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

Conclusion

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.

211 comments:

1 – 200 of 211   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

I like the title of this blog...."We are all responsible". [Part 1/2]

Before I make my comments in response to previous comments, I would like to commend all brothers and sisters in Christ who stand up for what is true and what is right. After all, Paul did say, we as Christ followers ought to think of these things (Phil.4:8).

However, in the light of Christ's humility and love (and God's grace), I do hope that all of us will become mature and only live up to what we have already attained (Phil. 3:15-16). That means that all of us have opportunity to grow in maturity by the grace of God.

It does sadden my heart to see my brothers and sisters have such "strong discourse" to "pull leaders" down (I want to apologise to you if I use such strong words. It does appear to me that it is so.) without having thoughts of their labour of love and of their love for God. I like one of the previous comments that says ... yes, even leaders have moments of weakness. I would like to see a leader without weakness. I believe I could only see it in Jesus. He is my perfect leader.

We are all responsible...to remind ourselves to be united with Christ. If we do, we imitates His humility, and follows Him with our cross. I believe that all pastors mentioned in the previous comments are doing that very thing. They do their best (including ourselves) in carrying their cross and in following Jesus. We (including our pastors) are trying our best.

Your servant in Christ,
A Hope/HIM member from Hope Perth.

P/S: I am proud to be in Hope movement and now in HIM movement. I am also proud to be your fellow-workers in Christ.

Anonymous said...

I like the title of this blog...."We are all responsible". [Part 2/2]
I want to share my thoughts with you about a few things:
1.Is it wrong for our pastors to share their dreams with us?

Ps Stephen shared about his dreams many times. So did I.

2.If our leaders make mistake, is their mistake any bigger than our mistake?

Ps Stephen did make mistake. So did I - in fact, I think I see my mistakes more than I see Ps Stephen's.

3.If our church is not running effectively or efficiently, is it not our responsible to work as a team to see our church glorifies God?

Ps Stephen (and family) worked tiredlessly to see Hope Perth to be what it is today. We have a stronger foundation than before. I thank you, Ps Stephen.

4. Whether it is either Hope-styled, HIM-style or Hope Bangkok-styled etc, does it really matter? (Before you respond to this question, I do hope that you are familiar with Phil.15-18)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank a number of people for their contributions in my life:
1. Ps J for faithfully and obediently start this Hope movement.
2. Ps PN for inspiring hope and faith in me in doing God's work.
3. Ps Stephen for grooming me so that I can be a better person and a Christ-like disciple.

To be honest and truthful to you readers, you have every right and are entitled to share your thoughts and your experience.

Do I have some moments of disagreement with my pastors? Yes, I do. One thing I will try not to do is to let "unwholesome talk come out of" my mouth (Eph.4:29). I do want to challenge everyone who reads this blog - to be really careful with what we say of others (including pastors)! There are ways to "expose sins" or "shed the truth". Is this the forum? Honestly, if I am a young believer or a pre-believer and I read this blog, what will I think? I don't think I will be thinking that those pastors are right or wrong. I won't be thinking that the readers/writers are right or wrong. I will be thinking that will I be a part of a church - since I may not be able to trust my pastors or leaders.

Am I pious to make such comment? No, I believe that I am a sinner and still needs God to work in my life. For I only know that that I am responsible for my actions, thoughts and speech, I will NOT be a part of "enemies of the cross of Christ" (which Paul warns in Phil. 3:15-21).

I would like to share my last thought: when I claim that I do the right thing, I hope and pray that I do the right thing in the eyes of God and not of man AND not in the expense of others (Phil. 2:1-4). Especially for my pastors, I pray for them more because they are carrying the burden of God's church and need God's strength and protection.

Your servant in Christ,
A Hope/HIM member from Hope Perth.

P/S: I am proud to be in Hope movement and now in HIM movement. I am also proud to be your fellow-workers in Christ.

P/S: I have just spend 2 hours writing this blog. As I reflect, I should spend 2 hours praying for souls to be saved.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope Perth Member,

I read with interest your comments in regards to PN, Dr J and pastors you mentioned.

I think the point you forget is that these pastors ( Dr.J and PN had disqualified themselves by the act they perpetrated and their refusal to repent from their misdeed. So what did paul say ? Do we stand idly by while Pastors sin against the Lord.

Yes, Dr.J started the church, PN probably encouraged me when he preached previously in our camps. BUT, need i remind you

1. PN committed ADULTERY - Yes it is proven, If you don't believe ask Ps Simon or Ps PK or even Ps SUNI

2. Dr.J used funds meant for Church for his own political gain ( FINANCIAL MISAPPROPRIATION)

3. They got people to teach HERESY. Telling members its ok to worship idols. ( VIDEO of teaching available)

They question is I believe every members should work and support the leader IF LEADERS TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their error, then of course members should get behind the leader.

BUT if leaders sin and don't repent but like PN or DrJ split the church for their own gain, then I say hand them over to the devil and have nothign to do with them. this is exactly Like what paul said in the bible.

No leaders should be above God's law. Leader's too need to prove it with their life. In Hope we used to say, Prove your leadership by your life, then the title will follow.

Remember title is only a name given by man. If indeed the leader is worthy of the title, then i am sure people will automatically follow.

"Saul slayed his hundreds but David slayed his thousands" - Great people will always follow great leaders. If indeed the leaders are worthy, many will follow him.


HIM member

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment by Hope Perth Member about Ps Stephen.

This tactics was also used by Ps PN and Dr. J. When people brought out factual truth, they would side step the issues mentioned and use bible to cover the main concern voiced.

If my memory serves me right from all the comments did Ps Stephen did those things mentioned in all previous comments. I think a yes or no would suffice. Don't we all agree ?


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 ?

I think rather than hide behind the bible. It is good to just answer the factual questions at hand. I don't think this would be termed unwholesome. Its factual question needing only factual answers

PN and Dr.J used the same ploy. They never answered the charges by Rubina instead choose to split the church. Hope is where it is now all thanks to them.

White Knight

MLB said...

To Hope Perth Member:

I have a few questions for you.

1. Obviously no one is perfect. But then does that mean we should condone bad behaviour by our leaders & say that it's ok just because they are our leaders? Is that what you want to teach new believers? That it's alright to sin as long as you are a leader?

2. In your second post, you said that is the leaders mistake greater than ours? Of course not, that's why we bring it out in the open like everyone else. We don't hide what they did wrong just because they are leaders. In the books of Kings, the bad kings were exposed for their wrongdoings. Are they not leaders appointed by God as well? Why do you think He exposed them? So that future generations can learn from their mistake!

3. You are right in saying it doesn't matter what style the leader uses, as long as Christ is preached according to Phil 1:15-18. But then the key point being that CHRIST is preached, not their OWN agenda. If so, cults preach Christ too. But they twist it to their own beliefs. So are you then saying that it doesn't matter even if we join a cult movement? As long as Christ is preached?

VIC said...

Dear Hope Perth member,
it saddens my heart to see that the 3 people you have to thank in your life are either leaders who have fallen are area bout to fall due to the grievous nature of their sin relating to lust, power & greed of money. I pray that one day you'll actually meet leaders that have a strong character, honest and have integrity in their word & deed.

I'll be praying for you.

Anonymous said...

In Hope - Loyalty and total obedience is more highly valued than Holiness and integrity.

If pastor's can get away with sin and not repent. With masses of people following in total and blind obedience, then something is really wrong with the teaching.

Evidence is there in plain sight yet people in BBK are so blinded by loyalty they are prepared to forgo righteousness to support the leader.

I really hope wherever church we are in, we don't just accept things blindly



HIM Spore

Witness said...

I was in Hope Perth, serving with Pastor Stephen. This is what I witnessed, with no intention to overwrite any comments made earlier.

When I came to Hope Perth, it was a size of 20+, unlike the big church I came from. The flow of service was not very different from the church I came from, but the atmosphere was stale, and the people were not exactly excited or warm, other than the one who was busying running the service, who also later became my CL. I went home negotiating with God, "Are You sure You want me to be here?" He gave an assurance through my heart, so I stayed on. Since the decision was sealed, I attended every event invitation including their prayer meet, yet there was still heart struggles to really feel belong with the church. The comforting factors that kept me going were God told me so and a good CL.

Shortly with the church, I was told that someone from Hope Bangkok will take over the leadership of the church, his name is none other, Ps Stephen. When he came to Perth, he wasted no time to meet the people in the church to get on the role. He shared on what God showed him that moved him to come to Perth immediately, without his family, without attending his father's wake (his father passed away just before he boarded the plane to Perth). He poured his sprirt on the urgency and heartbeat of God to see Hope Perth moves beyond where it is. He also setup dinner, cooked for the people with a sumptous spread, and presented with explanation to them (yes, i was there) the new structure of the church, and seek volunteers to be part of it. Were the people supportive and responsive? It's hard to teach old dog new trick was the answer I saw from their response. I don't know how he felt then, I would have been discouraged, what I saw was he continue to encourage, encourage, and encourage the people to move with him with God to grow the church.

Months later, his family came, his wife, son and daughter. We know he loves his family without a doubt. Asked those who don't think much of him, I think they will agree with me too. Imagined how he felt when he was challenged by God to leave his family in Bangkok, and came to Perth by himself. While he finally reunited with his family, it was a test to his finance. He had to work part-time cooking fish and chips to support his family, and his children education. It was on top of his roles of being a bible college student (a means stay in perth), a pastor, a shepherd, a father, and a husband. I remembered I broke down once in front of him when I felt very stressful coping with my studies and church ministry, he still comfort me while studying for his exams. What does this tell you about him?

Witness said...

Things that he did that ppl started leaving? Disputes happened, even out of church. Exactly what happened only the parties involved know (and God), so I am not here to defend or judge who is right and who is wrong. Just like any big corporations, the new leader will definitely bring in changes. For the good or bad. I let you decide as I shared with you what he did. He did a courageous change, removed the worship team, except less than handful. He had to play keyboard as well as preaching almost every week as a result. So why? People in worship team were in BGR, some stayed with their girlfriend. Though not in the same room, still they are under one roof by themselves. What sort of message is being portrayed to the non-believers? After Ps Stephen removing worship team, he did not condemned them, he went to individual to teach and counsel, he even stayed with those couples to restore them, and those who repented joined back to the worship team, but inevitable people were still hurt by this decision in the process. Could it be better manage? I can only say I could not have done better. Then he removed the leadership team, exciting time, another courageous move! Why? No unity in the team, yes I agreed that because I saw that as well. When disagreement happened, it will usually lead into arguement instead of clarification, I mean the spirit part. One pastor in Hope used to say,"It is important to recognised that we can disagree, but not have disagreeing spirit." and 1 Cor 12:12 says it all on the importance of unity in the kingdom of God especially leadership team. It was a long and hard decision for Ps Stephen, as he had to take over everything. One more change I had to mention is finance of the church, which created so much topic here. This change was not easy, he even requested prayer from me. A pastor who made bold changes to make things right in God, wrote me an email to ask for a prayer. Was it a struggle? Knowing him, I think so. He did it anyway. Why? He wanted to plant 130 churches in WA, it was his vision that he spoke about many times. 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.

Witness said...

Recent controversies? One on not allowing the people in church to mix with member who left church. People who left for obvious reason not happy with church, yes mostly with Ps Stephen. Most people who left were in Hope Perth longer than him. As mentioned, he did many reforms, and changes are never quite well received by "old" people whether in church or secular world, if it challenged their comfort. Well I behaved the same way too, when my boss took away some of the things I like to do, and gave me new tasks that are cumbersome and painful. It is also natural for people, including myself, will air our grievances to people we are closed with. The question here is who would you choose? They chosen to air it with the people still with the church. What's wrong with that? I leave a verse to you, 1 Cor 8:1-13. The second one I am touching is again the finance portion on how he is highly paid, car, house, and plane. I guess in everyone's heart, a pastor should be poor? Why was King Solomon then so richly blessed by God? Can't the people in Hope Perth loved Ps Stephen so much that they wanted him to have a fat pocket? What is that to you? Is his house made of gold, have 10 rooms, 20 toilets? Is his car a porsche? Is his watch rolex? Or his shirt Armani? Did you see it? I saw, it was none above, but do you believe me? And did you wondered why he needed a plane? Did you know he is learning to fly? Before he took the course, he told me he wanted to reach out to northen side of WA such as Broome. He flew there for exploration trip a few times, and even bought me a calendar as souvenir. On our next meeting, he said he wanted to learn flying, as it would be more convenient and cheaper to rent a jet in future to bring his team there to evangelise. Bear in mind, for young chap to pick up flying is already not easy, he is a close to 50 years old man. The price of a private jet varies, 200K mentioned in the post is the top range, they are looking for an affordable price range of two new cars, that could pay off by installments like any other vehicle ownership. In one of the postings of the earlier article, the person learned about the plane through eldership meeting notes, this means Ps Stephen has accounted to the leaders about his plan. He did not buy it and then informed the leaders. What are you exactly upset with? because it's a plane and not bicycle? If bicycle can get to Broome as fast as a plane, I think Ps Stephen will have no hesitation to get few bicycles instead.

We all know a kingdom that is established on the wrong footing will not stand. Instead of using too much of our ears to hear who is right or who is wrong, use our eyes to see, let the size of the church (Hope Perth) speaks for Ps Stephen.

MLB said...

Only one comment to Witness.

'let the size of the church (Hope Perth) speaks for Ps Stephen.'

- Exactly. From what we know, it has been stagnant for a few years.

- So sad for you that you measure a pastor's 'success' based on numbers. Nowadays, most Christians measure 'success' based on character, integrity & obedience to God. Obviously, those factors are not that important to you.

But it's alright, you'll get it one day.

Witness said...

MLB, which successful leaders don't go through stagnation? If you are a leader, does you always received the same amount of return by the amount you sow?

Do you know that before Ps Stephen took over the church, how long the size of Hope Perth 20+ have been? And why no one asked why they need to import the leader from Bangkok? What was it like before Ps Stephen's time?

I am not saying Ps Stephen is perfect, he is not. Are you? If character is not important to me, I would not want to be a Christian. Perhaps I missed out your posts, but on what basis, are are stoning this leader? Hearsay or he has sinned against you?

MLB said...

Witness.

First of all. YOU were the one who said the size of the church speak for itself. I didn't. So taking YOUR word in, I'm saying that SINCE it has been stagnant for a few years, YOU are basically implying the negative & not the positive. Not ME.

Secondly, it still feels as if though you're saying that as long as you're a leader/pastor, it doesn't matter if you do something wrong. And it's true it doesn't matter, like you say no one is perfect, but it's ADMITTING your mistakes & REPENTING that is the key issue here.

Thirdly, since when have any of us ever said that a pastor needs to be perfect? That is not even a point that needs to be brought up. However, you seem to keep using that as a PERFECT excuse for Pastor Stephen. If that's the case, why don't everyone just keep making mistakes over & over again & say 'Oh, I'm not perfect." If I am a president of a country, can I just excuse all my wrongdoings with a simple, "oh, i'm not perfect?" If someone is appointed as a leader, don't you think he has a higher responsibility than others? The fact you are a leader means that you are meant to be an example to others. So are you saying that the example here is to just keep excusing yourself as being imperfect?

PotongMadu said...

"Like sands in an hour glass, these are the days of our lives."

Witness, I’m sure you know reality is not always as things seem. More so if you have only heard one person’s (the pastor’s) take of events and if every other person cannot contribute their perspective to the discussion.

For every positive outcome, there are reasons. And for every negative outcome there are also reasons.

Do you personally know what the real reasons are? Or are you only faithfully repeating what you have been told?

PotongMadu

Anonymous said...

Hi

Just want to correct a misquoted number.

Having been in the international for a long time. And visiting many churches in Hope.

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.

If my memory serves me right the last time i visited way back before Ps Stephen. The number was about 40++ and the previous leader i spoke to have told me that it is as high as 60 at one period.

I don't want people to think the other leaders did not do a good job thats all.

If there is any doubts just check the minutes I am sure someone in HIM will have the actual numbers.



Just a friendly HIM friend

Witness said...

MLB, I wanted to say sorry to you, I also think my last reply to you is inappropriate, truely like you said contradict myself! Haha... :)

But the long reply, it was an account I put together as factual as possible.

My stand remain letting the size of the church speaks for Ps Stephen. Stagnant for a few years? I have no facts to that. If Ps Stephen is really, like you said, a leader in question, the church will not only remain stagnant but more people will leave.

If I am allow to ask you one question, did you ever thought about this, what will Jesus do if He were you?

Anonymous said...

I am unacquainted with both Hope Perth and Ps Stephen, but would like to say that I admire people who acknowledge their leaders' faults while making a deliberate decision to continue following them based on those same leaders' life example and their adherence to biblical teaching. This is not blind obedience, this is biblical submission.

No human leader is perfect, and even no leader in the Bible was perfect except Jesus. You can always find reasons to criticize your leaders. But the Bible does hold up as exemplary the examples of those who honor God by following their leaders based on the two criteria listed before: their life example and biblical teaching.

For those who insist on criticizing instead of building up concerning questionable issues (such as buying a plane for ministry), I am quite comfortable in saying they do indeed have a "bad spirit," even though that term has been much malaigned on this blog. Yes, there is such a thing as a "bad spirit." Aaron and Miriam had it. Korah had it. Noah's son Ham had it.

Anonymous said...

When my pastor left our church and a new pastor had to takeover. I ask myself what is going on.

I think it is important to point out that whatever the pastor is at fault, it is not important how the pastor start the journey but how they take their journey of faith and how they finish.

PN had great story of sacrifice but he disqualified himself when he refuse to repent. I feel sad when i first heard about it but I think it is important we cannot follow leader blindly.


As for this Pastor Stephen, maybe
for those who have never read the eldership meeting note available in the biblediscuss and in this blog.

The plane issue was brought up by the elders themselves, before the Hope movement split. I think some people are trying to ask this same question as I am when PN split the church

How can we preach obedience when we ourselves are not obedient to our leaders.

So the question is if the elders are not agreeable yet Ps Stephen choose to go against the leaders is that considered disobedience or vision ?

Whatever was discussed in the comments are issues that are of great significance, they are issues that previously destroyed the Hope Movement.

1. Financial issue - a problem that has plague the Old Hope Movement

2. Integrity issue - practicing what we preach. Obedience to our leaders.

I don't really know why so many people are so unhappy in the church. But it is something that should be investigated.

Of course, i notice we can get over zealous in our argument. But, we should all consider both sides of view and actually look at the case, point by point and fact by fact.

If there is merit to the case, then i hope something can be done. Maybe the pastor will change. I don't know.

Genesis

Anonymous said...

I am writing in response to one of the comments. I believe it is true that we cannot short change Pastor. Pastor should be paid accordingly and not short changed.

I think previous, in Hope Movement. Pastor's salary and benefits have always been a closely guarded secret.

Since the money came from member who tithes to the Church. Then i think it is important the church should be more transparent. Regardless if we are in PN church, Rubina Church or HIM.

The biggest fault in Hope is we have keep such finance benefits a secret. The bigger the church the important it is for transparency.

I know in certain Church organisation, the pastor salary is part of the Church policy and as well as his benefits.

Pastors should always be treated well but never at the expense of the whole church.

Is the pastor accountable and is there transparency ?

Eg. Does the pastor get housing paid for, Does the pastor get to use a car and all expenses paid. What is the pay structure and how is this measured. What can be reimbursed and what cannot ?

Remember we need to consider the net take home pay not the gross, plus all the benefits.

Many pastors fell because of Financial fraud in the past, we need to make sure this is avoided at all cost.

May God be our strength.

Amen

George Smiley said...

The depth of feeling that has been expressed does suggest there are quite a few frustrated souls in need of the right forum to vent.
The world wide web may not be it.

It is also true that personal attacks on this blog are hard to justify on scriptural or moral grounds.

It does seem a pity unresolved issues appear to have given rise to such wells of resentment.

The proper application of Christian principles may require accountability, communication, forgiveness, repentance, the oft forgotten restitution and quite a few other things.

George

Hairy Potter said...

George point make sense. Personal attacks hard to justify with scripture.

But please, I have question. Why ok to attack DJ and PN again and again in past but now not ok to attack Ps Stephen?

Maybe DJ and PN big sinners and maybe Ps Stephen only little sinner but surely Christian best if we don't attack at all yes?

Hairy

Witness said...

PotongMadu, the long reply have words like "I see" and "I saw" that shown my involvement. It was an account like the words what I witnessed.

What are things I heard and not see I mentioned in the long reply? points on controversies.

Good salary package and welfare, I have not heard or seen his pay cheque. I can only tell u what I see, which I have wrote in my reply. Why not you pay him a visit to see for yourself? I think he will welcome your visit. :) Though I wonder what's wrong for a pastor to be well-provided by the church? The civil servants are also well paid, the money also came from tax payers like us.

Buying a plane, I did not deny he is looking into getting a plane with a price range of two new cars. Some suggested his leaders objected, I do not have facts about this. If you need to address your doubt, the person who could give you the answer is Ps Wilson of Hope Brisbane, he is the overall leader of Hope Australia. You should be able to find his email through the website of Hope Brisbane.

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?

Stay cool in the sun.

The Bonz

Anonymous said...

Wow areoplane ! never thought Hope church was so rich to own a plane.

If this Ps Stephen really thought planes cost that cheap then he must be sorely mistaken.

If indeed it is that CHEAP. Wouldn't my Pastor have thought to have that too...

I think i can safely say our church is bigger than Hope Perth but if my pastor did not even consider buying a plane an option wouldn't that tell us all its not even a reasonable option ?

Even HILLSONGS with its 30000 plus member did not own a plane. Would that tell us something

I think Ps Stephen forgot to factor in the Hangar Cost, Maintenance cost, fuel. Insurance etc....

Maybe he has a lot of treasures in heaven.. but i do not think you can spend it here on earth though. Maybe there is a heavenly visa I do not know about.

I seriously think no Pastor in their right mind would even consider burdening the church with such an extravagrant cost.

PotongMadu said...

Thank you for answering my questions Witness.

So we should divide the information you have supplied into two categories.

The first category is for things you saw or heard. We should then consider your account of these things and filter your subjective opinions from the narrative.

The second category is for all controversial matters which you heard about but did not personally witness.

If I were to visit Pastor Stephen, won’t he simply repeat his version of events which you have diligently shared with us? Perhaps the whole story will not begin to emerge until every witness has the chance to contribute to the story?

Thank you for suggesting that I contact Pastor Wilson. I may seem a good suggestion but I think you know he was not in Perth to observe events for himself and is not a witness like you are.

Anonymous said...

After a case like PN and Dr Joseph embezzling Church money for their own use.

It is important that HIM churches should consider more transparency in dealing with Church money.

In fact, Church money shouldn't be hush hush, because this money were given by us the members so I think it is only fair that the Pastor's and those involve be more accountable with the money.

How do we know the Pastor's are not using the money for their own benefit ?

PN and Dr Joseph treat the Hope Money as if it belongs to them to do what they please. This type of behaviour is unacceptable.

I don't know how PN and Dr J teach on this matter but we should not learn from them and their method of handling money.

I don't know how much each pastor is paid but maybe they should make this an aspect of church finance.

How come my pastor is not given a car but Hope Perth pastor get a car ? Is it fair that some pastors seem to get more for themselves but other pastors dont ?

I believe as a movement all Pastors should be treated equally.

ST

Witness said...

Dear PotongMadu,

For things I heard, I could only provided you an avenue for you to verify. I asked you to visit Ps Stephen, it is for you to see for yourself if he is really living high and above standard than the rest of the pastor to address this point alone. If that does not satisfy you, you get the truth from his leader, Ps Wilson, who would have the figures to his pay cheque, unless you are suggesting that Ps Wilson does not know. If that is the case, you could also write to him to check the books to verify if Ps Stephen is drawing an amount that was not approved by him. If you are also suggesting books can be authored, bank transactions will not run, or you could even recommend to Ps Wilson to engage an auditor to audit the account of the church. As for plane, I suggested you to ask Ps Wilson if you need to clear the doubt on the part where ppl claimed he is buying plane despite objection from his leaders. The most accurate way to have your answer, if you are keen to know, is to write to his leader, Ps Wilson.

This is for everyone:
All of you could keep suggesting and questioning in the forum until the second coming of Jesus. Is this good use of time? Does this give glory to God? If you have doubt, go to the exact source to find out, if it does not satisfy you. Go to the higher leader of the church, if the higher leader could not give you a satisfy answer, go higher again. As you do, do not only present problems, present solutions as well, otherwise your motive is questionable. If all else fail, you know and you know God will not fail. God left Saul, and appointed David, Saul went after David in more than one occasion, but David did not kill Saul even he had his chances, and even repented when he cut a corner of Saul's cloak, for he recognized he is afterall God's anointed. 1 Sam 24:1-7 What is God telling us? It is for God to take His leader down. What then are we left to do if the leader in question is really questionable? We pray to God for wisdom and understanding, and pray for the leader.

This will be my last reply.

PotongMadu said...

Witness.

Have I attacked anyone in this blog? What accusations have I made? Am I taking anyone down? Have I asked anything about aeroplanes? Have I criticised Pastor Stephen or anyone from Hope Perth? Have I agreed with anyone who has levelled criticisim?

I have done nothing more than ask you the eye witness a number of questions.

Others have asked questions too but it is unclear why my questions caused you to become so defensive.

It is your every right to choose between replying and not replying.

Take care wherever you are and Cya! It has been nice blogging with you.

Anonymous said...

To PotongMadu. I think it is just a defensive stand that witness is taking. Or maybe there is no answer to your question, so it'll be easier to attack you instead?

The comments that witness have been putting sounds very scripted. And I do notice that witness is just trying to avoid facing the truths at all.

Anonymous said...

To King Bonza, maybe the car was bought with his own money since he is so well paid as commented by previous bloggers?

I was in Hope just before Pastor Stephen took over the previous leader & the atmosphere was definitely not stale (as describe by witness). And they most certainly had a lot more than 20+ members. Unless witness was there when the church first started & was not there just before pastor stephen took over. I can personally testify that before Stephen came, they had about 40+ people. If witness can exaggerate the low numbers of people there, what is to say he/she did not exaggerate all other accounts apparently 'witnessed'?

Anonymous said...

I think the car was bought with Church money, because it was suppose to be a mission car.

I think he has 2 car, one Honda and another toyota. The Honda i think is like a Pastor's car and the other is suppose to be for Mission work

So far when I ask a friend, there have never been any finance report provided recently or on a regular basis.

But they did mention that - There were fund raising in chruch - A church building fund, An Emergency fund - supposedly for Church workers. But alot of church finance have never been revealed on a regular basis.

Practical said...

In response to Witness's last comment, that we should to post solution & not just problem.

Some people did post solution in previous comments. Be more accountable & show financial accounts. To have integrity & practice what we preach. Also, one solution is to change pastor, because he is not indispensable.

Do you need more solutions? Why not try the above first?

Essence said...

When they have nothing else to defend themselves, it will naturally go quiet.

I do hope & pray that PS Stephen will repent from all these rubbish & not fall into the same trap that PN & DJ fell into.

If he is as honorable & 'sacrificial' as Witness claims, then he should be apologisinz, admitting his wrongs & changing his ways.

If he does humble himself & repent, then I think we should also stop criticising him. I don't know him personally, but if he & Hope perth are now under HIM, then he should understand the grave consequences of what PN did.

I'm sure that if he can see the wrong doings of PN, he will be able to see his own weaknesses. I only hope that humility is his strength.

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Hi all,

I am a Hope Perth member since before Pastor's time. Frankly I am quite shocked at the comments being levelled at Pastor Stephen. Having followed this blog, there are certainly many questions targeted at Pastor Stephen, made by those who have left our church for a long time or also those that have not even step foot in our church. Witness, whom I also know, has tried not to defend but to state things as Witness sees it.

But in terms of the latest comments about the finance, Pastor has been very open about the finances, having witness more than once, the reports being presented. Just the year passed, a member-invitation only AGM was held and the finances were presented. One of the reasons that reports are not presented more regularly is due to the shortage of staff. After all, our members are not full-time in the church. Transparency is certainly not an issue since it is reported as well to Hope Brisbane.

I do recall one of the meetings where Pastor stood in front of the members and declared that he and his family are a financial burden to the church. If anybody agrees to send him home, he would do it straight away. And the answer all the member gave was "No, we support you Pastor." I remembered it till this very day. I am amazed at the openness and humble attitude. How can we send back to Thailand such a loving family who has been such a blessing to our church. I and many other members personally have been blessed and a dollar amount cannot be put to all those blessings.

As for the church building fund, it is of course to raise money for our new church hall as we are currently feeling the squeeze in our current hall.

The emergency fund is NOT for church workers. The purpose of the fund is for any members of the church who have fallen into financial situation due to life-threatening illnesses, or any dire situation. This is of course, pending approval of the board. This was initiated because our Pastor's wife recently was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer, which by the grace of God is now fully healed. But due to the cost of the hospital bills, this fund was setup to assist Pastor's wife with the bills. All the details of how the funds are administered are also publicised in the Sunday Service. There is no compulsion to give and all contributors gladly helped. Please in the future , seek the FULL information before making such statements that is simply not the whole truth.

Clear I can see that many ex-members are still feeling quite disappointed by how my Pastor is running church, even after so many years leaving. Do you have such feelings of anger and bitterness after all these years that it would cause you to vent it in such a public forum, stirring up readers of these blogs? I urge you, out of concern, to seek God and ask for release of these bitterness because it is only hurting yourself. Don't let this rob you of the joy that Jesus has died for. Experience the freedom that was freely given to us. Don't go back and lock yourself in the prison of bitterness.

Pastor and his family have been such a blessing to members including myself. I thank God everyday for bringing his family to Perth. I have received much encouragement from Pastor and family. He has offered me much love and guidance, even though I have made many mistakes. He is my dear friend and mentor. So when all comments are made about him, I am of course stirred up in my heart to write this blog. These comments, especially comments made that are not the full truth or mistruths, are hurtful to me and certainly many brothers and sisters who may read this blog. I urge you all to sit back and reflect upon what has been said and seek the Lord in these matters before writing any more. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Dear Hopeperthmember forever

"The emergency fund is NOT for church workers. The purpose of the fund is for any members of the church who have fallen into financial situation due to life-threatening illnesses, or any dire situation."

I do think this is a misquote on your part. Previously it was mentioned as only for Church worker's and not for members. If you actually read the memo send to us the members,, regarding the Emergency FUND, MEMBERS were not allowed to access. If you want i can grab a sheet or the email that was send out regrading the use of the fund.

Please do check the requirement that was send out before commenting.

Thanks

HopePerthMemberForever said...

My apologies. I did read said document and yes it is for church workers and Pastors only.

Anonymous said...

Just want to make a comment to help witness and Hopeperthmember forever. Actually no one is being bitter or angry. I think many people are just voicing some issues they observe.

Give you a food for thought :the people who left church, do the pastor himself badmouth those who left, coming up with stories without giving those who left a chance to defend themselves ?? Think the mission car issue, finance, some supposedly " bad spirit" people and how they always cause problem and getting members to disassociate from those who left.

He smiles and wish them well when they leave yet, gossip about them. So is that becoming of a Pastor ?

Haven't the bible say that if you want to accuse someone of something - Like bad spirit or they are not obedient. Shouldn't the accused be allowed to speak and give their side of the story ?? MAYBE THERE IS A REASON ? If the pastor is good, would people do that ??

So i think people are demanding a fair go. Nobody likes to be stepped on without giving a chance to speak up. So maybe they are doing so in the forum out in the public and let the public decide.

Maybe Witness and the Hopeperthmember forever have not experience the "smile"

Remember don't talk about God's standard or the bible if the pastor himself is not prepared to do likewise. So don't preach double standard.

Give you another example :

The pastor preach obedience yet the eldership meeting notes that was put on the blog mentioned about the plane issue. But yet pastor was insistent on flying and buying a plane ( something you guys did not deny). Apparently the top leaders were CONCERNED enough to raise in their meeting. So, what does that tell me about his standard ?

I must admit that Hope perth did increase in number and he tried his best. But maybe HE just wasn't ready for a role that demands such scrutiny.

The public and people expects a higher standard of morality, integrity and character from a person in the "public office".

If his life is worthy of such appointment, I am sure no one will say what we say here. You and Witness then won't have to defend him, because his life will speak for himself.

If indeed the people in the forum are wrong then we are only "pouring hot coal on our forehead"

I think the issues that were raised were simple things being presented

1. Finance
2. Clarification on certain issues in church
3. The way he conduct the church - getting people disassociate from those who left, even to the extent of not inviting them for wedding.( just one example).

There are certain issues or lines regardless a Pastor must never cross and I think for more case than one he crossed that line.

Anyway, I think people are just not willing to only let pastor tell his side of the story without proper accountability from those who are affected.

So i say let the public decide. Maybe seriously this openness will help him become a better pastor and live up to a standard becoming of a Man of God.

May God be our strength

XXX

HopePerthMemberForever said...

I did notice that some of the info posted on this blog contains information (Emergency Fund, financial information, meeting minutes) are quite specific to Hope Perth members and could only have been received by Hope Perth members.

This is a message to ALL Perth members. Please if you have any issue with anything about our Church, its finances, its policies etc why don't you speak to your Pastor yourself? Posting information that questions our processes only discredit your Pastor and your Church.

Anonymous said...

Hopeperthmember forever,

We prob were Hope perth member before, and like you said, there was some issues that why we are now Ex Hope perth member.

But we still got friends in Hope Perth. Remember its easy to get information. Its not like you are running a cult.

But... if there are indeed any Hope Perth Member in the forum. I can only say Good luck to you

Anonymous said...

Just visiting this blog and interesting topic been discussing here. Out of my curiosity.. why you decided to left the church Anonymous?

Outsider

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who posted on November 18, 2009 7:35 AM,

I hope you are not getting your friends on Hope Perth who gave you info in trouble. They may be banned from ever contacting you again. :P

Practical said...

It is so funny how HopePerthMemberForever can't even get his/her facts straight! Again, like Witness, if they keep exagerating facts like that, they will lose their credibility.

Witness says that there were only 20+ members before Pastor Stephen came, & there have been testimonies that there were at least 40+.

HopePerthMemberForever says "the emergency fund is NOT for church workers. The purpose of the fund is for any members of the church who have fallen into financial situation due to life-threatening illnesses, or any dire situation. This is of course, pending approval of the board. ...... Please in the future , seek the FULL information before making such statements that is simply not the whole truth."

And guess what? The FULL information was revealed, and HopePerthMemberForever was wrong, just like Witness. So how credible then is anything else they are saying? They can't even get their facts straight, and is accusing OTHERS of not getting their facts straight.

So it looks like they are the ones discrediting themselves here.

For all you know, everyhing else could be false information as well... Who is to say that it is not?

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone,

I was in Hope Perth for approximately 9.5 years between Jan 1996 and 2005. Before then I was in Hope Canberra between 1991 and 1995. My family and I left Hope Perth in 2005 shortly after the church bought its first mission car. This was the dark purple Kia Carnival mentioned earlier.

My family left the church with the blessings of Pastors Stephen and Wilson. Both pastors knew of our desire to serve with people and organisations in the body of Christ that are active in Australian politics. Shortly before we left, Pastor Stephen kindly organised a nice function for the church to farewell my family. He also generously presented us with gifts bought with his finances.

For the last 4-5 years of my stay in Hope Perth I was responsible for all aspects of the church’s income and expenditure. In this area of responsibility I served under Pastor Stephen and also under his predecessor. So I think I must be the person in charge of finance whom Witness referred to.

As finance seems to be the topic of the month, I thought I would try to contribute in a positive way and present some facts to dampen unnecessary speculation. Due to time limitations, I will contribute in instalments over several days.

When I have completed all the instalments, I will, to honour your desire for information, try my best to answer any questions you have. Please understand I can only answer questions on matters within my personal knowledge. Also, I cannot answer any questions where my answer would disclose information contrary to scriptural principles or disclose confidential information either about the workings of HGI/HIM or the personal life of any person.

My objective in contributing is to present an accurate and unemotional factual account of all matters within my personal knowledge without taking sides. Trying to write objectively without taking sides or causing anyone offence is tricky so please extend me a little grace if my words come across wrongly. I do accept of course that any factual errors in my contributions will be my responsibility and mine alone.

Finally, can I also state upfront it is my hope that my contributions will allow understanding to prevail and, if it is at all possible, to facilitate good will, reconciliation and the restoration of relationships.

Catch up with you soon.

YLC

600ml said...

There seems to be another discrepancy in HopePerthMemberForever's comments. From what I gather, it does seems that a good no. of members were either not invited to the agm held by Hope Perth nor did they even know that there was one at all. Was there even a general church announcement about it? So my guess is it is not a members only invitation but a special selected group of people, see same problem its always Half-truth.

Anonymous said...

Thank YLC,

Would like to know some facts as many things were being said about Mission Car and Finance.

But it was always one-sided. Many dont really know what is the story including myself. And have assumed that People were against the Pastor and he has always mentioned he used to get very little money and stuff and he dont have money for his family, that he wasn't treated well before he took over completely and was stopped from serving God.

It is good to hear of course 2 sides so we can understand...

Thanks


xxx

VIC said...

Hope Perth is notorious for half-truths. All the previous comments proved that as well. From what I know, isn't half-truth the same as lying? So where is the integrity then?

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to see what YLC has to say!

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Wow... I must say wow. I make one honest mistake and I am branded a liar. Same for Witness. If anything I say is half-truth, I will consider myself a liar. But I will stand by my comments (apart from the mistake which I admitted to). I know them to be the full truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as Jesus as my witness.

Witness and I have tried to try to offer different points of view in the matters presented here in order to present the other side of the events. After all, the public in this forum deserve the right to know all sides of the story. Yet whatever we have said have been branded as half-truths. Is this fair? Is this just? Is this really constructive?

Where is the love in all this? I point you towards the words of Paul in 1Corinthians 13:1-7:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.


I love you all who contributed to this blog. I sincerely do. I bear no misgivings about what you have said. Hope you forgive me for causing you to be so stirred up. I hope one day, you will receive the satisfactory clarification you so sorely seek. I tried but yet it is still not enough for you. I hope one day the truth will set you free so you don't have spend any more time writing in this blog, hoping someone, somewhere, somehow will say the things that are pleasing to you. In love. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,

Instalment 1 follows. It’s basic stuff on the checks and balances that were in place to prevent unauthorised expenditure of Hope Perth’s funds. I think the detail is necessary to help you understand the protocol and procedures that had to be followed to spend the church’s money and trust you won’t find it too boring.

All church expenditure was by cheque. I had the care and custody of the chequebook and wrote out each cheque by hand. At all times there were 3 persons authorised to sign cheques. I was one of the three authorised persons. As a precaution Pastor Stephen and his predecessor were not authorised signatories. Each cheque had to be signed by at least 2 people. On significant transactions I sometimes arranged for all 3 persons to sign to show that all signatories were in agreement. Cheques were usually issued on Sunday afternoons during church leaders’ meetings when the signatories were in the same room.

I adopted a fairly flexible approach when good hearted people helped to buy weekly essentials for the church (such as photocopying paper, food and drink and decorations to give a few examples) and items required for special church functions. The reality was we were a smallish church and we could not afford to be burdened with bureaucracy. If anyone came upon essential items required for the church at bargain basement prices I was very happy for them to buy on behalf of the church up to a reasonable amount and provide the receipts later to arrange for reimbursement.

If a signatory incurred expenses on behalf of the church, a cheque would be made out to reimburse him or her for expenses legitimately incurred. The other 2 signatories would have to sign the cheque. Each reimbursement cheque was substantiated by a written summary containing a detailed calculation to reconcile against the amount of the cheque. Original receipts were stapled to the written summary to make any audit process straightforward.

Original bank statements were mailed to me quarterly. I gave the other authorised signatories a photocopy of each statement for their records. This also allowed them to check on and verify the church’s expenditure from time to time.

The church was not issued with an ATM card and could not withdraw money from its bank account using the internet. No over the counter withdrawals were made or attempted. To attempt an over the counter withdrawal, 2 of the 3 authorised signatories had to be present.

The church did not operate a petty cash system. In my view petty cash systems usually cause endless reconciliation problems and it was an added administrative burden we were keen to avoid.

Thank you for reading and staying awake to this point! I hope I have been able to show you that Pastor Stephen could not have spent the church’s funds without discussing with me and at least one other signatory.

To be fair to Pastor Stephen, it is my recollection that he did not command or direct us to issue cheques as he pleased.

I’ll come back with more soon.

YLC

Anonymous said...

That's great to know YLC!

I wish that the procedures are exactly the same now. If there are, there shouldn't be all the above comments on the finances.

Anonymous said...

Yes i think so too, it would be good to have such system in place.

i think I still remember way back when Ps Stephen mentioned he was going to take over the finance during one of the Sunday sermon. Maybe that was the problem.

Anonymous said...

Hello again,

Instalment 2 follows. It’s part (a) on pastor’s salaries.

As a Christian I believe the vocation of pastor is of the utmost importance. In plain English it is the lives of people whom the Lord loves that are at stake. For this reason, let us put to bed the myth that pastors should be poorly remunerated and have to struggle constantly to make ends meet.

At the other end of the spectrum it also true that pastors should not be afflicted by the love of money which is the root of all evil and live excessive and extravagant lifestyles.

In regards to pastor’s salaries, it is vital that independent processes and a system of checks and balances be in place to protect the integrity of the pastor. The world as it is has a field day when a pastor is accused of financial impropriety. It is not sufficient for a pastor to “do the right thing”. A pastor must also be seen to be “doing the right thing”. What may seem like a restraint around the pastor’s neck will in fact prolong his or her ministry. In quite a few of the churches I have attended, the church’s board determines the pastor’s salary. It is for the pastor’s own sake and good. On the other hand I have never seen a pastor’s salary on display for public scrutiny. The closest thing I have seen is a power point presentation on financial details at a church’s AGM and that presentation did not include details of the salaries of the various pastors.

Another important issue is one of balance and avoiding the extremes. In the years leading up to my departure from Hope Perth it was my responsibility to determine the remuneration the church would pay Pastor Stephen and, before him, his predecessor. This was not an easy responsibility to discharge. HGI did not issue guidelines on this aspect but that did not trouble me initially since it was obvious then that the remuneration packages I was creating were heavily constrained by the finances available and anything but excessive. I was extremely unwilling to run a deficit and send the church finances into the red in any financial year and accept that different people may agree or disagree on where I decided to draw the line. All errors of judgment made in discharging my responsibilities are mine alone.

In my early days at Hope Perth, the position was clearer cut. The pastor was a tent maker and did not receive a salary. Back then the church was able to tithe 20% of its income to HGI, put aside another 20% towards its building fund and have enough to comfortably fund its activities.

I wish to honour Pastor Stephen’s predecessor. Trying to pay her fairly was like sourcing finance during the worst of the credit crunch! We covered her accommodation costs for a room in a group house, paid her electricity, gas and water expenses and paid some allowances towards food, petrol and a honorarium for church work. She also had the use of a fully maintained 10+-year-old Suzuki car. A pastor in Perth needs a car to minister effectively. The public transport network is not the best. It would have been nice to remunerate her more generously without sending the church finances into the red and it was embarrassing to hand over pitifully small cheques. To her credit she never complained and continued to conscientiously care for the church. Great rewards await her in heaven!

Have a good weekend. I will certainly enjoy mine and resume my contributions next week.

YLC

Anonymous said...

I have read through many entries of comments made by various people here and being my first time here and neutral about this matter. Can someone please summarise what are the charges that are being laid towards Ps Stephen?

After so many comments have been made here, I fail to clearly see what exactly is the crux of the issue with Ps Stephen?

Is it because people are unhappy with his style and personality? Is it because in the past Ps Stephen may have said something by mistake and feelings were inadvertently hurt? Is it because of some past disagreements? Is it because he is a product of Hope Bangkok?

Or

Is there something more serious about to happen in Hope Perth making it another big scandal like Hope Bangkok? Are there any integrity issues with Ps Stephen? Are there any grievous sin being committed by Ps Stephen that he has not repented on? Basically speaking, what is Ps Stephen's actions that was done that some members of this discussion feels he should be disqualified as a Pastor for Hope Perth?

Could someone please lay these down preferably in point form? Thanks a million...

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Let me attempt the to detail the charges:

Firstly, having an honourable wife & children. (People could feel jealous of him- as per 1Tim 3:5 But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God?) – We can know the tree by its fruit like Jesus said (Matt 7:17 In the same way, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.) It’s not that easy to raise up a Godly family.

Secondly, having done a REFORMATION with HOPE PERTH (around 6 years ago) causing Hope Perth to grow from 20-60 up and down (during 1992 to 2003 before Ps. Stephen arrived) to have upwards of 100-200 with some centres established around Perth and one in the country. The actions took were:
- He had to step down many people from worship team who co-habited (causing grief, anger & bitterness for many people including myself who got very angry with him at that time)
- He had to dissolve the whole leadership team and rebuilt it.
- He had to change the finance system and transfer to another person but never take over or control by himself.
- He had to try to stop the negative influences from people who left at that time by requesting the LEADERSHIP team members not to invite people who left in a negative manner to come to any event they conduct (including wedding) for a period of time of which he had already called this policy off since he thought it should be fine now (which in fact it is not!!)

Thirdly, he learned how to fly for the purpose of evangelism since Western Australia is 1/3 of the country large in area, he even declares his dream about ‘One day, if we have many churches in WA, we should buy a plane to shorten the time of travelling and we can plant more churches and work more effectively!) Although he never intended to buy it now but people still say he wants it. However, he had stopped this project for a while as per the request of HIM leaders although they were not the top leader at the time before Hope Bangkok Crisis.

Fourthly, he received a Package of Salary and Remuneration as per the Immigration Law Standard which is higher than most people. This is to meet visa requirements. Otherwise there will be no visa. (This happened just 2 years ago, before that he received a bare minimum)

Anonymous said...

Lets look at what was discussed HopePerthMemberForever said...

1. Firstly, as per 1Tim 3:5 But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God?):

When bible use the word “manage” it also means financial stability and ability to provide for family.
If you read into Witness sharing and Pastor sharing you can see finance is also his Achilles heel.
- Pastor Stephen shared many times that he stepped down because he got many members to invest in real estate and the people suffered during the economic crisis in Thailand.
- He always mentions that he is NOT a savings person and would spend every cent for the kingdom. So I can assume he does not like to save for rainy day and always live by faith- whatever in church finance or family. So what does that imply, you make your own judgment: I think God wants us to be wise and a good steward.
2. Secondly, HPMF mentioned about church reformation. Of course reformation is good, but how we did it I think we really need to examine. Let me again bring up just one point until we answer this and I will not delve into other issues.
When the people left church, we try to be amicable. What you call bad and negative sometimes in the NORMAL world we call difference of opinion. God gave us wisdom to reason. Besides cohabitation which I agree is wrong, there were other issues people do not agree which are in the area of administration and just because of that, we are called negative??? The only system I know that does not support feedback and this is the communist party reign. I don’t know what church he plans to run but it’s one that is not the church Christ intended to build. Even the apostle had disagreement and parted ways – read the bible but no one called each other bad spirit and negative. – only Him
We had initially parted happily, why would he tells us in front of everyone, we welcome you back anytime yet behind us he tell people a whole different story and tearing us down
NOW>>> correct me if I am wrong. What does the word “GOSSIP” mean ??? Doesn’t it mean Talking behind people's back ???

As you can see we air our issue in public so at least we did not gossip. This way everyone hear our point.
Another thing if there was such a "wedding policy", I don't believe it was ever cancelled like you mentioned. It was just your word HPMF. Where is the proof? Up till now we believe he purported this high handed method so that people don't know all the issues, maybe he doesn’t want the members to know the full story, in case they know the real him.

HPMF you got the end issues correct. However if you look deeper on how things are done then I am sure you cannot say that what i am saying is wrong because no one has ever refuted this.

If there are Hope Perth members reading this, I am sure you will hear stories about people who have already left. Now ask everyone a question - have the stories that came out ever been NEUTRAL?? What sort of stories or ugly monsters did the leaders try to portray the people?

I am sure you will hear things like:
1. We are Bad Spirit and unsupportive
2. Pastor was badly treated and we are the bad people 3. We are negative in spirit.

Now... do u think we got nothing better to do than always be that grouchy and unsupportive ??? There must be some stories behind it. We were nice enough not to say anything until we know what he has been saying behind our back because then it would be unfair to us. You already heard the pastor and leader’s story, if you want to know go and ask those who have left. Ask them the real reason. Then make up your own mind.
If pastor did the right thing he doesn’t have to instill this policy because righteousness will always prevail, don’t you agree HPMF, unless there is things to hide ?

REMEMBER - God gave us wisdom. Yes the end is achieved for these people but at what cost ??? Ask the right questions you will get the right answer.

I will leave out finance issue as a discussion point as YLC seems to be giving some comments on that.

WK

Anonymous said...

A very interesting topic regarding flying. So i thought i should jump in and provide some fact about flying.

Just so we all get a clue of the actual cost of running a plane.

1.planes are between $80-345K depends on model and mind you this are second hand . A new cessna should cost between $345K or more read report below

http://classifieds.aviationadvertiser.com.au/search.php?do_search=Search&searchword=cessna+182 planes are between $80-345K depends on model and mind you this are second hand

2. Plane maintenance per 100 hr is $1200 ( This article is very old if you take into account inflation it would be at least $1500

http://aod.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_assets/main/fsa/2001/jul/40-41.pdf

3. Fuel cost - depending on the flying but it would be somewhere between the region of $300-$500 per tank.

4. Misc - Insurance, Hangar cost, when using airstrip ( airstrips are not free - you have to pay )

So make your own calculation and decide if a plane is at all worth it at this point.

H.P.M.F has 2 points which i would like to point out

1. H.P.M.F remarked that the "One day" is not soon. Yet his action seems to state otherwise, action always speaks louder than words.

- One day to God is a thousand years
- One day to Pastor could be like 2010

Remember you yourself say when we have "many" churches. You dont even know the exact number and plant

- Many to you may be 130
- Many to pastor may be 2 church

Using an arbitrary word to justify an extravagant future expense is not very prudent on his part don't you agree.

So it won't be wrong for us to believe that Pastor will intend to buy the plane at the first available opportunity regardless of what this word "many" means to people. Maybe to him 2 churches in WA is justifiable reason to buy the plane.


2. You also mentioned "
However, he had stopped this project for a while as per the request of HIM leaders although they were not the top leader at the time before Hope Bangkok Crisis." -

Hopeperthmember forever i think You got your facts all wrong again. Are you sure you know what you are talking about ? The eldership meeting notes are minutes from the highest leader in our movement which included Ps PN and PS Simon before our split. So this issues were already raised then but he still choose to go ahead.

And secondly, if we know the TOP leaders are not agreeable because in their foresight they can see what big burden this plane will be. Then why is it that Ps Stephen is so adamant to buy the plane then. And he even preached that even though he knew the TOP leaders before the split were already questioning his decision ??

The notes are still in the blog somewhere. Look at the dates the minutes was posted this will help you see the timeline better.

XXX

XXX

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Dear WK (comments posted November 20, 2009 10:31 PM ),
Here are my attempts to present the other side of the issue, for the readers of this public forum, in order to provide a balanced view. "Let the public decide" as one other blog post mentioned.
1. "He always mentions that he is NOT a savings person and would spend every cent for the kingdom." WK
Wow! (this is a sincere WOW!) My Pastor is a man of faith who will not hesitate to give it his all for the Kingdom. What a great Pastor. That means he will not hold back when doing God's work. I commend him for that. If he is in lack, surely our Creator King, our Jehovah Jireh, God the provider will give all he needs. Lets look at the words of our loving Jesus:

Mat 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Mat 6:26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Mat 6:27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Mat 6:28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
Mat 6:29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Mat 6:30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Mat 6:31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
Mat 6:32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Pastor is putting the Kingdom first and I am sure all that he needs will be ADDED on to him. Again, I praise the Lord that my Pastor is a man of faith.

"So I can assume he does not like to save for rainy day and always live by faith- whatever in church finance or family" WK

Wow.. what an accusation. Do you have access to his bank statements and can see that he does not save? Until you have, I can truthfully say, he is a great steward of money and taking care of his family well. Last time I met his family, they are very healthy and not in lack. Also he provided and as well sought the Lord to help provide during his wife's battle with cancer. What a great father of the household and role model to many.

End of part 1.

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Part 2

2. "people do not agree which are in the area of administration" WK
The "people", whom I know, have not run a church before. Pastor has run many churches in Thailand and USA. Who knows best? Who has the years of experience to make the final decision? Pastor would have sought all issues of each decision he has to make with the team before making the final decision, as leader of a church should do.

"What does the word “GOSSIP” mean ??? Doesn’t it mean Talking behind people's back ???" WK

WK, were you there when he gossiped? All you could be hearing is second hand accounts. As a Hope Perth member, I was at every Sunday Service and every meeting (except when I am overseas or holidays) and I did not deemed anything he said was bad-mouthing the people that have left. Again, why not, if you are in Perth, get it straight from Pastor himself to get a balanced view point instead of just one side of the account. Then you can form a conclusion.

"If there are Hope Perth members reading this, I am sure you will hear stories about people who have already left. Now ask everyone a question - have the stories that came out ever been NEUTRAL??" WK

I'm a member when my friends have left and have spoke to them about why they left. I also have spoke to Pastor to get his side of the story. I form a objective view and saw no ugly stories made by Pastor.

"Another thing if there was such a "wedding policy", I don't believe it was ever cancelled like you mentioned." WK

I stand by my statement regarding the cancellation of the wedding policy. In fact, Pastor reiterated the cancellation in front of the leadership group whom which the policy applied, NOT the general member.

"don’t you agree HPMF, unless there is things to hide ? " WK

There is nothing to hide. Any questions I have, I gladly ask my Pastor and he will answer. WK, if you are in Perth, come talk to him :)

"REMEMBER - God gave us wisdom." WK

God did give us wisdom, but does He give you the right to accuse? Satan was the accuser who was cast out of heaven because of his actions:
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.

You mention much of how you are being branded in negative spirit. You are accusing Pastor by the statements you've made. Is accusing a positive spirit? I'll leave you to ponder that.

Judgement belongs to God. We are but to love our fellow brothers / sisters in Christ. Ask yourself, is your statements (in 1 and 2) are made in love? Refer to my comments about love in my earlier post. I urge you to reflect, seek the Lord and in all things, do it out of love.

In Love, HopePerthMemberForever

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Dear XXX (comments posted November 21, 2009 9:04 AM )

"So make your own calculation and decide if a plane is at all worth it at this point. " XXX

If the plane achieves the goal of spreading the gospel to the vast land of Western Australia, by all means we should do it. After all, what Jesus would do if he had a plane :) Do you know how big is Western Australia?

"So it won't be wrong for us to believe that Pastor will intend to buy the plane at the first available opportunity regardless of what this word "many" means to people. Maybe to him 2 churches in WA is justifiable reason to buy the plane." XXX

My Pastor is a man of vision. Praise the Lord for that. I joined this church because it was a visionary church and I fully support any motions he takes. If the plane is able to spread the gospel to even start ONE church in the far reaches of Western Australia, he would do it. Jesus would do the same thing. Is it wrong for my Pastor to dream?

"Hopeperthmember forever i think You got your facts all wrong again." XXX

All the facts? Is that a fair comment? I stand by all the statements (except for the one mistake I made) and they are the truth. Otherwise I am a liar. Jesus forgive me if that is the case, as only You are the true witness to my statements.

"The eldership meeting notes are minutes from the highest leader in our movement" XXX

The eldership meeting notes are for the attendees of the meeting, including my Pastor. Did you read the full context of all the minutes generated? Did you get the full picture? All you may have could be snippets and you base your arguments on that? Get the full story my friend. Pastor is one of the people who has access to all the minutes and his accounts are the whole truth with full context. I trust his accounts. One of the reasons the plane project was stopped as well was because it was deemed too risky for a Pastor to fly. I got this account from the Pastor who has all the minutes.

I urge you to reflect, seek the Lord and in all things, do all things out of love.


In Love, HopePerthMemberForever

Anonymous said...

Hopeperthmember forever,

There are a couple of misstatements on your part. Would like to point it out to you

1. The "people", whom I know, have not run a church before. Pastor has run many churches in Thailand and USA. Who knows best? Who has the years of experience to make the final decision?

- Can I point out, Pastor Stephen had never run any church in USA. I don’t believe he even said that.
- He went to US to prepare and learn English to come to Perth( That is the fact)
- You have to be more careful when you say things because I think people have caught you exaggerating facts a number of times.

2. The eldership meeting notes are for the attendees of the meeting, including my Pastor. Did you read the full context of all the minutes generated?

- HPMF have you even read the eldership meeting posted ?
- This eldership meeting only attended by the elders of the Hope Movement – PS Stephen is not in it because he is not high enough in the Movement
- The minutes were released by Rubina in relation to HGI agreeing to transfer money to another account for Dr J as part of her defence.
- This meeting included only the elders of hope movement – Ps Simon, Ps PN and Ps Somptop included
- But Ps Stephen’s name popped up in their minutes as a side topic of discussion and minuted in the meeting notes
- Go to biblediscuss and ask the Thai people from Rubina side who posted the notes online as well. Or ask eagleicee to repost it again for your viewing

I think when you try to defend Pastor make sure you really know the facts and things posted in the blog, because if you do say any facts wrong, you will be caught out. Then it will not seem credible, what you post. Remember the sheep who cry wolf, if you keep exaggerating the facts and saying things you don’t know, then whatever you say thereof will be deemed unreliable even if you do try and speak the truth. You can’t keep giving excuses because this is not the first time people spotted your mistakes. Hopefully when both sides having given their view, the public can make up their own mind.

HIM friend

Anonymous said...

HPMF said: “Until you have, I can truthfully say, he is a great steward of money and taking care of his family well. Last time I met his family, they are very healthy and not in lack. Also he provided and as well sought the Lord to help provide during his wife's battle with cancer. What a great father of the household and role model to many”.

Please all me to provide some analysis here.

- The emergency fund that was set-up which I believe only Hope Perth has, please tell me if it was not used for his wife’s medical expenses? I believe this fund was actually meant for Ps Stephen to help in the medical bills. So my question is who bore that cost? Church or Ps Stephen? Who took care of his family? Church or Ps Stephen?
- Ps Stephen came to Perth with nothing (no money), he said it himself. By the way let’s not go into details. From your post you have mentioned he got minimum amount until only 2 years ago. Then knowing the cost of medical and his children studies. How would a person suddenly have so much money for those expenses?

So in my opinion here are how the money would come about:

a. People have to give him a lot of love offering.
b. He has to take a loan from somewhere.
c. Church have to give him more to help him via – Emergency fund, etc.
d. Or he was actually paid a lot more salary previously not the bare minimum as you suggest.

These above 4 options are realistic options. There is no other option I can think of.

If the money came from option 1-3, then how could you say he is a good role model and a good steward of God’s money? You may call it a man of faith, but this is not good steward of God’s money, because there was no money from him to be a good steward of.

I remember Hope also has a teaching about stewardship and how can we be a good steward of God’s money as well. If you are always broke at the end of the month because you are always using the money to bless people and have to borrow from people in the end, this is not a Good steward. It’s good to bless people, but at the expense of others who lend the money to you then I don’t think it is a good steward at all and defiantly cannot be a good example for other people.

If you choose option 4 which pastor has some savings, then you are contradicting yourself because there is absolutely no way that a pastor can save 100K for the medical and his children studies in 2 years of getting higher pay. You have mentioned previously that he is receiving bare minimum when we all also know he came with nothing, so again where such a big amount of money came from? He even said before he didn’t receive a lot of money many times when he shared with the church, unless there is more to it than meets the eye.

I think we all just do some maths and everyone can figure out. I also would like to highlight another point.

WK, were you there when he gossiped? All you could be hearing is second hand accounts. As a Hope Perth member, I was at every Sunday Service and every meeting (except when I am overseas or holidays) and I did not deemed anything he said was bad-mouthing the people that have left. Again, why not, if you are in Perth, get it straight from Pastor himself to get a balanced view point instead of just one side of the account. Then you can form a conclusion.

HPMF you are again contradicting yourself, you said so yourself that your pastor called the people negative and also has policy to stop people from communicating with those who have left church, yet he told us he welcome us back anytime. So calling us bad spirit and negative behind our back is not Gossip??? I got sermon given to me that show him speaking about past people, you have to be careful what you say. Don’t just defend for defending sake, I won’t say things if there is no evidence or witness.

WK

Anonymous said...

HopePerthMemberForever,

Please do not defend your pastor just for defending sake. YOU DON'T HAVE ALL THE FACTS! At the rate you are going you will force some people to post evidences which will put your pastor in a much more humiliating position.

Be open minded about the complaints which have been made against your pastor. THINK!!!!! don't just react emotionally.

Anonymous said...

Dear WK,

Just to let you know, I am a HopePerth member, however I am analysing this topic as objectively as I can. I am not "defending for the sake of defending" but what I am about to express here is to encourage others to perhaps see things from a different point of view.

There are so many topics to touch on, I'll start with the part about the "gossip" you've mentioned and I agree there were occasions that does APPEAR as if Ps Stephen is bad-mouthing ex-members and when I heard it I too found it rather odd. So what I did was I wasted no time and brought it up to his attention. After bringing it up, I noticed it happened again and so it gets brought up again and like a bad habit that takes time to be resolved, it finally went away and now we no longer hear him mention about people in the past.

I thought about it and based on my own analysis by looking at it from a different perspective, it could simply be any of the following possibilities:

a) Poor choice of examples when trying to stress a point. Honestly, it could just be poor communication skills.

b) A mistake was made when preaching "in the heat of the moment". I admit Ps Stephen does get quite emotional sometimes when he preaches.

c) His mood may be grey at that time? Seriously we all have our share of mood swings and during those moments we sometimes regret our actions and the things we say. Why should Ps Stephen be any different?

d) Ps Stephen's temperament. Knowing him for a few years, he tends to be a very sanguine person. Sanguine people tend to act first, think later or in this case talk first, think later (which also brings about a possible explanation behind the entire "flying pastor" scenario, but that's a different point altogether). So God made him this way as with many other Sanguine people in this world. Being sanguine comes with its own strenghts and weaknesses just like all the other temperaments. (For those who need to know the defintion of sanguine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Temperaments#Sanguine).

So really in conclusion, sometimes its not very fair to fault somebody just because they may "APPEAR" to do something offensive but actually there is no "INTENT" in their heart to offend. We all know intent outweighs appearance because in the end God sees the heart. Its true that this is no excuse to continue to offend, that is why we feedback and help him improve and polish away some of the rough edges. I feel this is part of what it takes to be a Christian, where all our rough edges are to be polished by Jesus so we be more like Him.

Oh and lastly, for the record whenever Ps Stephen mentions about the "people in the past", no names were mentioned.

HopePerthMemberForever said...

Hi all.
I am glad to formed a relationship with you guys during these past two weeks. It has been unpleasant but also has been pleasant to be able to in someway do God's work. In all summary, not all of us, including myself have whole story. We all have our own side of the story, our own version of the truth. But at least I am able to present a balance in this heavily one-sided blog since its existence. All, if you want to be perfect, are not qualified to tell the story. For that, a physical forum have to be setup with all HIM / Hope elders, pastors. Certainly not this public blog as, I repeat, not all have the full picture.

Instead for my FINAL statement, I am happy to call Hope Perth Church home. Since I joined back in late 90s, I have seen the ebb and flows of this church, leaderships come and go, friends come and go, members come and go. I am still here because I FIRMLY believe that this church is Jesus' church, whose vision has captured me from day one. I made a commitment, no matter what I faced, this will be my last stop in my church hopping days. I was happy in those days. I made many friends and also some enemies. As I know the church more and more, my unhappiness grew. It reached a peak when Pastor first came. He encouraged me, even though I criticised him and also shouted at him at the back of the church hall. As time goes by, the grace of God finally came and through Pastors constant guidance, my shepherds of course and the reading the Bible, I was able to breakthrough all my bitterness and anger. It certainly did not improve my health or my grumpy face, as many sisters have commented to me before. Why not read the Bible, like I did, instead of reading this overly long blog. It certainly changed my life.

Nowadays, I am very happy, I repeat very happy :) In the benefit of hindsight, I truly have seen the church grow, its atmosphere has vastly improved. People are friendly, I am able to make many friends, in many age groups. Its a big family. Overjoyed will be an understatement to describe my feelings. If you don't believe me, why don't you visit our church. The address is:

Manning Hall,
Cnr Jarman &
Bradshaw Crescent,
Manning WA 6152,
Perth,
Western Australia.
Website http://hopeperth.org

See it and experience it for yourself instead of reading about it in this blog. And if you are a Hope Perth member, I hope you will find that joy I have now. If not, why not talk to Pastor himself, like I did in the past. If you are a ex-member, I hope you will find the same joy in the church your are in. If you are an international member, come visit us at the above address. I might even take you around Perth and treat you a tour of our nice wineries in the Swan Valley :)

So long.... farewell... I am here to say good night and good bye. Hope to see you soon in our church.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous,
November 22, 2009 7:19 AM

Thanks for your comments. Its nice to give your side of opinion. You said you heard things that seem not right, but yet Hopeperthmember forever thought otherwise.

Now you can understand the frustration. You have at least confirm what i have tried all along tried to say - inconsistent factual account

Now for these issues about bad-mouthing people. Actually its the people in the Perth church that came to ask us the reason and they were the ones who tell us because they wanted to confirm what they have heard. Why would they ask if they have not heard any names mentioned ?

But that is the truth, unless you have been in the Pastor's black book and experience it, you will never understand. Ask those who have left.

Actually please note Hoperperthmember forever and even witness mentioned that Pastor set up a policy to isolate us and termed us bad spirit people, so if he did not mention name how would the people know which one to avoid, you get my argument. Yet at the time we left he say we welcome you back . So we should discount poor communication, because names would have been mentioned.

So my question is this ? Can everyone tell me if, people have the right to be upset by what happen ?

I can accept flaw because no one is perfect, what i cannot accept is when you know there is flaw, you hide behind a wall of self-righteousness. what i mean is this - When a member talk about people in a negative light it is called Bad Spirit, when a pastor talk about someone in a negative light it is called feedback and protection.

Anyway thanks for your feedback, it just highlight my point about the many inconsistencies posted by those supporting Ps Stephen.

Thanks

MLB said...

In relation to HopePerthMemberForever’s comments on November 20 4.26pm. I don’t think anyone will be jealous of him, no one wants to be in debt & be unable to provide for their family financially. It’s a big joke if you think anyone would want to be like him in that way.
I also realise you have very very big margins., 100-200 people now with centres established around Perth and one in the country? 101 is also in the range of 100-200. I don’t recall ever seeing anything more than 110 on a regular basis other than on special events. Some centres established around Perth? With the same people from Hope Perth going out on mission trips? I think your definition of established is quite funny. It’s still the same people from Hope Perth! Unless you’re telling me that now there services in many other locations other than Hope Perth? Having life group in a certain location doesn’t mean a centre is established there.
And I also can testify that I heard him say during one of his sermons when YLC left that because he was stopped from spending money (the main point being to make sure the church doesn’t go in the red), he now wants to take over the finances. I was there when he preached and said that he was stopped from advancing the Kingdom of God with the church’s finances. I believe sometimes you also need wisdom. And I also, like one of the other bloggers heard him say that he doesn’t believe in saving. Ask Pastor Stephen yourself then, I don’t believe he dare to lie and say he never said all of that before. I don’t know how you can call that good stewardship.
Are you also sure that before 2 years ago, he ONLY receive a bare minimum? Or is that just what he told you? Better check carefully before saying. If evidence otherwise arise, you’ll just embarrass yourself and Stephen.

MLB said...

In relation to HopePerthMemberForever’s comments on November 21, 11.47am. How does Stephen save if he is still in so much debt? Do you dare say he is not in major debt at all? If he is saving and not paying his debts then someone must be paying it for him. Are you?
He provided for his wife’s battle with cancer? Really? Be careful again of what you say. He sought the Lord to help? Or he sought the church to help? Did not many Hope churches raise funds to pay his wife’s medical bills as well? Nothing wrong with that, but you should be grateful to others who have graciously given and put the honour back to them.
In relation to HopePerthMemberForever’s comments on November 21, 11.48 am. Like a few previous comments, talking about your exaggeration of facts, I think you’ve done it again! Are you sure again that Stephen has run many churches in Thailand AND USA? I don’t think so. I think if there are Hope Perth members reading what you wrote, they would start to question even more.
In relation to HopePerthMemberForever’s comments on November 21, 12.17pm. You said,” If the plane achieves the goal of spreading the gospel to the vast land of Western Australia, by all means we should do it. After all, what Jesus would do if he had a plane :) Do you know how big is Western Australia?” If by spending $100,000 on a plane or spending $200 with your existing car, or even buying another car for $30,000, you can buy 3 cars and bring up to 15 people to plant church (and don’t have to pay for garage parking spaces). How many can you bring with your plane?

Anonymous said...

"I have been reading this blog and all comments regarding Ps Stephen. I personally have nothing against Ps Stephen nor admire him more than any other HIM pastors. I believe that being a pastor is a privilege as not everyone can be a pastor. Being a pastor requires a high standard in characters, skills, experiences, leadership style, etc. God also requires that a pastor must have a lifestyle that is above reproach (1 Tim 3:1-7). What does it mean to be above reproach? Obviously it is not being perfect or faultless, because no man could ever be qualified to serve as pastor if that were required. Therefore instead of meaning actual perfection, being above reproach means having a blameless reputation and having irreproachable conduct. YLC has aptly quoted a great phase, “It is not sufficient for a pastor to “do the right thing”. A pastor must also be seen to be “doing the right thing”.”

So after reading all comments, this question was popped up in my mind: “If Ps Stephen lives above reproach, then how could some people commented negatively about him?”. If he lives in such way like Witness and HopePerthMemberForever said then people will have to give him a good verdict when they evaluate his character, moral and life. If there is only a character flaw as imperfect human being then there should not be such a strong accusation against him. It is very seldom people will outwardly voiced their opinion especially in open public forum unless it is something that they feel very strongly about. Every Hope church has people leaving yet I have not seen a public opinion as such, so I believe there is no smoke without fire."

Watcher

VIC said...

I agree with Watcher. If Pastor Stephen is really above reproach there wouldn't be so many cases against him. There has to be a reason why so many people think the same.
I don't think people want him to be perfect, just maybe above reproach for a start?

Anonymous said...

It's half truths as usual. NO surprise there!

They are constantly contradicting themselves & I'm not surprised that they have already discredited themselves already.

The Postman said...

I have been reading all the comments that are on this blog about Stephen.

I have a request to HopePerthMemberForever or Witness or any current Hope Perth member, instead of debating what he has done right or wrong, why not ask Pastor Stephen to comment and to clear all doubts and questions himself?

If Pastor Stephen is as above reproach as you say he is, then he shouldn't have a problem proving his innocence in this blog.

Anonymous said...

Now for these issues about bad-mouthing people. Actually its the people in the Perth church that came to ask us the reason and they were the ones who tell us because they wanted to confirm what they have heard. Why would they ask if they have not heard any names mentioned ?

Pastor set up a policy to isolate us and termed us bad spirit people, so if he did not mention name how would the people know which one to avoid


I cannot speak for HPMF and Witness but from my own personal experience, Pastor only ever told me to just becareful 1 with ex-member and that is because that person was very dishonest with other members in their finances. I think this is a valid advice. Also, if names were ever mentioned I do not believe it is mentioned in a public setting because I was pretty much present in many of the meetings and never recalled ever hearing names being mentioned.

I believe whatever Ps Stephen has done, we really need to analyse it on a case by case basis rather than collectively lump them all into a single mould. We need to set our heart to first see the intent and not the action.

His intent I believe stemmed from his opinion that certain ex-members left the church rather bitterly and thus were in a greater likelihood to spread a lot of discontentment. If I were in his position, I too would want to make sure such things are contained but I may perhaps approach it differently than what he has done. I may disagree with his method, but I sure could understand and share his intent. The term Bad Spirit again I feel is one of those wrongly chosen words in the past that could've been termed a lot more amicably. I for one would not use this term. However having said all that, again I never hear him say it anymore after the many constant feedback that was given to him.


I can accept flaw because no one is perfect, what i cannot accept is when you know there is flaw, you hide behind a wall of self-righteousness. what i mean is this - When a member talk about people in a negative light it is called Bad Spirit, when a pastor talk about someone in a negative light it is called feedback and protection.


I think again this needs to be looked at on a case by case basis. I am sure there are legitimate periods when pastor brings up some negative light on others truly for the protection of others based on Pastor's own judgement.

Sometimes Pastor because of his sanguine nature may misjudge the situation and chose a more extreme approach which is again wrong in action but correct in intent. I too personally bring out these so called "negative" things about other Hope Perth leaders and Pastor's actions and I see it as feedback and I believe it is being received as feedback if not I will not see any improvementz. I believe if Ps Stephen is protecting himself with this "wall of self-righteousness", no improvements will be noticed.

As I've said earlier, Ps Stephen is not perfect and like all of us, he still got his own rough edges that needs to be smoothen. If I were to fault him for these rough edges, then I am being very unfair to him because I too have my own set of rough edges that Ps Stephen himself, many others and even God has overlooked.

Anonymous said...

If I may also post my opinion on what other forumers have expressed here.

About being above reproach, I agree that being in a position of a Pastor, one need not only do the right thing but must "appear" to do the right thing. It is a very difficult position to be in. Lets face it, it is not always possible to make everyone happy all at the same time. I believe the past series of events especially the Hope Perth reformation has given Pastor Stephen a negative image. Sometimes leaders have to allow their image to take a beating for the sake of carrying out unpopular (but necessary) reformation according to his own judgement. I hope we won't start another debate about whether the reformation was necessary or not because according to pastor at that time his judgement deemed it as necessary and as a leader it is his duty to execute the decision according to his own judgement.

I'm not saying this because I am defending him for the sake of defending him just because he is my pastor, but I believe if we search deep into our hearts and extend grace to him, let us see how things develop. I will do my part as a member to feedback to him as often as I can. Its no use just criticising and offering no solution, as we are all in God's family, we should want to be part of the solution and not the problem.

And finally, about the part "when there is a smoke, there is a fire". Yes, its true and I agree, but could we take a step closer to truly understand how big and serious is that fire and find a way to work together to put it out? This is more productive than to just stand pointing at the smoke and just keep shouting fire and trying to speculate how big is that fire (or worst listen to other people's opinion on the fire and take it as truth). It is a lot clearer to just go and take a closer look and see it for yourself 1st hand. Maybe there is just a lot of smoke but a very small fire?

We should all diligently seek what it true, we really owe this to ourselves because only the truth will set us free.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your frank discussion. Actually maybe i can help the other bloggers phase it better.

Most cases of people leaving the church were done in proper way, mainly talking to pastor and then trying to leave in a amicable fashion.

I don't think there were many if any cases i can recall that people left in a negative spirit.

But we often get feedbacks and people asking us to clarify stories that were either presented to them one on one or in a group level, which either were half-truth or stories that made the leader look good and the people who left look bad, even though publicly we have agreed to leave amicably.

As a leader or a pastor, even if you have disagreement. We should always take the higher road, if not we would disqualify ourselves as leaders.

I think most cases that people left was because of Pastor style of administration, which was more suited for Asian or Thai culture, but often unsuited in a Western Culture. ( The truth is God gave us principle but not methods of administration and we often adopt those structure we were trained under.)- I think this topic would have been covered in conventions some years back about Cultural sensitivity

An example is Paul and Barnabas they may not see eye to eye in how things are run, but they were able to part amicably.

But somehow we feel whenever someone leave the church because of his style of method, we get crucified in church no matter how you try to leave.

In any case, I do hope that this is an experience he will learn. If we keep stepping on people's toe there is no telling when they will bite back.

If you treat the people with respect even those who left, I am sure we will accord the same respect back.

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

Instalment 3 follows. It’s part (b) on pastor’s salaries.

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.

I wrote out the cheque to pay for the dark purple Kia Carnival mission car which was purchased shortly before my family left. After writing the cheque, I arranged for the cheque to be signed by one or both of the other signatories and then by myself. Next, I passed the cheque to Pastor Stephen who arranged for it to be handed over to the seller of the Kia. I did not reject the purchase for the mission car. My fellow cheque signatories are my human witnesses.

I sincerely believe this is the last of my factual posts. I am a God fearing person though I admit I always need much more of this positive fear. Personal conviction does not allow me to proceed further.

A final appeal. As both sides have communicated warmly with me since my first post, please use the information I have contributed to facilitate good will, reconciliation and the restoration of relationships.

Sincere blessings to everyone.
YLC

Anonymous said...

To YLC, thank you for your neutral and truthful posts.

Even though I never met you before, but I believe you have been righteous and have presented facts as to when you were around.

What was communicated to us in meetings in the past by Pastor himself was that you stopped Pastor Stephen from buying the mission car and you were one of those who hindered the advancement of God's kingdom. That's why he had to take over the finances to make sure things start running properly. And even though I've never met you before but I always felt you were wrong.

I very sincerely want to say sorry for carrying such a deep misunderstanding towards you for so many years. Now I can see your righteousness and I respect you for that.

Thank you so much for clearing our misunderstandings about you!

God bless.

Anonymous said...

To Postman.
I don't think you'll be getting a response from Stephen himself. I hate to disappoint you, but that's not how he does things.

Anonymous said...

Really? I feel so sorry for my husband. Just to let you know, my husband used to spend most of his spare time thinking through how best to balance the accounts.

He also spent a lot of time looking for the best fixed term deposit rates for the church building funds just to get a bit of extra cash for the church.

From my recollection and looking through past correspondance, my husband didn't stop pastor from purchasing the mission car. He discouraged pastor from purchasing the car in a hurry. He wanted proper research to be done before any purchases is made, which is good stewardship I would have thought.

He is a good steward of God's resources and his reward is in heaven.

God bless,
Mrs YLC

Anonymous said...

Mrs YLC,

that's why I sincerely apologised for thinking so many years that he was really the 'bad guy' and that Pastor Stephen was the one who was always right.

I thank you and you husband for your honesty and integrity.

I don't think there is anyone qualified enough or with enough integrity to run the Hope Perth accounts now. .I think that's why things are the way they are now.

I'm glad that you've cleared up the misunderstandings that I'm sure many have held against your husband for many years!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous for your kind words.

Mrs YLC

Anonymous said...

To Postman & Anonymous' response... I have to say I also doubt there will be any reply at all! He doesn't look like he has the guts to respond anything. Only know how to hide behind other people. Make them look bad but make himself look good. He always say last time what, that he will send someone else to rebuke then he will clean the wounds. So no go for him to reply anything here.

Anonymous said...

Its interesting to note some comments regarding finance.

From the post from YLC, it does seem that Pastor do receive reasonable assistance as everything is all paid and his remuneration package did increase when his family came contrary to popular believe that Pastor receive only minimum amount as stated by some bloggers who sided with Pastor Stephen. Its just that his salary seem little because everything was paid for and already covered by the church - House, Car and Utilities

But since I believe HPMF mentioned that Pastor is getting more pay now because of his work visa due to requirement. Does it mean that he gets Pay plus benefits as mentioned by YLC ?

So my guess, that would have included House, the use of 2 car, utilities and good salary as well as health insurance. Would be interesting to find out a pastor's package, good option to choose, but i know this is something that would not be revealed

I suppose being a pastor is not as bad as i had initially assumed. Good pay and benefit, plus no redundancy.

Sure wish i could become a Hope pastor. I know I will not have to worry and won't mind either. Don't really seem like a step down or sacrifice if i get all these benefits. I would be set for life.

xxx

Anonymous said...

Dear XXX,

I respectfully disagree with your points and the way you have said it, which unfortunately seemed to imply that one should take up the Pastoral role at Hope Perth to be in financial easy street.

I am sure you know as well as I do it is not an easy job that anyone can just take it up. If you do feel you got the calling to be one, then by all means pray more about it and wait for God's prompting.

With no reference whatsoever made to Ps Stephen, I believe any Pastor should receive as much financial benefit as possible from the church according to the church's level of affordability. It cannot be too excessive that it deprives funding to other church areas or excessive in way that the Pastor indulges too much into luxury and thus cause him to compromise and neglect his ministry. On the other hand, it also cannot be too skimpy to the level that the Pastor has to worry about providing for his own family and thus could not concentrate 100% on his ministry.

I have no qualms about Pastors receiving a pay rise so long as it is done with due consideration and within a fair range depending on his own personal circumstances and to cater for increase in cost of living due to inflation.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that being a Hope pastor would guarantee you a prosperous life financially. From what I know at least in Australia, Hope pastors don't all receive the same remunerations; you can say that they are at the mercy of their elders or church board members. If the board members happen to be a bunch of calculative and stingy lot, then the poor pastor will suffer unless he or she voices out her concerns.

As you know, MOST pastors are rather humble and shy; they will just keep quiet when it comes to money. So it is vital that church members voice out their concerns when it comes to the welfare of their pastors. Just because your pastors don’t say anything when it comes to their salary, it doesn’t mean that they are ok financially or vice versa.

Anonymous said...

At the end of the day, it is Ps Wilson who is responsible for the whole Perth debacle. He is Ps Stephen's shepherd and Head of Hope Australia. He has the power to hire and fire and do something about it.

From what I read, this whole saga has been going on for a few years. If something had been done earlier on, it wouldn't have reached this stage. Surely some feedbacks would have been given to Ps Wilson at some point. They couldn’t have gone to any other pastor because he is Ps Stephen’s leader and shepherd.

Some people are hopping mad that our dirty laundry are being aired in public for everyone to see, but spare a thought for those ex members (or current members?) who have been hurt, did anyone from HIM top leadership team interview them to get their side of the story? Was there any investigation being carried out? Maybe they did, but it’s all under the carpet, ala Hope style perhaps? Pastor is the good guy and those who have left are the baddies after all that’s the tradition? And no, we can’t afford to rock the boat, too much at risk?

It is quite common for Hope leaders to deal with strife from a defensive standpoint rather than offensive; meaning you do not sit idly by with the hope that it goes away or that things get better. (I am not surprised if they are sitting and waiting for this blog to go away and hoping that everything will be ok) This situation should have been resolved a few years ago when things weren’t quite right. Now look at what this blog has done to Hope reputation!

Leaders/pastors are meant to put the welfare of their sheep first. They are called to love and protect their sheep including standing up for the flock like Jesus did. Pastors/leaders/shepherds are placed in leadership positions not for receiving awards during the glitzy Best of the Best Award ceremony. They are chosen because they ought to lay their lives down for their sheep, protect them from the wolves, standing up for their sheep even though it can be unpleasant at times.

I want to see Ps Wilson do the uncomfortable bit, handling the situation as the Head of Hope Australia, so that this whole saga can come to an end, that way, everyone can move on.

Anonymous said...

Yeah i think its true too, most pastors are very humble in regards to finance and will not ask for much.

Actually maybe because ps Stephen is overseas visa and have not much when he comes and as per some bloggers comments he needs to get more because of his visa requirement and also bigger family, because they are not local they have to pay overseas rates in schools, insurance, etc.

I suppose if the church is comfortable, then we cant; really complain. But would be nice if the other Hope Pastor's get to receive a car and housing package on top of their salary too. Cause they do work hard as well.

Certainly in this aspect Hope Perth is leading the way in not short paying their pastor, and paying good pay and benefit

VIC said...

I would like to comment something.

I don't know what his wage is, but in fairness to Pastor Stephen, there is nothing wrong with housing, bills, a phone and a car to be provided. That is rather common with pastors, especially overseas pastors. But that would be included in his salary package.

To help everyone make a better conclusion, I feel we should compare with a normal working person. And if a normal working person gets about $60,000 WITHOUT all the perks of housing etc., provided for, I don't see why Pastor Stephen shouldn't. Even if we up his pay to cater for work that his wife does for the church, I think throwing in housing and bills etc. should pretty much cover it. So with all expenses included, his total salary should be $80000 max... Because bear in mind, normal working people still have to pay mortgage, provide for family, pay bills, pay for a car, all within their average of $60000 a year.

Now I'm not throwing random figures at everyone. I have done my research, and I am well versed in this area. An average pastor's salary with a congregation of at least 500 members and 20 years experience is not more than $65000. So Pastor Stephen himself and those who know his wage, should maybe take this into consideration.

I believe in generosity as well. IF Pastor Stephen is getting $80000 max a year, then that is way above an average wage for a pastor of 100-200 members in the church already. If he is getting less than I think we should stop complaining about his wage. If he is getting more than $80000 (which is ridiculous, and I don't think that's the case), than maybe Pastor Wilson may have to look into it? Just a suggestion. Because I do believe that there must be a reason why people are not happy.

MLB said...

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

"FOUR BASIC CULT BEHAVIORS"

1. DEPENDENCE ON A LEADER.
Cult leaders are authoritarian, encouraging dependence and discouraging autonomy. They demand loyalty and suppress criticism. Obedience and loyalty are rewarded, and critical thinking is punished.

This is why so many leaders become obsessed with secrecy, cutting people 'out of the loop', seeking scapegoats and rarely answer straight questions with straight answers.

2. DISSENT.

Dissent threatens the group fantasy that the members are being protected and rewarded by a leader who can do no wrong.

The security provided by that fantasy is the basic attraction that keeps members in the cult despite highly questionable actions by the leader. Questioning the fantasy threatens that security, and for this reason, active dissent is seldom encouraged.

To the contrary, dissenters are often declared to be evil or of 'bad spirit'. Almost all groups derive security from their shared beliefs and readily regard dissenters as irritations, to be gotten rid of. Nevertheless, the mark of a healthy group is a tolerance for dissent and a recognition of its vital role in keeping the group sane.

3. DEVALUING THE OUTSIDER

The cult devalues outsiders including those from other cults and anyone who criticises them — including members' families

This devaluation becomes most marked in the case of someone who elects to leave the group and is thereby considered “lost,” if not damned. The more such devaluation takes place, and the more the group separates itself from the outside world, the greater the danger of cult pathology.

This view can harden even further to, “Outsiders are evil, we are right!” Everything is seen in black and white. No successful cult ever proclaimed, “Maybe we're wrong!”

4. COMPLIANCE WITH THE GROUP

In a group no one wants to be seen as the 'bad guy' who has individual thoughts that challenge the rightness of the group, and this is a big danger. Cult-like behaviour, wherever it is found, leads to, and traps people in, unrealistic, inflexible thinking.

*I'm not implying that Hope is a cult, NOT AT ALL! But it's good to be careful we don't become LIKE one."

Anonymous said...

Joseph Goebbels, the spin doctor of Nazi Germany once said:

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Sounds strangely familar...May have personally experienced it elsewhere...

VIC said...

I hate to say this, but I think MLB has a very good point.

Scary but true.

Cool Runner said...

Actually i too think that maybe Pastor Stephen and Pastor Wilson should comment something. It's starting to look real bad for HIM.

If word of this gets out to our members and there has been no resolution, it might actually be really bad for us. Might cause a lot of confusion and unhappiness.

I don't think leaving it alone & hoping it will pass is a good idea. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Cool Runner, from what has been said in the blog, there has been many replies, with facts as well but questions still continue. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Yes, i believe Ps stephen will prbo not respond. And i think the rest too.

Just from my experience, people do have to be careful what secrets or issues we share in church.

Many times i find, when Pastor knows about it, or you share with him. This issue becomes an open secret.

And apparently it is not me alone who expereince similar things. Just want to let thos in Hope Perth know.

Unless you want your issue to be known by all the leaders, its better you choose who you share with carefully.

I wont go into detail

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean!
There is no such thing as privacy in Hope Perth. As long as Pastor finds out, the whole world will find out. He's like a loudspeaker.

So be careful. Hopefully he'll learn how to respect people's privacy.

Nonyamous said...

Maybe it's just a Hope culture thing that no leader wants to be responsible. I'm not from Hope Perth, but I've also experienced pretty much the same culture over where I am.

I think the main problem is that Hope leaders like to cover up, hide things, hoping the storm will blow away. Instead of taking responsibility and dealing with the situation.

Oh don't get me wrong, they like to take control of their members' situations very well. They are very strict with their rules etc. (remember the BGR discussion we had previously?).Eg. how you have to let your shepherd know you like a girl before you let the girl know. Then your shepherd has to communicate with the girl's shepherd etc. Ridiculous and legalistic, but still happens in Hope I tell you.

But when it comes to the leaders themselves, they try & hide & not respond to their own mistakes. I don't know what kind of examples they intend to set for their members, & I have no intention of sitting around here waiting to find out. I'll be out of here by the end of the year.

Also, I think MLB has a very good point as well. I do think (& I'm not the only one who thinks like that) that Hope sometimes has very cult like nature.

With regards to Pastor Stephen, I am not surprised that he behaves like that. I have heard so much about him (& this is from top leaders over here). I don't think integrity is part of his character. It is very sad but true. So to the rest of the bloggers, I wouldn't be wasting time hoping he'll respond & maybe admit to it. He is probably the same like PN & DJ. Hiding behind a wall of self-righteousness.

I also think no point telling the whole world about what he is like here. To Hope Perth members with questions, I doubt you're going to get a straight answer from Pastor Stephen himself. He wouldn't want to admit his mistakes & wrongdoing, as long as there are still people who believe he's correct (HopePerthMemberForever & Witness), he'll hide behind what they say. So I suggest you better just get out of Hope Perth and go somewhere else before you become corrupted and blind to what is right and wrong.

I've had so many friends who left Hope & I hear so many good comments. Things like how they feel that they used to be a frog in a well, now their eyes are open to what the Christian world can actually be. Or how they feel so restrained & held back, now where they are let's them express so much more to God. Or also how they realise that in the past when leaders tell them that Hope is the only movement that do church planting & most others church are not good, they now realise that those were all lies!

There are a lot of good churches out there in the world, and Hope is definitely not the only movement that God approves of!

MLB said...

A research done on the internet...

WARNING SIGNS OF AN UNSAFE GROUP/LEAFER.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

5. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

6. The group/leader is always right.

7. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

MLB said...

WARNING SIGN REGARDING PEOPLE INVOLVED IN AN UNSAFE GROUP/LEADER.

1. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

2. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

3. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

4. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

5. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

6. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

7. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

MLB said...

SIGNS OF A SAFE GROUP/LEADER.

1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

MLB said...

Hope members... Evaluate yourselves and see whether you're in a safe or an unsafe group.

I think the main problem that people seem unhappy about Pastor Stephen is based on the 3 comments I've posted before this.

Looks like a lot of self evaluation needs to be done on his part. It takes a lot of humility to do so. But I believe that if he is genuine in his love for God & the people, change shouldn't be too difficult for him. The main thing would be to first acknowledge his weaknesses.

MLB said...

Hope members... Evaluate yourselves and see whether you're in a safe or an unsafe group.

I think the main problem that people seem unhappy about Pastor Stephen is based on the 3 comments I've posted before this.

Looks like a lot of self evaluation needs to be done on his part. It takes a lot of humility to do so. But I believe that if he is genuine in his love for God & the people, change shouldn't be too difficult for him. The main thing would be to first acknowledge his weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

Loudspeaker? A Roland or a Samick? :P

WeloveStephen said...

Why are you guys so against Pastor Stephen?

MLB, it is true that Hope is the only church with so many churches around the world. I also think it is true that we are the only one with main focus of church planting. Others may have part of it, but not whole focus on church planting.

We are also the one with real solid teaching. How many churches really have something like that? It is not wrong to say we are the best, because we are prous of it !

If its not bcos Pastor Stephen take over the finances, we won't be able to advance the church so far as it is like today. Nothing wrong with believing God to provide. And about the mission car, sometimes we just have to make decision like that, no choice, wait too long then may miss opportunity to save one more soul!

You all say Pastor Stephen in debt, so what? You all never in debt before? Even if he has $1000000 debt, but still have heart to serve God, we should to help him clear debt so he can serve God more effectively!

anony said...

This is for WeLoveStephen...

Here's a link to another churchplanting movement- http://www.myc3churchglobal.org/WHOWEARE/THESTORY/tabid/66/Default.aspx

Apparently, C3 has churches all over the world and they also do focus on churchplanting.

And about solid teaching in Hope. I really don't think HOPE is that solid after coming out from Hope movement.

I encourage you to listen to other sermons online from other churches to have an accurate and objective assessment. So I think your all your claims are flawed.

About Pastor Stephen part, I have no comments as I do not know him personally.

Anonymous said...

This is also for WeLoveStephen:

You made a few claims -
1. Hope has most churches around the world.
2. Hope is only church with main focus on church planting.
3. Hope has solid teaching.
4. Hope is the best.

I am afraid you are either delusional or in denial to make the above claims and to believe that they are real and true statements.

Also, it is a statement full of pride.

Please read this blog in its entirety to see how many unbiblical issues has been brought up and discussed.

If you want to blog, please raise truthful statements.

Anonymous said...

Continued from previous post to WeLoveStephen -

By the way, I also do not know Ps Stephen but I have been following this blog and no, I have not brought anything against Ps. Stephen at all in this blog. But you post is absolutely untrue so I would ask you to retract it.

Anonymous said...

I think the unbiblical thing that is happening here are the opinions on Ps. Stephen and Hope movement. Go figure.

To WeLoveStephen. It is a tough job being a Pastor and he welcomes support and prayers from you. Keep strong in Christ.

MLB said...

What is wrong with you?

We are just trying to make sure our movement is protected & that our leaders are righteous & are not trying to hide behind people like you trying to conceal the truth.

I dare you to answer this honestly.
So are you saying then it is biblical to hide your finances, to excommunicate people who left, to tell half truths? Whereas it is unbiblical to be open & transparent in our finances, to overcome one's insecurity about people leaving, to tell the truth?

Why is it alright for your pastor to talk about others behind their back, but not alright for others to talk about him (not even behind his back)? After all, aren't we only learning from your "I'm always right, everyone is wrong" pastor? How is it right when your pastor does something, but wrong when anyone else copies what he does?

I love you, but despise the pride in your hearts.

Anonymous said...

MLB, who are you to make sure that Pastors are doing the right thing? Isn't that the elder's responsibility? Why are you taking personal responsibility?

If people like WeLoveStephen are happy in their church, praise the Lord! Why question them? If there are any wrong doings, the fruits will show. Good trees bear good fruit, bad trees bear bad fruit.

Anonymous said...

Welovestephen,

This name is so familiar to a website called welovePN.. EVEN though he committed adultery. People are so blind that they allow him to be a leader.

Sounds like you are truly delusional. But i suppose it is what Ps Stephen teach in Hope Perth. exclusivity. and a frog in a well view of the church world.

You know either you have been so brainwashed or you are just in denial.

Hope teaching if its solid why do you think GOD will allow a split in the movement ???

Remember God never does thing without reason. THERE MUST SOMETHING REALLY REALLY WRONG in the concept.

Ps Stephen is a Thai Hope trained Pastor, all he knows is things he learned from thailand, his philosophy and idea of church.

It just seems that by trying to instill a HOPE BKK style of teaching it created more issues in the church.

PLEASE GO AND LISTEN TO PODCAST BY PS SIMON... YOUR LEADER>> AND HEAR WHAT HE HAVE TO SAY OF THE PREVIOUS HOPE TEACHING... AND WHERE WE PLAN TO TAKE H.I.M

Simon highlighted some issues in the PREVIOUS MOVEMENT.

Go to HIM website. before you get too brainwahed by Ps Stephen. Your philosophy sounds so warpped.

Do you realise Hope perth is the only church that is being dragged through this blog ?? What does it tell you ?

MLB said...

To Anonymous who responded on 30 Nov 7:00 am.

Up 'til now, you still haven't answered my questions. Is it because it's hard to answer because you know you can't defend Pastor Stephen anymore? And you know that my questions are legitimate.

By the way, I NEVER questioned WeloveStephen, (I see no point, as he/she is evidently delusional & brainwashed.) I was questioning Anonymous who answered on Nov 29 9:40pm.

And also, you say that it is only the elder's responsibility to make sure that Pastors are doing the right thing? Where is it written in the bible? So then are you saying that it is only the shepherd's responsibility to make sure that their sheep are doing the right thing? So you mean to say that YOU love your pastor so much that you DON'T CARE if he's doing the wrong thing?

"Let someone else deal with him, if no one does then let him face the wrath of God himself, I don't care what happens to him, it's not my responsibility."

You remind me of Cain & Abel, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Do you need me to read you the story to remind you what happened, and what God wasn't pleased with?

Anonymous said...

MLB, I repeat "If there are any wrong doings, the fruits will show. Good trees bear good fruit, bad trees bear bad fruit."

Anonymous said...

MLB, I repeat, many have tried to respond but it has fallen on deaf ears. Their response have merely been met with more criticism. Go figure MLB.

VIC said...

To MLB.

I think you're wasting your time on these people. They are already brainwashed and delusional.

As you also can see, they keep avoiding answering your questions directly. Like you say, they have no real answer.

They think that covering up is the best way to show love to their Pastor. If they have children, they will know that sometimes discipline is actually an act of love and not constantly excusing wrongdoings.

Just pray for their eyes to be open eventually. And may God have mercy on them and on Pastor Stephen.

Anonymous said...

MLB,

Matthew 18:15-17
If a brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter maybe established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan.

Is this public forum an effective way establish testimony? Ask yourself.

Anonymous said...

MLB,

Matthew 18:15-17
If a brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter maybe established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan.

Is this public forum an effective way establish testimony? Ask yourself.

Anonymous said...

VIC, I repeat, many have tried to respond but it has fallen on deaf ears. Their response have merely been met with more criticism. Would there be ever a satisfactory way to answer every nit-picking details?

Anonymous said...

Ha! Looks like based on our bloggers previous comments, it's time to treat Pastor Stephen like a pagan.

And to think all we wanted was to see him change for the better. Ok, pagan it is then.

Cool Runner said...

I agree with "Anonymous - December 1, 2009 11:24 PM"

The bible verse is very correct here. Since he is so unwilling to change, maybe we should just treat him like pagan. Well done anonymous! I support you fully!

Anonymous said...

I believe this decision to consider one a pagan needs to be done collectively by the entire church including the leaders. In this case, the Hope elders. What is their say on this matter? If they do not consider him a pagan, then we can't just brand Pastor Stephen as one.

It would be interesting to know what the Hope elders think of this matter.

Anonymous said...

Errrm...I am not surprised if Hope elders are fasting and praying hard for the administrator of this blog to repent and shut down the blog forever.

Anonymous said...

If he is treated as a pagan, what about his followers? Should they be treated as pagans as well?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous who thinks the elders of H.I.M. must be praying and fasting for this blog to be shut down - don't you think it would be better if they published a statement on the official H.I.M. blog to stand by their pastor Stephen if indeed the matters discussed in this blog are inaccurate? Don't see why that would be difficult to do unless the things mentioned in this blog are true. I am sure there are lot of people who know and read this blog and the H.I.M. blog. Just as Ps. Simon had earlier wrote to explain why H.I.M had chose to part with the former leaders of HGI, the leaders of H.I.M. could also issue the statement to clear Ps. Stephen if indeed he is innocent of the matters discussed. I would do it if I was in their shoes. But could their silence mean that these issues are real?

Anonymous said...

Exactly right. One does wonder why the top leadership keeps quiet on the issues re Ps Stephen. I suspect that they probably have sufficient evidence to show that he is guilty but are not willing to sack him. For a start there is a bunch of ignorant members who are loyal to him. The top leadership probably warned him and that's about it. It's hard to replace a pastor, you know how it is in Hope, they can't afford to lose Hope Perth so easily afterall it's their mission to plant churches in the major cities of Australia.

I am very disappointed with the HIM leadership. After what happened in Bangkok I thought the new leadership is more gutsy when come to problem solving. Judging from the way things are handled re Ps Stephen, I can't help but to think that it's still the same leadership with different branding.

I was thinking of going back to Hope after Ps Simon took over but now I have my reservations. The same goes with Ps Wilson. I was waiting to see how he handles Ps Stephen and sad to say not much has changed.... well, nothing that we could see anyway. For once, it would be nice to see the leaders put the welfare of the flock first rather than the pastor. Anyhow, they may argue that they are putting the welfare of the existing Hope Perth members first since they are happy where they are.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Anonymous said...

Lets look on the flip-side. Have you guys ever thought there is no issue in the first place? Think about that.

Anonymous said...

People don't usually mention names if the allegations aren't true. I don't think you want those who has the evidence/paper trail to post them on the forum for everyone to see.

VIC said...

Evidence is a very scary thing.
And you never know who you may provoke enough to actually expose your misdoings.

I actually think if I were Pastor Stephen, I wouldn't be taking this chance. Just admit it, repent, and I'm sure you'll be forgiven.

To me, the problem with PN was not so much that he did so many wrong things, cos no one is perfect, but that he refused to change. And I think people are less forgiving towards that.

Hope Pastor Stephen is not walking down that path of PN too.

Anonymous said...

A word of 'Sorry' would be nice.

Anonymous said...

For those who have evidence I say post them here or give links to them. The issue in Thailand had many evidences posted although most of them are in Thai and requires translation. There are also videos to back up claims of false teachings.

If you have the evidence, why keep them secret? Some stated here they refrain from posting evidence to save face for Pastor Stephen, but these are the same people who flame him left and right. So if you want to help Pastor Stephen save face then stop flaming, if you want to reveal his wrong doings here then post whatever evidence you've got to back your claims and let the people here make their own judgement.

For those who concluded the HIM elders are just sitting down and doing nothing are just assuming. Are you in the board of elders to get 1st hand information on this? How do you know that the elders have not spoken to Pastor Stephen about these matters already and are currently operating in "Grace" mode to give him time? No public body in their right mind will announce internal matters publicly until all due process and due diligence is completed. Everything in the checkbox must be ticked first because if something goes public prematurely, you can imagine the embarassment it can cause if the announcement is riddled with holes and inaccuracies.

On one hand we all here agree nobody is perfect and everyone needs grace but on the other there are some who are acting ruthlessly and asking HIM elders to immediately serve Pastor Stephen's head on a platter.

Anonymous said...

Well said Anonymous December 2, 2009 7:58 PM.

King Bonza said...

My mate Anonymous December 2, 2009 7:58 PM,

Before challenging every reader to post evidence, it is important you understand what evidence may be out there.

A blind challenge is good for testosterone levels but may cause many worms to emerge from the woodwork and the Bonza apples.

Is that really in HIM’s or Ps Stephen’s interests?

Bonz Bonz Bonz

Anonymous said...

Well, same question to you Anonymous December 2, 2009 7:58 PM, are you in the board of elders who has 1st hand information on this? Why don't you tell us which pastor you are then?

VIC said...

Oh i don't know about actually posting evidences. What's the point of fully embarrassing someone?

I still think the smarter way would be to resolve things quietly. And I have a feeling that once the elders start doing something concrete, all of these will stop.

Don't ask for something that you later can't retract. The damage would be eternal then. There's a reason why sometimes people settle disputes out of court.

Anonymous said...

Well said VIC. I love it.

King Bonza said...

Vic, your comments meet with the Bonz’s hearty approval.

Heads on platters and martyrdom don’t go down well with vegetarians like the Bonz.

Keep bouncing and bonzing.

Anonymous said...

VIC, two thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

I am here not as a die heart defender of Pastor Stephen and neither am I the one who wants him to go down.

I have decided to be objective about this matter by first seeing everything as plausible first. What I am hoping is that all other forumers do the same as well to first see any matters brought up here as first being plausible. Some here are unfortunately very quick to conclude and refuses to entertain other possibilities. If we want to deal with absolutes, then please present the evidence, if not we here only sharing possibilities.

What was mentioned about Pastor Stephen, some of the good and the bad I can agree with them because I too have experienced them in the past. Those that I have not experienced, then I asked to be enlighthened by those who have by showing some evidence and not to just continue ranting about it. Without evidence, whatever that's been said here will simply remain as plausible only. If you want to convince others what you are saying is a fact, then please present it maturely and with the right evidence.

King Bonza:

Before challenging every reader to post evidence, it is important you understand what evidence may be out there.

What relevance is there that I must first understand the evidence out there? I am not going to be selective on the evidence presented because I am no respecter of the guilty. Are you suggesting that I cannot handle the truth? If you are suggesting that then let it be known that I welcome the truth because my interest is in the truth and nothing else.

A blind challenge is good for testosterone levels but may cause many worms to emerge ...

You interpret it as a challenge, I did not mean it to be that way. I only asked for the truth to be revealed and this can only be done with evidence.

Is that really in HIM’s or Ps Stephen’s interests?

I honestly don't care whose interest it is because the truth is the truth. It is not a respecter of anyone's interest.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous@December 2, 2009 8:48 PM

are you in the board of elders who has 1st hand information on this? Why don't you tell us which pastor you are then?

No I'm not in the board of elders and neither am I a pastor. I did not make any conclusion in my previous post, I only brought up a possibility that action could have already been taken. Just because it is not made public and the action taken does not agree with what some have in mind here does not automatically implying nothing is being done.


To Vic

Oh i don't know about actually posting evidences. What's the point of fully embarrassing someone?

The point is for the truth. If one is so zealous about ensuring that the truth be known out there, why should one first be concern about the embarassment of the accused? Isn't the truth worth more than accused's face value? If its the truth, then I say bring it here and let the accused be embarrassed by the truth.

I still think the smarter way would be to resolve things quietly. And I have a feeling that once the elders start doing something concrete, all of these will stop.

I totally agree with you there and that is why if there's no new evidence to add, then there's really no point going on in circles about this discussion here and just wait and let the Hope elders handle this internal matter quietly. We see what happens next.

Don't ask for something that you later can't retract

I am not interest to retract anything other than if its false or misleading.

In conclusion....
For those who eagerly and sincerely desire that the truth be known then please post some evidence because if not you are not really adding any value to the discussion forum. If there's no evidence, then anything is plausible, your argument is just as good as mine so please do not flame each other for differences in viewpoints and opinions.

WeLoveStephen4eva said...

We love Stephen
We love Stephen
He's the Best
Now, everyone go home
And let's give this a rest

Anonymous said...

We love Jesus
We love Jesus
He's THE best
If stephen is your idol
Please go home and repent.

Anonymous said...

Now that's what I call good poetry!

Anonymous said...

Definition of Truth (from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/truth):
1. Conformity to fact or actuality.
2. A statement proven to be or accepted as true.
3. Sincerity; integrity.
4. Fidelity to an original or standard.

In the context of the blog entries:
1. Posts does not meet factual requirements because of many anonymous accounts and not one person's identity can be verified
2. Not all statements made in this public forum can be proven to be true because accounts cannot be verified by the parties involved due to anonymity of all posts
3. Not all statements here can be sincere because some posts contain emotionally fuelled statements
4. Not all statements cannot be faithful to original story because all posts are versions of an event and the parties involved are not here to verify.

In conclusion, this public forum is not a good way of obtaining the truth because not all posts can be verified to be true.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous December 3, 2009 10:36 AM, why aren't you using your real name I wonder? Why don't you tell us which church you are from and if you are in any Hope leadership position. Up till now, none of the Hope leaders dare to reveal their own names in this forum, I wonder why?

MMM said...

To December 3, 2009 10:36 AM,

Actually whatever what is said in the blog is true is so simple.

Whatever you have to put names or evidence is not important, because if you are in the church, you will see it for yourself what is going on.

People in general are not stupid nor are they ignorant.

If they read the stories here, they will start to piece some the issues that went on in church and put 2 and 2 together much better.

Some of the stories i believe the members would have seen it and experience it themselves.

Anonymous said...

MMM, as I mentioned, events people notice and put in this blog are their version of events, each putting their own mark on their account, not to mention emotions could also play an unknown variable. But the issue is not all parties involved are present here at the same time to really present the "full" picture. I repeat, this public forum is not the ideal way to talk. Even if people would reveal their own identities, can identity can be verified. Someone can assume another person's identity and post a comment. Think about that. To many unknown variables.

MLB said...

To everyone.

I've thought about it, and I think that we haven't been very fair to Pastor Stephen.

We have just been assuming that everyone should be humble enough to admit their mistakes. Or mature enough to take responsibility. Everyone is at different levels of maturity, for Pastor Stephen he is obviously just not spiritually mature enough. Doesn't mean someone has been a Christian for a long time means they are mature in thinking.

And if we look at how he handles situations:

1. Excommunicating people who left or talking about them behind their back, which obviously stems from insecurity.

2. Mishandling finances, which obviously stems from past experiences & being still currently in serious debt. Who wouldn't want to be free from debt?

3. His dream of flying an aeroplane? Which young kid didn't have a childhood dream (in this case being a pilot) they want to see come true?

I'm sure there are many other people we have come across that are not mature yet, or have a lot of pride in their hearts still. Yes, even though Stephen is a pastor, & you would think he should at least be a bit more humble & more mature. But it's the elders' choice to put him as a pastor. For whatever reason, that is their choice.

From what I hear from my leaders, there have been a lot of challenges in Pastor Stephen's life the last couple of years, visa problems, wife having cancer, major financial problems, many church members leaving. I think God has already been trying to give him many wake up calls. If he remains blind or deaf toward his mistakes, then he faces God at the end of the day. We know that we are safe, because we've already done our part in telling him.

Hope Perth members, I just think if you feel something's not quite right, then leave & go somewhere where you know the pastor has integrity & where you know the church has biblical teachings.

I feel sorry for Pastor Stephen, his family & the remaining Hope Perth members. I pray that one day he'll see the light.

You can't convince a man he is blind unless he himself is convinced that he is blind.

MMM said...

I think in essense sometimes public forum is the only option for people to go.

we may argue that facts, truth and identity may be uncertain but with 2 parties in this discussion.

if anything is false someone will voice out, if it is true then generally there will be no debate on it.

A public forum forum is of course not ideal but may be best of the available forum.

Regardless of how we may think of our leaders, leaders are still human, and will have some interest to be objective.

There is no pefect system even if Hope feels that theocratic is the best form. But look at the catholic church.

the problem is any sytem in this world is flawed because Human is inherently imperfect.

Public forum only comes into play when the people who voice their opinion feels they can no longer trust the leaders and the system that supposedly uphold justice but actually seeks to silence it.

Whistleblowers are often frowned upon, but sometimes are essential to make things right.

Some people think that Rubina did wrong when she whistleblow on the adulterous nature of Ps PN and the unscupulous way Dr Dan Kreingsak and him conduct the church to the extent that I feel both these leaders prostituted the hope Church to the world system in order to get what they want.

Did rubina did right or wrong ? Is public forum good or bad. I suppose only time will tell

Anonymous said...

In other words, we have an insecure, immature, proud, childish, stubborn pastor who is heavily in debt.

Sounds good to me. It sure does sound like the pastor stephen we all know.

MMM said...

I think in essense sometimes public forum is the only option for people to go.

we may argue that facts, truth and identity may be uncertain but with 2 parties in this discussion.

if anything is false someone will voice out, if it is true then generally there will be no debate on it.

A public forum forum is of course not ideal but may be best of the available forum.

Regardless of how we may think of our leaders, leaders are still human, and will have some interest to be objective.

There is no pefect system even if Hope feels that theocratic is the best form. But look at the catholic church.

the problem is any sytem in this world is flawed because Human is inherently imperfect.

Public forum only comes into play when the people who voice their opinion feels they can no longer trust the leaders and the system that supposedly uphold justice but actually seeks to silence it.

Whistleblowers are often frowned upon, but sometimes are essential to make things right.

Some people think that Rubina did wrong when she whistleblow on the adulterous nature of Ps PN and the unscupulous way Dr Dan Kreingsak and him conduct the church to the extent that I feel both these leaders prostituted the hope Church to the world system in order to get what they want.

Did rubina did right or wrong ? Is public forum good or bad. I suppose only time will tell

VIC said...

I agree, sometimes we just have to use public forum.
Why do you think whistleblowers are often promised to have their identity concealed?

You don't know what sort of rage someone may feel when finding out who has betrayed you, or who blew the whistle on you. No one wants to take that chance.

Anonymous said...

MLB, you have said it right about the unfairness levelled at Ps Stephen. Yet you continue to do so in the same post *sigh* If you have only heard from your leader about Ps Stephen's situation, why not have a frank discussion with your leader before posting any more critisms. Let him/her know of your frustration and receive guidance of appropriate actions. All should do the same.

Anonymous said...

MLB, one more note. I think we can only trust our leaders. If you have issues, go up the chain of command so proper discussions can be made within the church, as per Mt 18:15-17. We have all be affected by the actions taken by PN but seeking Godly leader counsel is the right thing to do, instead of posting on this unregulated blog. Hope Perth members can do the same.

??? said...

I think you people are weird.

From what I read from MLB's post. He was just saying that we shouldn't just assume that everyone is already humble and spiritually mature, & therefore should cut them some slack until they feel they are ready to change. What's wrong with that? So would you rather he go on saying, that we should keep insisting Pastor Stephen change NOW! NOW! NOW!
For me, I read it and think it’s so true what MLB is saying on those 3 points.
1. I also have my insecurities and I often act on them instead of acting rationally.
2. I’ve seen lots of relatives in serious debt as well, and the burden they carry because of that. I’ve also seen families break up because of debt. So it is true, that people would do anything to be free from debt!
3. I also had dreams of being a police officer when I was a child, but never worked out for me. I would do ANYTHING to even have a glimpse of that come true!
In fact, MLB’s post has helped me to see Pastor Stephen as a normal ‘human being’ and we should try and understand his weaknesses.
So to ANONYMOUS, why do YOU keep flaming MLB then? Are you trying to say that we should continue expecting super high standards from pastor Stephen? Should we flame the fact that people have insecurities? Is it wrong to want to be free from debt? Is it wrong to want to see a childhood dream come true? Because it does seem that you don’t agree with MLB.
And I do remember hearing pastor Stephen share about his weaknesses, him being in debt & how being a pilot was his childhood dream. So then are you saying that it is wrong to have these weaknesses? That is essentially what you’re saying if you disagree with MLB.

??? said...

Also, to Anonymous...

You said that:

"MLB, one more note. I think we can only trust our leaders."

Didn't MLB say:

"From what I hear from my leaders, there have been a lot of challenges in Pastor Stephen's life the last couple of years, visa problems, wife having cancer, major financial problems, many church members leaving. "

So MLB trusted what his leaders said, what is basically what he is doing? So what is your problem again then?

Anonymous said...

???, I think MLB is the one doing the flaming. I am merely pointing out that he should not do it in this blog. MLB should consult his/her leader and talk about it with them rather than in this blog.

And I don't think I said anything about Pastor Stephen must not have weaknesses. The issue is the continual comments on him in this public blog. Not the right forum to discuss.

??? said...

To anonymous.

Can I remind you of what you wrote?

"MLB, you have said it right about the unfairness levelled at Ps Stephen. Yet you continue to do so in the same post *sigh*"

All I'm saying is that, I feel he is just asking us to cut pastor stephen some slack. But since you don't agree with what he is doing, then aren't you advocating the opposite?

MLB says to try and understand that even a pastor has weaknesses.
YOU disagree. Which means what? That pastor stephen has no weakness? Or that we having weaknesses are not allowed?

MLB says we shouldn't demand such high standards from everyone and should cut them some slack.
YOU disagree. Which means what now?
That pastors are not allowed to make mistakes?

MLB with his first sentence has already said, "I've thought about it, and I think that we haven't been very fair to Pastor Stephen." Doesn't that mean he's trying to bring fairness to the situation? YOU disagree. Which means what? You want bloggers to continue being unfair?

Anonymous, you are constantly contradicting yourself. Make up your mind.

After reading MLB's post, I decided to listen to MLB & just cut Stephen some slack & just try to understand him. Now I'm tempted to listen to you instead & do the opposite.

??? said...

To MLB.

Thank you for your post earlier. You are right in saying that everyone has weaknesses. I will try and understand Pastor more instead of constantly judging him.

Even though Anonymous disagrees. I wonder what he is trying to do? Confuse us further maybe.

Thanks for opening our eyes.

VIC said...

I think MLB has made a really good point. It is true that no one is perfect, and we can't always expect everyone to live up to our standards. Anonymous may still have some grievances towards Pastor Stephen maybe? I don't know why he/she is flaming MLB for trying to do the right thing here. I hope anonymous learns something from MLB soon.

Anonymous said...

???, May I remind you what MLB said:

"Pastor Stephen he is obviously just not spiritually mature enough"
"Excommunicating people who left or talking about them behind their back, which obviously stems from insecurity"
"Mishandling finances, which obviously stems from past experiences & being still currently in serious debt."
"you would think he should at least be a bit more humble & more mature"
"then leave & go somewhere where you know the pastor has integrity & where you know the church has biblical teachings"
"I feel sorry for Pastor Stephen, his family & the remaining Hope Perth members. I pray that one day he'll see the light."
"You can't convince a man he is blind unless he himself is convinced that he is blind."

Are these statements fair to Ps Stephen? That is what I meant by MLB saying its unfair and in the same post continue to be unfair.

??? said...

mTo Anonymous.
Maybe you should learn to read the WHOLE paragraph?

“We have just been assuming that everyone should be humble enough to admit their mistakes. Or mature enough to take responsibility. Everyone is at different levels of maturity, for Pastor Stephen he is obviously just not spiritually mature enough. Doesn't mean someone has been a Christian for a long time means they are mature in thinking.”

AND

“ Yes, even though Stephen is a pastor, & you would think he should at least be a bit more humble & more mature.”

I feel like a broken recorder repeating myself over and over again. But I think MLB is just saying to previous bloggers that if the grievances are true, and nothing is changing then Pastor Stephen is just not spiritually mature enough yet. Why? Is it a sin to not be spiritually mature?

“Excommunicating people who left or talking about them behind their back, which obviously stems from insecurity"

I feel MLB is just addressing those who personally experienced this from Pastor Stephen himself. I studied psychology before AND have also heard a couple of sermons on this before. Insecurity is often a major part of it. Why? Is it a sin again to be insecure? Do you not have any insecurities at all? Is it wrong for Pastor Stephen to be insecure?

"Mishandling finances, which obviously stems from past experiences & being still currently in serious debt."

Again, Pastor Stephen has admitted himself that he has been in debt. Is it wrong to be in debt? Maybe you have all the comforts in life & have no debt yourself, but it is a common thing, why do you have a problem with that?

“Hope Perth members, I just think if you feel something's not quite right, then leave & go somewhere where you know the pastor has integrity & where you know the church has biblical teachings”

Didn’t Pastor Stephen always say, “If you’re not happy then go.”??? I believe he was saying that it’s better to leave and be happy somewhere else instead of staying and not being able to grow. And I think it’s very wise advice to give, that if you do decide to go, then go somewhere where the pastor has integrity & to a biblical church. Why? Would you give advice to someone to go somewhere where the pastor has no integrity or to go to a non-biblical church?

"I feel sorry for Pastor Stephen, his family & the remaining Hope Perth members. I pray that one day he'll see the light."

"You can't convince a man he is blind unless he himself is convinced that he is blind."

I too feel sorry for Pastor Stephen, his family & the remaining hope perth members that they have to go through all this lashing. Why? Do you rejoice in the fact that all this is happening?

And it is true that you can’t convince a man he is blind unless he himself is convinced that he is blind. What is wrong with that statement?

I think you’re so consumed with thinking that everyone is against Pastor Stephen, that you can’t read it objectively.

MLB tell me if my interpretation is right or wrong?

VIC said...

I think Anonymous is not reading the whole thing properly. He/she seems a bit biased too.

Cool Runner said...

Anonymous, I think you may have misunderstood MLB. I don't see anything wrong with his comment at all. Maybe you need to search your heart and see how you're reading it. Have you been too consumed by what's been said in the blog so far?

Anonymous said...

???, when I read those statements, I think it is misrepresenting Pastor i.e. saying Pastor is such and such character. Would you like it if I told you, for example, you are not very intelligent and need to read more books. Now is that statement fair to you. No right because I don't know you as a person.

??? said...

If I'm humble enough I would listen to you and read more books because I want to be more intelligent.

If I THINK I'm intelligent enough, then I would NOT read more books. Thus losing out on a chance to be more intelligent.

Anonymous said...

???, haha yes I would do the same.

Now to expand on it. If I were to say "you are not intelligent" statement in this blog, do you think people in this forum will make a judgement on your character, without knowing you first? Precisely why such statements should be avoided.

MLB said...

Thanks ??? for standing up for me. It is true what you say.

Anyway, time will tell the humility & real character of someone.

Anonymous said...

To YLC,

Could i check with you if there was a Church building fund during your time in charge ?

How much was our church building fund ?

We have been giving to our fund for awhile but up till now we do not have an idea how much is in the account.

Curious

Anonymous said...

As far as I know, there has been a building fund for a long long time, even before Pastor Stephen came into the picture.

Anonymous said...

How much is the building fund since YLC days ?

Anonymous said...

YLC has posted previously on Hope Perth's financial situation when he was in charge of the finances.

He mentioned, "The entire building fund of approximately $32,000-$35,000 was intact."

As for what happened to the building fund now, you will have to ask Ps Stephen that question. No point asking YLC, he is not in Hope Perth, he wouldn't have a clue.

Anonymous said...

I see what happen to the fund then ? So we should have at least 40,000 or even $50,000 by now, since we have run the fund for so many years since YLC have left. But it has never appear. Wonder what happen to the money ?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous December 12, 2009 7:27 AM, why are you so interested in the building fund? Are you a registered member of said church? If you are, you can request for the fund to be detailed.

Otherwise, do I as a total stranger, ask you how much you have in your account? What do you hope to achieve in getting that information? Would for example, Google company detail how much it has in its bank accounts to non-members?

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous December 12, 2009 10:24 AM.

I think it's pretty much common sense that it's someone from Hope Perth. No one else would care that much.

Anonymous said...

If they are registered from Hope Perth, ask from the accountants. It is the right of the registered member. Get it from the horses' mouth. Why the need to ask in this blog? Very much doubt they would get that information here.

Anonymous said...

hi,

I was curious about the church building fund because it is important for everyone to know how much Hope Perth have in the chruch building fund.

If YLC is right then 30K was already in the account, plus those that people gave, have anyone seen
the Hope perth Church building fund? or has it ever been reported regularly.

I read in the blog somewhere that Hope perth recently put out financial statement did it include their church buidling fund. ?

The fund according to general calculation shoudl have been in the region of 40-50K since YLC said that the fund was already in the region of 20-30K plus.

Have anyone ever wondered where the money is ? or is it still in the account ?

Anonymous said...

I re-iterate, if you are a member, request. If not, this kind of information is only available to registered members.

Anonymous said...

Let me assist the Hope Perth leaders defending Pastor Stephen. The answer to silence the critics on financial issues only needs to say:

"Thank you for your questions on the building fund.

For confidentiality reasons we cannot disclose the amount in the fund.

However, be assured the fund is properly accounted for, the money is earning interest and it will be used properly at the right time."

Anonymous said...

?=&

Anonymous said...

~!@#$%^&*()_+`1234567890---?>?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Let me assist the Hope Perth leaders defending Pastor Stephen. The answer to silence the critics on financial issues only needs to say:

"Thank you for your questions on the building fund.

For confidentiality reasons we cannot disclose the amount in the fund.

However, be assured the fund is properly accounted for, the money is earning interest and it will be used properly at the right time."

----------------------------------

I am sorry ? Are you actually even in a church ??? Since when Church building fund is confidential ????

Of all the churches I have been to, Hope and Non-hope churches, every time there is a building fund. The amount is always posted on the bulletin to encourage the people. The amount is never hidden.

Unless you got something to hide, then of course, You say such thing. So pardon me, are u in that sort of church ?

I have never heard of church building fund being confidential. Maybe you should go check with other churches.

As one comment said it - It is the right of all registered church member to request for such information. So if you are still in Hope Perth, you should ask for the info, get the leaders to account for the money.

The person who say it is confidential, i request you go read the Law of Australia to find out if members have the right to ask for an audited account of the church money before you answer the comment. I dont want to be your babysitter and teach you about legal rights.

So if you are a registered member don't be afraid to ask. The Australia law is on your side. Find out where the money is, ask the leaders to account

If there is less than 30K plus in the bank, you should ask the leaders to answer where the money has gone.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous December 15, 2009 8:12 AM,

How do you know it isn't already reported? Do you have a little birdie telling you things about Hope Perth? Is that birdie a member of Hope Perth? I am sure he should have the courage to request such information and ease your "concern" about the fund.

VIC said...

Anonymous on December 15, 2009 8:12 AM, they are again avoiding to answer your question. I wouldn't bother really. I'm sure if they have been properly accounting for their building fund, they should be able to put down a deposit for a building soon.

If they are God fearing, every single cent would be used for what it was said to be used for. Otherwise they would be deemed as lying & cheating their members. If they're honest people, praise God! If not, then there's nothing you can do about it 'til their conscience pricks them.

Simple?

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