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.