Heart of God Church

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Heart of God Church
Country Singapore
Denomination Non-denominational Independent
Website www.heartofgodchurch.org
History
Founded August 1999
Founder(s) Tan Seow How & Cecilia Chan

Heart of God Church or HoGC is a non-denominational independent church in Singapore. It was founded by Pastor Tan Seow How and his wife Pastor Cecilia Chan in 1999.[1]

History[edit]

The church started when Pastor Tan Seow How and Pastor Cecilia Chan, along with three other people held the first cell group meeting in 1996 under the name Exousia Ministry. Soon, the group grew to 25 members and held services at a small house in Countryside Road. (Singapore)

In March 1998, the church moved to Henderson Industrial Park for its first combined service. The church was officially registered as "Heart of God Church" in August 1999.[1]

Soon after, the small auditorium at Henderson Industrial Park could not hold the growing congregation; thus, in 2004, the church moved from Henderson Industrial Park to FTMS House at Dhoby Ghaut. It opened its first service in FTMS House with a record attendance of 422. Even as the church's ministries such as Operations and Creative Ministries and other ministries were birthed, the church continued to grow until FTMS House was no longer able to have space for its growing congregation.[1]

In 11 August 2007, the church moved to its current location in Paya Lebar to accommodate its growing congregation.[1]

The church is registered with the National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) [2] and is an independent church with an independent board of directors, leadership and finances.[3]

Vision[edit]

The vision of the church is to "Raise up a generation of people who will give God the best years of their lives and God will use this generation to impact all levels of society and all walks of life."

Core Values[edit]

The church has 6 Core Values - Faith, Family, Church, Youth, Education and Entrepreneurship. Apart from Faith being the central and most important Core Value, the members are taught that the other Core Values are of equal importance.[4]

Family[edit]

Although the church has a large youth congregation, it maintains that it is a family church at its core. The belief is that the church should be a place for bridging generations and restoring relationships so that as a family is blessed it can become a blessing to other families.

Family-Friendly Services[edit]

The church has family services on Saturday at 4PM and Sunday at 1PM, which runs concurrently with the Children's Church Program. The youth services are held on Saturday at 1PM and Sunday at 4PM in order for the youths to have lunch or dinner with their families.[5][6]

Youth[edit]

One of the Core Values of Heart of God Church is youth.

The youth ministry began when Pastor Cecilia noticed a group of 9 children who were too old for the Children's Church but too young for the adult service. A Teen Cell was created with a focus on meeting the needs and issues of the 12-14 year olds then training and empowering them to lead others.

Because of its positive work with youth, particularly in the area of Academic Excellence, the church was featured on The Straits Times on 27 November 2010.[6][7] In the article, Pastor Tan Seow How is quoted saying "Any organization serving young people is unlikely to be rich... For very practical reasons, I do not see many youth churches arising in Singapore. It is like raising a family of 10 kids... (But) If I can teach, grow and mature a thousand young people into responsible, godly, loving citizens, in 20 years there will be 1,000 great families, 1,000 good fathers and mothers, and 1,000 responsible citizens." [6]

Youth-Run Ministries[edit]

The church entrusts a lot responsibility to the youths and encourages young people to excel in creative pursuits.[6] Ministries requiring technical proficiency as well as the expensive equipment are handled by teenagers, after going through a training program to help them to learn the necessary skills. The church provides the environment and the equipment for young people to explore what they are good at - music, multimedia, lighting, dance, fashion and art.[6]

Education[edit]

Education is another Core Value of Heart of God Church.

This is emphasized this through messages such as "Christianity is the renewal of the mind not the removal of the mind" and "Education is the fastest way out of poverty" as well as through the church's Academic Excellence program that encourages youths to serve God and do well in school at the same time.[8]

Academic Excellence[edit]

Every year, students taking their GCE 'O' Levels and GCE 'A' Levels are motivated with the promise of generous prizes such as iPads, iPhones, iPods, vouchers and cash should they achieve to meet the required grade.[6][8]

Since the start of the program in 2005, Heart of God Church has given out over $50,000 worth of cash / vouchers. iPhones, iPads and iPad Minis have also been awarded to the Top Students and Most Improved Students. Some parents, seeing the effectiveness of this program, have offered to sponsor these prizes.[8]

The church also requires students taking their major exams to complete at least 20 hours of academic work each week before they are allowed to attend any church program, including weekly services.[6][8]

Ministry and Leadership Pre-requisites[edit]

As part of the Academic Excellence program, youths in secondary school who wish to serve in ministry have to meet an L1R5 of 25 and below. Leaders in Heart of God Church, who are expected to lead by example, have to obtain an L1R5 of 20 and below.[8]

In The News[edit]

November 2010 - The church was featured on The Straits Times on 27 November 2010.[6][7] The article refers to the church's "upright attitude to education and attainment." and its initiative to aggressively push education, creativity and responsibility amongst its young members. In the article, Pastor Tan Seow How is quoted saying "If I can teach, grow and mature a thousand young people into responsible, godly, loving citizens, in 20 years there will be 1,000 great families, 1,000 good fathers and mothers, and 1,000 responsible citizens." [6]


May 2014 - The church was mentioned in local papers My Paper [9] and Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao [10] linked to random acts of kindness spotted across Singapore. According to the reports, sweets, treats and notes were spotted in neighbourhoods, offices, academic institutions and other public places. According to My Paper a resident found colourful Post-it notes pasted over the mailboxes at her Housing Board block in Woodlands Avenue 6, each with a handwritten message that thanked the residents for being good neighbours. One of them read: "Thank you for being a kind and loving neighbour." The notes were signed off only with a hashtag #LoveOthers14. [9]

The random acts of kindness were also mentioned in another Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News which reported notes with messages such as "You are special and you are worth it! Always remember that there is someone who loves you" and "All the best in whatever you are doing! Don't give up!" spotted on the mailboxes of an HDB Block on Elias Road. The article reports of residents also attempting to thank the anonymous giver. [11]

Aside from the printed dailies, the random acts of love also spread over social media with messages thanking the anonymous givers appearing on Instagram and Twitter. A local group called SGAG, also posted "a special shoutout" encouraging people to keep spreading the love. Local blogger, mrbrown also received a cup of hot soup with the same #LoveOthers14 sign off at a local fast food restaurant from two anonymous girls. [11] Other blogs such as the The Red Dot have also picked up on the acts. [12]

Responses to the random acts of kindness were generally positive. One resident, an information technology engineer, was reported saying "Never before have I experienced such a gesture, so I was a bit wary at first." But she changed her mind after reading the thoughtful messages. "It made my day," she said. [9]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Heart of God Church - About - Church - History". Heart of God Church. Retrieved 7-12-2011. 
  2. ^ "NCCS". National Council of Churches of Singapore. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  3. ^ "Heart of God Church - Leadership". Heart of God Church. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Heart of God Church - About". Heart of God Church. Retrieved 7-12-2011. 
  5. ^ "Heart of God Church - Contact Us". Heart of God Church. Retrieved 7-12-2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Lee Siew Hua (27 November 2010). "Pushing Education With A Creative Touch". The Straits Times. 
  7. ^ a b Lee Siew Hua (27 November 2010). "Making Faith Cool". The Straits Times. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Academic Excellence". Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  9. ^ a b c Jacqueline Woo (2 June 2014). "Surprise gesture brings smiles". My Paper. 
  10. ^ "留字条送巧克力神秘人为48住户打气". Lianhe Wanbao. 30 May 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "新明日报". Shin Min Daily News. 30 May 2014. 
  12. ^ "Spread The Love #loveothers14". The Red Dot. Retrieved 2-06-2014. 

External links[edit]