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Pastor How (Tan Seow How)   pastorhow instagram
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Pastor How (Tan Seow How)
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Pastor Lia (Cecilia Chan)
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Heart of God Church (Singapore)
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My Journey to Becoming BOTH a Pastor and Businessman

Best of Both Worlds or Clash of Two Worlds?

  • The story of how I gave up my father’s business and then reluctantly took over after a clear divine direction.
  • The heart, motivation and wisdom to combine both church and business realms.
  • Perspectives on setting a new benchmark for church leaders and businessmen.
  • First a Pastor, then a Businessman.

My Journey

Twice I rejected my father’s offer to take over his business. The first time was when I was around 26 years old. I am his only son and was expected to take over the lucrative family business, but God ‘interrupted’ my life. All my life I had been searching for meaning and purpose; so when I found it in Jesus, I was all in. When I told my dad about my decision to become a pastor, he offered me a million Singapore dollars to stop ‘my nonsense’. When I didn’t bite, a few days later, he upped the offer to a couple of million plus a bungalow residence of my choice. But no business or amount of money was going to hold me or tempt me. (Looking back, I should have taken the money and become a godly prodigal son… because years later his business would be close to bankruptcy and the money would be gone anyway.)

Pastor Lia and I went on to start Heart of God Church (HOGC). Pioneering a church is hard enough, but building a church with youths is bordering on stupidity. Youths come with empty pockets and even emptier stomachs. They gave their two mites but consumed like the locusts in Old Testament plagues. Buying a guitar or a computer was an exercise of faith and prayer. Pastor Lia gave up her career as a Straits Times journalist to give Bible studies to 9-13-year-olds. She paid out of her diminishing savings to bus the kids in every weekend.

Pastor How with some HOGC youths during their water baptism in the ’90s.

Pastor Lia giving Bible studies to 9-13-year-olds

I felt like the good prodigal son who didn’t ‘live it up’ but still ended up broke. I was the antithetical rich young ruler who did ‘give it up’, having gone from driving a BMW at 21, to stinge-ing on food. But never did we or our church lack anything. I can proclaim like David, ‘I have been young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.’ (Psalm 37:25)

I think God ‘pitied’ two young pastors who had a little mustard seed of faith and a whole lot of insanity. And the church started to breakthrough and grow.

Fourteen years later, I rejected my father a second time. By this time, the church had survived and thrived, while my father’s business had declined to near bankruptcy. It owed the bank millions of dollars and the bankers were hounding. Worse, he was just diagnosed with cancer. He asked again if I would take over the business. My first thought was, “Get thee behind me.” This must be the last temptation by the devil to distract me from my growing church. Moreover, if I didn’t take over when the business was raking in the cash, why would I take over now when it is in debt and close to economic death? Verses such as “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) echoed in my mind.

Pastor Lia and I told God that if He wanted us to take over the failing business, He had to show us an undeniable sign. Perhaps a burning bush. Truth is—I didn’t want any sign from God because I was happy just being a pastor. I didn’t want any more disruptions from God. I have since learned that God’s hobbies seem to be interruptions and disruptions. He engineered a financial miracle and the business was cleared of all its debts. This is a story I share in my message — “Give Up to Go Up”. So with much obedience and also much hesitation, we took over the business.

This is how I became an inadvertent and reluctant businessman. Till today, I am first a pastor, then a businessman. Business is my secondary and ancillary calling.

Before my dad passed away, I had the joy of leading him to Christ. The debt cancellation miracle got the business out of ICU, but it was still far from healthy. Another series of divine providence followed and the business was saved. Then God opened the window of heaven, and we began to make a profit. When money came in, I was as shocked as I was in awe of God. And with the profits plus Pastor Lia’s insurance payout, we were able to give SG$1 million to Heart of God Church’s Building Fund.

I am first a pastor, then a businessman.
Business is my secondary and ancillary calling.

Insurance payout? Oh I forgot to mention that Pastor Lia was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2012. She has been clear for seven years and counting…
Here, I just want to brag about my wife. It is understandable for people who have had a serious illness to keep money for a rainy day. But Pastor Lia did the opposite. She gave it all away… every cent! She taught us that faith is the opposite of fear. The act of faith is to do the opposite of the act of fear, and she did exactly that.

Best of both worlds or clash of two worlds?

So I found myself in the peculiar position of being both a pastor and a businessman. I am now responsible for the business of my father, who was now in heaven, and my heavenly Father’s business. How do I wisely navigate these two juxtaposing worlds? Traditionally, it has always been easier and simpler to keep the secular and sacred separate. Then you don’t have to deal with the negative perception. There is a prevailing sentiment that business and church are a suspicious mix. And I totally understand that. Unfortunately, there are bad hats in the church world who perpetuate this attitude. One pastor said to me, “It used to be that 9 out of 10 people think that Christians are bad. Now 10 out of 9 think that pastors are bad.”

I take it as a challenge that all the more we need to raise the standard of the office of a pastor and debunk the misconception that ‘all’ pastors are bad. There are many many good, godly, sincere pastors with integrity.

So in this current climate, my solution is to enter the business world with optimism guided by the fear of God, while navigating the church world with faith escorted by wisdom. In other words, if I were to combine both realms—internally, my heart and motivations must be ruled by the fear of God. Externally, my words and deeds must be protected by caution and precautions. It is time to live out Jesus’ exhortation to be innocent as doves but wise as serpents.

Wisdom — caution and precautions

The last 10 years have been interesting, seeing different people’s reactions. While most have been positively influenced and inspired by my entrepreneurial spirit, there is a minority on both ends of the spectrum. On one end, there will always be doubters who view me as a wolf among sheep. I thank God that they are limited to cynics who do not know me personally and restricted to the internet, where anonymity ferments cruelty.

On the other end, there are those who were so ‘inspired’ by me that they also wanted to start their own businesses. However, the problem was that they wanted to make money off church members. I had to point out to them a BIG difference — I make money from the world to give to church. I don’t make money from church members so that I can enjoy the world!
Never make money off church members.
Never monetize the church.

I recall that 2,000 years ago, some people tried to commercialize the church, and Jesus came back with a whip and turned over tables in the temple.

In Acts 8 (The Message) you have Simon the sorcerer who saw the power of the Holy Spirit and he wanted to monetize it. But Peter rebuked him sharply in verse 22, “Change your ways—and now! Ask the Master to forgive you for trying to use God to make money.” Unfortunately, today, there are many ‘sorcerers’ in church trying to use God to make money.

My advice to pastors is this: Never misuse or abuse relationships. Relationship is the bridge where discipleship, truth and love can walk across. Don’t burn that bridge. Relationships are precious. Don’t leverage it for unrighteous mammon. MLM (multi-level marketing) or any form of direct sales is not an appropriate business for pastors or Christian leaders. It puts church members in the awkward position of having to give ‘obligatory support’ or face the uncomfortable pressure of having to reject their spiritual leaders.

In my business, we have a policy that we will not outrightly sell or promote our products to church members. If they want to buy our products, they have to buy them from retail stores/online like anyone else. Neither do I put products or brands on my official social media (@pastor.how).

Yet at the same time, I don’t hide the fact that I am a businessman. Being in business is a part of my life and ministry. Whether onstage or offstage, I endeavor to be a role model Christian businessman, inspire entrepreneurship, bring vocational relevance to my ministry and add value to the operational aspects of our church.

Great minds think alike, but great teams don’t.

Part of having wisdom and precautions is also having the right people on the Board and Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Great minds think alike, but great teams don’t. In other words, a great team must be bold to speak and comfortable to have differing views and even disagree. I am deliberate not to surround myself with people who are ‘Yes men and women’. I especially appreciate the mavericks on our Board and ELT who don’t toe the line. As the Bible says, good and safe decisions come from a multitude of counselors. My only expectation is that we all share the same Vision and Values.

Aside from these precautions, the Bible teaches us to “abstain from all appearances of evil” (1 Thess 5:22). The last thing I want is to stumble anyone or bring reproach to the church. Being always conscious that I wear two hats, I also have to ensure that our church has good corporate governance and that there are no conflicts of interest between the church and my business. I am painstakingly strict that no money moves from HOGC to my business. In fact, money only flows in one direction—my business donates and gives to Heart of God Church. That’s the one and only way!

To date, aside from Pastor Lia and I giving SG$1 million to the church’s Building Fund, my business has donated products worth close to SG$80,000 to HOGC for the renovation of the premises. Pastor Lia and I consider it a privilege to be able to give to HOGC. And aside from financially blessing the church, we also find other ways to benefit HOGC through the business.

Related article: Q&A: Pastor How Do You Run a Business?

My heart and motivations must be ruled by the fear of God

Having the right heart — priority, purpose, essence

While it is vital to build in stringent corporate governance, independent audits, and conflict of interest policies, etc., the crux of the matter still lies in the heart. The ancient wisdom of Proverbs 4:23 is never more true when it comes to business: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

The most effective checks and balances are not external but internal.
Every decision, strategy and policy must be sifted through a set of self-imposed rules called biblical values.
Every goal and objective must transcend mere profits and achieve a divine purpose.
Even the process must be glorifying to God and the ends should not justify the means.

Here is an example. We were once offered the distributorship of a popular gaming brand. It had potential for good sales but we declined. Because it is in conflict with our vision and values for youths. How can I possibly challenge youths to reduce gaming and at the same time be supplying them their gaming equipment? There is no dichotomy between my business and ministry. There must be consistency and integrity across both.

Here’s another self-imposed rule in our business. We have a unique staff travel policy for my business: we never send a male and female staff together for business trips. If it has to be in that configuration, then we will ‘waste’ flight and hotel expenses to send a chaperon on the trip. Neither do we send staff alone for trips. We always have a brother’s keeper accompanying them. These policies do not make sense economically, nor are they industry norms, but they are examples of self-imposed rules based on biblical values of wisdom and accountability.

Although business is not obviously ‘spiritual’, I am acutely aware that one day I will have to give an account to my Master.

My heart and motivations must be ruled by the fear of God.
My priority is the church—my business is secondary and complementary.
Use the business to build/bless the church. Don’t use the church to build/bless your business.
My purpose is Christ—the profits are for His purpose and His people.
My essence is Christ-likeness—I am first a Christian, then a businessman.

If you’re interested to know my philosophy about money, read My Answer to Prosperity Theology: Contentment, Simplicity & Generosity.

My motivations — bless other pastors, church and my team

One part of the business that gives Pastor Lia and me immense joy is giving away our products. The running joke between me and our CEO is that he needs to make money faster than I can give away.

I know how it feels to be a pastor struggling with personal finances. I remember the early days when my budget only covered my ‘needs’. Indulging in the non-essential realm of ‘wants’ was as rare as summer snow. So now, I am really happy to be able to bless pastors with our products. During Strong Church Hong Kong 2019 — HOGC’s pastors’ conference in Hong Kong — our business gave away over SG$11,000 worth of consumer electronics to 40 pastors. They probably don’t ‘need’ it, but Pastor Lia and I are just happy to bring some snow to their tumultuous summer heated up with protests. We are humbled to play a small part in bringing the hope of Christ to the pastors and churches in the city.

Altogether, just in the last 4.5 years, our business has given away over SG$400,000 worth of products to bless churches and pastors around the world.

Aside from financially giving to HOGC’s building fund, Pastor Lia’s and my other motivation for having a business is to support our pastors and staff. Honestly, I would prefer to give more to the leaders who build HOGC than to put our resources into the rent of the church. In my view, paying rent falls under the expense column while supporting leaders goes up on the asset column.

When I took over the business, one of the revelations that impacted me most was from Acts 20:33–35 (NLT). Paul proclaimed:

33 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.
34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.
35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

On my deathbed, I want to be able to proclaim to the world that as a pastor, “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.”
And that “I have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.”

My business will take care of my own needs and also “those who were with me”—my team. I am now propelled by this motivation—to have a profitable business that can financially support the HOGC staff team. Because they are more than just employees. They are family. Pastor Lia and I treat the staff like our spiritual sons and daughters. Our happiest times in business are when Pastor Lia and I can give to our team. We have contributed to some who were buying their first car. At times, we would also extend to them interest-free loans, etc. Truly, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’

Some of our HOGC staff team
Some of our business staff team

Setting a new standard

Well, now you have the lowdown on life as a pastor and a businessman. Because of what happened with some megachurch pastors and the subsequent negative mainstream and alternative media coverage, the verdict has been that pastors are guilty until proven innocent. A pastor friend of mine recently joked that “90% of pastors give the rest of us a bad name.” This is certainly an exaggeration, but it does give an insight into the entrenched attitude towards pastors in Singapore.

When I entered the business world, I was as unprepared as the dinosaurs were for meteors. But after 10 years of making mistakes, learning and experimenting, I am able to combine both realms with more anticipation than trepidation.

If you are a pastor already in business or thinking about getting into business, here’s my tip—understand the pervasive atmosphere in Singapore, but don’t back down from obeying God. If you think God has called you to a dual anointing, then ask Him for wisdom. If you are a business owner who has overtly expressed that you are a Christian business, then you need to be a godly testimony too. I take it as a personal challenge to set a new benchmark for Christian business leaders and a new standard of irreproachable integrity for pastors. If you want your ministry and life to be a part of the business world, then you must be even more set apart… externally and internally.

In Jesus’ time, people wanted a king without the cross.
In our time, people want the cross without the King. 
Sadly, this can also be said for some ‘Christian businesses’.

Some Christians want a business, without the cross.
Their business is so separate from their spiritual life and Christian values that it is not in obedience and submission to the cross.
Their mantra is “Business is business”.
Their business is purely for personal profit. It is so self-centric that it is bankrupt of any divine purpose and spiritual significance.

There are also some businessmen who want the cross, without the King.
They use the cross in their business for endorsement and association, to lower the guard of other Christians.
These opportunists attach the cross to their business for marketing, networking, negotiating and closing deals.
They use the cross like a co-branding advertising campaign.
They use the gospel like a movie for product placement marketing.
So they brandish the cross when advantageous, but as for the King…?
Hmmmm… maybe just pay Him a visit on Sunday… when convenient.

My prayer and dream is that my business will inspire a new generation of businesses in HOGC that will manifest both the cross and the King.

HOGC cross stage
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  1. Samuel Asaolu says:

    Thank you Pastor How,
    Your article answered all the questions that has been troubling my heart.
    Though my spiritual father and pastor is also first a pastor then a business man, yet for many years, every time I want to venture into business alongside ministry as a pastor, this sense of guilt and condemnations overshadow me with fear so much that I approach such desire with little or no confidence. Hence my attempts just fall flat-fail.
    My Pastor (my spiritual father) has modeled what you shared in this article so well that I don’t know why i am still allowing this sense of shame and guilt triumph over me.
    My family and I would have done more for the Gospel and the kingdom than preaching the Gospel for free and even give into it.
    While I am happy to pay the sacrifice of doing the work broke and lack if necessary, but what a privilege will it have been if we could both do it free of charge and support it.
    How beautiful will it have been to be a giver and promoter of the kingdom with our service as well as with our finances?
    Ideas keeps flowing to me but the voice of condemnations quenched them. NEVER AGAIN!
    The brother of the prodigal son remained poor and broke though obediently stayed at home with the father. His poverty was needless. The father clearly told him while you ignorantly wallow in poverty the fated calf was there for you, but you wouldn’t dare touch it (my paraphrase).
    Thank you Sir.
    God Blessed you.
    Samuel A

  2. Osei Kyirapim says:

    God bless you God servant, am treading a similar path, which I think is a guide through.

    Thank you.

  3. Tony says:

    Thankyou so much Ps How and Ps Lia and also the team who had prepare all of The Pastor and Businessman series articles! I am far beyond grateful for all the things you guys have shared 🙂 because now, I have a strong foundation how a business can bring so much Joy and Glory to the King. And I am so proud to tell the world just like you Ps How, First I’m a pastor, then a businessman! GOD BLESS!

  4. Andre Djaafar says:

    Powerfull message, I have been under heavy burden about going to full time but my concern about my business although not as big as Pst How, but it still give sustainability for my life, I have decided to go on fasting for 30 days, to my surprise, 1st day of January 2020, my Pst has the burden to start as church to go on 21 days of fasting as of 1st of January. God has been giving me impressions and still small voices for the past 6 months for more commitment and more time in God’s ministry. as I’m in my 21 days of fasting for this burden and after reading this articles, it even more strengthening my calling, just wanna tell Pst how that he has inspired me a lot and surely when the time is right, I will make that decision

  5. Lihua Huang says:

    Amazing!!!! 神给我们的,真的远远超过我们所求所想
    very encouraging!

  6. roel arandia says:

    i love it and i learn about more in Leadership and thinking also to run business at the same time.

  7. Tammy Rowe says:

    This message is not just for Singaporeans – the Christian world needs to hear it and take note.
    I have had the privilege of knowing How and Lia for the past 12 years and have had the opportunity to observe their church, business and relationships closely over many visits to Singapore (my family and I are Australian and live in Sydney). This article is not written by a couple wanting to make waves and stir up controversy in order to attract social media clicks or attention. This article is written by a couple who have lived this message and it is their honest testimony. Through our friendship I am privileged to know that they have obeyed and served God in far more sacrificial ways than they would ever publicly share. So, just in case you are wondering whether you can trust the heart of this message and the motive of it’s author, I want to shout a resounding “YES – yes you can trust this message”. This couple are not interested in seeking attention, in fact they would much prefer to simply love and disciple their church (which, as a result, just keeps growing). But I believe God has called them to share this part of their testimony with the wider church, to bring an example of how to bring ministry and business together in a way that honours God rather than disgracing Him and giving the world another reason to stumble over the church’s hypocrisy. If your spirit is stirred by what you have read then pass it on to the people in your world that you know should read it.
    Much love to Ps How and Ps Lia for sharing a story that I know you would rather keep to yourselves. Thank you for this contribution to the wider body of Christ.

  8. Ong Teck Chuan says:

    Dear SP How,

    Twenty years ago you were tempted with $1 million (upgraded to $2 million and bungalow)to give up ministry but you did not succumb. Then years later when you finally had $1 million cash which was your wife’s insurance payout and first fruits of your long awaited business profits, you gave it all to build the church. Such generosity made possible only by the greatest of financial sacrifices clearly demonstrated your heart of giving. It deserves all heavenly accolades.
    The enormity of it all speaks volumes of you and Senior Pastor Lia’s faith in God and love for His people. More than that it makes you eminently credible to talk about money in the contextual setting of both a pastor and businessman in that order of calling.

    Your personal journey is an eye-opener and real-life lesson on godly financial entrepreneurship, accountability and stewardship. You have boldly laid down your markers beginning from biblical truths, demonstrated lifestyle of contentment and sole purpose of giving to the church.

    I like the article because having a right heart, priority and purpose on money matters is a very good antidote for one to keep heavenbound. The whole essence of who we are, purpose and our first love is aptly captured in the article.

    A most powerful sharing with such clarity and certainly setting a “new benchmark for Christian business leaders and a new standard of irreproachable integrity for pastors”. Not in my 50 years of Christian walk have I come across such declaration of financial integrity. In that ‘life-time’ which included 30 years as a career professional, I have personally come across my share of unethical business dealings. This article in my view is long in coming and will be most helpful to all Christians whether pastors, business leaders or ordinary members.
    Thank you for sharing.

  9. Dominic Leong says:

    Pastor How said that one of the revelations that impacted him most when he took over the business was…
    Acts 20:34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.

    My response…#truestory

    When the COE(certificate to own a car in Singapore) prices dropped at the beginning of this year, my wife and I wanted to take the opportunity to buy a car at a better price even as we were preparing for the next phase of our lives. We wanted to take a loan of 15% of the car amount just to give us more flexibility in our cash flow.

    When both Pastor How and Pastor Lia heard about our decision, they were very happy that we were preparing for the next phase of our lives and on top of that offered to give us an interest free loan from their business.

    When we heard that, we were so moved!!! My wife and I texted each and asked, “Did you see Pastors’ reply? ” We were moved because we know that we are family to them. Even as I am talking about today, it still brings goosebumps to me.

    I remember Pastor How once told me that Pastor Lia and his dream is that we will be able afford a car one day. That dream has come true! I don’t come from a wealthy family but to be able to serve God and not worry about our finances but instead am blessed. I know this is not common and do not take it for granted that we have amazing spiritual parents.

    Thankful that I have spiritual parents who have a father’s heart to provide for those who are with them.

  10. Pris Leong says:

    Dear Pator How,
    Thanks for sharing. You have showed me how to be in the World (Businessman) And not of the world (Shepherd and Pastor of His people). Indeed, the fear of the Lord is victory in the Lord ✌️ You have inspired me to learn to observe this princple of yours having the check and balance in my business.

  11. Joshua Wang says:

    As a university student studying Business Analytics at NUS. Sometimes many questions come to mind – How to navigate meeting needs and profit maximising? How to live out Christian values through business or working in the business world? What’s the purpose behind business or what we do at our jobs – other than making a living?

    I’ve had so many of these questions answered as I see my Pastors and how they live out their lives. Witnessing again and again how they bless people, give to the church and yet having very clear policies and guidelines to uphold the highest integrity. Many of these small observations have helped guide and set the direction for my life and my dreams.

    Then reading this article – was seeing it all being put into words so beautifully. Really believe this article will help many who are finding answer!

  12. Xianhui says:

    I am absolutely drawing so many insights from this series!
    Thank you, Pastor How for taking us on a tour into your life as a Pastor and a Businessman.
    The standard you set for yourself goes way above and beyond.
    Taking up the role of a business owner on top of being a pastor, has in no way compromised the way you run church. On the contrary, it has elevated the way you live your life with the fear of God.

    To me, I see this as you raising the bar of integrity. What you have shared plays a huge part in laying my foundations as a university business student. School can teach me strategies and even attempt to dip our toes into business ethics, but Church has certainly shown me the heart I need to have and the value systems I need to form.

    Above all, this sowed a seed of dream for me to one day run a business that manifests both the King & the Cross.
    I am looking forward to more of these nuggets of wisdom.
    This series is a must-read for every Christian Businessperson!

  13. Ernest Chen says:

    I came to church in 2012 as a critical, skeptical, know-it-all law student.

    I thought it sport to question the leadership on matters of financial reporting, the necessity of being both in the church and business world and their motivations.

    In the process I found that I had been barking up the wrong tree.

    I have learnt from my Pastor that a creator loses none of his imagination even if his creation is destroyed. But the critic gains nothing from his criticism except the fear of a more reasoned and convincing response.

    This is a product of both reasoned response and imagination that is a natural outcome of an actual belief that God can do more in us and through us than our excuses allow.

  14. Eileen Ng says:

    As a former lawyer who is on the board and who has been serving in the area of governance and compliance for more than a decade, I have witnessed how Pst How and Pst Lia are scrupulously honest and painstakingly fastidious in living out the principles that were shared in these articles. They impose on themselves strict internal checks and balances and encourage vigorous board debate on plans and matters that affect the church. They are strong advocates for doing things the right way and take it personally upon themselves to raise the standard of how church is run so that it is not just credible but is an excellently run and well governed organisation.

    All these years, Pst How and Pst Lia serve God with pure hearts and clean hands. So whilst there are governance rules and regulations that impose external accountability, for them, it is their fear of God that drives their internal accountablity and motivates them to do what is right. But beyond mere compliance, they demonstrate a real love and generosity towards church and people and are adamant to use their own business to bless others. Yet ironically even with a sincere heart and with all the right checklists ticked, sadly perception and optics can prevent even the well-intentioned from doing what’s good ( like the incident where Ps How was unable to give speakers from his business to the church despite board support ). Ps How shared how he was frustrated and I must say as a board member, I also felt exasperated with the situation.

    Nonetheless, it is with utmost respect and admiration that I continue to regard Pst How and Pst Lia all these years that I have known them. As a Christian and as a professional who has worked both in the private and public sector, I have had my values shaped and thinking elevated as a result of being able to experience the highest level of integrity and leadership serving alongside them in church.

  15. Eunice says:

    Dear SP How, Thank you for sharing this article! Really loving every principle and thought behind the article. Working in SP’s business, I saw first hand how everything mentioned above are really in play! I saw how SP painstakingly make sure that money only flows one direction which is from Business to Church and NEVER the other direction. The generosity of our SP through the way they bless others and the standard of running and lead the business is inspiring. Truly first a Christian then a businessman!

  16. Terence Chow says:

    Thank you Pastor How for sharing your story so candidly, and your views on ministry and business. There are so many truths contained here.

    Coming from the business world as well, I can totally relate to your story.
    Among others, some principles that strongly resonate with me:
    “The most effective checks and balances are not external but internal.”
    Policies can only serve as measures of deterrence (not complete prevention).
    “There must be consistency and integrity across both (ministry and business). “
    As the saying goes, we need to practise what we preach.

    I have had the privilege of witnessing first hand how Pastor How and Pastor Lia blessed the pastors with gifts from their business during SCHK.
    As a businessman, it doesn’t make sense at all. How many more products do you need to sell to recoup the cost from your net profit (from selling other products)? It is not that Pastor How’s business has to comply with a trendy Corporate Social Responsibility policy (like many other global, especially listed, businesses out there).
    However, it is simply the heart of Pastor How, as a pastor, who wishes to bless others with his business, nothing more.
    It doesn’t benefit Pastor How in any way, and Pastor How expects nothing in return.

    I too, am inspired to make money from the world, to give to church.
    I too, am inspired to live a life of consistency between ministry and business, with the cross and the King.
    I too, am inspired to be first a Christian, then a businessman.

  17. May Chew says:

    So true!! It is easy to say work is work, and we may have little control in what we have to do because of our “boss’s decisions”

    Pastor How shared with us that we can learn to set boundaries for ourselves. It’s not being over sensitive but I also want to account to my loved ones. This shaped my decision to voice out to my boss that I do not want to travel alone or to travel with a male colleague. I will deliberately travel in a group. It has been an arrangement like that since then!

    Thankful that in church, I get to learnt biblical principles in which we can apply at our workplace. I’m glad to be living out these principles as a Christian too:)

  18. Eugene Soo says:

    So much wisdom and principles that I am gleaning from this article.

    As a businessman, I often question myself the highly mooted topic of how to balance both sides of being in the secular world and yet being a servant for God. I like the part of how the article clearly explains how we ought to first be a Christian, than a businessman. Overtime, I find that while good business principles will take one to success, but it’s the fundamentals – values, character, attitude, that will sustain you in the long term.

    This article also articulates the real essence of why we are in business, which is to make money from the world to give to church. Definitely worth reading a few more times because it’s not just a piece of ‘advice’ but rather a conviction and new normal for Christian business people to live out their lives and calling. This has helped me tremendously! Instead of focussing on just profits in business, I now focus on relationships, my motivations, value and purpose.

    Over the last 10 years, I have personally witnessed the above and seen how Pastors walked the talk. During the recent Strong Church Hong Kong conference, our team visited one of the influential churches there. Their senior pastor (in his 70s) hosted us and shared that he was immensely touched by Pastor How and Pastor Lia when they blessed him with a gift out of their own pockets! As he teared, he told us that he learnt many principles from not just from the preaching itself, but from the way they carried out their lives.

  19. Fanny says:

    Love love love every bit of this article! There is such a godly fear and so much wisdom in the running of the business.. I’m from Heart of God Church and also part of pastor’s business and it has been 3 years of seeing how we uphold godly values in this business.

    Earlier this year, as the business grew, I was given an opportunity to move over to Hong Kong to help manage the business there. Pastor’s heart was to have a chaperone for me so that I have a sister’s keeper and we can be accountable. It does not make sense as a businessman – increased rent, double flights to pay for (we fly back every month to stay connected to the church), double the allowance… just double of everything. But this is a policy and a Christian value we uphold and as a beneficiary of it, I am touched and truly respect that my bosses (and pastors) have never compromised on Christian values as they run their business.

  20. Martin Wong says:

    Dear Ps How,

    Thank you for sharing. What you shared in your article resonates so much with me.

    I remember coming to HOGC some 17 years ago as a fresh graduate and in a new job. But what transpired after that were the values you inculcated in us. Today, my wife (Mae-Ann) and I find ourselves in the privileged position of running a thriving tuition business.

    It is so true that our Christian values and being business people cannot be compartmentalized. Our Christian values ought to be consistently displayed and exhibited even in our business. In fact, our Christian values aid us so much in making decisions in our business.

    Thank you so much, Pst, for constantly teaching and modeling this for us. Many people come to us, observe our thriving business and ask “how do we do it?” Well, this is the only way we know how to do business. I am a Christian first, then a businessman.

  21. Joel Jiang says:

    I’ve personally experienced how my pastors use the business to bless the church. As a youth I remember there was once some of us were invited to a room filled with products. We were told that pastors just wanted to give to all of us, so we were allowed to take whatever we wanted! I was really touched by their generosity!

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