Sunday, December 20, 2009
Hope Perth began very early on and was among the first few international churches started by Hope Bangkok, under Dr Joseph Kriengsak. He preached during one of the OCF camp and challenged many people to start a church. I believe one of the teachings was One Man One World.
The first leader was called S.C. But the leader left the movement but still resides in Perth . Leaders from Singapore were then assigned to comeover to help out in the interim. Then a leader from Canberra decided to heed the call and come over to Perth to help the church. He was indeed ordained as a Pastor and its a title he held and conferred by HGI. The church at that time was around 40 over people strong. The number was as high as 70 people at the time
Due to personal reasons he had to change his role but was still serving in the Church, and interim leaders were asked to help out, until a new coordinator came from Malaysia, she was challenged by the Pastor from KL to come over. She held the co-coordinator role until around 2002-03, where she decided to return back to KL, there are a number of reasons given for her decision to leave to KL not just about the people in Perth. The number I believe was around the 30-50 people region depending on the season.
As in most Oceania Churches, the numbers usually drop during the holiday period as most are student dominated and church number usually drop when Student return home for holiday.
During this time, a family from Bangkok was challenged to go to perth. This family was the pitavanik family. Ps Stephen was asked to come over and head the church. He came over on a student visa and as mentioned by YLC regarding remuneration, which i believe should be a factual account as his comments were never attacked by anyone.
Taken from YLC post :
The remuneration packages for Pastor Stephen and his predecessor were exactly that – a package, never 100% cash in hand. Accommodation costs like rent and the electricity, gas and water expenses were paid directly to the landlord or creditor without going through the pastor’s bank account. Original invoices and receipts were retained on file. The pastor would only receive the food, petrol and honorarium allowances by cheque. All church cheques were crossed “not negotiable” and had to be banked into an account. I left detailed written summaries on the church’s accounting files that show how the amounts on each cheque were calculated. Pertinent details were written on the relevant cheque butts. A clear paper trail existed for audit purposes.
The actual amounts paid to Pastor Stephen and his predecessor were not disclosed to the church generally or made publicly available. For the reasons set out above and in instalment 2, I think we should be comfortable with that position.
In my view it was sufficient that during my watch:
a) the system of checks and balances I have explained was in place and functioning;
b) the church’s authorised signatories who signed cheques with me knew the actual amounts being paid and had no objections; and
c) the actual amounts paid to the pastors every financial year were included at the end of that financial year on the revenue and expense statements made available to the church leadership team for them to examine.
Here are some actual numbers for the accountants:
In the 2003-2004 financial year, Hope Perth spent $38,044.49 against revenue of $46,888.98. Of the $38,044.49 spent, $13,780.52 went to supporting the pastors. Not earth shattering numbers. Of the $8,844.49 operating surplus, $7,351.05 (20%) went to HGI and $735.11 (2%) went to Hope Australia.
In theory this left a $758.33 surplus. In reality the position was more challenging as $1,907.95 of the revenue was comprised of interest earned on the money in the building fund. While the building fund and interest earned on its principal was preserved, we had in effect run a $1,149.62 deficit to fund regular activities.This was as far as I was prepared to let things go.
In the following 2004-2005 financial year (my last since my family left not too long thereafter) we had tithes and offerings revenue of $55,881.63 and spent a total of $54,347.83. There were also other sources of income. The operating surplus exceeded $1,533.80 and compensated for the deficit the previous year. In addition, interest was earned on the principal in building fund. The entire building fund of approximately $32,000-$35,000 was intact.
In 2004-2005, Pastor Stephen received a larger package than his predecessor. That was logical. He has a wife and 2 children to support and Pastor Hannah, Joseph and Benjung contributed significantly to the spiritual well being of the church. The increased revenue had allowed me to present a larger remuneration package. A package I would have been delighted to present to his predecessor.
It is in my belief that Financial numbers were presented and were available to anyone since the inception of the church. Though it might not be on a regular basis, I believe it is Hope standard practice to show at least the figure once a year even in Hope Bangkok.
Hope Perth during the whole period of its existence average around 40. Hope perth grew under Ps Stephen from around an average of 40 people to an average of around 100 from 2003- current.
Issues did arise, as per what was discussed and there are number of different opinion as to the reasons why this occurred.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The biggest issue why this blog exist is because Ps PN and Dr Joseph Kriengsak is still trying to manipulate churches to try and restall their power in the previous Hope Movement. They have also recently align themselves with some other church planting movement. I saw a number of links from their website - these are the Friends of Hope
1. Apostolic Fellowship international
2. City Harvest Church
4. Project Amazon
6. Jesus is Lord Fellowship
7 Kings Christian Centre
8. Living Faith Fellowship
I believe not many people or the pastor know actually what is going on in the Hope Movement
I think HIM should actually write a formal letter to explain the situation. If you have friends in the these churches, you should let them know.
I think PN is trying to get more churches to be affiliated to Hope to help make them look good.
Just one fact. PN committed adultery and refused to step from leadership to be restored properly and instead split the church, would be sufficient for the pastors I believe.
As for the Hope Perth issue, I can only cast an open verdict there are alot of points and comments about the pastor. It will really be up to HIM to decide what is the best foot forward.
All I can say is as long as the Pastor walk with God the Church will grow, Pastor will make mistake and to grow one have to learn from ones own mistake, so that the church will grow under him or her.
Now regarding the Perth issue,
For those who left Hope Perth because of the Pastor, if he did do anything wrong do not worry, God ultimately will decide, trust me nothing is more stressful than a stagnating church, because after all that is why we have a pastor, to guide and grow God's church. You wouldn't belive the stress of seeing a church with the same number for 6-7 years.
For those who choose to stay in Hope perth and believe that the pastor is the best thing that happen to Perth, all i can say is then let the growth of the church be a statement of your confidence.
We can all argue till we are blue in the face, but ultimately just like Hope Bangkok, when Ps PN sin against God by committing adultery, stealing God's money to help finance Dr Joseph Kreingsak and leading his sheep astray by false teaching. Then i assure you, God's judgement hand will be upon the leader just like he split Hope Movement.
All I can say only TIME will TELL.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Issues that were raised were mainly about Policies implemented in Hope Perth Church, finance issues and issues relating to the Pastor in charge.
Quote from white Knight
1. Did he stop people from going and attending people's wedding once you leave church ?? Yes or no ?
2. Did he really wanted to buy an airplane ? ( Yes or No ? )- even at the expense of disobeying the top leaders ? Yes or No ?
3. Does he take people feedback and use it in the sermon without first talking to the person. Yes or No ?
4. Was the financial issue mentioned really true ? What was the type of benefit he is getting from the church ? Is there every a full disclosure of spending and transparency of account ?
Quote from Just a friendly HIM friend
1. I believe Hope Perth was never at 20+. Maybe during holiday period.
But I think we should also give the other leaders before Ps Stephen who lead Hope perth some credit.
1. General Half-truth being spoken most of the time by leaders - I believe the issues are diverse it may be on a case to case issue. ( Have to read the blog ) - you have to read the comments
2. A few issues were also raised into the purpose and existence of the Emergency Fund and Church Building Fund and why there are no more accounts
3. Also an issue was raised about AGM where not every member were invited but only selected group of people
3 Issues regarding Church mission car and how it came about raised by Witness and King Bonanza which is being revealed YLC
- "As the church grew in numbers from 20+ to 100+, he started mission trips to further parts of WA along with his leadership team, so he requested to get a car for mission trip, but was rejected by the person who in charged of the finance. Frankly, I do not have the in-between details as to why the person rejected the purchase for the mission car, what I can see and testify is Ps Stephen's heartbeat to win many souls for God, and he has been consistent through the years I know him." - By Witness
- You wrote that Pastor Stephen’s request for the mission car was rejected by the person in charge of finance. How then did Pastor Stephen pay for the dark purple Kia Carnival which he bought just before Pastor Prayuth visited to teach the worship team? Pastor Stephen couldn’t access the church’s money then without help could he?
1. Church finance policy
- Remuneration and benefit for pastor
- Mission Car ( still being discussed by YLC)
- Emergency fund and Church building fund
- Transparency of church accounts
2. Integrity issue with the pastor
- talking about people who left church without their knowledge
- Forbidding people from associating with those who left church including wedding
- using people's feedback in sermon without their consent
- wanting a buy a plane and learning to fly even when Hope eldership did not agree.
In all many points were raised and does seem valid, people must feel really strongly to have raised such an issue concerning the pastor. As i myself have also not come across any Hope Church members mentioning about their pastor.
As a leader we must always remember we need to be always live up to what we have attain, flaming people and telling Half-truth will only get people more riled up especially if the stories make one party seem good and the other seem bad. As for finance, i do suggest a better policy and more independent board to ensure greater transparency.
Whatever the Pastor from Hope Perth is doing the right thing or wrong thing only time will tell, he should take the experience he has from Thailand, both the success and failures and learn to be a better person.
I do think if he does change, i am sure people will be willing to forgive him. No man is perfect and we do not expect one to be, but we should always strive towards perfection, learning from our mistakes and become a better person in the end.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
1. Leaders are also human and do face temptation, giving leaders too much power without proper accountability is not helping the leader. Dr J and PN are case in point. If in doubt over finance ask for clarification. Not just the leaders words, but a proper disclosure. Most churches will have financial statement audited by proper accounting firm.
2. Listen to the complaints and check out the stories. We often say there is no smoke without a fire. If you see people complaining the same thing and it is not an isolated case, but one which constantly resurface. Maybe there is some truth to what people are saying and make your own investigation. Don't just listen to one side just because they are leaders. That was the problem the catholic church had when boys complained of sexaul abuse by the priest but people choose to ignore until the issue was brought to light.
3. If in doubt over issues or certain behaviour, speak to higher leader, every pastor in HIM have someone overseeing them. Speak to the higher authority clarify the blibical way. If something seems not right, dont sweep it under the carpet. There are always some truth to peoples complaint. The term rebellious and bad spirit is used to often to cover the leaders fault and issues. Use our own judgment. God says he wants to transform our mind not remove it. Remember if more than 3 groups of people are highlighting the same issue and over a period.. it cannot be because of bad spirit... there must be something.. investigate... God holds all of us accountable ..
Remember total Obedience and Blind Loyalty to the leader regardless of their life is not a sign of a good christian. We can be sincere but sincerely wrong. You will ultimately be judged by what you choose to do.
I think crucially, we have to answer to God for our action or inaction.
Here are some signs that something is not right in the church, it is not exhaustive but it will at least cause an alarm in your mind to probe further.
1. When the church is bering evasive about their finances and do not have good transparency. Case in point BBK church. Good churches have transparent accounts where people can see anytime and have Salary package stated clearly... some churches actually inform their members the package of their pastor. - Salary and Benefits provided.. do you know yours??
2. When people start living church not because they are backsliding but because of leadership issues. If just one group or a couple of people leave it is understandable, but when you see, different groups of people from the youth to the family starting to leave the church over a period of time. Then some alarm bells shoudl start ringing . Find out the issues. and see if there is a basis for their complain.
3. The church is having turnover. Meaning there is alot of people come but also alot of people leaving, so the church never grow. numercially and if it is over a period of time .. from 1 yr to maybe 3 years.. then.. something is wrong somewhere. We need to ask why .
Early diagnosis... will hopefully prevent a similiar split again in Hope Movement. Remember members, our pastors life is in our hands.. we are all responsible to ensure the pastor's and the church well being.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I have looked at the post and its just ordinary discussion. The other posts pertaining to PK letter and Rubina action were not found.
So unless there is something unless there is something that needs translation i would just leave it for now.
And FYI, there was a post I made someone which i had of the HGI eldership meeting discussion something to do with finance about Ps Stephen and also I believe something to do with flying. The note are somewhere in the blog and also in my files somewhere. I will repost it if i find it.
In any case, I suppose just another case of Hope Bangkok Trained pastor. I think, the people in Perth would know more. Will leave it as that on my side.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
From the comments, it does seems that people are not concerned with the going on in the particular HIM church. I must say, I did hear abit of news too, I do know from previous discussion on the biblediscuss.com which is used mainly by the Thai people.
There was a heated debate regarding Ps PK letter to PN, and from the conversation I did thought he was on PN side. The Ps in question is a Hope Bangkok trained pastor through and through, the style and approach nevertheless would not differ much. As the concepts are picked from Hope Bangkok.
In truth, not every Pastor are the same, not every HIM pastor thinks the same and will do the same thing. God made us all different. But I do think that one thing as Pastor we must always do is never first to blame the people for bad spirit but always check on ourselves when things go pear shaped.
The problem with churches is that when people are not agreeable on certain issues, its not always bad spirit. Yes, there may be your occasion of few negative people.. BUT.. what if not just one or two are feeling the same. Then it cannot be the people, it should be the leader who needs a check, we can't say the whole world is wrong and I am right.
The key is this, whatever church you are in.. when you start seeing people from students, profeesionals and even families that is voicing some concern about your stlye, It is time we need to start a careful on ourselves.
To hid under the sand and pretend that the rest of the world is full of bad spirit people. Then we maybe living in denial. Therefore as a pastor, we hold more accountable in our actions because God mentions int he bible that HE who teaches are judge more severely.
If this has been a problem in the church, i really hope the issues can be resolved and sorted out. Regardless, as Pastor we should set a better example not otherwise.
Hopefully things will get better for those in the affected area.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The Core - คริสตจักรที่มีแก่นแท้ตามพระคัมภีร์
8.00 - 8.30 ลงทะเบียนเข้าอบรม
วันศุกร์ที่ 23 ตุลาคม 2009 นี้ เวลา 8.30 - 17.30
และวันอาทิตย์ ที่ 25 ตุลาคม 2009 เวลา 13.30 - 16.00 น.
ณ คริสตจักรแห่งพันธสัญญา กรุงเทพ
อัตราค่าสมัคร 100 บาท
นอกจากเป็น ศบ.คจ.ที่อดิเลย์แล้ว ข้อมูลอื่นๆ ของท่านดังนี้
Dr. Brendan Kirby is the pastor of church in Adelaide. Dr. Kirby was
born again in 1984. He joined in 1991 and started Church
in Adelaide in October 1998 with his wife Helen (whom he married in
1994). He overseas 7 churches in South Australia and Western
Australia (WA), and has been responsible for bringing some churches
in Liberia and in Democratic Republic of Congo into the Movement. He and Nigel
recently planted a church in Esperance. Brendan currently works
as a part time research scientist, 3 days a week, and serves as a
pastor in his remaining time.
Pastor Stephen Pitavanik is the man of faith who has a strong vision to plant churches since year 1985. He has the gift of teaching the Word of God, in an expository manner. Through his ministry of teaching, God has transformed the hearts and lives of many.
He is also highly recognised for laying clear foundations and principles of Christian doctrines in people’s lives and to the church. Under his leadership, many leaders have been raised up to serve God together in a great unity.
He enjoys talking with people and makes them feel at home in the family of Perth. His pastoring heart shows to all in love and care for them holistically.
Pastor Stephen is a caring father and husband to his family. He and with his wife, Hannah, alongside with their two children, Joseph and Benjung, set the great example in serving God together actively reiterates Joshua 24: 15b “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
อ.สิทธิพล ปีตะวนิค หรือ Pastor Stephen ในด้านการศึกษาพระวจนะ ท่านจบการศึกษาด้านศาสานศาส
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND :
1) Export Promotion Manager of President Agri Trading Co.,Ltd. Thailand (Saha PattanaPibul Interholding Group of Companies)
2) Export Consultant for many Plastic Bags Factories in Thailand)
(Church of Covenant)
สถานที่ : ตั้งอยู่ระหว่างซอยรามคำแหง
แผนที่ คริสตจักรแห่งพันธสัญญา กรุงเทพ
No matter how PN and Dr.J try to get back those churches that split from the movement, i believe this move is caused by the hand of God. Hope as a movement was getting too big and too many bureaucracies and efficient management of both financial and human resources. So instead of one Big church under Dr. Kriengsak and Ps PN from Hope Bangkok, God had allowed this split so that more leaders can rise up from within Bangkok.
As of today, there are many new churches breaking from Hope Movement under both Hope Church in Bangkok.
A close in bangkok told me that we have HIM pastors now going to the bible conference happening currently in Bangkok. And a number of new churches have decided to join under HIM wings, but will remain autonomous. I believe the new one is called Church of Convenant. I just read it on their website. http://www.churchofcovenant.com/
Its mostly in thai but they have a link to HIM website...
Well bible says, what devil meant to destroy, God will use it for his work.
I believe God will open up Bangkok as more churches sprout up and pastors start to take the lead. And hopefully those training they receive will help them build stronger churches in Bangkok
Hope Hong Kong I think has decided to be independent. Still I believe we are all one big family. May God also help them build something in Hong Kong. I did not see their name in the HIM blog and from my source, they might decided to be independent.
** I dont know but it seems that PN is still going to many countries to preach, i think recently to Africa. Well. that i wont comment.
Monday, October 26, 2009
A church horror story
Q. I've been curious about what your take on my current situation would be. My family has been attending a new church for about ten months. We don't agree with some of the pastor's teachings (I've been down the "works" path and refuse to go back) but we are there mainly to give our children a church family as they have many friends in our homeschooling community who go to that church. I feel I get my spiritual nourishment from many different places and I didn't have a problem not getting "fed" at "church" so to speak.
Well, a few months ago during a camping trip it came out that I didn't agree with everything the pastor said. I tried to downplay it because this is a small, close knit church. I knew from my past church experiences that there was no sense in expressing my differences to church leadership because they would not change. They worship their pastor and believe what he says is not to be questioned.
After Bible study Wednesday night the pastor asked me to stay behind and everyone left. There was just the pastor, another man and me (my husband was not there that night). The pastor told me that I needed to decide if he was going to be my spiritual teacher. He used Hebrews 13:17 to tell me that I needed to obey him -- that even if I disagreed with him I needed to trust him. And if I did disagree, I needed to be quiet about it.
A couple of weeks earlier he had given a sermon (directed at me) about how there was someone in the group who didn't agree with what was being taught and who was causing problems. He said that "this person" needs to repent.
Responding to his interrogation on Wedensday night, I told the pastor I really didn't look at him as my spiritual mentor, although I loved and respected him and his walk with the Lord. I didn't say anything negative. I told him I didn't think it was a problem for people to discuss what they believe or discuss other scriptural viewpoints -- because "iron sharpens iron." But he made it very clear that Hebrews 13:17 commands me to come "under him" and to be quiet. He said that he does not want division in his church. He also advised me to stop listening to sermons from other pastors and teachers so that I wouldn't get confused. I told him I didn't feel confused at all. God is HUGE to me and doesn't fit into any box. I love what God is doing in everyone's life and I love learning and growing. I don't want to be limited to one man's teaching.
I wasn't hurt by what he said, though it was painful to sit there -- he was a coward in my book to not talk to my husband and me together. I was, however, hurt by how the people in the church knew what was going on, and I didn't. When my kids asked where I was, the church leaders' kids told my kids I was getting kicked out of the church. These were supposed to be my friends.
This whole episode is actually quite comical except for the fact that I have five young kids who are hurting on the inside because they will not be able to hang out with their friends anymore. What a mess for a testimony of Christian love. I later found out that one family had told their kids not to talk to mine -- but the kids did anyway when the parents weren't around.
So, with all that said, what do you think about my "submitting" to the pastor? By the way, obviously, I'm not going back. I don't think it's healthy for my kids to be under that kind of leadership. Yet part of me wants to go back and apologize to the people if they thought I was trying to cause a problem. That was truly not my intent.
Thanks for your input, Greg. I always enjoy your answers and respect your interpretation.
A. I guess I should not be shocked when I hear reports such as yours. After all, I know it's happening, so how can I be surprised? You ask for my input. Here goes. Your relationship with God is being damaged. God is being misrepresented to you. From what you have said about this situation, I can see nothing for which you should apologize.
If more people boycotted such Christ-less hell holes that call themselves a church then perhaps legalistic religion would realize the pathetic product of its dogma and control.
Leave. Don't go back. Nothing at all, in terms of a relationship with a brick and mortar church (church attendance, activities, outings, camping trips, church "friendships" -- etc.) is better than what you describe. Stay at home if need be -- if more people boycotted such Christ-less hell holes that call themselves a church then perhaps legalistic religion would realize the pathetic product of its dogma and control.
I know about this kind of authoritarianism and the lasting impact it usually has on our relationship with God. I experienced a similar kind of manipulation and brow-beating, guilt trips, and transfers of blame -- for many years. I and many others who existed in that particular religious swamp were told, when we didn't agree with religious authorities, that we were in "bad attitudes" -- and when we expressed disagreement we were told that we weren't being "loyal" (to a human being!). When and if we failed to conform to legalistic practice one of the ultimate clubs was to be told that our "conversion" was questionable.
And of course, when all else failed, there was blazing hot hell fire that awaited us, because we couldn't be obedient to God (that is, God as perverted and corrupted by religion). I lived through such religious oppression, thinking that I was the problem. I experienced such mind games at the hands of authorities who, to the best of my knowledge, were sincere. They were of course way off base -- way wrong -- but sincere. Deceived and messed up, and doing their best to mess up everyone to whom they "ministered" and "served." Your pastor may also be completely sincere -- but he is sincerely wrong.
Sad to say, I became a religious authority in the same religious context, and inflicted the same rules, regimens and regulations -- the same atmosphere of fear and shame, of intimidation and bullying. Thinking it was what God wanted, I dished up the same kind of religious propaganda and lies on others. Many of my friends who knew me back then, and who continue to exist within a similar religious world view, believe that I am overstating the reality of what I and many others experienced back then. I believe that they, for a variety of reasons, are unable to deal with the truth of what happened to them and what they themselves participated in -- and thus they live in some degree of denial. I thank God for his gracious deliverance from religion -- for myself, for many people I know, and for many people I serve. I thank God that it seems that you too understand something seems to be horribly wrong in this church you have been attending.
Once again, the sincerity of your pastor and your friends is not the issue. Most of them, perhaps all of them, are doing what they believe to be "right." But by God's grace you seem to know it's not right at all. You mention that some of your friends "worship" the pastor -- when that dynamic is present it can give that human leader carte blanche, and eventually a person given that kind of reverence, whether politically, religiously, on the job or in the family, will become somewhat convinced that they are above and beyond the run of the mill people they ostensibly "serve." Worship of a pastor, however worship may be defined, is a huge danger sign.
Don't put up with this kind of treatment. Many who realize something is very wrong continue to allow such un-Christ-like behavior, in the context of a church, somewhat like a battered spouse will make excuses for his/her spouse who is physically and emotionally abusing them. The abused person will think they can change the abusive party. The abused person will talk about the "good times" when the abuse is not happening. The abused person will make excuses for the perpetrator, justifying him or her.
Women in particular find themselves in a difficult place when adult male spiritual leaders play the submission card. It's often the trump card, used to bring the "rebellious" woman back into line. And, ganging up on a woman when her husband is not present?!?! Religion is all about control.
My question is simple: I challenge religious legalism to please demonstrate and explain how Jesus is all about control. He is the polar opposite! This doesn't mean Jesus is a wimp -- it does mean Jesus gives us choices. He does not chain us to the church pews to make sure we attend every week! May God give you the wisdom and courage to take the steps you need. May his grace and peace be with you. My prayers are with you.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
HGI was renamed to HIM now led by Ps Simon, Hope Bangkok Church was split with PN leading one side and Rubina leading the other. Some other churches as well split from Hope and have remained such.
In HIM, we are still refining and changing some of the old Hope issues that have plagued the movement. From all the comments i have read, there are still pockets of Hope elements which are still there. I suppose its always hard to do wholesale changes and no doubt Hope's previous teaching will still have some impact especially those trained in Hope Thailand or have been very closely related to the Hope Church in Bangkok.
In summary issues that needs dealing with
1. BGR issues that have always been very poorly dealt with
2. Pride attitude always assuming we are the best
3. Poor people management skills by the leaders
4. Poor leadership training and selection of leadership based on favourtism rather than by lifestyle
5. Teachings and methods sometimes bodering on cultish behaviour
- Leaders telling members what to do
- People who leave church are often ostracised and cut off
6. Leadership often blaming people using the term "Bad spirit" instead of taking responsiblity.
Whatever 1 yr from now if this things still happen its anyone's guest. But i believe many people who are reading this or left will have stories which can relate to one of these points.
Hopefully HIM can take a bigger role in changing the old Hope Philosophy. Well, Happy Annivesary.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Just a quick update..Thailand Situation
The thailand situation is still very much... all over. There is still alot of movement and I believe some Thai churches would want to join HIM movement.
PN church is apparently doing pretty well, He was recently invited to i think Africa to speak... mmmmm.. i wonder if the international organisation know what is happening. Unfortunately from what i undertand people in PN church refuse to believe that PN committed adultery even though there is evidence of his infidelity.
Its sad that Hope Bangkok Church people would be so blinded by loyalty that they would not investigate the claim futher.
I am not too sure how HIM will deal with PN and the Hope link. The problem is that we stil use Hope and all those who broke from Hope still retain the name. I can only say it will surely cause more confusion.
I had hope in the future we will have a new name.. maybe call New Hope... to break from the past. I know PN is planning to send people overseas to plant church and you can imagine the confusion it will create.
But.. its my opinion. A name is still a name... as long the truth is out in the open.
I really dont know how to convince the thai bro and sister who just follow blindly.. i suppose only God knows.
Monday, October 5, 2009
1. Pre-Martial Sex
2. Appropriate relationship behaviour
As for the system where if you are interested in a party you tell your shepherd and your shepherd decides for you and also talks to the other party shepherd. I can say with my time at home this method only happens in 1 out of 100. I hardly see this happening, most of the time by the time people tell their shepherd they would have asked the other party.
Unfortunately, because God created us so unique, we can never effectively decide which party is more suited to one another. Thus trying to arrange partnership never really works. I prefer the thrill of the chase, but kept within biblical boundaries. I am sure, girls like to be wooed too.
Rather then make people feel guilty to fall in love, teach guys and girls to enjoy wholesome relationship. Someone once ask me when is the right time to start a relationship, in Hope when you are studying it is a no-no. In fact many times you will face punishment and be forced to step-down from leadership.
Today i hope to bust some myth. So here goes.
I believe many readers will agree that God is perfect and is all-knowing. Therefore if we believe that, then we must believe that when God allow something to happen, he must believe that it is an appropriate timing.
Every human have a hormones clock, where we start to become aware of the opposite "creation", this is often coupled by some physical changes like voice cracking and etc. At school, we have doctors and nurses that do occasional body check. I went through it, they then rate your growth - from facial hair, voice, body structure, etc. And you will notice each people grow differently
Ok here is the thing, if God is never wrong and God in his infinite wisdom decides that Mr A will develop feelings for the opposite ""creation" at 14yrs of age. Then God must have his reasons. The things is each person develops at varying degree at different ages. So when we begin to develop and notice those changes, then we know that that is is time for the next stage in our life. To say that having feelings is wrong then we are doing God a dis-service.
Remember this though - The schooling system was developed by Man not by God, God did not plan the High school, College and University, man did that. To say that a university is wrong to fall in love, is i believe totally inappropriate, did God say that ?
The key is teaching Guys and Gals to "manage" the feelings and work within biblical boundaries. Teach them it is not wrong to have feelings, but teach them how to mange it so that it will not affect their work. Encourage positive interaction, not try and subjugate the people.
The worst thing a church can do is to sweep it all under the carpet and expect every student to be a monk or nun. Seriously this never works. Emotions are very powerful tools and if not handled properly can burn a person badly.
God allow us to mature around 13-18 yrs depending of course on individual, some people never grow-up and may not mature until 30 but... when we first develop such strong emotions, it would have been more constructive to have a peer to guide us how to use the emotions and work within the biblical guidelines.
An example would be when a Father buys his Son a Super-charged Evolution iX, If the Dad do not explain how to drive it and also explain the consequence and set some speed boundaries, of course being a hot-headed teenager there is no guarantee he will not try and drive it at 200KM/hr.
So if you ask me what age ? There is no age, the key is to watch and when you realise someone is coming of age. Guide them along and teach them to handle it better.
Remember, God set everything in His time..
Friday, September 18, 2009
I know BGR is a really big topic to most people. As I know from experience out of 10 people who leave Hope during my days 6-7 are because of BGR issues. Because we seem to teach that falling in love is a sin, but we often forget that people have feelings and teenagers from 15-25 are human’s with feelings too.
I know that in Hope we teach that students should not be involved in relationship and we actively discouraged it, but the awful truth is .. how many teenagers have the gift of celibacy ??? Seriously I think many times out of our eagerness we go about it the wrong way. Kids will always be kids, crushes are part and parcel of life.
When I was leading the youth group many years back, I learnt one important lesson. Feelings are uncontrollable. How do you tell a guy not to have crush and stop liking a girl, never seen it happen in my whole time. God make us creatures with feelings, so it is crazy to tell a guy to stop have feelings.
That is why I fully agree with some of the comments, we need to teach positive ways to dating and courtship. I like one of the point out we are not their parents and should not overrule the parents decision.
There was another point that brought to my attention while I was reading the comments. I do not know if anyone has experienced it but I certainly have… there seems to be an unspoken rule that we should only find Christian partners in our Hope Church, it sometimes seem that other churches people are not as good as Hope. The reasoning I always get is they have different vision and better to find from within then outside… but what happens if the guys or girls in the church are not what we are looking for ? And don’t forget there are always more female leaders than guys leaders… so… what happen to those unlucky to not find one by 30 ??
I also have heard and seen people saying that because one couple holds a much higher leadership position therefore they are unequally yoke.. I feel sad for them because my friend was under so much stress. So many people were initially against them, but just for me… who are we to judge who is closer to God ?? Just because you have the title that does not make a person more spiritual, probably maybe just that they joined Hope movement much earlier. Titles are given by Men not by God, title do not make a person holier, look at PN and Dr. Kriengsak, they are a good testimony on the irrelevance of title.
Anyway.. I fully agree that BGR is a very hot topic because in essence there are only 2 things which are crucial to a human need..
1. Love and relationship – family, friends, and a partner and of course God
2. Money and career – to buy a house, food and essentials
And I agree with the comments from John – that we should start giving good positive principles instead of scaring people away from relationship. I know Hope Singapore is changing and some Hope Churches are starting to take the lead in this area.
Hopefully we can start to change from the Hope Movement of Old.. and move away from the dogmatic and controlling system under the Old Hope Movement.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I suppose every organisation will have their policies and guideline as to how christian should court each other. Unfortunately, though many Churches have attempted to set guidelines and steps on how to have the ideal courtship, the world is a less than ideal place and to try and put human guidelines of dos and dont's we sometimes add more burden on every courting couples.
On hindsight, we can see the wisdom of God, God did not set any binding methods or his ideal courtship program in the bible . God spoke alot on many other issues but apparently dating or courtship is not in the top most important priority. You must wonder why... maybe God realise that it is almost impossible to have a perfect step or ideal courtship.
I think we should take a leaf out of the bible and provide principles instead of methods to dating. Songs of Solomon actually have great insights on how to find your true love.
So what is most church doing wrong ? Well, we often try to give many do's and donts like I know in Hope we should be chaperon on our first date. Or we should try to go out in group dates rather than single dates, we have to be home by 10pm and please call your shepherd when you are home. Now I have been in Hope 17 years and more .. and have seen countless people leave because people are so disillusioned.
The BGR method in the shepherding structure in reality often do not work. Out of every 100, my estimate is only 1 or 2 couple ever gone through the full courtship process. Now let me share some problems which i have faced and maybe we can identify why this system is not ideal
1. How often if you share who you have an interest in, that your shepherd may also be interested in ? The worst to find out is the person you like, your shepherd is also interested... so what should a shepherd do ??? ... I have seen this episode.. and wont elaborate.. but i am sure we can all imagine...
2. How often this happens - you share your interest with your shepherd and in the end ... almost the whole leadership knows who you like.. and when you sit close to "the" person the whole leadership starts to look over you.
3. You share your interest and your leader prematurely let the cat out of the bag... and the other person know. and things becomes awkward.... and wierd....
4. You share with your shepherd your interest and your leader ask you to pray and tells you he is not the one for you.. granted that some cases the person is a new christian but.... seriously... isn't shepherd row just to guide.. and not to play God ? Even i don't know what is going to happen 1 second from now...
5. How often have you attended a BGR seminar and the summary is what you should "not do" and that we all need to keep waiting. You keep getting examples of people who is willing to wait... often times.. somone in their late 30s.... will come up and share the joy of singlehood...seriously.. i dont if i should be happy for them or feel pity for them...
I am sure many people will have faced similar issues, i have seen it, heard about it and experience it. And all i can say from experience is, we should start to teach people how to find the perfect partner and what to look out for in a good partner.
No relationship will be perfect on the first go, I must admit there is always issues we need to deal, and not every one is mature, but we MUST learn to trust people and not have the "they will sin" attitude... towards every relationship. We need to learn to bless to encourage, in Hope i don't know if it is just me but when i first came to Hope i though relationship is a sin.... only later when i grew up, i learnt that it is not true....
We do need to start trusting people, encourage Godly relationship through reinforcing the positives and also allow relationship to develop naturally... We are not God and therefore should not do "arrange marriage". And tell our sheep who they should and should not see.
Hopefully things in the BGR area will change soon
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Its hard to say where the troublespot is or where issues still need to be resolve. I am hoping by conducting the poll.
Hopefully someone from HGI who is reading this blog will be able to resolve some of the issues mention by the people.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
The new HIM website should reveal more the leadership structure. As for accountability, I am still unsure who we account to. I know there is still a lot of re-structuring to be done. And I know it will take time.
Beyond that, I do think its still too early to tell what the new impetus would be and how things will be done. I am not sure if there is going to be wholesale change.
I read many comments from people, regarding pastor’s still keeping to the old ways of Hope. I really hope that things do change.
Anyway, like I have mentioned before Hope’s biggest failing is its failure to put principles into practical day to day use. That is why even PN and Dr.J themselves are burned out leading them to commit sin and refusing to acknowledge it.
The worst thing that could happen is HIM not learning from the go-go style of the previous Hope Movement. I think if we do our maths properly, Hope style approach to running a church destroys more Christian life then building them up
Some stats to consider – If what Hope Bangkok say is correct in the last 20 yrs assuming that they will have an average of just 100 converts every week. That would mean there should be 104000 new Christians entering the Kingdom of God,
I wonder what is the real retention rate, it is sad to think that for every 100 people saved maybe only 3 or 5 will make the distance
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Though there have been a major split , everything takes time to change I suppose
Would the leaders respond to this blog, well, i suppose my main aim is not to force a change, but provide an avenue for discussion, and possible change. Information is power and the more people know and understand the issue, the easier it is for change.
You know when people know that they are being watched and policies are being scrutinized, I am sure one day things will change. The problem with Hope Bangkok is no one was watching them and holding them accountable.
So I suppose, as long as this blog is running, people from all over HIM and Hope have a common place to discuss issues.
And i am sure leaders will be reading this site..
Thursday, September 3, 2009
What is the role of a shepherd ?
I do believe as a shepherd one's role is to provide guidance to the person they are mentoring. The important thing is to make sure we do not dictate or tell them what to do.. We are not God and are not suppose to be God over our sheep's life. The aim is to give guidance and advice and allow the sheep to make their own decision.
I have shepherd i know, that actually dictate who and what the sheep should do, where they should study and even who they should marry. That is very dangerous because then we are assuming the role of God.
The greatest problem of a shepherd and leaders
One issue that has been a constant of pain is this, sometimes members tell their shepherd some personal issue in confidence and then in the process, suddenly they found out the whole leadership knows about their issue.
We teach in Hope that if we talk about people without the person's approval then its gossip, but i tell you if a leader talks about a member without the member's knowledge its also gossip. The worst thing i have encountered is when leaders are found out, their excuse is so that we can help the person and learn. I think this is totally wrong, because principle cannot change, if you want to discuss about a member's issue make sure you let the member's know. Personally as a shepherd, if my sheep tell me something in confidence I will not let it out, unless i cannot handle then i would actually ask the sheep's permission or ask them to bring the case up.
I never like telling people's issue upwards without the presence of the person i am discussing because you can either misquote or misunderstood the issue and in the end make a mountain our of a molehill.
Therefore this saying that - every secret has to go upwards is wrong if - the person you are talking about, never knew or is not informed. I tend to dislike it when i attend leader's meeting and leader's discuss personal issues of people in their group. To me i consider it gossip, because the person do not know that this issue has become an open secret.
As leaders we need to uphold the standards we ourselves expect of others. To me I do agree that pastor's should know things happening in church and "if" it relates to the church but alot of times its people's personal struggle so unless permission is first sought before passing on the message, don't just assume pastors have the right to know at the expense of your own personal integrity.
Make sure that when discussing about issues in leadership meeting, no names are used and if a situation becomes too big just ask the person to speak to someone more mature and then pass it on upwards properly.
How to treat the person you are mentoring
Always treat the person you are mentoring with respect and understand that just because they may be our mentee, it does not automatically means they are not intelligent. we somehow have this assumption that all sheep are dumb, its just a paraphase, in reality not everybody would be as dumb as a sheep.
Sometimes we get this false precept that just because they are our mentee, they are not as smart as the leaders, but the problem is that as pointed out by some people, leaders sometimes are raised up very fast, resulting in people with the title but not necessary the experience nor skill to handle issues. I have met many people who i have mentored, who are well-adjusted, intelligent and smart people. They maybe new to the christian faith and lack the knowledge and that is sometimes about it.
Therefore always treat people with respect and in turn your mentee will respect you as a mentor.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
No doubt I must admit Dr Kriengsak Chareonwongsak is a highly intelligent person who have written more articles I can remember, but to me he is just a typically politicians. By that i mean, I have come to some conclusions that most if not all politicians in Thailand are only able to have power simply because some corners have to be bent. Whatever they maybe yellow or red supporters, the truth is unless you are willing to bend some rules, there is absolutely no way you can be a politican.
For one thing, I know Kriengsak is the same. A typical politician who try to portray himself as a great alternative. Why do i say that :
1. He was willing to lie about his association with Hope even under oath when queried in the courts
2. He moved people in Hope to his electorate to help him gain votes even though it is illegal to do so.
3. He used church money to fund his campaign even though it was illegal
4. He got church people to help him got to temple to perform Buddhist rite
A man driven by the passion to see thailand at the cost of his moral conviction with God and total disregard for his family and the people who had to sin in order to help him.
Would Dr kriengsak be able to make a difference in thailand, i have no doubt that he has the ability and I have no doubt that he can possible use some of his solutions to build thailand. But for me its not the end that is important, but the journey we take to reach our destination, would he be able to shine God's name in a Buddisht Thailand ? I doubt it though.
Yes he may win the battle for Thailand but in the process he would have lost the war to bring people in Thailand closer to God.
His sory is a good reminder to everyone that as we pursue the path that we believe God called us, be it in the marketplace, in Education, in Science, Media, or politics. Never allow your goals to be your God, and in the process forget why you were there in the first place.
Indeed if we do aim to shine for Jesus in the workplace, lets not forget that our final destination is our heavenly home.
In thailand there are mainly 4 big split
1. Hope of God Bangkok - Under PN
- Operates a number of websites :
In these websites PN still claims to be HGI president and the ultimate authority
2. Hope of Bangkok - Under Ps Nimit ( Rubina )
3. Neutral Party - Churches who broke all affiliation ( Not many )
4. Hope of God Churches ( Under HIM )
-= Includes Hope Chiangmai, and a couple of other Churches in Thailand and in Bangkok
Hope Churches internationally : ALL the Hope Churches internationally all decide to follow Ps Simon to form HIM, no church from my knowledge was willing to follow PN and that include Hope Singapore
We call ourselves Hope International Ministries
- Unfortunately at this moment we still do not have a main website but i believe is in the midst of being set-up
Hope of Nation is a name we previously registered long time ago.. but have not used for a long time. But is not a new movement.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
In fact if indeed our salvation rate is as high as we always claimed, then in theory our church would have grown leaps and bounds but after 20 + years... all our churchs previously HGI and Bangkok did not show much growth in fact our turnover rate is almost 80% or more. Many of our church struggle to hit 500 people and only Hope Singapore have broken the 1000 people barrier. When i looked at stats from other growing churches around the world many have very high retention rate, and after looking into their method I have come to one conclusion we are doing it all wrong.
We are just so conscious about numbers and like one reader pointed out so into appointing leaders we totally disregard if they are well-equipped. In fact, I have seen leaders went up to the stage to preach even though he was a pretty young christians and in fact after he preached some visiting christians even asked me if he knew what he was saying. I had to keep quiet, apparently the pastor's way of selecting leaders is as long as you obey and submit to him and listen to him, you will be gurranteed a top leadership role regardless of annointing. In fact, the group under him never grow and the pastor have to keep taking people from other group to prop up his group at the expense of the other leaders because he was the pastor's fav.
So even though he was a UL in numbers, the numbers were mainly transferred people who went to his group. So how is that called annointing ?? I have heard him preach a number of times sometimes i don't even know what he was saying. I really think people need to be better trained and equipped. Our Hope theory is always OJT, throw them onto the pulpit and learn as you go. Maybe that is why many times we struggle.
In the church movement run by PN and Dr Kriengsak, we pushed people to invite friends and follow-up, we have stats to make sure we do, we have unit that get people to go to do street evangelism, we create millions of events to do outreach in the hope of getting people to church, because its always been a numbers game in Hope. We have Best of the Best to highlight the importance of numbers
So what have i learned from other growing churches...
1. Make sunday service applicable
- We should start to make Sunday sermons more applicable. Expository teaching verse by verse is good, but i find it more for mature christian's who like to do some meaty teachings. Many times i find my non-christian friends or even some christian fall asleep during preaching session. Because many times the sermon is just not applicable. I empathize with the pastors because they have to follow the Hope Movement law in making sure the teaching is verse by verse and book by book. It is seriously very restrictive, I know because i have been there and done that. After you been in Hope long enough, its always the same principles - Be obedient, be humble, Be kind, Trust God,..... you get my drift.
- I do think to make church more relevant, make teachings that can be applied or teachings that build people up because there is a wider spectrum of people in church therefore it would be better, that we can preach from the lowest common denominator and do bible study when its a special church camp.
Some good preachers and their Style
1. Ps Wayne Coderio - I believe PS Jeff also like this preacher
2. Joel Osten from Lakewood
3. Ps Kong Hee from CHC
4. Brian Houston from Hillsongs
5. Joyce Meyers
6. TD Jakes
7. Ps Rick Warren
8. Ps Bill Hybel
9. Ps Ashely Evans
To name but a few
2. Meet people's needs and treat people like people
I think this is crucially what is missing in Hope, we get so revved up in trying to get people invovled in church, sometimes we just overlook people's issue and needs. How many times we see leaders assumption that when christians are not serving because they are not spiritual ? Yet we overlook some stuggles they may face, maybe they have family issues, problems at studies or relationship issues. Isn't church suppose to be helping people ? Sometimes i feel in Hope Movement, people are just treated as workers and employees, expandable and disposable.
I do not think this is what church is supposed to be. My pastor keep stressing about church planting even though our church was still small. What was the whole purpose, to tell the world we can have Church everywhere ? To win best of the best ? We just keep sending people out without regards if they are ready and if our church could cope.
Guess what, many who went became burnt out because our church have no support structure, no way to help them. Many came back disillusioned and burnt out. Yet when they came back broken, our church never learnt from their mistake but even increased the goal of church planting.
To me, Church planting is importnant, but not at the expense of people's life. Unless the church is ready and is equipped to provide support don't play with people's life. Because ultimately if you are the shepherd and kill your flock you will be help accountable by God.
So when i say meet people's need what do i propose
1. Have a good tuition service to help poorer students
2. Have a ministry to help new graduates find jobs or write resume
3. Have a good counselling service
4. Create good family atmosphere and children church
Create an avenue of help for all level of church - from students, to single adults, to family, to senior group.
I heard a saying from a pastor, If people's needs are met then the church needs will be met too. Because people can serve without any worries.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I must admit Hope have some good points, and the reason i stayed because I have never let its issues affect me. To highlight another essentials which i have always believed.
3. Allow your people to be who God wants them to be.
- I agree that PN and the previous seems only to believe that we should be Church planters and missionaries and be in the pastoral capacity. But the truth of the principle that applies in the church context should also apply on an individual basis.
- Meaning to say not everyone is a Pastor or called to be in the pastoral ministry. Some are called to the marketplace as a businessmen and entrpreneur, some are called to do social work, some find joy in spreading the gospel through music.
- We have the 5 fold ministry but if you notice, our church have never been able to raise up the 5-fold only mainly, teachers and pastors.
What i think we should keep
1. I believe shepherding system is a good system but maybe do with some modification
2. Teach the essentials - QT, Character change, Sharing the gospel.
But beyond that allow our people to explore their calling. never force people to do things. Keep Christian life simple. All God wants is to grow in him - spend time in QT, Share the Gospel and change our life and be a good testimony.
In my walk in Hope one of the worst thing i ever heard a non-christian say to me is that they did not want to become christian because they saw how we serve - they actually asked me when I become a christian does it mean i have to attend all this meetings and I do not want to become christian and be so busy and so tired like so and so...... actually in Hope many times we end being the Martha instead of Mary ... we work and work till the point we sometimes even miss God.
.... to be continued.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I have yet to met a men that has not succumb to temptations given the right opportunity, moment and circumstances. Like all the pastors who fell because of adultery or succumb to the desire of wealth or who in a moment of weakness who not able to do the right thing. And it is because of frailty that we need a good counter check and balance, such that leaders cannot have absolute power, no leaders should be able to use only one portion of the bible to tell members to submit and obey regardless of their life.
My proposal ( Part 1 )
Stronger and more independent board
1. The Board of directors in the Church should always include at least 1 senior pastor not in the Local church. AOG churches often have a non-executive director to provide advise and counsel in regards to Financial and also act as a Pastor's spiritual mentor. It is ridiculous to say that Head pastor need no spiritual shepherd, because Men is sinful and we need good counsel regardless of status. That was Dr Kriengsak and PN's downfall they had no one they need to account to.
2. The board's role is mainly administrative, I believe that as long as the head pastor is not making decisions that is immoral nor againstg the bible, we should allow him or her to lead. BUT, subject to their life example - meaning if a pastor is found to commit adultery, or is unable to lead by example as a good husband he must dutifully step down. The key issue is about general moral codes - honesty, integrity, righteousness
3. The head pastor is the lead pastor but he is also accountable to all the other pastors, and have to make sure that this check and balance works
Build on our strength
I think the next thing we need to admit is that we can never be the best at every thing. In hope, i often encounter this elitist teaching that we are the best in everything in worship, in teaching, in structures. And we try to do everything. But after being in Hope for 17 years now, I have come to realise that this is impossible. There will never be a church that can do everything. The local church is like a part of the body of the universal church. Every church functions differently and the truth is most church takes after the giftings of the leaders.
I often hear previously that our Bangkok worship team is better then Hillsongs, but the truth is Praise and worship is never our strong suite. We cannot compare with Hillsongs because this what God gave them as a church. In turn, Hope was good at pioneering church and there are not many church in this world who can do what we do. Some church are good at social work and some good at outreaching in the marketplace. The point i am trying to make is that we need to find our strength and build on it. And those area we are weak, we can send people to learn from other churches. Eg. if Hillsongs are holding a Worship conference we can participate and learn instead of trying to redo the wheel
The reason we can never get a great worship team because our structure in Hope will never be able to accmodate a strong team why ? Well in a small to a medium hope church, we have meetings that are more than a 10,000 people church. A typical leader will in a week besides working 8-5. Will have
1. Shepherding with his/her sheep
2. Be shepherded
3. Have CG meeting
4. Depending on your level - Unit meeting, Sub-district, District meeting, SDMM, JDMM
5. WFL class on sunday
6. Prayer meeting
7. Outreach events
8. Weekly Care Group
10. Participation in special church level events
- Church Anniversary
11. Leader's retreat
Then besides all this regular meeting and training session we try to create ministry for people to be involve like worship ministry, admin, spirtual growth department, development ministry.
Well you get my drift, If you are a working adult how could you possibly fit all this events.
I have actually done a calender once.. and seriously once you reach UL level you basically will have no time for friends, family or anything not related to ministry.
So my proposal would be to focus on our strength, and the strength of the pastor leading the church. No 2 pastors are alike therefore we may come from the same factory but the type of products will be definitely be different.
I am happy to plant churches, but if a Pastor is gifted in music, he can use music to plant churches. The ending point is the same only the method is different. Cut out too many meetings and streamline events.
That is my first 2 proposal...