Is Heart of God Church a scam? TLDR; Probably not.
Sorry, I didn’t expect my blog to be hijacked by this matter.
So after reading my blog post about HOGC, a concerned friend texted me about some thread he saw, a Heart of God Church Reddit about the church being a scam.
Look, no church is ever perfect… I still get annoyed with the loud music, I swear I’m going deaf, but if you want to hunt down every bad thing in a church then you might be guilty of an “holier than thou” approach.
Anyway, according to the accusations, this church I attend is nothing more than a giant fraud to cheat the hard earned money of believers. Hmm… In God we trust, all others bring data. Does that mean it’s time to write about why I left Heart of God Church? Jk… Here’s my reply to “Is Heart of God Church a Scam”.
1. Financial Statements (FS)
One of the author’s main gripes is this: HOGC has a low figure reflected under its donations. It’s “so low” that the author creates a grandiose theory that the church is squirrelling money out into the pockets of the pastors. Bruh, at least find out how accounting works…
To make sense of financial statements, you need at least a rudimentary understanding of financial statement accounting. You don’t have to be a CPA, but the accountants who prepare financial statements presume that you’re familiar with accounting terminology and financial reporting practices. If you’re an accounting illiterate, the financial statements probably look like a Sudoku puzzle. There’s no way around this demand on financial report readers. After all, accounting is the language of business.
(Ok, I ripped this paragraph off the internet. Hope you enjoyed it.)
The author mentioned an organisation that fared better than HOGC in charitable contributions.
- This organisation contributed 85% of their expenses to charitable causes.
- Most of these “causes” were their own care centres.
- Do the care centres use these donations for operational costs or do they provide handouts and aid to the needy? Should I conclude this organisation is also round tripping?
IMO, trying to read between the lines of the organisation’s FS and coming up with a whole story about it is akin to being a scriptwriter of a kdrama.
So. At the very best, you could have accused the church of being stingy — but not fraud la. Also I think… if an organisation was committing fraud, they wouldn’t be so transparent for you to poke holes?
Say I had a million dollars today, I’d find some way to invest it. Or, I’d simply let the interest roll on it. Even the Bible says:
Matthew 25:26–27 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.
Side note: don’t listen to Instagram hustlers egging you on to buy Tesla shares.
That’s just me being prudent. An NPO, however, is REQUIRED to have savings.
Googled the Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs… they recommend that charities maintain some level of reserves to ensure long term financial sustainability (page 19 of Code of Governance for Charities and IPCs 2017… you’re welcome).
HOGC does an annual run through of their FS during service and their AGM. Both accounting professionals and not (such as myself) have access to the FS. Where did the surplus go? To the bank account… I’m just a church attendee but I was in a service where the pastor brought us through the whole FS. I’m not sure if it is the best use of time that could be for the message or worship, but I can now see why it is necessary.
To the “HOGC “member”, maybe you need to be more “faithful” in attending church…
Subsidiaries? Must be round tripping! Since the CHC saga, there has been higher scrutiny as subsidiaries are often mistaken for “shell” companies to funnel monies to.
Subsidiaries are not shell companies, please. For eg. A Multi-National Company (MNC) can set up a Subsidiary in Singapore to spearhead its APAC operations, and benefit from the double tax agreement (go read up on DTA). Thinking that all subsidiaries is created to circumvent laws is ridiculous. In most scenarios, subsidiaries are created to adhere to existing laws.
Still unsure about subsidiaries? Google: BreadTalk group. On top of managing many brands (Food Junction, Food Republic, Din Tai Fung, etc.), they have many subsidiaries you probably never heard of before. Go on, Google it. I’m not here to do all the legwork for you.
Back to the church’s subsidiary… it is a requirement by JTC and URA in the rental of non-religious zoned land. Remember, to adhere to laws, not circumvent them. I believe this was explained in service when the pastors went through the year’s FS (as previously mentioned).
And so why rent? Why doesn’t HOGC buy or rent religious zoned land? I’m talking to a friend who has an interesting perspective on this. Maybe I’ll write something about it when I know more. The Reddit author believes HOGC has subsidiaries to exploit loopholes by the government. I think he has confirmation bias and everything will only suit his predisposed belief about the church.
Ok. I’m done for tonight. But I’ll talk more about some of the other “incriminating evidence” mentioned online… Or maybe I won’t. More thinking after I get some sleep. Goodnight world.
References: Is Heart of God Church a Scam