Tuesday, August 5, 2014

News On City Harvest Church

CHC spent half a million dollars buying Sun Ho's unsold CDs (Click on title for original source)

SINGAPORE: Sun Ho was not the successful singer City Harvest Church had made her out to be. Evidence showed the church spent about half a million dollars to buy her unsold Mandarin CDs.
The profitability of her artiste management company Xtron was also questioned, as the trial involving the church's leader Kong Hee and his five deputies resumed on Monday (Aug 4). 
The six church leaders are accused of misusing millions of church funds to buy sham bonds to bankroll Sun Ho's music career.
She had been touted as a big commercial success, but lead prosecutor Mavis Chionh said the financial statements told a different story. In 2004, City Harvest Church spent about half a million dollars to buy her unsold (Mandarin) CDs - numbering at least 32,000 copies - to give away to overseas ministries and overseas churches.
These details surfaced as the prosecution sought to highlight inconsistencies in former church board member John Lam's evidence. He had cited Ms Ho's success as a reason the church should invest in bonds issued by Xtron - her artiste management company.
The Prosecutor had strong words for Lam. She called his evidence incredible, and a lie, and said he was desperate to find an explanation as to why he had gone along with a plan to let the church sink millions of dollars into what were essentially junk bonds.
Lam pointed out that junk bonds were not necessarily bad bonds, and added that he had believed that Sun's US album sales would be good enough to cover the obligations of the bond. But the prosecution said that as a former director of Xtron, Lam would have known it was not a profitable company.
For example, its only asset was a laptop, with all other assets loaned by the church. It did not even have the budget to pay for a S$46,000 freight services bill.
The prosecution also drove home the point that Xtron was not the independent entity it had been made out to be. For one, Lam and his fellow accused Chew Eng Han had agreed to stamps of their signatures being made, to be used on Xtron invoices. Ms Chionh said the two were "happy to rubber stamp decisions", knowing they were made by Kong and the church.
It was also heard that the bulk of Xtron's funding came from the church members. For example, Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi's donations to the Church Building Fund were refunded to him, and channelled to Xtron. The building fund pledges and tithes of some other members including Lam were also diverted to Xtron. The trial continues.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Why Team Ministry Is Better Than a One-Man Show

This is an article taken from Charisma Magazine.
Click on the Title for original source.

Why Team Ministry Is Better Than a One-Man Show
The Author of this article is J. Lee Grady.
Last week I served alongside a team of pastors at a ministry school in Debrecen, Hungary, a city I've visited four times. Even though I don't speak Hungarian (it's one of the most difficult languages on the planet), I had a blast working with my friends Zsolt, Eugene, István, Pál and Attila. We shared meals, worshiped and prayed together and opened our hearts on a deep level—with the help of my interpreter and, on a few occasions, the Google Translate program on my phone.
Nobody tried to be the star as we shared teaching slots during the week. We preferred each other and encouraged each other. And we laughed a lot because we really enjoyed each other's company. Every leader contributed his part—and in the end the students were blessed that their teachers flowed in harmony.
Teamwork is an essential part of God's plan for ministry. In both the Old and New Testaments, we see teams of people working side-by-side to further His kingdom. Moses shared leadership with Aaron and Miriam (see Micah 4:6) and David had a group of "mighty men" who performed valiant deeds under his command. Solomon appointed a team to serve as his deputies, Nehemiah rebuilt Jerusalem with teams of workers, and Esther's maidens prayed and fasted with her before she saved Israel from genocide.
Jesus loves teams. He gathered a group of hand-picked disciples and then sent them out to minister in pairs (Luke 10:1). He involved them in feeding the multitudes and healing sick people. In the same way, the apostle Paul never traveled anywhere alone, and he always credited the people who helped him. His love for Timothy, Phoebe, Luke, Silvanus, Titus, Priscilla and other team players is an obvious backdrop in his epistles.
So if teamwork is so essential to Christianity, why do we prefer the celebrity model of ministry today? Here are five clear reasons that teamwork is a better approach:
1. Teamwork accomplishes more. Anybody who has ever chopped down a tree with an axe or painted a house knows the job gets done quicker and easier when more people are working. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says: "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor." Ministry leaders are compared to oxen in the Bible, and Jesus said He would place a "yoke" on us when we are called to ministry (see Matt. 11:29). A yoke connects a team of oxen. Jesus never referred to his followers as renegade stallions who run off on their own. He called us to be yoked together with others. You will not achieve as much if you insist on doing everything yourself.
2. Teamwork unlocks people's potential. In a one-man show, a leader performs the up-front job, a few overworked people help in the background, and the crowd watches. Religious spectators are trained to sit—as if they have nothing useful to contribute. Yet the New Testament tells us the Holy Spirit gives every believer certain gifts, and we all are to use these gifts for the common good (1 Cor. 12:7, 11).
In today's megachurch culture, the celebrity pastor looms large on the big screen, and he may even broadcast his message to several satellite congregations. This might effectively reach some people for Jesus, and it might be a short-term solution for growth, but does it encourage every church member to discover his or her potential? The best leaders know how to involve lots of people to reach God's goal.
3. Teamwork encourages healthy relationships. It's easier to do ministry alone. But you will never grow if you do a solo act. When you are part of a team you must deal with competitive attitudes, jealousy, pride, complaints and hurt feelings. This is exactly why Jesus wants us to work together! You will never confront the flaws in your character unless you work with others. They will expose your selfishness, and you will expose theirs. Proverbs 27:17 says: "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." God will use Brother Bothersome and Sister Sandpaper in your life to make you more loving—and more humble!
4. Teamwork prevents scandals. Years ago after televangelist Jim Bakker was released from prison, he admitted that he had surrounded himself with yes men who didn't have the courage to tell him he was making unethical business decisions. Leaders with a one-man-show mentality are in danger of doing incredibly stupid things because they lack accountability. Team ministry encourages transparency, and senior leaders recognize the value of getting honest feedback from their colleagues. You will fail as a leader if you don't have wise counselors who have access to you. Surround yourself with team players and ask them to point out your blind spots!
5. Teamwork keeps us from idolizing men. A well-known pastor in Nigeria was known to record his sermon each week and then send tapes of his message to his pastors throughout the country. The pastors were then expected to stand in their pulpits the following Sunday, play the recorded sermon ... and move their mouths to the words! They had no message of their own. They were simply clones of the "All-Important Man of God."
That may sound silly, but aren't we guilty of similar foolishness when we put leaders on pedestals and idolize their preaching style? The one-man show may have worked in the past, but the emerging generation has zero tolerance for religious phoniness. People today want healthy leaders who know how to share power instead of grabbing or abusing it.
J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.