Forrestcat commented it’s “pretty dumfounding that Singaporeans flocked to this denomination”.
The Christians we’re discussing are the City Harvest Church congregation hogging the headlines for the following reason — Skandal gereja Singapura-KL, murtad, superstar dan gejala cuci otak
Who are they and why do they do it? i.e. make this church the richest one in the Little Red Dot.
An article in the online portal TR Emeritus titled ‘An analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church (Revisited)‘ provides some insight.
The author of the article lists 14 reasons which I’ve condensed below. Please read the article in full at the original website for details.
I found his point No.8 – “Preach what people like to hear” – most notable.
The blogger who uses the pseudonym ‘Think free and fair’ also had this to say, “A charming smooth talker can easily sway minds with his interpretation of the Bible. In the final analysis, Faith is about simply believing.”
Reasons why City Harvest Church is able to become so wealthy
1. Clever packaging of Sunday services
2. Revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs
They even have an online shopping cart!
3. Efficient collection of tithes
Church members can pay online via credit card or Giro.
4. Promising excellent returns on the church donations
“The pastor preaches that God will give 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your tithe. But, you have to be generous in your donations first so that you will receive in harvest proportions. I guess that is the origin of the name City Harvest,” writes the Singapore blogger.
5. Quality of customers
With the 100-fold return message, money-minded people will be attracted to the church.
“To the credit of the Pastor, I think he has devised a wonderful process of filtering out non-profitable customers and sucking in the lucrative ones”, i.e. from this money-minded customer base, those who got rich will donate even more because they think their source of wealth comes from their donations and it is most unlikely they will cut back on their tithes because they will be afraid God will punish them if they do so.
6. Kill off the competition
It is very hard for City Harvest Church’s competitors to get its customers to switch over.
7. Providing a place where the rich can network
“For property agents or insurance agents trying to hit their sales quota, City Harvest Church will be an ideal place to hunt for lucrative clients.”
8. Preach what people like to hear
9. God pays for the returns, not the church
10. Social pressure to conform
11. Large number of young people
12. People pray hardest when they fall on hard times
13. Money has universal appeal
“The Pastor preaches Prosperity Gospel which resolves [‘revolves’ also?] around money. His business genius lies in choosing this theme for his church,” according to the analysis by blogger ‘Think free and fair’ (a pseudonym).
14. Tax benefits as church is registered as a charity
The above analysis was done two years ago by the Singapore blogger. He has updated with a further four reasons at his own blog, http://thinking-free-and-fair.blogspot.com/2012/07/city-harvest-saga-continues-analysis.html#comment-form
In light of the current developments, ‘Think free and fair’ can see how a defense mechanism has kicked in.
In this period of crisis, members of the parish have further strengthened their loyalty to The Company — “self-denial as a form of psychological defense mechanism to protect himself from facing the pain of meeting reality head-on”.
Reasons why City Harvest Church may remain a profitable business
15. Customers who keep coming back for more (no matter what)
16. Loyal and trusting shareholders
18. Customers will not sue for fraud if church fails to deliver on promises
Meanwhile in Malaysia …
There are Twits born every minute
See the speed at which Twit Meter numbers keeps rising.
Did the Subang Jaya state assemblyman receive public relations lessons from the City Harvest Church, asks Calvin.
One Bernard Ho blogged on 31 July 2011 that Hannah Yeoh was the guest of honour at the opening of the City Harvest Church Subang Jaya. According to Bernard, Hannah also gave a short speech.
Bernard described the service as packed and the worship fantastic. “The presence of God and the HS [Holy Spirit] was tangible,” he wrote. See Bernard’s blog at http://my.opera.com/holee0101/blog/2011/07/31/city-harvest-church-kl-soft-opening