‘To whom much is given, much is expected’ is a statement that speaks of responsibility and accountability. For the congregation at City Harvest Church, a lot was expected of their leaders when it came to stewardship. However, the recent court case against the leaders for Criminal Breach of Trust and Falsification of Accounts reveals that their leaders have not been good stewards of the money that was given to them by the congregation.
A confession from one of the members of the church reveals that a lot of trust was lost due to these acts. This member joined the church in 2005, met his spouse in the church and built a personal relationship with God. As a very active member, he joined cell groups and even became a cell group leader and an Executive Member until 2011 when he parted ways with the church.
The church member considered Tan Ye Peng, Pastor Kong and Sun as his role models because of all the sacrifices that they had made. He is grateful to them for their teachings. However, he decided to speak up after the revelations in court.
The project that is at the center of this controversy is the crossover project. It was started with the best of intentions, which was to call people to Christ through positive secular songs. Sun Ho would sing her positive Mandarin songs during concert tours all over Asia. She would then share her testimony with the audience before the Pastor delivered the altar call.
For a long time, the project was successful in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia as thousands of people were called to Christ. The strategy was meant to penetrate Hollywood and China. However, instead of the positive songs which were promoted earlier, CHC started promoting songs such as You Stupid, China Wine and Kill Bill. There was no longer an evangelical element to the crossover project. The veil has been lifted to reveal that money from the Building Fund was being used to finance this project. The church leaders had previously told the congregation that the first phase had been sponsored by Wahyu Hannafi, and that later phases had been funded by proceeds from Sun’s successful career.
The Executive Members had voted that funds should be invested in bonds so that leaders can be better stewards of the money. However, the shares that were bought in Xtron are no longer in profit. The Executive Members also approved the Multi-Purpose Account so that Pastor Kong and Sun could get out of the church payroll. However, we now know that the pastor used to draw a salary from the MPA, and then inform the donors that there was a deficit. The members insist that this is not about the money, as they gave willingly and were blessed because of it. They insist that they are disgruntled because of the deception and the fact that there was no stewardship or accountability. They also feel that the leaders in question undermined their generosity.
Members of the church usually give offerings in order to receive blessings, as it is all about sowing and reaping. A lot of them have attested to the fact that they have experienced breakthroughs, blessings and happy families as a result of their generosity. Therefore, the act of giving to the church is not a problem.
The problem is the fact that this money was moved and used for other purposes against their knowledge. Their leaders were not good stewards of the money, and they were never accountable for its use. Whether the court finds them guilty or not, the members have vowed to remain loyal to God as the word never fails. They hope that the verdict from the proceedings will usher in a new season of restoration for the church, without any half-truths, cover-ups or deception.