Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hope Perth Summary and History (Updated)

I have taken sometime and also from my knowledge of the Hope History to provide a quick summary of Hope Perth . As there are many comments which has alot of emotions running. I Hope by providing only factual accounts and summarising the issues in a neutral way that we can be objective. I believe everyone has a point.


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.

( unquote)


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

Hope Bangkok Church the reason for the blog.

It is interesting to note many of the comments being posted regarding the Hope perth issue. Just to make it clear, i am not anti-HIM nor Church which do the right thing.

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
3. K.A.N.A.P
4. Project Amazon
5. Hosanna
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

Hope Perth Church - Discussion ( Updated)

I have updated the post discussion with the relevant article as the other article was about something different. There are now 101 comments on the Hope perth issue and would try to summarize the 101 comments as best as i can. If in anyway there is doubt over the summary do kindly just read all the comments in previous post. I will take out personal discussion between commentators to try and put a succinct and concise summary on issues that were raised and are still being discussed. I will also post a comment regarding the current situation.

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.

Quote from Genesis, VIC, XXX, etc : Summary on what i gather

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
King Bonza said...Witness, please help me with my memory.
  • 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?
I think among all these 57 comments these were the more pertinent questions relating to Hope Perth Church. - I will try to sum it up as these simple points that are being discussed by both side of the party. Please bear in mind this is not exhaustive but a quick summary of what is being discussed.

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
There have been some doubt as to how money was spend in the church and the benefits provided for the pastor. One commentator mentioned that Pastor did claim to want to take-over and be in charge of finance and he did preached that in the sermon, while another said that he handed it over to someone to take charge. There were claims of high pay and benefits including housing allowance, provision of the use of 2 vehicle for the family and also higher pay due to his Visa requirement. Emergency fund was mentioned and one commentator asked why it was stopped and never mentioned again. There was also an apparent in the transparency of the accounts and good policies to handle finance.

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.
This seems to be a black and white case, as both side did not disagree on the policy Pastor Stephen implemented but only on how it was done and implemented. The plane issue was discussed and both side though seem to have differing opinion as to how and when the plane will be bought. Pastor using feedback or using stories without people's consent was another thing brought up but no responses were varied


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

We are all responsible

From all the comments I have read recently, there seems to be some slight elements of the Old Hope BKK approach and ideals. Here is some thoughts which may help all of us.

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

Biblediscuss post for Ps Stephen

For those who have asked me to post the english translation of the thai post by Ps Stephen. Unfortunately, there are only 55 post showing up in the forum even though 171 were posted by him.

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

Hope related videos

Here is some youtube of PN. He is preaching in Nigeria and Ps Nimit from the other Camp...

Friday, November 6, 2009

The role of a pastor

I have been reading the comments from my previous article about HIM pastor's going to Thailand and did not expect a topic generating from that article.

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 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

Bible Conference in Thailand

The bible conference attended by 2 HIM speakers for our HIM churches in Bangkok

The Core - คริสตจักรที่มีแก่นแท้ตามพระคัมภีร์

8.00 - 8.30 ลงทะเบียนเข้าอบรม
8.30 เริ่มอธิษฐานและเข้าสู่โปรแกรมการอบรม

ขอให้พี่น้องทุกท่านที่เข้าอบรม พยายามมาก่อนเวลา


"The Core-คริสตจักรที่มีแก่นแท้ตามพระคัมภีร์"

เรียนเชิญ พี่น้องคริสเตียนทุกท่าน

เข้าร่วมงานสัมมนาพระคัมภีร์ ในหัวข้อที่น่าสนใจและสำคัญมากๆสำหรับการดำเนินชีวิตคริสเตียน

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

Bangkok, The Core 2009, Oct 23
" คริสตจักรที่มีแก่นแท้ตามพระคัมภีร์ "


Dr. Brendan Kirby

อ.ดร.เบรนดอน เคอบี้
ดร.เบรนดอน เป็นนักวิทยาศาสตร์(ฟิสิกส์) สังกัด กระทรวงกลาโหมของรัฐบาลออสเตรเลียในปัจจุบัน
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.

Ps. Stephen Pitavanik

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 ท่านจบการศึกษาด้านศาสานศาสตร์และการรับใช้ระดับปริญญาตรีที่ Harvest West Bible College ณ เมืองเพิร์ธ ประเทศออสเตรเลีย และยังได้รับการอบรมหลักสูตรต่างๆทางพระคัมภีร์จากหลายสถาบันในเพิร์ธ เช่น Riverview Bible College, Western Australian Bible College และสมัยเป็นผู้เชื่อใหม่ในปี 1986 ได้เดินทางไปศึกษาพระคัมภีร์ที่รร.พระคริสต์ธรรม Tung Ling Bible College ประเทศสิงค์โปร์ หลังจากได้ศึกษาจบหลักสูตรเตรียมผู้รับใช้จากประเทศไทยในเวลานั้น ในด้านการรับใช้ อ.สตีเฟ่น มีประสบการณ์บุกเบิก และก่อตั้งคริสตจักรหลายแห่งในประเทศไทย และต่างประเทศ ในประเทศไทยเช่นบุกเบิกคริสตจักรในลำปาง สตูล หาดใหญ่ สุไหงโกลก เคยเป็นผู้นำดูแลกลุ่มคริสตจักรในเจ็ดจังหวัดภาคใต้ของประเทศไทย ปัจจุบันดำรงตำแหน่งเป็นศิษยาภิบาล (Senior Pastor) คริสตจักร Perth Christian Church, Australia ท่านเป็นผู้มีของประทานในการบุกเบิก วางรากฐานคริสตจักร และเทศนาเชิงอรรถาธิบาย โดยปรารถนาที่จะเห็นนิมิตรพระมหาบัญชาขององค์พระเยซูคริสต์สำเร็จในโลกในระยะเวลาอันใกล้นี้

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)

อาคาร ชุมนุมสหกรณ์เครดิตยูเนี่ยนแห่งประเทศไทย
สถานที่ : ตั้งอยู่ระหว่างซอยรามคำแหง 100 และ 102
สุขาภิบาล 3
(ห้องประชุมใหญ่ชั้น 3)

แผนที่ คริสตจักรแห่งพันธสัญญา กรุงเทพ

สอบถามข้อมูลเพิ่มเติม ได้ที่


A change is happening in Bangkok

Yes, I have been told that it seems one thing good that came out of this split with Hope Bangkok and the big issue in Bangkok is that, I think God is trying to relight the fire in Bangkok, where once there was only Hope Church dominating the Thailand scene, this split have helped created many neutral churches that i believe will only be Good for Thailand.

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.

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

An article - Church Horror Stories

Below is a recent article posted by one commentator

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

Almost 1 yr on to Hope Movement Split

It almost now 1yr to the time our Hope Movement was split because of Dr.Joseph and PN action in the Hope Movement. And from that time until there was a number of big changes.
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

New HIM website and Hope Bangkok

Yes, it is up and running.. the HIM website. I have placed a link. If you are interested its there.

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

The Great debate in BGR

After reading some of the comments, I do see that many people have experienced the downside of the Relationship system currently employed. I do agree with some of the views that black and white principles need to be taught eg.

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

BGR part 2

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

The BGR reviewed

I was really interested to read about our Hope BGR policies in the the comments section and thought I should share something on my perspective.

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

Purpose of the poll

From the many post and comments I was initially quite curious to see where the readers are from. So if you are posting a comments, it would also be good to see the demograph.

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

HIM Questions answered

As for those wondering about HIM, I believe Ps Simon is the president for HIM. At present from my understanding, the structure is pretty much the same, which means I believe there will be some inner core eldership which I believe is the directors for the different region.
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

The end purpose - Would HIM or Hope change ?

Just to answer a query, I suppose this blog was designed so that people will know what has happened to Hope and what PN and Dr Joseph did.

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

A relook at shepherding

Been thinking about this for awhile, but i think its important to redfine or re-look at our shepherding understanding. Personally i do believe having a mentoring program in Church is a good thing and one when done correctly can encourage the younger christians to grow.

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

Is Dr Kreingsak a Politician with a difference ???

I have been following some of the developments in the Thai Politics and our so-called founder of Hope of God. Though there are people still in awe of him and how he supposedly spell a new generation of good politicians in Thailand that can make a change.

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.


Clarification on HGI and HIM as well as PS PN and Hope

It does seem that many people are still confused about the affiliation of the different churches and movement that came about due to the split. This is because Hope used to have many minor websites and links which are still not updated, even some of the Hope Churches website still show affiliation to Hope Movement under HGI which is entirely not true. So here is the breakdown

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

Essentials of Church - Part 3

After reading some of the comments from brothers and sisters, I agree that some things do need to change. Hope was definitely work based by nature, it comes as no surprise because we take our model and the church character from our Founder - Dr Kreingsak and Ps. Joseph Srithawang, who advocates a work based model of spirituality. In fact work ethics is very much the basis of promotion in Hope of God church in Bangkok. But as we all can see, in the end they themselves got burned out and fell from God. This is a clear proof that this style of church growth never works. Some of the comments posted in previous Articles were great comments and indeed one reason Kriengsak had to stepped down because he offended many christians by the things he said and did.

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

Essential Church (Part 2)

Firstly i would like to thank the people for the comments. Yes I agree with some of the observations. It is true to say that in the previous Hope movement under PN and Dr. Kriengsak. There was only one role that is to become a church planter and go out to fulfill the 1 million churches by 2015 vision. When this whole thing blew up, i began to question the reasons for such a mind blowing goal whatever it was more for God or for PN and Dr.J's own personal ambition. But in my 17 years, i have seen enough friends leave Hope movement because they were burnt out or disappointed. The worst thing in the previous Hope movement, people stopped becoming friends but treat each other like colleagues. If you are serving in the team, then you get all the adoration and so-called friendships but if you are tired or down and out, you will be left at the side and suddenly you realise your so-called friends just have no time for you.

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

Essentials to church

After having read some comments for improvements in the future, I think it can all sum up in one word. Whatever we do, we must always remember human be it charismatic leaders to the humble followers are all imperfect creatures. Many times our intention starts out good but things gets distorted or changed along the way. Just like George Orwell's Animal farm, he poignantly portrayed the evil in power and the imperfection of any system and the need for accountability

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
9. Follow-up
10. Participation in special church level events
- Camp
- Church Anniversary
- Easter
- Christmas
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...

Improvements for HGI and HIM

Another comments for improvements....

Watcher said...

Hi Eagle Eye,

I also used to come from Hope Church. Now, like Orel and Anonymous, I am in another church. I am now in a presbyterian church. It is very different from Hope Church but it also have a good church vision and is biblicalas well.

Though as pointed out by Anonymous that you are not in the leadership of HIM, what you have done, such as posting this blog and paving the way for various opinions to be sounded, is a courageous thing to do; and most important of all, it challenges the notion which I believe is pervasive in the Hope Church I use to come from and possibly other Hope churches as well: Leaders knows best and members must consult their leaders such that whatever you say is in line with the "official stand" of the church. I am not against seeking counsel from Leaders, or that leaders are not to be trusted. We must trust leaders whom God has ordained to be our overseers. But when leaders sin and go against the Word of God in their lives and governorship, we who are members and other leaders alike must speak up the truth in love. In the Hope Church I used to come from, we usually understand "Better is open rebuke than hidden love" to mean that leaders must correct their sheeps when they stray. This notion is twisted to mean that in most conflicts, the sheeps are usually the immature ones and definitely in the wrong, and the leaders must correct them. But seldom, and I seriously mean seldom, have I heard that sheeps can also seek to speak the truth in love to their leaders when their leaders are in the wrong. Simply put, Eagle Eye, you have discarded the faulty notion of rank and status that I believe you have experienced in Hope, like I did in the past. That is why I believe you dared to speak up, because you know the truth and you want to speak the truth. I am encouraged by that. By your actions, you have refuted the false notion (which i encountered in my ex-Hope church) that only being leaders (which I specifically mean CLs, shepherds, UL, SDL, etc)can you make a difference as Christian and be most useful in the kingdom of God. You have effectively demonstrated that God can speak through any members, regardless of "rank and status", of the church. You have shown that we are all under equal footing in the church because of Christ. THere is no hierarchy, no greek nor jew, no slave nor free, nomale or female, but we are all baptised into one body by the Spirit. We are all sinners justified before God through Christ.


Watcher said...

Hi all,

Besides being encouraged by eagle_eye's initiative, I like to say that the various false notions I encountered in the Hope Church may not be true for all Hope Churches. But what i have stated as false notions bears similarities to what I have heard from other brothers as well. It is because of my doctrinal convictions (it was getting more Calvinistic and Reformed in theology), and what I have personally deem as doctrinally unsound teachings & practices in the Hope Church I came from, that finally compelled me to leave Hope for a more grounded church.

Some of these unsound teachings practices, I can only list them briefly in the following which I believe are fundamental issues that needs to be changed before reaal reform can happen in Hope churches:

1) The extremely tight shepherding system. This teaching, while having good intentions to guide believers in growth and fellowship, has actually place an additional human mediator between Christians and God when Christ is already the Mediator between christians and God. It is like the Roman Catholic system, in which you need a human priest to interced between the christians and God. THis system, including the shepherding system, seeks to destroy the sufficiency of Christ mediation and the Spirit's ability to guide believers. Yes, we need counsel from fellow believers, particularly mature ones, but it must not be to the extent that we cause believers to over-rely on man or treat our human shepherds as if they are the intercessors between us and God. In Hope, I always use to hear, "Have you sought your shepherd's or leaders advice?" I seldom hear,"Have you seek God about this matter? What does Scripture say about this issue.? I also seldom hear,"Have you asked other brothers and sisters about this issue?" Notice that by default, a system is created in which counsel through the officially assigned leaders and shepherds have trumped the supremacy of Scripture and wise counsel from other brothers and sisters. It is like the "Magisterium" of the catholic church, in which the church's interpretation and tradition is held to be more supreme that Scripture alone. To make my point clear, I once heard a leader teaching in a conference about the shepherding system, that if you do not feel forgiven because of sin, you may want to confess your sin to your shepherd to feel more forgiven. Yes, there is occasion to confess our sins to another, as stated in James 5. But the real life example I stated seem to suggest that human shepherds have power to forgive sins. Doesn't that deny the sufficiency of Christ sacrifice on the cross and also deny Christ's role as the only MEdiator between Christians and God? Yes, God ordains shepherds over us, and we must learn to obey and submit to them. We must have close fellowship, but artificially assiging human shepherds over christans (i.e. your own personal shepherd, follow-upper) that is not based on mutual trust, willingness and true friendship but compulsory enforcement due to church regulation, will most prob end up in disillusionment, hurt and damage. In fact, quite many christian leaders and evangelical scholars have spoken up against the unbiblical "shepherding system" (by which I mean a permanent artificially assigned human mentor to each christian as mediator between him and God. I do not mean the shepherding role of the elders and leaders in taking care of the flock). For a period of time this teaching flourished in Charismatic churches in the United States in the 1970s to 1980s known as the "Shepherding movement" but has died down since. The Reformers of the sixteenth century set Christians free from the unbiblical priest-as-mediators system. Let us not go back to that bondage again.

Watcher said...

Continued from earlier post:

2) The church should not be run like a corporation. The church is the body of Christ. But Hope was run like a corporation, in which Kriengsak acted like a CEO, albeit in a autocratic way. Members are told to put in maximum inputs for optimum outcomes, much like trying to gain profits. If you can't bring in the profits, you have to be left behind and possibly "sacked". Committment meant that you follow whole-heatedly the "company" line, and even if you are creative and speak the truth and do the truth in a right way, as long as it goes against the official "company" line, you have to be sidelined. From the what I experienced in Hope, your standing before God is based on how much work is done from you, how much you conform, basically how committed you are to "church ministry" Yes, we must be obedient to Christ and His Word and be zealous, but true committment should spring from a grateful heart in response to God's gracious work in justifying you in Christ for salvation. And this committment should be shown not only in church ministry, but also in our workplace, in our secular vocations, families,etc. Committment must not be done to make ourselves justified before God. That is why so many ppl in Hope got burned out: They are so burdened, thinking that God is only satisfied with us when we do the most work and be very committed in church. This mindset is no different from the infamous Judaizers who tried to hoodwink the galatian church to fulfill the Mosaic law to be justified before God. What's the end result? As pointed out by eagle eye, it is neglect in their jobs, family life, thinking that serving God means only church ministry. This mindset must be changed. As one brother wisely counselled to me, if I claim to want to serve God fully in Church ministry, yet neglect the care of my family (i.e. to serve them), I am a hypocrite.

3) Exclusivism. AS rightly pointed by eagle eye, we have witnessed the exclusive mindset that pervades hope churches. I have heard before in my ex-Hope Church that Hope teaches the whole bible while other churches teaches only parts of the truth. Sad to say, this is not true and it is such a prideful statement. It was the Reformers of the sixteenth century that declared that the WHOLE bible is the supreme authority in the church. Kriengsak might have been a towering intellect, a prolific writer and charismatic leader, but origen, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, were also towering intellects, prolific writers and charismatic leaders. The christian church did not start with Kriengsak, but was founded by Christ 2000 years ago and have lived on to this day. There have been many great movements in Church history, of which Hope is only one of them. Simply put, we must cast aside excluscivism and realise there is a rich diversity in the body of Christ. HIM can learn from and should interact with other churches. There are churches which have equally good vision, if not better vision than Hopes. If anyone from Hope says,"No. How could other Churchs have better vision or is better than Hope?" , this is precisely the exclusivism Hope must throw away.

Watcher said...

Continued from previous post:

4) Fight back the worship of personalities. In the Hope church I came from, many ppl have adored Kriengsak, PN, and human leaders in our church who have fantastic talents, charisma, high rank. We've often spoke about the miraclulous life of Kriengsak,the signs and wonders surrounding him and how it impacted the early growth of the church. We honoured Kreingsak and PN as if they were God. But yet we were blind to the numerous false practices which they incorporated. While in Hope, the Word of God has high authority, but Kriengsak's interpretation of the Word, his teachings, inclusive of teachings of our local church leaders was viewed as THE WORD OF GOD. Yes, we must listen to preachers, even though they may make mistakes in their interpretation, when they faithfully interpret Scripture. But when man's words is the supreme authority rather than Scriptur, disaster would follow. As I mentioned earlier, the Roman Catholic church "Magisterium" is one such example. Many ppl worshipped Kriengsak and PN. We adored our human leaders to the extent that we worshipped them as if they were Christ Himself. Our eyes were fixed on man, our leaders. Peter was wise when he prevented Cornelius from bowing to him, as they were both were humans. Paul and Barnabas protested when the greek crowds worshipped them as if they were greek gods. Only Christ deserve our worship!

The above are just my bried observation of what I experience in Hope and what i've heard from fellow brothers and sisters in Hope. hopefully, my comments could contribute in a small measure to future improvements in Hope.