The following data of churches with annual income of over $10 million comes from the internet but was first communicated by the Commissioner of Charities (Sep 2008). I have always wondered which were the richest churches in Singapore. Now we can all have a peek and know, in order of funds collected, who they are:
NUMBER 1: NEW CREATION CHURCH
Location: Worships at the Rock Auditorium in Suntec City Mall.
History: Founded in 1984 by a small group of young believers who wanted an independent, non-denominational church. From 25 members, the congregation has grown to 16,000 now.
Led by: Senior Pastor Joseph Prince, a Singaporean in his 40s.
Income: $42.8 million for its financial year ended this March.
Income source: Tithes and offerings, sales of goods, income from interest
Business arm: Rock Productions has invested about $280 million in a tie-up with property giant CapitaLand to develop a $660 million lifestyle hub in Buona Vista. In 2001, Rock Productions bought Marine Cove, a cluster of food and beverage outlets in East Coast Park, for about $10 million.
NUMBER 2: CITY HARVEST CHURCH
Location: Holds worship services at S’pore Expo and Jurong West Street 91.
History: Founded in 1989 by Reverend Kong Hee.
Led by: Reverend Kong, 43, is married to pop singer Ho Yeow Sun.
Congregation size: About 23,000
Income: $30.9 million last year.
Income source: Tithes and offerings from church members.
NUMBER 3: FAITH COMMUNITY BAPTIST CHURCH
Location: Holds its services at the Singapore Expo and Marine Parade Central.
History: Founded in 1986 by Pastor Lawrence Khong.
Led by: Senior Pastor Khong, who was awarded the Public Service medal at the National Day Awards in 1998.
Member strength: Close to 10,000.
Income: $27 million last year.
Income source: Tithes and offerings.
NUMBER 4: TRINITY CHRISTIAN CENTER
Location: Adam Road and Paya Lebar Road.
History: Founded by American missionaries Reverend Glen Stafford and his wife in 1969 with 10 people.
The church now has a congregation of about 5,500.
Led by: Reverend Dominic Yeo, 46, who chairs the centre’s eight-member board.
Income: $14.2 million last year.
Income source: Tithes and offerings by congregation.
As I look in a cursory manner at these figures all kinds of observations and questions come to mind. Firstly, where are the Roman Catholic churches? Which is the richest church in Singapore? It has to be the Roman Catholics when it comes to assets. The properties, especially the land they own is estimated to be worth S$18 billion. Just think of the churches you know, and the location of the property and you will believe they are together worth billions.
Secondly, New Creation Church raised more funds than City Harvest Church even though the latter is bigger by 7,000 in attendance. My surmise is that this is probably due to the fact that NCC is now in the midst of a mega building project, and God’s people are willing to give to a specific desirable purpose. They have many businessmen and I think they are tired of queueing up! However, news of an impending fund-raising for a new church facility in the central south of Singapore will mean CHC will be raising the hundfreds of millions, in the next quarter.
Thirdly, what happened to the Methodist Churches -also reputed to be rich? The Wesley Methodist is much vaunted to be the dwelling place of the rich and famous. Their giving should pass the $10 million annual income category but it was not so. Some say Barker Road Methodist Church has overtaken Wesley in this respect, but I think they have more luminaries than treasury.
Fourthly, the image of the “working class” Pentecostal has been broken, by the inclusion into this category, of the highly organized Trinity Christian Centre, an Assemblies of God church, an attractive magnet for the Pentecostal who has surpassed his parent’s roots in the working class. One other reason is also they are still rasing funds for the new church campus in Paya Lebar.
Its been a year and a half since the report was published and I do not think things have changed much.
I’m not sure if the the $42.8 mil income of NCC includes the funds raised specifically for the oneNorth project.
Amount collected from 16 September 2007–27 December 2009 for the project is $77.77 mil.
So many needs, so little funds to help eliminate dire poverty. Can we be justifiably proud of our ability to build the biggest and shiniest temples?
So many needs, so little funds to help eliminate dire poverty. Can we justifiably aspire to live in bigger homes? Perhaps we should all live in HDB 3-roomers and give away to charity all the money saved from buying a bigger house.
The rationale for NCC’s oneNorth project:
If you are in the World, social imperative says if you have it, flaunt it. How else can we tell the world we have been blessed more than 10 fold or more?
There are infinite ways to justify one’s action – the Bible has some great quotes.
Have no answers on how you may want to steward or deploy your own personal resources.
Like the bank payouts in the US, it does seems over the top – justifiably, it can also be said to be about setting new standards for worshiping God.
One billion for a building and 50K aid to Haiti – have you ever wonder if our beliefs and priorities are right?
which is a better gift? money or the gift of salvation which will in turn let the lord works wonder in your life?
The best gift for me is just knowing God – does anything else compare?
Shalom everyone who reads this article.
Let me give my take on this:
1. There will be yes and no sayers to this income collected by churches.
2. Let us rejoice and give glory to God for the prosperity of His people, don’t be envy of other churches. If God can do for these churches, He can also do for the rest of the churches.
3. Yes, there are a lot of pressing needs in Singapore and worldwide that requires lots of money. Actually any money in the hands of the Govt has to be accountable and transparency needed. The world can never understand and practice this rule. That’s why God is entrusting His church to manage money in these times.
4. Let us not get distracted which church gets the highest income, focus on Christ alone who is our source of prosperity. And in return we sow into His kingdom purposes.
I assume you are a fellow Christian. As a sibling in Christ, I hope I am able to allay your concern somewhat.
I don’t think I am in a position to represent the church(es) involved, but most of the people I personally know of who attend the mega churches in Singapore are NOT interested in building “the biggest and shiniest temples”, and they are not oblivious or indifferent to the needs in the world.
Just to use my personal example. Over and above my regular tithe to the church, I also contribute to the onging building project. And at the same time, I continue to support and give to other causes I believe in – e.g. adoption of children through World Vision and Compassion, donation of blood on a regular basis, and giving to and helping out with various charity organisations. I believe I am not alone. I believe there are many others like me in the church.
I do not know for sure, because I have not done any survey or data compilation on this, but I think it is not unlikely that the total donation given by NCC members in support of the Haitians relief efforts could be much more than the corporate giving by NCC. Just because NCC (on a corporate level) has officially given “only” US$30,000 to help the Haitian’s relief effort, doesn’t mean that NCC members (on a personal level) do not give to Red Cross or other agencies who are involved in helping the Haitians.
I can give to help build a place for God’s people to congregate, AND I can help the poor in need. As far as I am concerned, I don’t believe we are playing a zero-sum game. We have a more-than-enough God, don’t we?
Hope this helps. 🙂
As to we can help to help the poor, I believe that giving direct financial assistance to them is important. Nevertheless, I don’t think it is the only, or the most effective way.
When you see a person begging for money in Singapore, how would you help him/her?
Depending on the person’s age, physical and mental health condition, behavior etc, I believe you may respond differently. Instead of just simply giving away a two-dollar note, you may: offer to buy the person a meal instead, or offer to bring the person back to his/her family, or encourage the person to seek help with the relevant government agencies; or advice the person to look for a job. And if you are a business owner, you may offer the person a job.
A solution to the problem of poverty is gainful employment.
When I contribute money to help build a place that I know will provide space for businesses to operate and create jobs for people to be gainfully employed, I believe I am, in some small ways, doing my part to help fight poverty.
Just my perspective on the matter. 🙂
Thank you for your sharing your thoughts and perspective.
My critical comments apply generally to very large and uber mega organizations, from banks to religious entities.
The “too large to fail” mentality eliminates responsibilities for actors from the consequences of their irrational and bizarre behaviour.
If you are comfortable and contented with how you interpret and practice your religion, I am happy for you.
I am not a religious person, just trying to be a simple follower of Jesus, stumbling and bumbling along a human adventure.
Seeking the truth and some answers to my own human existence with the help of some rabbis. My purpose is to encourage analytical and critical thinking that will result in meaningful actions with some resultant significance through the BP’s blogsphere.
Shalom and have a great weekend.
Thanks for your clarification and comment.
I also don’t believe in being dogmatic and religious. Jesus was not dogmatic when He walked on Earth. Jesus is not religious as He lives and speaks in us.
All the best to you in your journey of exploring the human condition and seeking out wisdom, truth and meaning.
Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
I dont think rich church is equal to poor
People always look at figures. In a church of 20,000, of course you generate more $$$ than a church of 1000. What people fail to look at are the demographics. NCC is made up of mostly regular working adults. Not the rich and wealthy who attend Barker Rd or Wesley and quietly getaway from the scrutiny of the media eye.
another question i always have. What do churchs mean by having largest church in asia or south east asia? ( for example city harvest)
do they mean building size? or membership? I think its quite misleading by some of their members to claim it as largest church in singapore where obviously some other churches are larger in membership.
maybe it will be more accurate to say largest independent church?
2 cents! thanks:)
It usually means the average attendance (and not registered membership) of all who attend the main worship services and other such services like children’s church, chinese service, etc(on Sunday or over the weekend).
By such accounting, CHC is the largest in Singapore. But not in SE Asia or Asia.
still abit confusing…if average attendence is what they mean..think the methodists or catholics have many more attending services on a sunday or over the weekend?
probably they are refering to among indepedent churches if they want to be accurate?
3 cents! thanks:)
Leemee, they are talking about individual churches, not denominations and the like. The Methodist denomination may have more than 33,000 members in total, but no individual Methodist church has more than 33,000 members. Therefore, City Harvest is the largest church in Singapore.
i think in today’s newspaper reported a better way of this . “Largest indepedent church is City harvest”. I think this way is less misleading/confusing since they are non-denominational and reflects the truth better.
in terms of membership among other independent non-denominational churches they should be the largest.
just saying “largest church” in singapore is quite misleading/confusing. Or maybe more detailed like ” largest church in terms of members attending a single physical place/building of worship”? 😛
for ordinary people like me on the street ..
quite impress in how they can combine concert/showmanship/self-improvement course/fashion/bible in their services.
you can do that too , as long you can find ways and meant to brainwash, sell your products well to people with the help of the bible, they will flock to you, money will come n you start finding bigger place ( more people mah) with better stage, hire professional artist to perform during service, preach all those things that suit their hearts and slowing suck their money lor.
Why do some people here are so bitter? If a church is blessed by our Lord, then what’s the point of questioning these churches?
You need yo enjoy what blessings you receive.
When a business man is rich, no questions asked. If a church is blessed and become rich, then these bitter peoples reacts. Grow up.
Contrary to your mistaken belief “..when a businessman is rich no questions asked,” – suggest that if you were to just turn up at a bank with a large sum of money, plenty of questions will be asked, like what is the source of the money, how did you earn it, when etc…….
The money laundry laws in Singapore prevents the crook from enjoying the material value of his cash horde.
Similarly if a Church (or any organization) is suddenly endowed with a tremendous amount of funds, society and authorities must take an interest.
Money can used for corruption, destabilization or altruism. Some religious organizations have been used as fronts for terrorist and anti societal cults.
We all need to rise up to help the poor in society. When God blesses us its time to give more to the poor as He requires a lot from us. To whom much is given, much shall be required. I am so impressed with a small organization in Malawi doing great called
Urunji Child-Care Trust
They are using little resources to help many poor children who would otherwise have died from poverty and AIDS.
While I have spoken against conspicuous consumption and opulent lifestyles of clerics, Pope Francis is setting a new standard. It is important we continue to separate the functions of spiritual and financial aspects of a “church” and the importance of transparency to vested stakeholders (like equity owners) – this ensures governance and compliance to stated objectives.
Money corrupts truism means we should not monetize spirituality and yet maintain money is needed to ensure human services. Used to hold an erroneous view that morality was about the virtuousness of frugality (especially in charitable orgs) but have since developed a view that there should be utter transparency and accountability as there can be only one truth – it is always singular.
Judge the tree by its fruits is an astounding insight.
None of the pastors are doing the will of God. They are stealing the god’s glory. NCC is not doing anything….
It is not important to say or to compare which churches are the riches in financial wealth. As far as we are concerned, the gee here is to deeper our roots as far as doctrinally speaking & stick closely with the Bible. Not an ounce of extra words to be deemed equal to the authority of the Word of God shall be added nor any word(s) to be subtracted from it. We should focus more on His commandment to go make disciple of all nation.. and to love one another as He has love us. As fo the rest of all unbiblical and unscriptural practices, He will judge(the living n the dead) when He comes back.
Hope u have learnt something which u can edify world revival prayer fellowship.
If all this money raised is going to help the poor , the homeless and the unemployed, it is all for a worthy cause. But if its going to fatten the accounts of rich individuals and to feed their egos, its all a waste of time. Look at Benny Hinn. He lives in a Beverley Hills mansion and has amassed US$42 million/- . He ministers and preaches to cover up his fake meanings. Only idiots can believe in “Pastor” Benny Hinn. Jesus taught mankind to be simple & sincere. And to adhere to His teachings. He also taught that the narrow winding road is the road to eternity. Not the broad road with gold, diamonds and millions in the bank. Benny Hinn has his thumb up his a – – and can only fool gullible people. Anybody can preach. Its practising what one preaches that counts. Even drug barons own big mansions and drive luxury cars.