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Governance & Organisation

 

Introduction to the nuts and bolts of running Heart of God Church.

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About Heart of God Church

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About the Church

Heart of God Church (‘HOGC’ or the ‘Church’) is an independent non-denominational church with an independent Board of Directors, leadership and finances. The Church is a member of the National Council of Churches of Singapore. HOGC is not affiliated with any other church or organisation.

HOGC is registered as a society under the Societies Act and as a charity under the Charities Act.

Similar to other churches in Singapore, HOGC’s primary objectives are meeting the spiritual needs and development of its members, sharing the gospel and being a blessing to the community.

HOGC prioritises strong corporate governance and high standards of financial accountability and stewardship.

 

Governance

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What is the governance structure of Heart of God Church?

The Church is led and managed by the Board of Directors, the Council of Pastors and the Executive Leadership. The Board of Directors is responsible for the finance, legal, property and building as well as the governance aspects (regulatory compliance, risk and crisis management) of the Church. The Council of Pastors is responsible for the theological and pastors-related matters of the Church. The Executive Leadership comprises the Senior Pastors and the General Manager. The Senior Pastors provide overall spiritual and pastoral oversight and the General Manager manages the business, operations and finance of the Church.

The Constitution empowers the Board to establish Sub-Committees to assist it in running the Church. To ensure governance effectiveness, the following Sub-Committees have been formed:

(i) Appointment & Nomination (ii) Audit (iii) Building (iv) Finance & Investment (v) Governance, Risk & Compliance (vi) Grants & Disbursements (vii) Human Resource (viii) Programmes & Services

This governance structure is approved by the Commissioner of Charities and the Registry of Societies.

Board of Directors

(i) How are the Board of Directors elected?

All nominations are first made by Executive Members, reviewed by the Appointment & Nomination Sub-Committee and recommended to the Board of Directors. Suitable candidates are then presented to the Annual General Meeting for election.

(ii) What are the qualifications of the Board of Directors?

According to the Constitution, the criteria for the Board of Directors is that they must be Executive Members who have demonstrated qualities set out in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Applying the principles in the Code of Governance, the Board of Directors comprises pastors and lay professionals with different competencies (law, finance, business, management, strategic planning, education, public service) and relevant sectoral knowledge (religion). All members of the Board of Directors serve on a voluntary basis and receive no remuneration or benefits for their board services.

The current Board comprises a former Deputy Commanding Officer of the Singapore Police Force, a former Deputy Director in the Public Service, a former Air Force Squadron Commander, lawyers, a doctor and business leaders.

What is Heart of God Church's governance approach to Human Resource Management?

Staff Recruitment, Remuneration, Performance Appraisal & Development

HOGC hires staff (full-time and part-time) based on the needs of the Church and the availability of budget as approved by the Board of Directors. In order to attract and retain talent who can help the Church achieve its charitable objectives, salary scales are reviewed and benchmarked to the social service and public service sectors. The performance appraisal framework developed by the Board of Directors through its Human Resource Sub-Committee is based on the core values and mission of the Church. Through both internal customised training and external courses, staff and leaders are given opportunities to upgrade and improve their skills in their respective competencies.

 

Group Structure

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What comprises the Heart of God Church Group?

The Heart of God Church Group comprises Heart of God Church and its subsidiaries. The subsidiaries were set up and run according to the principles set out in “Guidance for Charities Engaging in Business Activities” provided by the Commissioner of Charities. These subsidiaries are held in trust by trustees for and on behalf of the Church. The trustees are appointed at the Church’s General Meetings and they act as shareholders and directors of these subsidiaries. They have also executed Statutory Declarations that they do not receive any remuneration or benefits or profits for their roles in the subsidiaries.

Why does Heart of God Church have subsidiaries?

HOGC set up subsidiaries primarily to provide support and services to meet the needs of the church.

Moreover, HOGC does not own its own buildings / land / property. It tried to bid for religious-zoned land in 2013 but was unsuccessful. Hence, business entities were required in order for the church to have non-exclusive limited religious use of industrial space.

How does Heart of God Church ensure transparency of funds channeled to its subsidiaries, protect its charitable assets from risks posed by its business activities, and manage profits and losses?

(A) Guiding Principles
The guiding principles to the corporate structure of the HOGC Group are as follows:

  1. Transparency – All accounts of the subsidiaries are consolidated under the Group accounts.
  2. Full disclosure of accounts of the subsidiaries to the Church and to the Annual General Meeting.
  3. Simple model of straightforward capital injection. There are no loans or bonds between the Church and its subsidiaries.

Religious organisations in Singapore are governed by legislation such as the Charities Act (Cap 37) and the Societies Act (Cap 311) as well as relevant Codes such as the Code of Governance for Charities and Institutions of a Public Character issued by the Charities Council. Heart of God Church is audited by RSM Chio Lim, the Singaporean arm of the established global auditing firm RSM International. The Church files its Annual Returns and its Audited Financial Statements with the Commissioner of Charities and the Registry of Societies.

Above and beyond the regulatory requirements of presenting the Audited Financial Statements at the Annual General Meeting, the Church's finances are also presented yearly to attendees during its weekend services, which are open to the public.

(B) Structure
The shareholders and directors of the subsidiaries acting on behalf of HOGC are trustees voted by the Executive Members at HOGC Annual General Meeting. These shareholders hold their shares on trust for the Church by way of a Trust Deed and all of the shareholders and directors signed Statutory Declaration specifying that they received no profits or benefits for their respective roles. All subsidiaries are incorporated in Singapore.

Details of the activities and finances of the Church can be found in its Annual Reports which are released to its members and made available to the public via the Charity Portal.

(C) Profits and Losses
The HOGC Board regularly monitors the financial health of the subsidiaries.

Subsidiaries are allowed to retain profits for business continuity. In the event the subsidiary incurs any losses, the HOGC Board will review and assess the viability of the business.

What measures are in place to ensure an arms-length relationship, and prevent conflict of interest between Heart of God Church and its subsidiaries?

HOGC and its subsidiaries adhere to the Commissioner of Charities’ Guidelines for Charities Engaging in Business Activities to ensure that there is an arms-length relationship and to prevent conflict of interest. HOGC and its subsidiaries have:

  1. Separate Board of Directors
  2. Separate General Managers
  3. Separate sets of accounts
 

Finances

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How does Heart of God Church use its finances?

HOGC’s finances support the vision and mission of the Church. This extends to operational and building needs.

The operational needs of the Church include running weekend services, paying the salaries of the Church’s staff, and organising programmes for its members.

The building needs of the Church include the rental and maintenance of its facilities.

Additionally, the Church uses its finances to support local community and international humanitarian activities. The Church also maintains a fund for scholarships and bursaries for underprivileged youth members.

How does Heart of God Church meet its financial needs?

The activities of HOGC are funded by the members of the Church through voluntary tithes, offerings and other freewill gifts.

The teaching of giving at HOGC is biblical and is identical to the teaching of most evangelical Christian churches and across many denominations around the world. Furthermore, all Christian churches, as with all charities, receive and rely on financial offerings to function effectively.

The Bible teaches that giving should be without compulsion (2 Corinthians 9:7), therefore the Church does not require any of its members to give tithes or offerings. The Church leaves this voluntary decision to the personal convictions of its members.

How is the transparency of financial activities maintained?

Religious organisations in Singapore are governed by legislation such as the Charities Act (Cap 37) and the Societies Act (Cap 311) as well as relevant Codes such as the Code of Governance for Charities and Institutions of a Public Character issued by the Charities Council. Heart of God Church is audited by RSM Chio Lim, the Singaporean arm of the established global auditing firm RSM International. The Church files its Annual Returns and its Audited Financial Statements with the Commissioner of Charities and the Registry of Societies.

Details of the activities and finances of the Church can be found in its Annual Reports which are released to its members and made available to the public via the Charity Portal.

Above and beyond the regulatory requirements of presenting the Audited Financial Statements at the Annual General Meeting, the Church's finances are also presented yearly to attendees during its weekend services, which are open to the public.

What are the accounting practices and standards Heart of God Church complies with?

The Heart of God Church Group consolidated Audited Financial Statements are drawn up in accordance with the provisions of the Societies Act (Cap 311), the Charities Act (Cap 37), the Companies Act (Cap 50), and the Financial Reporting Standards (FRS) in Singapore.

The Church’s Audited Financial Statements and Annual Reports are available at the Charities Portal.

How does Heart of God Church ensure financial prudence and accountability?

The Church has policies and standard operating procedures for internal controls and accounting processes. This includes processes such as purchase requisition, selecting vendors and approving authority limits for expenditures.

Audit Sub-Committee

The Audit Sub-Committee assists the Board of Directors in fulfilling its duties required under the Code of Governance in the area of reviewing internal controls and financial operating processes and giving recommendations to cut costs in the operation of the church so as to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the Church. These internal controls and financial operating processes are also audited by our external auditors annually.

How does Heart of God Church manage its budgets?

The Board of Directors reviews bi-annually and approves the annual budget of the Group according to the Church’s constitution and plans. This ensures prudent projection and wise stewardship of our finances. The Board also does regular monitoring and reviews of the budget and expenditures of the Group.

Why does Heart of God Church need reserves?

As recommended by the Code of Governance (see Reserves Policy Guide), the Church maintains a certain level of reserves to ensure its long-term sustainability. The Church maintains its reserves according to our Reserves Policy planned and reviewed by the Board of Directors through its Finance & Investments Sub-Committee.

Maintaining healthy reserves will not only ensure that the Church is able to sustain its current rental and operations, it also allows the Church to provide for future needs and unforeseen risks. Having reserves also gives the Church the ability to take up future opportunities to purchase land zoned for religious use which the Board may propose to the AGM through its Building Sub-Committee.

What is the Building, Equipment and Rental Fund for?

The Building, Equipment and Rental Fund was established in August 2000. The purpose of the fund is to finance the activities related to the securing of buildings and premises for the use of the Church, including but not limited to the acquisition, lease, maintenance, and renovation of buildings and equipment for use in the buildings.

The Building, Equipment and Rental Fund is funded by the members of the Church through voluntary offerings. The Church implements a limit on the giving that it receives from its younger members to the Building Fund.

Who are Heart of God Church's professional advisors?

Auditor:

RSM Chio Lim LLP logoRSM Chio Lim LLP

Bank:

Citibank Singapore Ltd logoCitibank Singapore Ltd

DBS Ltd logoDBS Ltd

Lawyer:

Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP logoRajah & Tann Singapore LLP

 

Charitable Programmes & Activities

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Our Approach

The Church plans and implements charitable programmes and activities for the benefit of the community and its members. These programmes and activities are evaluated annually by the Board of Directors through its Programmes & Services Sub-Committee to align with the Church’s vision and mission.

Selection of suitable beneficiaries of such charitable programmes and activities is performed by adhering to guidelines set by the Board of Directors through its Grants & Disbursements Sub-Committee. This ensures that deserving recipients benefit from the Church’s charity and that the resources of the Church are effectively managed and well accounted for.

Community Work

Heart of God Church seeks to make a positive contribution to the community. On top of running weekend services, organising activities for and providing pastoral care to its members, the activities of the Church extend broadly into the community. This includes fostering racial and religious harmony through close partnership with the Geylang Serai Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle with activities such as blood donation drives, tuition services to underprivileged students and other joint community events.

Together with over 250 religious organisations, Heart of God Church joined the Commitment to Safeguard Religious Harmony in Singapore at the 2019 International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS).

Read more about HOGC's community work here.

Scholarship & Opportunity Fund

The Scholarship & Opportunity Fund was set up to provide direct financial aid to HOGC youths from less privileged backgrounds. The Fund provides a monthly allowance to selected recipients to ensure that they can have the opportunity do well in life despite their challenging family background. Scholarships are also awarded to allow deserving students to further their education so that they can pursue their goals and fulfill their aspiration notwithstanding their lack of finances.

Academic Excellence Programme

The Academic Excellence Programme teaches students the importance of learning and encourages them to study hard. To inspire students, prizes are awarded to selected recipients who have done well in national examinations and shown improvement in their studies.

For more information on the Academic Excellence programme, visit www.hogcae.com.

Missions

The Church organises overseas mission trips that offer members opportunities to serve the less fortunate. The Church strategically partners with organisations to support and facilitate projects with lasting impact, provide humanitarian assistance and aid with disaster relief work.

Read more:

 

Policies

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What is the purpose of the Policies & Guidelines in Heart of God Church?

The Church’s Policies & Guidelines reflect our culture and core values in the way we relate to people, approach situations, and deal with challenges that arise in our church life.

These Policies & Guidelines which are reviewed by Board of Directors through its Governance, Risk & Compliance Sub-Committee help to articulate in a clearer and more systematic way what our culture and core values are, ensure consistency in decision-making and provide a safe environment for all our members, especially the youth and children.

What do the Heart of God Church Policies & Guidelines cover?

HOGC’s Policies and Guidelines include:

(i) Youth

Heart of God Church provides a nurturing environment for youths to learn and grow, training and equipping them to serve others, as well as teaching habits and inculcating values that empower them to live out their potential. In this policy, the Church guides its youths to achieve the right balance between their studies, family and church life so that they can do well and do good at the same time.

(ii) Safety

The Church is committed to the protection of its members, especially the youth and children. This policy covers safety procedures for church events and operations, as well as protocols for crisis situations and whistleblowing.

(iii) Community

This policy is underpinned by a respect for other religions/faiths/community groups and our Government, a desire to build strong relationships within the community and to respond in love to needs and in times of crisis within our community, according to the values in the Singapore Pledge and as set out in the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap 167A).

(iv) Religious Sensitivity in Schools

The Church respects the Government’s policy that in multi-racial and multi-religious Singapore, schools are a common space for students of all races, religions and backgrounds to mix freely. In this policy, the Church teaches its members to be sensitive and respectful in words and deeds to uphold the goodwill and harmony our nation enjoys amongst all races and religions.

(v) Leaders’ Code of Conduct

The Church believes that leaders must conduct themselves with utmost integrity and lead by example. This policy sets out guidelines and boundaries to protect both leaders and members in their interactions with each other.

(vi) Code of Conduct for Children and Teen Cell Ministry Crew

This policy ensures that teachers are properly screened and trained when interacting with the children who attend HeartTots, HeartKidz Junior, HeartKidz and Teen Cell Ministries.

Leaders who serve in the Children and Teen Cell Ministries are to exercise extra care and sensitivity as we recognise that children who are 12 years old and below are more vulnerable and easily influenced.

Personal Data Protection Policy

HOGC recognises the importance of safeguarding personal data entrusted to it and is therefore committed to fully implementing and complying with the provisions of the Personal Data Protection Act 2012.

HOGC’s Data Protection Officer may be reached at DPO@heartofgodchurch.org.