was a concern regarding church attendance and active participation in the ministries. In 2010, the Full Membership was 35. The number in the Church School increased from 1 to 9 children. The Church School ministry was held on Saturdays at 7pm. Non-believer parents were also sending their children without reservation. There was no systematic bible lessons taught to the children according to their age and language. The pastor and leaders looked into getting the relevant material.
Serving The Community’s Needy
In 2011 the Full Membership was 43. The church’s community service and the support provided for mission work was commendable. Every month they supplied food items to the non-believers on a regular basis at Kampung Awah, Kg. Sangkang and to the people living along the Railway tracks. The church also provided school uniforms, bags, shoes and stationery for 70 school children on 12 November through an Independent Organization Hajjah Ainie Sahanam Project – MADE (Making A Difference Everywhere) from Kuala Lumpur. The church membership growth had been stagnant for a number of years. The pastor and leaders brought some new members to its fellowship.
In 2012 the Full Membership was 49. The youths continued to play an active role in building the ministry of the church, particularly in leading worship, music and Sunday school. Outreach work was started at 2 new places. Kg. Awah and Batu Lima. In both places regular Cottage Prayer Meetings were held. The work was going on well.
Bahasa Malaysia Ministry Started
In 2013 and 2014, Rev. Steven Arumugam was the Pastor in charge. He had already served TMC Mentakab the previous four years, assisting Rev. Mark Subramaniam. In 2013 the Full Membership was 52. A Bahasa Malaysia ministry was started for the Sabah, Sarawak Bumiputra and Indonesian migrants and they met on Sundays at 2pm. Outreach ministry in Kerdau was identified. In 2014, the Full Membership was 52. It was noted that the worship service was attended by about 50% of the church membership. Many non-believers were visited in Kerdau, Kuala Krau and Sungai Tinggi areas. Kerdau was targeted to be made into an outreach soon. The church grew financially
Continued Concern for Those Leaving for Education and Employment
In 2015, Rev. Sandireaseheran, the pastor of TMC Rawang, was the Pastor in Charge. He was assisted by ministerial student Mr. K. Saravanan. The Full Membership was 52. Evangelistic work was done in Kg. Awah Estate, Kerdau, Sg. Tekal and Kuala Krau. The church supported 35 children under the Gift of Hope Project of MMM. There was a continued concern that youths were moving out for the purposes of studies and work.
In 2016 and 2017, Rev. Jevaretnam Sowria was the Pastor in Charge. In 2016 the Full Membership was 57 and remained at this number till 2018. In the Outreach ministry in Kerdau, monthly house meetings and weekly Church School and visitations were carried out among non-believers. Two families started coming to church. In 2017 they started a community project in Kerdau called Methodist Community Centre Kerdau. (MCCK). They rented a newly built shop lot at the ground floor for RM400 monthly. They planned ministries such as a tuition centre, music classes, health programs, seminars and youth programs to touch the community. The church donated RM300 towards one of the Myanmar Pastor’s studies. The Bahasa congregation was very vibrant and active and they were able to lead worship services, praise and worship, Prayer and Home cells.
In 2018, Rev. Samuel Manokaran, the pastor of Jerantut, was the Pastor-in- charge. Church Worker Mr. Seemon Danial was stationed in Mentakab. Church School was held in three places – in Mentakab, Kerdau and Kg. Awah.
In 2019, Rev. Ezekiel Raj the pastor of Bentong, was appointed the Pastor-in- charge. The Church Worker Seemon continues to assist. The Full Membership is 57. Cell Group ministries are conducted in the homes of members. Kerdau is their only Outreach. The membership in the Agencies is as follows: MYF (5), MYAF (11), MSF (10) and MW (10).
Conclusion: TMC Mentakab is 35 years old. It began as an Outreach of Kuantan. At the time of the formation, there were 66 Full Members. Currently the Full Membership is 57. The membership went as low as 37 in 2004 and slowly increased over the years. The frequent change of pastors could be one reason for the slow growth. The church is located in the heart of the town and the church is looking for new ways to reach out to the community. The church is challenged to build TMC Mentakab for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. This, of course, is possible with the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.