At “Miracle-Seed Sunday” in Singapore’s New Creation Church last month, the pastor’s sermon was preceded by PowerPoint and video presentations, and donations were overseen by auditors.
Centuries after Catholics established missions in Asia, Singaporeans are flocking to a new species of churches making appeals more in common with “Material Girl” pop-singer Madonna than the Jesuits. Wearing a white leather jacket and jeans, Senior Pastor Joseph Prince asked God to reward a crowd of about 1,200 with houses, cars, jobs, pay raises and holidays if they contributed to New Creation’s multimillion-dollar funding drive.
Prince’s 24,000-strong flock belongs to a flourishing breed of churches from Houston to Sydney winning followers with a focus on personal well-being. As the rise of so-called mega churches helps make Christians the fastest-growing religious group in majority-Buddhist Singapore, their fundraising prowess is also making its mark, allowing groups including New Creation and City Harvest Church to invest in some of the island’s biggest commercial properties.
“Mega churches have been able to articulate Christianity in a very contemporary manner,” said Terence Chong, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies who has researched such groups. “Being able to adopt the language of pop culture, mass consumption — we think this appeals to the new middle class, people who are aspiring middle class.”Continue Reading on www.bloomberg.com