Thursday, July 27, 2006


I woke up to a humid Sunday morning in Penang; thought it might be a good idea to check out one of the local independent charismatic churches. So of we went to the mall! Yup the congregation meets in a mall; the greeters were friendly; a Chinese lady dressed in yellow sari wrote my name on a sticker and stuck it on top of my shirt pocket. The praise and worship was led by the keyboardist; not surprisingly there was no liturgy, eucharist or the creed. The preacher was a bundle of energy; his sermon began with a video clip on Schindler’s list; the message, Engagement Not Isolation, was a cry to get involved in the social issues of the day. It was hard to leave the Sunday service without a deeper consciousness of the church’s role in society. Nothing other-worldly at all about the message. The application was wide ranging: from praying for the cabinet during their weekly meetings to exhorting the faithful to be part of a work team committed to cleaning up a dirty and neglected part of neighborhood. At the end of the sermon a few men responded in prayer to the sermon (great to see men praying).

Juices began to flow in the congregation when the Pastor gave out money to those who answered his questions correctly during the sermon. An elderly looking gentlemen won $RM50 for identifying a governing authority; he promptly donated it to a special fund for the construction of a lift which would help the disabled to have easy access to the church sanctuary.
Pastors handing out money to the congregation is'nt common place. Can’t imagine anything like this taking place in an Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran or Roman Church?

The pastor’s wife told me that her husband got the idea from an Australian speaker. “We just want to bless people”, she said. Some conservative minded folk would probably not rush to say amen. Giving people money for right anwers to questions related to the sermon puts a sword to the sentiment that churches only want money from their people.

I left the Sunday service surprised and challenged.


Anonymous said...

It is rare for a charismatic church to be so socially engaged in the pulpit. It is even rarer to give out money during a sermon. I thought only american tele-evangelists will have such ideas, but looks like the australians beat them to it. As for me,can't imagine myself doing it! By the way, the only thing Jesus gave were bread and fish and saliva and his life!

Bolivian Beat said...

Saliva? huh..

Anonymous said...

Oh this is not surprising in s'pore.Last few mths as i attended one seminar organised by City harvest singapore.Speaker was Rev ULK Ekman.After the evangelist spoke,The Rev Kong Hee appeared introducing a new game called MASTERMIND,where students could enroll in this game and the winner was to walk away with $1000.00 in cash.(from the church funds) made me re-think abt this....concept.Now there was also an announcement that members could also support Ulk Ekman's ministry by buying his media.Sounds great because he was a great powerful speaker.As i walked out i wanted to try a dvd on his live sessions in Israel.So i bought there was about 10 sets avaliable and another costed $48.00.When i opened the media dvd it was a dvdr costs now at 0.90 cents.Anyway i decided to gve a shot on the $12 live session.Do re-think carefully when buying a $48.00 product its also a dvdr with 4 sets in a cover photostated non matte sheet.This gives me an impression that funds are collected vastly something non informative .There have many other live sessions avaliable from various speakers .Do be informed .take care

Bolivian Beat said...

thanks anonymous for your input. The great thing about a blog is that we can share whats going on elsewhere..

Hey this multimedia age there are so many things for sale - sermons, dvds...any ethical guidelines?

Anonymous said...

hmm, i was kinda disappointed that the society of churches in singapore allowed duplicated dvdr's to be sold for a fund raising.i think if it was $10 it would be alright to the public but if it was $48 for a set of 3 dvdr with a photocopy image,i think this is abviously a rip off.hope someone would feedback this matter to the higher authorise in singapore where copyright infringement is a huge problem.It may even affect the reputation of churches in singapore hence i am not sure if other churhes are doing the same thing.Cathedral does sell original dvd's and cd's i have seen it before.


Bolivian Beat said...

did you get what you paid for? Did the content of the DVD's correspond to what was advertised.

Yes the Cathedral (I assume?) is very careful about copyright matters.

Anonymous said...

some ethical guidelines are good...lately i've been so blessed by Bonkke's sermons at the fire conference i wanted to just make it available for download...and i have not bothered to ask permission..i figured, he would love for it to be available too wouldn't he...Jesus said of the message, freely you have received, freely give...what happened to the latter part in todays church!

Anonymous said...

Dear Raphael and blogpastor,
thank you for your response.yes i did get what i wanted for $12 on a seminar which was not suppose to be a dvdr.I think the reason behind this is because the production for original limited dvd's on seminars overseas would have been on a limited production so thats why City harvest has hired a third party media company to dupicate these dvd's for sale.The whole process sounds ...Quality was a mere 70% judging from its recording.But i think $38 for a 3 set dvdr could have been unethical for a church to have it for sale.Books are pricy some even going up to $67.00 for a soft cover which could have easily been bought at a fraction from ebay or -brand new.
On the other hand its alright to sell daily sermons on a cdr for $5 because there is a small cost for these audio cd's in which the church buys.$5-$8 is a affordable market price,so it does sound right on a lower scale.
blogpastor,you certainly have a very good point.Blessed be to you and Raphael for making this virtually possible.Let there be more free interaction on God's word.

Gosh ... i feel like a spy,I hope its rewarded with virtues.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure this was in Penang???
It seems the ideal form of worship!! Please give me more info. I must see this for myself and give them money to give others!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.