Monday Musings 04/02/13
Yesterday, I preached at a small apostolic church in Chimwemwe, Zambia!
When MJ and I arrived at the school where the church is located, the pastor proceeded to tell us that there were eighteen different churches meeting in that one school. I am always intrigued when I preach in a setting like this. When it is my time to speak, another church is worshipping with a mega sound system. When I sit down, someone else in another part of the building is preaching louder then I was.
Over lunch, in the pastor’s home, I asked him how many of the churches in that school belong to a fellowship of churches and why there are so many churches springing up in Zambia.
Of the eighteen churches, only two, including the one I preached in, belong to a fellowship of churches. As for the number of churches springing up across Zambia, the answer seems to be the same across the Continent. In the words of the pastor, people start churches because they desire the power that comes with leadership, and the potential money that leadership provides.
Power and money are the reasons so few pastors belong to a fellowship of churches. They avoid accountability because accountability prevents them from pursuing their own agenda. It would also expose their lack of integrity. This lack of accountability and integrity leads to spiritual and financial abuse as well as heretical preaching. What an explosive combination for Kingdom disaster!!!!
I have heard so many stories of abuse. Pastor’s who put a price on healing. The greater the sickness, the more money you have to pay for your healing. The words of Peter come to mind in Acts 20, “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!” Desperate times often dictate desperate measures, but it must never be at the expense of sound Biblical principles or the spiritual or physical abuse of people!!!
I can’t help think of the positive Kingdom impact that could take place if people would drop their personal agendas and come together to reach a community for Christ. At offering time yesterday, people were placing K100 bills in the basket. That is the equivalent of a Canadian penny. If eighteen churches were to come together, that one Canadian penny would become eighteen, and when multiplied by the number of people in attendance, greater things could be accomplished. Unfortunately personal agenda often supersedes Kingdom purposes.
Ironically, following the morning service, I ran into a former TTC student at an ice cream shop. When I asked him what he is doing, he said that he just returned to Kitwe to start a church. Of course my first question was to ask him which fellowship of churches he was working with, to which he sheepishly replied, “no one, I am starting my own”. That young man and I are meeting on Wednesday at the college. Hopefully he will listen to what I have to say.
So, the work of RTC is not done. As stated last week, it is my prayer that we can have a part in raising a generation of integrity driven, Holy Spirit empowered leaders who will seek to fulfill God’s agenda, not their own.
Until next Monday…