Prosperity Theology – Tan Seow How on the importance of getting young people to “GIVE” from young

I saw this disturbing video via Lucky Tan’s blog:

From 01:00 onwards to 24:00, a Singaporean guy named Tan Seow How from Heart of God Church shared with a Russian youth church group on how he make use of children to bring their friends to his church and convert them, circumventing Singapore’s school regulation which prevents him from reaching out directly.

He went on to share with the congregation of Russian youths on the importance of giving and tithing to the church.

Some fantastic quotes from Tan Seow How in the video:

– “If you reach  the schools, you can build the church”

– “Whenever you have a youth minstry, you will always have a strong church”

– “When young people learn to give, God would prosper them”

– “You may be poor now but you won’t be poor forever, but you must learn how to give”

– “I wanted a church that is built by young people, even financially supported by young people”

Some screen grabs from the video, featuring many young people under 18 with their respective schools, number of friends converted and contribution amount:

Church building fund raised by this group of youths
Church building fund raised by this group of youths
Each youth averages $1,800 each!
Each youth averages $1,800 each!
2nd generation of youth converts; the video went on to list till the 6th generation!
2nd generation of youth converts; the video went on to list till the 6th generation!
Two  youth leaders with 20 other youths under their care each
Two youth leaders with 20 other youths under their care each
Outstanding 17 years old students from my alma mater
Outstanding 17 years old students from my alma mater
Outstanding 14 year old students from my alma mater
Outstanding 14 year old students from my alma mater
15 converts from Hwa Chong
15 converts from Hwa Chong
9 batches of converts from Meridian JC
9 batches of converts from Meridian JC
Many other schools were listed.... from brand name schools to neighbour schools
Many other schools were listed…. from brand name schools to neighbour schools

I kept a copy in case the video gets deleted when it goes viral.

Btw, the Heart of God Church is listed as an affiliate church to City Harvest Church:

“Under the mentoring of Rev. Kong Hee, senior minister of City Harvest Church (CHC) Singapore, and the leadership of Senior Pastor Tan Seow How and his wife Co-Senior Pastor Cecilia Chan, Heart of God Harvest Church (HOGHC) has witnessed incredible growth since its official registration in August 1999.

HOGHC started conducting church services in a small premise at Henderson Industrial Park. The congregation rapidly outgrew their premises and HOGHC shifted to the heart of the city in Dhoby Ghaut on 12 December 2004. It was a great step of faith considering the high rent for a city space, but God provided and the church grew. The premises soon became too small again, and HOGHC moved into Singpost Centre on 11 August 2007.

The uniqueness of HOGHC is its strength in youth ministry. Youths make up three quarters of the congregation; the church is youth-run and youth-operated. Senior Pastors Seow How & Cecilia place a strong emphasis on Christian character building, aiming to equip the younger generations with leadership skills and being trained up in Godly values. HOGHC also believes in academic excellence, having faith that youths can excel in their studies and serve God at the same time.

The church also accentuates the importance of family life, reaching out to parents of the youths, bridging the different generations together in the process.

To date, this vibrant church continues to change and impact lives through its weekly church services, connect group meetings, ministry, Bible studies and active discipleship. HOGHC has been averaging more than 1,100 people in its weekly services as of September 2008.”

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35 thoughts on “Prosperity Theology – Tan Seow How on the importance of getting young people to “GIVE” from young”

  1. Alvin,

    :Lucky here.

    That was really great foresight of you to save a copy of the video because it has been deleted from Youtube.

    I was troubled by the video but now the alarm bells are really ringing – the church is linked to CHC and also teaches the prosperity gospel…to children!

    Wonder if you can email me a copy of the video. My email seeker9912@yahoo.com. I think we really need to bring up the awareness on this.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. Alvin…from your blog you are stating all your feeling but have you ever think maybe you could be wrong? These youth give in faith and these lives have changed. If you are so free to find and upload all these videos, why not you go and interview some of the youths there….I have from Heart of God church but I have seen these youths happily serving God and they seem more matured than you. Maybe you should go and see the church for urself before you comment. The love from these pastors has touched these kids that thier lives had been transformed. Do not slander this church as you are slandering God’s family.

  3. Ng: Thanks for the comment. Glad you are happy at Heart of God Church.

    I did not state any “feeling” in my whole blog post except for the word “disturbing” used to describe the video. Read my whole blog post again. Everything was quoted from the video or from CHC. Neither did I “slander” your church or “slander” God’s family. I know better than to poke into other’s religious beliefs.

    How can I be “wrong” when I just copy and paste everything from the sources directly? (unless the sources themselves are wrong or slandering themselves)

  4. I believe many youths had problems in their lives such as bad relationship with their family, bullied in school, gangsters etc where they got saved and lives transformed for the better. Give it a try to listen to their testimonies in churches around sg. And i believe u will be moved and touched, that there are people out there salvaging the broken ones.

  5. Yes, you did not slander but the way you put it is totally out of context. I did not understand your point of re-uploading this video again and again. What are you trying to proof? I find it nothing wrong to teach about giving at a young age. I applaud them for successfully being able to reach out to youths and changing them, i have seldom seen effective youth groups/movement like theirs including non religious ones. Trust me, i have done my research.

  6. hea4t1: If there is nothing wrong with the video content, why was it deleted? I was not the one who deleted it nor uploaded first initially. I did not upload the video “again and again”. Only once after it was taken down with no reasons given.

    I did not state anything was wrong with the video. Everyone can draw their own conclusion. Why do you see things so negatively? If you are happy giving, happy contributing, happy attending the church, by all means go ahead. It’s your life.

  7. hmmm… just two cents worth from a non-Singaporean (i’m not a Christian either). your post does say that the video was put up by a russian church not the singapore church you are talking about? do you think the conspiracy theory is a bit too much? maybe because this whole city harvest thing is such a sensational issue in the media it’s easy to start seeing links from everywhere.

    in any case, i was watching the video – i agree with alvinology if you just watch the first part of the video but when you put it in context of the whole video, it seems more balanced?

  8. I think there is nothing wrong with Alvin posting the videos here. The problem perhaps lies in many misconceptions regarding the “Prosperity Gospel”.

    Many people simply equate
    giving to church = prosperity gospel.

    The truth is that Christians are called to give. If you don’t agree with me, it’s ok. Read the Bible for yourself. Since the Bible carries the highest authority in the Church, its contents have deep implications for Christians.

    Jesus spoke extensively about issues related to money- be it the multiplication of wealth, the sickness associated with it, the motive behind giving, etc. In fact, the understanding of biblical giving is an important (though not entire) foundation for the Christian life.

    The Bible also teaches about serving God. It seems logical- if Christians profess to worship God, it is natural to serve the Higher Being.

    Think with me- if I know of a God who sends His one and only Son to redeem us from our sin, brokenness, shame and pain, it will be natural for me to respond to God with a sense of gratitude and desire to please Him. It is the real reason why many Christians give and serve in the first place.

    However I agree that there are also those who do so with ulterior motives. Christians don’t profess to have it all worked out- they rely on God’s transforming grace to grow from there.

    Jesus once said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    Many had looked at the Prosperity Gospel, but few actually wonder why there are many Christians who don’t subscribe to the Prosperity Gospel, yet still give dangerously in a baffling manner. It’ll be good to ask and find out from them.

  9. From a outsider looking at this I find the video shocking:

    1. The ‘pastor’ seems to be saying to the audience, to squeeze the young children into give. Don’t hesitate to ask them to give to the church . Ask children to make sacrifices to give..and tells they they will get something in return. As I understand the Prosperity Gospel is controversial even for adults. It is not right to spread such controversial practices to Children.

    2. The way it uses schools as recruitment grounds is not right.

    3. The counter-argument that I see from the replies is that that the people find this church good, they have grown more matured etc. This is besides the point. Nobody said this church is bad for you…obviously it has some attraction for the people who go. However, there are specific issues here being discussed and practices that are not right.

  10. “God will provide the money.” Since when did God become a venture capitalist? 🙂

  11. Probably it will be more appropriate to preach “to give not expecting any returns but out of love for Jesus who has saved us”. They should also be asked why did Jesus said in Matthew 19:24 – “And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.
    They love to quote Luke 6:38 but seldom do they explain that “For with the same measure….” it can also mean “the standard” which you place in the giving. If you treat it like a bank deposit with God expecting an interest, probably you will get “just” that….money back with no spiritual blessings.

  12. I notice the similarity to scientology the way these properity gospel churches and members defend and destroy anyone who in even the slightest way seem offensive to them.

  13. Like the cathedral building wars in the middle ages where cities and countries vied against each other to build the most impressive cathedral. The pastors of these money focused churches fight to own the most impressive church to top their rival pastors – their egos demand that they are the king of the heap.

    The most impressive churches require the most magnificent buildings, the most professional entertainment in their services, the best church programs, and the best conferences, the best websites, the best radio and TV programs, and the most members. All this costs a lot of money.

    And just like in the days of old these self anointed church kings seek to tax their subjects to fund their private war.

    Understand that these cultic churches ultimately exist to serve their pastor’s insecure egos, and their congregation suffer under their madness. This type of church culture breeds a harsh environment where people are discarded as soon as they are no longer useful. This is a dysfunctional ethos entirely alien to that of Jesus’s teachings.

    Your Counter Strategy: Don’t help fund these monuments to the pastor’s pride and prestige, these pet projects, these grandiose visions. Realize that these churches are not focused on Jesus, but are centered around the narcissistic pastor and what he desires most. Don’t be part of this game. Surely we are accountable to God to how we spend our money. Surely then it is our duty as Christians to give that money to true Godly works that bear real fruit for the Kingdom.

  14. Fortner says all Christians have been deceived by wealth, not just Charismatics, the result is spiritual lukewarmness. The Scriptures show that Biblical prosperity is having all your needs met, or not being in want, but the City Harvest definition is having lots of stuff. He also says that many pastors, especially the mega-church pastors, earn too much money, while Jesus taught that his future ministers should live without high incomes or material wealth.
    THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL EXPOSED
    http://prosperitygospelexposed.wordpress.com

  15. firstly i want to say even though its an affiliate church, its two different churches altogether.

    secondly, please do not post videos out of context and add in things just from the surface itself . They gave out of their choice, not by force.

    tithing is own free will, no one is forced to give and they gave because they know what they are giving for . Personally as a christian , i think we are not offensive , but its just people like to sensationalize everything and think every thing is a cult , everyone have no mind , no soul are just basically zombies .

    Maybe you have not heard testimonies of teenagers lives on the verge of sucide , when they are in despair, when things are not turning right , when no one is there and they feel rejected, their lives were change because of the love and care people did to change their lives.

    Maybe so many of you seems to think prosperity has a problem , i think you probably have to think twice :" putting your money queueing to buy toto hoping one day you turn rich vs lives been changed and their family relationships gets better and stronger ehich is more worth.

    Maybe you should visit Heart of God Church for 6 months before thinking it is some cult . If everything is a cult, i think people would have left then stay

  16. Please Email the video to Internal Security Department. Any wrongdoing they would know what to do. Protect our children, they are our future. Thank you.

  17. Hi all concerned parents/educators (regardless of whatever religion background)…. could we seek a dialogue with the 140 schools listed & invite a few MPs regarding this religion penetration of youth in our very own schools…. ???
    I’m concern about
    1) students sleep deprivation if every kids wake up early to prepare food and sell in schools.
    2) all canteen stall owner(mainly elderly) will have their ricebowl taken away.
    3) What about NEA license & food hygiene
    4) neglect of the core mission of going to school ; to be educated & not to be an illegal entrepreneur

  18. I see.. So it’s through pressurizing youth to give, because they are easily influenced. They are easily brainwashed.

  19. no point to argue. i’ve seen many many many many people like you alvin. i was once like you, so naive and arrogant. i’m looking forward for the day when we welcome you in our family. God bless you abundantly.

  20. since the pastor is from Singapore and speaking to a Russian crowd, i deduce it’s a conference where the pastor is invited to speak at one session and there are many other sessions? or he’s an invited speaker for the church for 1 or a few services. perhaps his topic for that session is on finances and giving, so how does that make it a prosperity gospel when we haven’t heard what other topics he preaches on?

    bible did mention about tithes and God prospering His people. so naturally its a topic that would be touched on and shared. i would think that a church preaches the prosperity gospel when the pastor emphasizes the prosperity part of the bible and basically nothing else.

    i worked with delinquents in the past, and i’ll really rather see youths spending their time in churches, being given responsibilities to build leadership, mix with positive teens etc, than hanging out at shopping centres, void decks and picked up by gangs.

    most youth organisations try to reach out to teens through schools too, they have done a good job, but i must say some/many might not have been as successful as this youth church’s outreach, in terms of the number of people who comes and be continuously engaged in the services provided.

    in social services, preventive programs are favoured more than ‘redemptive’ programs (hmm, can’t rmb the exact term, out of the sector for a few yrs already), in the sense that by the time youths become delinquents, its much harder for them to change, as compared to keeping them meaningfully occupied since young, being loved by their family and good role models, such that there’s lower risk of them going astray. thus in a way, the church can be considered primarily a preventive program, which is good in keeping youths away from delinquency.

    ive also seen delinquents who start going to church, and many of them actually make more efforts to try and mend their ways compared to those who do not go to church. no statistics here unfortunately, just sharing my observations.

  21. I remembered that in 2011, I was brought along to this church by my school-mate and when i was there, all the pastor was trying to say was to ask for donations, and said that he is glad that young people made donations.

  22. Not to comment on whether the video was in the right path of Christian teaching. I recently attended one of their services, which I feel lacks of depth in conveying the Christian values and beliefs. Instead, it was merely talks on the surface. And yet, there were many “yah” and weird sounds of agreements after or in between sentences. It is very much like CHC, which I’ve attended another session. I also attended more traditional churches and I think if one is keen to learn more about Christianity, they should go for these more traditional church. Another disturbing thing I found with this church is they have more performances than pastor giving sermons! I cannot differentiate if this is a social club or a church. Nevertheless, I believe their intentions were good and made some offerings; at least they are trying to keep youths who are easily influenced by evil elements on the safe path.

  23. Disciple of Kong Hee. This church hogc Heart of God church is believing in CHC 100% = Kong Hee and Sun Ho 100%

    According to Tan Seow How of Heart of God Church to his x000 young brainwashed members, there is NOTHING wrong with Kong Hee, the 5 charged and this entire case DOES NOT warrant a jail term. It merely needed a little bit more transparency which the church and these companies should have done. But jail term, not that serious. Just needed more transparency THAT’S ALL.

    Wow now the truth is…
    Tan Seow How. You said that CHC never used church funds for cross over. But now all you can said is merely transparency needed and you don’t bring up the fact about you also said and claimed that no church fund was used. You have mastered the art of Kong. Lie with your eyes opened on stage. I pity the moms and dads with kids in @hogc heart of god church.

    Watch out your kids at HOGC!

    And Seow How, this is not devil trying to rob your church. You are taking our kids from our families. Who is the devil? Oh right the kids you have in church are all broken families… You make them whole.

    You are just another businessman wannabe running church like how Kong Hee does it. You idolize Kong Hee. Period. And you so wannabe like Kong.

    And you are in the making of next CHC with HoGC. Starting to take over the young and when they all grow up! Milking time! Well done.

    Oh I hope you didn’t misuse our church fund for… You know what purpose. Some school?

    Perhaps come clean or clean up your accounts now. Oh yes you did clean up the fund accounts, didn’t you?

    And I forgot, Kong Hee told you NOT to register HOGC as a charity so you don’t have to go through shit to answer for how the funds and money being used. And yeah HOGC is not a registered charity and you can move funds and used them as you wish. Between schools, companies and whatever.

  24. @alvinology copying and pasting everything from the sources directly doesn’t mean that you aren’t ‘wrong’. You might have misinterpreted some of the information just because you don’t know the reasons behind the things churches or Christians do.

    @therestofthepeople You guys just submit to whatever the media says and whatever else you read on social media. You guys ain’t have a clue how a church works. So if you guys want to start commenting and judging based of the little information you have, why don’t you get off your chairs and attend a church to find out more about how things are run in a church and how and why people are still so committed to the church. Quit judging.

  25. Brainwashed kids worshipping their pastors like god.

    —–

    Hi Leaders,

    Can you also share this with your leaders during CG this week.

    Basically, we will be having the birthday collation for Pst How’s birthday for the next 3 weeks.

    It will start this week – 17,18th Aug
    Week 2: 24,25th Aug
    Week 3 (Final week): 31st Aug, 1st Sep

    This is from Charleston, Garrett and Dominic:
    Hi Church, I know that Pastor How’s birthday is coming up in 2 weeks and we are starting the birthday collation this weekend 3-4pm and 6-8pm on both Saturday and sunday.
    In Church, we always talk about how we honor our Pastors and Leaders
    This is because our Pastors are the ones that have really sacrifice and given their hearts, their best years to build this Church!
    So we want to really love and appreciate them for all they have done! Also the reason we do the birthday collation is that we felt it’s more practical if we want to to give a gift to Pastors. Can you imagine if 2000 people buys different small gifts? Firstly, Psts won’t have space to put in their house. There will be too many small gifts! Usually the cards alone will take more than a few boxes. So can you imagine if we all give individual presents too? Haha… Eg: 2000 chocolate, wallet, pens, shirts.
    That’s why we suggested to Pastors that it’s more practical for us to do the collation and give them cash.
    So I hope you guys really understand the heart and purpose of why we do the collation.

  26. Hi, i’m from Heart of God Church. And i felt so disturbed by your post. I guess the main thing that bothered you so much is how my Pastor “brainwashed” youth. I strongly disagree in your point, i want to make things clear that my church is an independent church, my pastors attend bible school from pastor Kong Hee, that’s our affiliation. So pastor Kong is our “founder” in a way. Secondly, my pastors strongly believes in youth while society look down on us. They are sacrificial people that laid their lives down to build this church where young people can do great things in, there i found a purpose in life & in God. & he raise a generation of givers that don’t give forcefully or due to peer pressure but willingly out of love for God and pastors. As we receive the word, he don’t just take but we give back in return. Also, we don’t talk to people to bring them back to church but to be a friend they can rely on, which is also out of love. It’s an amazing place, you guys should look at the people before judging. And i hope you take back the words you put into my pastor’s mouth. God bless 🙂

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