Singapore pastor goes worldwide

Singapore pastor goes worldwide
Mr Joseph Prince, senior pastor and founder of New Creation Church.

SINGAPORE - Singapore is home to the world's 10th richest pastor?

Last week, the New Creation Church rubbished claims by United States-based entertainment website Richest Lifestyle that its founding member and senior pastor Joseph Prince drew a salary of $550,000 a year and had a net worth of US$5 million (S$6.4 million).

However, there is no denying the extent of Mr Prince's reach.

The 51-year-old hosts a religious television show which, it is claimed, can be seen in more than 200 countries, and has been aired daily on several major American television networks such as ABC Family and Daystar Television.

The show is produced by the international, non-profit Joseph Prince Ministries. Set up in 2007, the group is independent from the church here and is headquartered in the US.

In a 2012 tax document obtained by The Sunday Times, the organisation said its daily broadcast could reach 680 million households globally.

And in that financial year alone, the organisation listed a revenue of US$27.6 million, most of which came from "contributions and grants". Of that amount, US$21.2 million was spent on the broadcasts.

The tax document showed that Joseph Prince Ministries had a profit of US$1.7 million for that financial year and net assets of US$11.7 million at the end of the year.

But Mr Prince, who was listed as its president, was not given any compensation from the organisation or any related organisations, according to the document.

He also goes on overseas speaking tours, and is the author of at least 20 books, including special editions and translations, and many CDs and DVDs. One book, The Power Of Right Believing, made it to No. 2 on The New York Times' bestseller list in the advice and "how to" category. The paperback version is listed at US$14.40 on Amazon.

Attempts to contact Joseph Prince Ministries were unsuccessful, and Mr Prince declined to speak to The Sunday Times.

But the New Creation Church's council also made it clear last week that he has not drawn a salary since 2009.

While the church regarded Mr Prince's worth a private issue, it added that he had shared with the council that his wealth was "substantially lower than the US$5 million that has been alleged".

It did not give other details about Mr Prince's finances.

Still, the church has been a fund-raising powerhouse, collecting $21 million in donations in a single day in 2010. This broke its own one-day records of $19 million in 2009 and about $18 million in 2008.

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