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The late Rev Dr Rick Seaward

The LoveSingapore leadership team has posted heartfelt tributes to the sudden departure of Pastor Rick Seaward, who died in a car accident on Saturday, March 24 in Brazil, where he was scheduled to minister at a missions conference.

“We thank God for Pastor Rick Seaward’s life and legacy. He is God’s gift to our nation and the world. Like Jonah, he was a sign to his generation. Like John, he prepared the way of the Lord. Like Jesus, he poured himself out unto death. He will rise again!” the prayer network posted in a Facebook note.

Ps Seaward served as the Chairman of LoveSingapore from 2002 to 2008.

Posted by LoveSingapore on Monday, 26 March 2018

 

Senior Pastor Lawrence Khong, Faith Community Baptist Church, and Chairman, LoveSingapore:

I am in great shock, I am in deep sadness to receive the news of Rick Seaward’s sudden demise. I will always treasure Rick as a friend, a brother, and a fellow comrade in the Gospel of Christ and the Kingdom mission of God.

Rick was an invaluable team player in LoveSingapore. I could always count on him to speak honestly, wisely, lovingly, and with great discernment on anything — be it personal issues or matters concerning the Church.

Rick was a unifier who made every effort to keep unity. He believed in the power of unity. He worked quietly behind the scenes to foster unity, never taking any credit for it.

Rick was a modern-day apostle. His passion for the glory of God in Singapore and among the nations has been a great inspiration to me and many fellow pastors. He lived and breathed world missions.

Rick was a unifier who made every effort to keep unity. He believed in the power of unity.

I remember when Rick chaired the LoveSingapore Network from 2002 to 2008. He was God’s visionary spokesman for our neighbour, Timor-Leste. This led to the Love Timor initiative which united churches and missions organisations to bless Timor village-by-village in practical ways with no strings attached. Today, many good things are happening on the ground in Timor simply because there was a Rick Seaward who loved her and championed her cause.

I pray that we will honour Rick’s legacy by having the same big heart for God’s family of nations near and far. I will miss Rick dearly. In this time of shock and grief, my heart goes out to the Seaward family and Victory Family Centre.

While the circumstance of Rick’s passing was a tragic car wreck, his being called into glory is certainly not a random event. Our Sovereign Lord considered Rick’s assignment on earth completed and welcomed him home with the only accolade Rick cared about: “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Come enter into my joy!” In this, we find solace and comfort.

Vicar Daniel Wee, Church of Our Saviour:

I am greatly saddened by the news of the passing of Pastor Rick. This is a great loss to the Christian community. The Singapore Church owes him a debt of gratitude for his labour for the Kingdom of God in this land. He was a man whose heart was devoted to fulfilling God’s call and he poured his life into that vision and mission.

As a fellow pastor on the LoveSingapore team, we could always count on his wise counsel and no-nonsense objectivity, as well as his sensitivity to the Spirit and his obedience to God. When it came to God’s work, he spared nothing and put his money where his mouth was.

Rick will be sorely missed. But if there was anyone who was ready to meet the Lord, it was him. The remembrance of his life challenges us as to what a dedicated life can and should be.

Enjoy your reward in the Kingdom now, Rick!

Senior Pastor Derek Hong, City Missions Church and Good Gifts City Church:

Like everyone else, I was stunned and deeply saddened by the sudden departure of Pastor Rick Seaward. I got to know Rick Seaward personally only after he came into the leadership team of LoveSingapore. He made a deep impression on me on several fronts:

First and foremost, he had an incredible capacity for getting things done. He took on the organisation of the so-called “Grand Harvest” in the National Stadium at short notice. Next, he took on the chairmanship of the LoveSingapore team when we were at our lowest point. Then he brought the whole movement into adopting Timor-Leste as our mission focus.

I believe that LoveSingapore owes him a great debt for holding things together when many saw no future for the unity movement. And he did all this while still overseeing Victory Family Centre and its vigorous church-planting projects all over the world.

Secondly, while outwardly appearing stern and humourless, Rick was open to correction and change. I observed that he was always one of the first to respond to altar calls for repentance. Then as our relationship developed, I noticed he even began to make jokes about other members of the team, especially me. Some of his staff has quietly come to thank us for helping him become relaxed.

One of the biggest changes I saw in my brother was when he came back one time from Uganda and declared, “We must have miracles if church planting is to succeed!” I didn’t want to say, “Rick, I told you so” as in times past he had come across as sceptical of my attempts to promote the supernatural works of the Holy Spirit. I have always been puzzled why, with his Pentecostal background, he would even express the slightest doubt in that area. But from that time onwards, we never had another debate about the great importance of divine healing, miracles, signs and wonders in ministry.

He had often talked about not wanting to live beyond 70 years of age. I told him to take a number behind me. But he has cut the queue and beaten me to the Father’s presence.

Thirdly I’m humbled by Rick’s simple and sacrificial lifestyle. As founder and pastor of one of the largest churches in Singapore, he always flew economy class. He lived in a HDB apartment. I wonder if he ever went on a holiday, or did anything for relaxation. I am pretty sure he gave a lot of his income away.

However, I must end by saying I’m also upset with Rick. He had often talked about not wanting to live beyond 70 years of age. We would tell him it’s wrong for him to even think that. I told him to take a number behind me as I’m eight years older. But he has cut the queue and beaten me to the Father’s presence. He now has the pleasure of hearing Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” while I still labour here. Not fair!

But I salute him as a great General in the advance of Christ’s Kingdom. We will miss his passion and faith when we need encouragement and impetus. We will miss his straight-talking, no-nonsense approach to problem-solving. Most of all, we will miss a man who truly walked the talk.

Senior Pastor Guna Raman, Agape Baptist Church:

A dear friend, Rick Seaward, was taken up to glory in a tragic accident while ministering in Brazil. It shocked all of us.

Rick knew the power of the Cross in his life. He took up the Cross daily and followed Jesus all the way to glory.

I knew Rick at close range for over 12 years. I knew him as a man with an undying passion for world missions. It was he who championed the call for churches in Singapore to go serve the war-torned, newly independent nation of Timor-Leste, where Agape now runs the Shalom School.

Rick went all over the world planting churches, training leaders and building alliances for missions. He was relentless in his zeal to see the gospel proclaimed and disciples made in every nation. Yet, he had time for little joys and connected well with friends for fellowship and community, with the clear intention of building relationships for the cause of the Kingdom.

The son of church-planting missionaries, his life was given to the cause of missions. And on March 24, unknown to any of us, the Lord considered his work on earth completed and called his servant home to glory. As we approach Good Friday, I can’t help but think of Christ and the Cross. My friend Rick knew the power of the Cross in his life. He took up the Cross daily and followed Jesus all the way to glory.

Like Rick, may I never flinch from the call to take up my cross daily and follow my Saviour to my last breath.

Senior Pastor Lawrence Chua, Living Sanctuary Brethren Church:

Rick Seaward was a hardworking son with whom the Father is well pleased. He gave his life unreservedly to the Father and His global business. He served with incredible focus. Yet behind the facade of this intense, no nonsense, task-oriented Kingdom statesman stood a kind and humane person.

He came into my life 17 years ago and touched me with his genuine love and gentleness.Rick influenced and mobilized thousands of people in Kingdom work. But he was equally capable of reaching out to an ordinary man to offer his friendship. He showed no partiality towards people. I know this well, because I was an undeserving man he befriended. In disbelief I asked Rick on a few occasions, “Why me?” He would smile. He would put his arm around me. He would say, “Love you, Lawrence! I like your spirit”.

Rick influenced and mobilised thousands of people but he was equally capable of reaching out to an ordinary man to offer his friendship.

How can I aptly describe the friendship between Rick and me? More times than I can remember, he said to me: “Lawrence, you rascal!” Well, I deserved that scolding. I was the rascal who would often pull his legs, play pranks on him, and tell him some tall tales that he readily believed, only to discover that they were all false! Rick would follow up his rebuke with a generous dose of his typical Rick laughter; child-like, unguarded, uncontrived. Now that he is gone, I will miss those times of horsing around with him, even in the midst of intense ministry.

He was a dear brother and friend. I enjoyed fellowship with him. Last year, Rick was camp speaker for my church. We spent precious time together, along with Diane and Cindy. We talked and talked and talked. He, as always, spoke from his heart to inspire and not to impress. It was most refreshing and edifying.

He was my hero at the national level. When called upon by Rick, I undertook more Kingdom work than I would or could have done for anyone else. I did so because I respected him greatly and I trusted him fully.

For Rick, there was always one and only one agenda: God’s agenda. It was never a VFC agenda or a Rick agenda. It was never difficult to take Rick at his word.

I grieve over his sudden demise. I don’t know how long it will take for the grief to go away. But I do know that even when it does ease off, the memory of this dear friend and leader will stay on.

Senior Pastor Leslie Chua, Rock of Ages Church:

Pastor Rick Seaward is one of those few people that I have deep respect for. His reputation precedes him for good reasons. His passion, energy and accomplishments in missions are known widely. It is easy to respect a well-known charismatic public figure from a distance. But when you get to know the person at close quarters, and your admiration for him increases, you know he is someone special. Pastor Rick is such a person.

He made a huge impression on me for a few reasons. He had no airs. He always spoke with forthrightness and candour. Discussion involving Rick was always robust, peppered with large doses of wisdom and insight, and never lacking in clarity.

Like many of us, I am saddened by his passing. But I am certain that if I could speak to him now, he would say to me: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Having said that, Rick’s passing is a great loss, not only to his beloved family and Victory Family Centre, but also to the Body of Christ in Singapore and around the world.

Senior Pastor Chern Hock Chye, Renewal Christian Church:

To me, Pastor Rick has been a loving pastor and a great leader. I have learned so much from his sharing and his life. Though he is English-speaking, he cared for the Chinese-speaking churches in Singapore and was always ready to offer us his help. I am also extremely impressed by his zeal to start a new church in Kota Kinabalu last year. I thought that, given his age and seniority, he didn’t need to do it. But he did.

I am shocked and saddened by his death. But I am comforted to know that he is in a better place now.

Senior Pastor Daniel Foo, Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Church:

In my various interactions with Pastor Rick Seaward, he struck me as one who was sharp and gifted, a cut above the rest. I was constantly challenged by his passion for global missions as I reviewed my own involvement and my church’s involvement.

He was real. He was transparent. He could be teased and engaged in deep conversations on matters that truly matter.

I have known Rick to be very generous. On one occasion at lunch, I asked for the bill. I thought I was quick. But guess what, Rick had already put his credit card with the cashier on arrival. He was ever supportive. Not only did he write a commendation for my book, The Outstanding Leader, he also bought a significant number of copies for all his leaders.

He lived a simple life. He was real. He was transparent. He could be teased for fun and engaged in deep conversations on matters that truly matter.

I was overseas when I heard about the tragic accident that took his life. I was in complete shock and deeply saddened. May the good LORD multiply his tribe for such a time as this for the glory His Name!

Senior Pastor Jeff Chong, Hope Church Singapore:

Dear Pastor Rick, when I emailed you for help, you would reply me at ungodly hours because you were forever living in different time zones. When I needed to speak to you, you invited Claudia and I to dine with your family at VFC’s 40th anniversary. When I asked you if you wanted latte or mocha, you said kopi siew dai. When we were in Japan, you challenged us to plant hundreds of thousands of churches all over the country.

Thanks for sharing your life with us. Thank you for modelling a life sold out for the Great Commission! We will miss you.

Deputy Senior Pastor Daniel Khong, Faith Community Baptist Church:

I haven’t known Pastor Rick that long or that well. But his name is one that I’ve often heard at home. I knew him to be my dad’s friend, and a great one at that. Sometimes, it does get lonely being in leadership positions. But Pastor Rick was a friend that my dad always could count on, to be honest, open, and direct.

I got to know Pastor Rick on a closer level over the years as a pastor. He was on the ordination council that interviewed me. Besides just grilling me on theology, I remember how he took the time to ask about me personally. He wasn’t just concerned about what I knew. He also wanted to know how I was. I’ll never forget that.

We all know Pastor Rick as a champion for missions. When FCBC celebrated her 25th anniversary, it was Pastor Rick who challenged us to take up the mantle of missions once more. I’m glad to say that his words were not taken lightly. We have since planted churches in Japan, and are making inroads in Timor Leste, Nepal, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. I pray that we will always honour the legacy that Pastor Rick Seaward has left for us and for the Singapore Church.

Senior Pastor Benny Ho, Faith Community Church:

Pastor Rick Seaward was my first Senior Pastor after I came to Christ in early 1978. He was a spiritual father to me. I grew up spiritually in Calvary Charismatic Center. It was there, under the Pastor Rick’s apostolic leadership, that my spiritual foundation was laid. It was there that I received a passion for global missions. For this, I am eternally grateful.

Later, through LoveSingapore, I had the privilege of working closely with Pastor Rick. The more I got to know him, the more I respected him. I have never met a more missional and spiritually-discerning leader than Pastor Rick. When I moved to Perth, I was blessed to have Pastor Rick join the International Advisory Board of my church. Our leadership team was impacted by his wise and discerning counsel.

In Pastor Rick, I saw how a man of God can and should grow in faith, hope and love. He modelled for us faith to believe God for nations. He inspired us with his hope of seeing the Body of Christ in Singapore walk in unity. But most of all, he showed us how to love the lost with all our heart. May his legacy live on in us.

Eugene Seow, CEO, TOUCH International:

I will miss him dearly. He was indeed a spiritual giant in the faith and an elder statesman of the Church of Jesus Christ in Singapore. Yet, he was always ready and willing to listen and embrace alternative viewpoints and input, especially those of the next generation.

Pastor Rick, you have run the race well. You have inspired generations.

Although he had extensive ministry responsibilities worldwide, he made a clear commitment to LoveSingapore as a top priority. He would make all sorts of adjustments to his tight travel schedules, plans and meetings just to be with us at key events and important moments of the movement.

In the LoveSingapore leadership team, I appreciated his sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Whenever Pastor Rick would say “I have a strong witness in my spirit”, you could trust his spiritual discernment. I am so grateful to have had the honour and privilege of serving together with him, learning from him, and most of all, hearing his prophetic insights about the Church and the nations.

Through these years, he has been more than just a fellow pastor to me. He’s has been an elder brother with whom I could share my heart’s concerns and fears. I am honoured to be able to call him a dear friend.

Pastor Rick, you have run the race well. You have inspired generations. And yes I know, you told us so often that you were eager to meet Jesus. But it still hurts and pains us to have you leave us so suddenly. Yet I know, there must have been a great heavenly welcome party for you. And that you have finally heard that all familiar voice saying, “Well done, My good and faithful son”.

Joseph Chean, National Director, YWAM Singapore:

I went to bed and woke up thinking of Pastor Rick Seaward: who he was, how he lived his life, what he was passionate about, and how I can share the same passion.

Pastor Rick was instrumental in 2006 when YWAM Singapore launched GoFest Asia, a missions mobilisation and placement conference. Many participants were deeply impacted and have continued in missions till today. Pastor Rick was again instrumental in 2008 when GoFest Asia combined with the GoForth National Missions Conference.

No matter how big or small, as long as it was about the proclamation of the gospel, Pastor Rick has always championed the cause and made room for others.

One seed, same DNA, fruit beyond measure!

Lai Kheng Pousson, Special Assistant, LoveSingapore:

To me, Pastor Rick was an imitation of the selfless Christ. He gave his all. A true servant whose one desire was to please God his Father. He led by example. Like Jesus, he listened to his Father and did whatever the Father told him. He finished well, minding the Father’s business.

Still, I cannot deny the shock and the sorrow. Pastor Rick’s departure was all too sudden, way too tragic. Like many, I am deeply saddened. Beyond words.

Yet I know he would not want us to be overcome by grief, but to arise as an Antioch of Antiochs to help every nation do its part to complete world evangelisation.

Your memories of Pastor Rick Seaward

An official page has been created for anyone who wishes to pen down their memories of Ps Seaward, or condolences to his loved ones. Click here to visit the Facebook page.

 

About the author

LoveSingapore

Birthed in 1995, LoveSingapore is a unity movement motivated by love, fuelled by prayer, and inspired by a common vision.