Mega-church faithfuls invest in malls

Misguided? Maybe, here’s excerpts from Bloomberg that amuses me:

Wearing a white leather jacket and jeans, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince asked God to reward a crowd of about 1,200 with houses, cars, jobs, pay raises and holidays if they contributed to New Creation’s multimillion-dollar funding drive.

At the New Creation service, PowerPoint slides showed attendees how to write checks to the church, while armed security guards watched the cash.

Worship and Holy Communion were followed by a video about a woman who donated on Miracle Seed Sundays even when her husband’s cancer treatments saddled the couple with debt. Images of a Volkswagen and a condominium showed the rewards that came to them for giving.

“As they come forth Lord to sow, release upon them Father the power to get, to create, to receive wealth in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Prince said in the rented Rock Auditorium at the Suntec City Mall. “Prosperity is right. Amen. We prosper to prosper others. We prosper to prosper God’s kingdom, so come believing.”

City Harvest Church, a non-denominational church founded by senior pastor Kong Hee, 48, has attracted a reported 20,619 members as of last year. It proposed in 2010 to spend S$310 million for a stake in the Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre as well as related rents and renovation costs.

In contrast to the U.S., where churches often champion political and sometimes anti-government views, religious groups in Singapore refrain from criticizing those in power. The laws “provide a broad framework to ensure that these pastors stay clear from discussing the politics of the day,” said Mathew Mathews, a research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies in Singapore who has written about mega churches.

Source: Bloomberg

This is what churches can do to attract funds.

New Creation Church discusses their business affiliations

Following the allegations against the managements of City Harvest Church, another mega church has voluntarily discussed their business affiliations. It appears they are quite business-oriented too.

New Creation Church talks about its affiliated companies

SINGAPORE: About a week after it emerged that 17 members of City Harvest Church had been called up for investigations into alleged misuse of funds, another mega church, New Creation Church, spent time during each of its four services on Sunday to talk about its five affiliated companies.

That year, New Creation, which has 17,000 followers, announced that its business arm Rock Productions had teamed up with mall developer CapitaMalls Asia to build an “integrated hub” in Buona Vista.

The $1-billion project – half of which the church has invested in – will house shops, a concert hall and a 5,000-seat theatre for services when ready in 2012.

Rock Productions also owns and manages the Rock Auditorium in Suntec City where services are held now and its adjoining Rock Gifts and Book Centre as well.

It also owns Marine Cove, a recreational and restaurant cluster at East Coast Park, which cost $10 million.

Meanwhile, a 10,000-strong congregation at City Harvest Church’s weekend services at Singapore Expo was told that senior pastor Kong Hee, 46, is taking a “needed rest”. (Source: ChannelNewsAsia)

In my opinion, it isn’t so much as to what businesses a church is associated with that their members want to know; rather, it’s why do they even need to get into these business affiliations. To grow money? Perhaps I’m shortsighted, but what justifiable reason is there for a church to get richer than it already is?