Monday, March 30, 2009

$0.5m annual salary for pastor - a discussion

BoredToDeath asked:
Without PP, how much do you think the church can generate? More or less than GOD?

Lip Kee replied:
To be totally honest with you, I believe that without Pastor Prince, NCC will not be where it is right now.

This is just a personal conviction. I cannot prove or disprove it. (In a way, this is similar to some people's view that Singapore will not be where it is now without MM Lee. This view too cannot be proven or unproven).

Personally, I am convinced that NCC is growing so rapidly and the people are giving so willingly and generously because Pastor Prince is able to reveal and exalt Jesus Christ so effectively.

Again, this is just my personal conviction. That is why I am still a member of the church and I am regularly giving a good portion of my income to the church.

I am not here to debate or challenge anyone who holds a different view from me. I am just here to present a view - from a church member's perspective.

I just want to let the readers here know that there are people like me, a member of the church who is totally happy with how things are. :-)

And as I've written previously, anyone who is in the church and is unhappy about the pastor's salary can always choose to reduce/stop his/her giving to the church or to leave the church.

And anyone who is currently NOT in the church and are NOT giving to the church, is free to continue to NOT to step into the church and NOT to give a single cent.

Democratic, yeah? :-)

Note: the original discussion took place in the AsiaOne forum page:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=18932&page=10

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As He Is So Am I commented:
Where is God in this, I thought it was God who blesses a church and therefore it grows. Or is it because someone reveals christ?

Lip Kee replied:
I agree with you totally it is God who blesses the church.

The way I see it, for NCC, God blesses us with a gifted preacher who is able to effectively reveal and exalt the Lord Jesus Christ in people's lives. And through this gift of a preacher, NCC is blessed and is a blessing. Hence, the growth and influence.

Please note that I am NOT claiming that Pastor Prince is THE only gifted preacher. I believe there are many gifted preachers, and NCC is blessed with one of them.

As He Is So Am I commented:
As for voting why not vote with a real ballot. Isn't that what a vote is for? I believe that the 20000 church goers should have option (c)

(c) submit a vote of approval or rejection of JP pay.

(d) if unsatisfied, submit a vote of no confidence in the council and elect a board consisting solely of independent and unpaid volunteers.

But will the 20000 pull this off? Legally is this possible?

Lip Kee replied:
NCC has voting members who attend the AGM and vote on matters concerning the church, including that of the appointment of the church council members. The council members are the ones who decide on the salary of the pastor.

I believe this kind of an arrangement is not unlike what is being done for many other church and non-church organizations.

Note: the original discussion took place in the AsiaOne forum page:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=18932&page=11

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As He Is So Am I commented:
So option (c) is not a valid option at this time? Which brings me to the following questions

Firstly I would like to ask how council members are selected and elected since they determine the salary of the pastor.

Secondly in all my years at NCC I have never voted, so please enlighten me how does one qualify to be a voting member and how many voting members does NCC have?

And as a member of the church, I am asking you why not have a third option of voting on it. If 20000 agree to give x amount to the senior pastor, no one in Singapore can continue to complain.

Lip Kee replied:

These are valid questions.

Different churches adopt different types of system of governance. Prebyeterian churches have theirs which differs from the Methodist churches.

NCC has chosen a system of governance that empowers voting members to choose the members of a church council who deliberates and decides on matters concerning the church.

There are many practical issues to consider, e.g. What matter should be decided by the church council and which issues should be decided by a church-wide voting? Who among the 20,000 should be considered a member? How should membership be determined - by attendance/ commitment in terms of serving/ tithing record etc? How does the church decide on granting voting membership?

If you are a member of the church, you may want to approach the church office to clarify these matters. I don't think this is the proper forum for this discussion.

In any case, if a person who does not attend NCC and who did not give a single cent to the church chooses to be unhappy and complain about the pastor's pay, there is absolutely nothing anyone can do about it, since this is a free country. :-)

Note: the original discussion took place in the AsiaOne forum page:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=18932&page=12
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Magenta commented:
Yes, never voted in my life... be it for the elections, at shareholders' meeting or church councils. Not that it matters anyway.... but NCCians are practically free to vote with their feet or pocket.

Lip Kee's response:

I agree with you.

I have voted and I have raised questions during the AGMs I've attended.

But I totally agree with you that the most practical and the best way to vote is with our pocket and our feet.

If we don't like what we see or hear in NCC, we can simply choose to stop dropping those cash/cheques into the bags/boxes, or we can simply stop going to the church.

As far as I know, no one is forcing any person to go to NCC or to give to the church.

Just to clarify in case there is any misinformation/ misunderstanding, in NCC, we don't use GIRO for our giving - i.e. we don't have our money deducted from our bank accounts automatically every month. The way we give in NCC is by physically dropping cash or cheques into the tithing/ offering bags/boxes when we are in church.

Note: the original discussion took place in the AsiaOne forum page:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=18932&page=13

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As He Is So Am I commented:
I find it a bit disheartnening that the only recourse to the 20000 givers who gave to the building is to vote with their feet.

If we are committed enough to give to the building and commited enough to tithe, why are we not enabled to vote on such a matter of conscience?

Lip Kee replied:
To be very honest with you, even though I am a member with voting right at the church AGMs, I still believe that the most practical and effective way to vote is with my time and money I decide to commit to the church.

When we talk about voting, we need to bear in mind the practical limitations and implications. Do we really want to get involved in the daily operational and administrative matters of the church? Do we want all 20,000 of us to review and vote on the pay of all the full-time staff, which pastor's salary to be raised and by how much, which overseas ministries to sow into, which charities to support, which guest speakers to invite, what type of renovation/construction works on our old and new venues be granted the go-ahead etc. etc. Where do we start and stop?

For me, I choose to trust in the Shepherd our Lord Jesus Christ to watch over our church, the church council and our pastors. If I sense that the church leaders are no longer doing God's work but are doing things for ulterior motives, I will not hesitate to leave the church.

Nevertheless, if you strongly wish to exercise church membership rights and responsibilities, I would encourage you to check and clarify the matter with the church office directly.

Shalom!

Note: the original discussion took place in the AsiaOne forum page:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?p=229248&posted=1#post229248

7 comments:

eekpil said...

Pastor Prince is a top notch preacher and an excellent leader of the church. The church is willing to recognize and reward him for his contribution. I don't see any issue here.

I wonder why some people insist that a pastor should not enjoy a handsome salary just because he is a pastor.

How many of us complain when we see:
- an top notch artist fetch millions of dollars for creating art pieces;
- a top notch chef earn top dollars for delivering delicious dishes of food;
- a top notch speaker get rewarded handsomely for giving speeches;
- a top notch writer collect huge returns from the books he writes;
- a top notch leader take home a big pay check; and
- a top notch sports star earn millions for excelling at his game?

Then why do we begrudge a top notch preacher who impacts people's lives a $500k pay?

eekpil said...

Andrew Lee wrote:

I just want to add that Pastor Prince had, on numerous occasions asked that he be taken out of the church payroll and that he depends on the generosity of the church members to bless him and his family individually but the church council had rejected his request at least three times.

The council basically wants to free him to spend time studying the word of God and be available to preach to the church what the Lord had fed him with. It is only when one is sumptuously fed in the word of the Lord that he can then set out to feed others. And this is what is happening every Sunday.

I agree with Magenta and Lip Kee that the best vote one can give for or against him is with your feet and your pocket. Nobody is going to criticize another for not giving to the church and nobody is going to stop one from leaving either. There are lots of other good churches in Singapore which can do with additional members anyway.

Lip Kee's comment:
I am glad that pastor is on the payroll of the church.

If the church were to decide to allow Pastor Prince to be taken off its payroll, I will give an additional offering (over and above my monthly tithe) to sow into and to support pastor's ministry.

I am quite sure I am not the only person in NCC who thinks this way. :)

Note: original discussion took place in my facebook note's comment page: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=66138097325&ref=nf

eekpil said...

eatgovtrice wrote:

I am not a christian.

But i am saddened by what is going on in this forum.

Money is something that we cant bring to our grave.

Why so uptight with 500k to whoever????

Lip Kee commented:

Exactly. If the $500K was paid to us or someone we love, would we be so critical or cynical?

Imagine the one getting the $500k a year is your best friend or your favourite cousin. Will you be complaining and doing your best to discredit the person? Or will you be happy that someone is gifted or fortunate enough to enjoy such a financial reward?

I suggest we take sometime to take an honest look into our own hearts.

When I was much younger, I used to be critical or even cynical about the world and other people. Filled with angst (or rather, self-righteousness).

I was young enough to know everything.

I am more mellow now. I realize that when I say something about someone, many a times, what I say is more a reflection of who I am rather than who the person is.

Some food for thought, perhaps? You don't have to eat it if you don't think it's good food. This is a free forum afterall.

I am taking the advice to leave this forum.

To those of you who have been willing to communicate openly and respectfully, thank you very much, I appreciate it.

Good bye and God bless!

Note: the original discussion took place in the AsiaOne forum page:
http://forums.asiaone.com/showthread.php?t=18932&page=32

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Lip Kee,

I really appreciate your cool, calm, grace-filled and logical answers.

Personally, I know how much tithes and offerings I have put into the offering bag and I can honestly say that I am not the one paying JP's salary ;-)

I deliberately avoided commenting and blogging on JP's salary issue because I find it is no issue at all ... anyone attending the church who doesn't agree with the pay can choose to leave the church anytime.

Anyway, does anyone who goes to eat at a restaurant base his decision on the salary of the chef or the quality of the food that the chef produces?

eekpil said...

Hi Stanley,

I like you restaurant example.

You are very logical, as usual. :)

eekpil said...

For official responses by NCC on the matter, please visit the church website:
http://www.newcreation.org.sg/aboutus/media_coverage/media-responses.htm

Aaron Paul Chouravong said...

I don't care what they pay the guy, he saved my life.