Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The current Hope

Here is a reply to a comment posted regarding our Hope movement.

I have been observing for awhile now to see any big changes happening in the Hope Movement after the split, I must say we are still getting there.

The Hope Movement have split now for slightly over a year. In Hope Bangkok, there have been big changes happening everyday. Daily you will hear people moving and new churches starting up.

Foundation have split into many smaller churches and are now around 200-300 people. Ps Nimit started a new church as I reported earlier.

Ps PN too have their own issue and split, though its slightly more minor then Foundation. Most split churches have used New Church names to disassociate from Hope Brand name and have either become independent or joined the HIM banner.

Ps PN have been able to go on preaching because no one stood up to make a stand, to inform the Christian circle of his misdeed. In other part of Christiandom, pastor who committed adultery will be asked to step down, but not so for Ps PN.

It does feel every top leader missed the point, PN should never be allowed to take the pulpit without first stepping and proving his integrity and morality. Neither HIM nor Pastors in Thailand have said anything publicly except Ps PK from Hope London, and for that i admire his righteousness, some pastor felt it was too strong, but not me, I call a spade a spade.

Hope's greatest failing is that it always chooses the diplomatic route, instead of standing for what is right. When members sin, we are always quick to pinpoint members sin, but when a leader sin, we are always told to be understanding and be "nice".

In the international scene, under HIM 2 churches have decided to go independent as mentioned in previous article.

Have HIM change ? I think its trying. I see leaders trying to make a difference. We held conference called rediscovering our core. We try to put things right, but as is with big organization everything takes time. Some people have chose to leave Hope instead of waiting, some like me are still waiting to see.

Issues in Hope

Money - Yes money have been a sticking point in Hope, from its inception. We used to have the HGI tithes of 20%, which I have tried asking but no one could account for the money in there. Hope in general have been quite lax in this area i must admit. There is no clear policy or guideline about the use of money in terms of salary package, what is reimbursable cost, etc. Some region do have a guideline on pay package but from my knowledge its up to own church to decide and very region specific - which is all i can say. Some churches are better at handling money and some not so. Hope Singapore would be financially the most stable church. I know this area is a very sticky area and HIM may not want to touch this aspect as of now. I think if i am not wrong, they are trying to set-up a general policy for all HIM churches but its still in the early stage

Shepherding - I don't think anything will change in this area. BGR policy and how we function in the system will always be very subjective. The idea of shepherding is a good one, but the quality and type of advice and shepherding will always be dependent on the shepherd you get. Not all shepherd are the same, because the truth is some do become shepherd too fast and may not have enough experience or understanding to handle sheep. I have always believe, the title of shepherd must be first earned with your life and example.

Transparency and obedience - Transparency is something HIM is trying hard to build. Its still not easy. There is over 20 plus years of Hope Ideology which i must admit are not all good. The problem we have is applying principle into practical everyday living, which is totally impossible. We build rules and regulation we apply across the board, not factoring other circumstances. In principle, we teach people to love and serve God, which is right. But in Hope's understanding serving means - use your time to meet, follow-up, shepherding, leadership training, run care group, church plant, anything else is not important. The truth is God created us all different, with different gifting, different way of life and interest, we love God by putting God central of what we do. We can serve God too by studying doing well at school and be a testimony, we can play music, open business and support the church by other means. Rigidity had always been our problem. We must start to learn from other churches around the world too. Whatever we will be able to break the mold will largely depend on the leaders leading HIM. I suppose this will be awhile before we see any major shift in paradigm


Because Hope HIM is very much still a very "young" organization, which has just gone through a huge split and shaking. I don't foresee significant change that soon. I think we must all understand, if the top leaders hit the wrong note too soon, who knows more churches will decide to come out and become independent. Its really a catch 22 situation . So all i can say is pray and keep faith.

Set a dateline for yourself, if you still don't see the change you desire or course you can go to other church where you can serve better. Don't stay bitter, just become better.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Hope Legacy

Its been a while since i wrote on any updates, been thinking about the Hope Movement lately. I suppose over the course of over 25 years, the movement have scarred quite a number of people along the way, reading from the comments, I get a sense that our movement have swept many things under the carpet in the past.

Over the years, in the aim of pushing the 1 million churches by 2015, we have sacrificed many good people pushing them into mission field to reach the ultimate goal. I have lost many good friends burnt out and tired, trying to reach the goal of church planting.

Over more then a decade, I kept the "body count" of burnt out people, because of Dr Joseph and Ps PN pushing their agenda and dreams. Its truly a very fine line between God's call and personal agenda. Jehovah Witness and Mormons are also "Supposedly" spreading the Gospel, sometimes people maybe sincere but sincerely wrong.

For all I know Ps PN and Dr Joseph started out well but got side tracked along the way - one by the love of power ( Dr Joseph ) and one by the love woman ( Ps PN) - the saddest thing is the people in the Hope Bangkok church still don't know or don't believe Ps PN committed adultery.
Even big pastors around the world have absolutely no clue, i don't know if HIM should take a more bold stand - we preach holiness and integrity. What are leader's responsibility when you see our own brother's and sister's still living in a lie, not knowing the severity of the sin the leaders have committed.

I recently read a blog from a non-hope person, stating the Hope Church split because of financial and political issue. It does tell me many people are still unwilling to speak up, but why ? Should the leaders from the ex-hope take a bolder stand and not be too diplomatic and forgo those niceties ?

There are still good leaders in HIM and those that truly walk by faith, over the course of this split and the trials and tribulations of Hope, strong leaders have emerged. I really hope we can get rid of the stigma of the Hope legacy, there are some good principles we can keep but we should set a new direction, a new name hopefully. Its getting confusing sometimes, when you see Hope Church in certain places but they belong to different factions. Can u imagine 2-3 hope churches in one same place calling by the same name, same mission statement but run by different head ?

I do wish besides discovering our core this new chapter, we can set out doing something different. We should keep the Shepherding system, the follow-up and Cell system, but do away with the elitist attitude of " Leaders knows best attitude", because sometimes leaders don't know best. When Peter made mistake regarding partaking of food with Gentiles, Paul still could rebuke him and show him what he did was wrong.

In all honest truth, there were some bad choices and decisions made, leaders were promoted because of loyalty rather then spirituality. By loyalty i mean blind loyalty, Leader is always right and never wrong. When leader is wrong its because God's will changed.

I know in the blog, there have been some heated arguments about churches and pastors, but who am i to judge. God must have His reasons for everything. As leaders of God's flock, we will ultimately be accountable to God himself, no one can blame others and try to shift the responsibility away.

What i am trying to say is this, we should always cover the very area which destroyed Hope, the legacy left by the leaders of the movement. Have anyone every wondered, if blessing flow from Top down, what about curses ? Meaning every Pastor and leader who have been in Hope will ultimately face these test - Money, Power and Lust, Keep watch and pray so that we will pass this test.

I know there have been comments on these issues in the blog, I do pray its not all true, if it is it will be so saddening. I really Hope these is not the legacy we are going to leave behind as a movement.

I am praying this is a start of a new chapter, hopefully for those friends who have left Hope, may God give you strength.