Rick Seaward: a man sent by God

Rick Seaward: apostle (1955-2018)

I did not have an opportunity to know Pastor Rick Seaward personally. I was surprised that his sudden death from a car accident put me in a pensive mood. When I saw the Facebook image with the 1955-2018 it hit me. He was born the same year as me. I always thought he was my senior because of his crop of white hair.

My first memory of him was when he came to our fellowship during its formative revival years and preached a passionate message on Isaiah 61. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.” This turned out to be the message his life embodied, and he went home in a glorious blaze, powered by the fire in his bones.

After that speaking engagement, I never saw him again until he showed up suddenly as the founding pastor of Calvary Charismatic Center(CCC) – a pioneer of the “church in the hotel” trend. That church grew rapidly and became the first megachurch outside of the mainline denominations (according to Harford Institute for Religion Research a megachurch is defined as one that sustains an attendance of over 2,000).

CCC also became well-known for their prodigious church planting throughout the world through their Gideonite program. They were the “it” church in those days. They also had great evangelistic rallies in the former National Stadium and blessed the local church pastors with inexpensive or free church conferences.

What strikes me about Rick is his amazing gift of faith and unflagging missional fire. He poured out his whole life and put all that he is and has at God’s disposal.

His bold desire to reach people of all races and religions caught the attention of government authorities zealous to prevent religious disharmony. He was slapped on the wrist. He was later hauled up for a technically flawed, financial transaction that had more press than it warranted. Another slap on the wrist. At that time, he was criticized for not being a Singaporean, a foreigner. Today he would have been called a foreign talent.

For a period of time he left Singapore and pastored in Auckland to help stabilize another megachurch. He left the CCC in the hands of local pastors he mentored. CCC went through a decentralization process of several regions and I thought that was one of the great redemptive things that happened as a result of the troubles that CCC went through. CCC, with its name changed to Victory Family Center, is today a family of congregations that worships in seven locations.

Billy Graham has gone home to glory a few weeks ago at a ripe old age of 99. That’s a whopping 36 years longer than Rick! Two great men of God. One an evangelist. One an apostle. Two giants. It saddens me when I think of his early departure.

I am sure most of us have accepted Rick’s early departure as something of a mystery, as a part of God’s sovereign plan which we do not fully grasp or comprehend for the time being.

Has Rick finished his God-assignment? Is that why God has taken him home?

Is Rick the one seed that needs to fall into the ground, so that it will bear much much more fruit in the decades to come?

We do not really know for certain.

We do know that it pains many to see such a giant go home when much remains to be done. The church in Singapore owes this man a great debt. He is a great loss not only to his beloved family and the church he founded and led. He is a great loss to the Love Singapore movement and the church in Singapore that has received the mantle of Antioch of Asia.

Father, we do not understand, and we do not want to pretend that we do, but we trust You completely. You are too loving to do evil, too wise to do wrong, and too powerful to have lost control. We trust You and entrust all the grieving family members and church members into Your loving care and comfort. Amen.

If you have memories of him you want to share, feel free to use the comment box below.

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  • When I heard about Rick Seaward’s death, the family’s name rang a bell. My late father remembered his mother’s ministry in Kuching then, some 50 years ago. My father talked about the power that was unleashed when Rick’s mother, I think it was Margaret Seaward, prayed. I was very young then but I understood what my late father was relating to. God has His agenda for taking Rick home early. My deepest condolences to the Seaward family. Their ministry is not in vain. God’s work in Singapore took to many levels because His chosen vessels were willing to go the extra mile to see His Kingdom’s extension in Singapore and beyond the shores of Singapore.

  • I left Singapore in 1983 for the States but I remember started attending Calvary Church in a hotel and when I left, it was an all day, afternoon church exploding and we were at World Trade Center. I remember being blessed attending home groups and was later leading one and we would share the Gospel on Saturdays armed with Gospel tracts and going door to door in those flats where most Singaporeans live. Many are Buddhists, Muslims, some Indians and many they called free thinker ( agnostic, atheist) would slam the doors on our face but we loved sharing the Good news that Jesus died for us sinners for no one is righteous, no not one.
    Some 10 years ago, we were blessed to be in Singapore and visited Pastor Rick’s parents’ church. We were told he was overseas then planting a church. In hindsight, I regret not following up and at least touching base with him and shared my appreciation of giving us passion and fire for lost souls and loving Jesus. My heart breaks but your blog is just what everyone thinks of him in Singapore. I do not recognize him in picture as I left Singapore when were both younger. Yes, God is sovereign and we pray for comfort to his family atbthis time. To be absent in the body isbto be present with the Lord. Jesus met Pastor Rick in heaven and surely said, “welcome thou good and faithful servant.” We will see him again one day.

  • I also didn’t know him personally, but through LoveSingapore had opportunities to hear him preach at Pastors’ Prayer Summit a couple of times. One lasting legacy would be his and VFC’s instrumental role in setting up the LoveEastTimor missions network, in which they encouraged and galvanized churches within and without the LoveSingapore network to adopt a district of the newly opening-up nation of East Timor. EFC Singapore adopted the Ainaro district, and I had the privilege of visiting when we were settling our first medium-term missionary there. My condolences and prayers for his family and VFC on their loss.

  • We all loved Pastor Rick Seaward when he started CCC. He accomplished many tasks. It is sad when a godly man goes astray. Pastor Rick listened to the teachings of Pastor Joseph Prince of New Creation church and made an unwise decision to endorse the false teachings. GOD has brought me through a number of scriptures to show where Pastor Prince is false.This has opened the door for deception to spread across the world. GOD was displeased and cut short his life on the earth.

    • Hi John
      It was quite unkind of you to say that Pastor Rick has gone astray. I have been brought up in CCC since 1982 & have always respected Pastor Rick. I understand you may an axe to grind against him & as a result left CCC. It is also very unkind to say that God took his life because He was displeased. I am so happy to read the response of the Blog pastor who knows better who Pastor Rick really is. I feel so sorry of you for harbouring such unforgiveness & judgmental spirit.
      Dr Johnny Tan

  • Dear John
    There is flesh and bones in every teaching. I do not know if Rick endorsed the teaching of JP but if he did, it is only the good part of his teachings.
    If God dealt such a harsh judgment of Rick, then to be fair, many more pastors should be dead by now.

  • My wife fondly remembers this man of God during the late1980s attending the church in Singapore. She’s just found out of his death today September26 2018, after having thought she had read about it in a newspaper. She actually thought it was a another man named Rick Seaward. She’s stunned and saddened.

  • Pastor Rick Seaward,
    May your soul Rest in eternal peace.
    i met Rev Rick seaward when as Young pastor in 2002 by then he had sent to our country Uganda a number of missionaries to plant churches in our country under Uganda Assemblies of God, his passion for missions in Uganda increased the number of churches from 27 churches of uganda Assemblies of God to over 3400 churches currently, he was a spiritual father to uganda assemblies God. where by he took 66 pastors of uganda Assemblies of God for training in Singapore for pastoral leadership programme to come back to continue with the vision of planting churches.
    the day we learn t of his accident the whole uganda assemblies of God was paralised , that day without anything at night i was sleeping towards in the morning my wife woke me up and she asked me what is happening i was in the pool of tears and trembling then i told her pastor Rick has been talking with me and yet he has died. what he asked me how many villages left without churches then i gave him that is the time my wife woke me up.
    that is when i realized that pastor was concern about church planting.
    so i am calling all the churches planted under pastor rick all over the world to continue with the vision of church planting around the world i know without doubt that he was commissioned a Apostle of our time to fulfill the great commission of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28;18. uganda Assemblies of God will miss his a apostolic oversight over the years and we stand with the family and the church Victory Family Center Singapore, Uganda Assemblies of God and victory Family center twin sister churches let us continue to dream again for missions
    pastor okwii moses
    uganda Assemblies of God’

  • Hi. I’m Rick Seaward’s son, the elder of his two children. It’s been a little over a year, but my heart still aches when I think of my dad. I want to thank you for this very meaningful post about my father. Having known him more fully than anyone else than perhaps my grandparents, my mother, and known him equally as well as my brother Jeremy, this post does capture who he is, or, rather, who he was. The comments are touching and brought tears streaming down my face. NOTHING would have brought more fulfillment to my father’s heart than hearing of lives and even ministries that were in some way blessed or empowered as a result of his obedience to the call of God. Not in a self-satisfied manner, but from a humbled thankful heart, that in spite of accomplishments almost hard to believe, owing to the sheer audacity of the ambitious goals he set and then surpassed, both personally, and as a leader of a dedicated and passionate congregation, still often asked the Lord “who am I, oh God, that you would use me?”

    I’ve heard him groan those words in prayer on multiple occasions. People may not realize, in spite of his apparently natural ability to preach, he was not a per

  • Hi Jonathan,
    Thanks for your comment and for giving us a rare insider glimpse of this apostle of God, Rick Seaward, your dad. Apologies that the comment was limited. Do feel free to use another comment form and I shall move it to the original one above.

  • Pastor Rick Seaward a man after God’s own heart. That is how I saw him. Pastor Rick came to the church we attended to fill the Senior Pastors position. The first morning he came to preach I caught a glimpse of him as he had quite a few people around him. When I closed my eyes I could see him and follow him as he made his way down toward the front to be seated. He was someone very different, there was just something about him something emanated from him that I at the time had not known or experienced from anyone else. My husband (who has also gone home to be with the Lord) our children and myself loved our Pastor with great respect. He reminded me of Jesus because he looked so much like him. The first message he preached that morning was “Arise Shine For The Light Has Come.” After that morning service we were asked what we thought of him. We thought wow! he is great, to then be told he was to be our Senior Pastor. How blessed we were to have Pastor Rick for those few years. To Dianne, Jonathan and Jeremy thank you for sharing your husband and dad with us. Always remembered with great honour and respect our Pastor Rick.

  • Ps Rick was a great apostle who blessed our movement on numerous occasions by preaching to our top leaders and at our pastors conferences. On behalf of our president Ps Wilson Lim (HIM http://www.byhim.org) we offer ongoing condolences to Rick’s wife, family and leaders. We love him and thank God for his life. We’re so inspired to continue his example of planting churches in Jesus’ name! Amen.

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