So this issue has been weighing in on my heart for a while now. Been thinking of the most appropriate way to address it without sounding judgmental. We have had many scandals in the church in the recent past. In fact, they are so many that we would be tempted to give up on the Kenyan church.
The church traditionally is meant to be the place of refuge, a brook for parched souls, a balm for broken hearts and a place of restitution. While that is still a true representation of the church, a number of skunk ‘pastors’ have marred it greatly by bad publicity. Let me expound:
‘Pastors’ have turned out to be cons. Instead of praying for the congregation, they are preying on them. Worse still, it’s being done to the most vulnerable groups in our society. The sick, the poor, orphans, widows, the disabled and the uninformed. Some of them have become master scavengers and lethal executors of some of the most selfish strategies. Anointed water for sale, blessed oil, Mpesa, panda mbegu, ‘exorcism’ among other unspeakable acts which threaten to extinguish nobility of this great faith. Scandals in the church nowadays can sustain content for all forms of media we have in Kenya.
I must speak on the authority of Ezekiel 33:7-11, I must speak! Please go to the following churches at your own risk. A caveat emptor has been issued. Christian Beware.
Churches that lack structures and accountability
I’m not talking about physical structures. Does the church you go to have a board of elders who oversee the doctrinal soundness of the church? Is there a board of deacons that plays an oversight role e.g. determining the salaries of your pastors, budgeting the church resources and allocating them based on priorities? In the words of Thomas Paine “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” That’s my main issue. Are you able to respectfully question the church authority when things aren’t adding up? Is it merely a church built of cards? When the pastor gets wealthier from the offerings and the tithes of the church, while most of his congregation remain in the same level they were in, there is a problem. Unless the pastor is entrepreneurial and do not amass wealth from the offerings of the congregation. We must, as a church embrace this scripture: 1 Tim 6:6 “but godliness with contentment is great gain”. Fellow Christian, the problems facing the Kenyan church begin when you are detached from being actively involved in the affairs of your church. Swallow your pride when you are corrected, it’s non-fattening after all!
Churches that are built on personalities
Don’t go to churches where the pastor is the alpha and the wife is the omega. Many charismatic pastors are fighting for the place of Jesus in the hearts of their members. If they had powers, they would want to be part of the trinity. They have fine language seasoned with latest philosophical quotes that might not necessarily be scriptural. God forbid, but what if your pastor and the wife perished today, would the church continue? Is there a solid succession plan? Or is your pastor holding on to the church with a firm grip? In addition to that, humility must be embraced by the men of the cloth. There is no need to be showy or arrogant. If anyone wants to rise (including pastors)then they must begin by descending. Are you planning for a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility. It is always the secure who are humble.
Churches that don’t tell you the truth in love when you are wrong
The role of rebuke in church has taken a back seat. ‘We can’t tell him what he is doing wrong lest we offend him and he leaves or he doesn’t give us money,’ many pastors say. Is it right for your pastor to fold his arms while you are making grand jaw dropping mistakes and pamper you because you support the ministry? Go to a place where you will be rebuked in love when you go astray, learn from your mistakes and grow. After all, even God says that he chastises the child he loves. Hebrews 12:6
Panda Mbegu Churches
I could dwell on this for a whole century. But when the pastor at the church you go to constantly tells you to plant seeds for every problem you have, ask them if they are farmers. Please tell me any of the apostles in the bible who did that? In fact they said that whatever you have received freely, give it freely. Do we see Jesus constantly encouraging people to give him money? In fact, he fed the masses by multiplying the little fish and bread they had, he gave everything including his life, and he did many selfless acts. Does your pastor resemble Jesus in his acts or tries to?
Give but do it from your heart without coercion or duress. I am not against giving in churches. The Bible encourages us to give and to do so cheerfully and liberally but one must look carefully at the church that they attend and give to before they give lest their giving be in vain
Is the bible authoritative in your church?
In the era of fast dissemination of information, quotes and authors, some pastors can be tempted to frequently quote personalities and Facebook updates rather than scriptures. But the bible is the only authoritative manuscript, lamp unto their feet and a light unto their path that God gave his children to guide them through this life. Words of men cannot transform, quotes from philosophers cannot heal, they will all pass away but only God’s word remains secure. Read it and meditate on it. As a Christian, learn to read the bible for yourself. You must critique the words of your pastor using the bible as the benchmark. Be like a member of the ancient Berean church.
Churches that are not actively involved in communities
Christians are called upon to be the salt and the light of the world. Salt to add flavour and heal the world, while light to guide blind people to the truth and shine God’s glory. But what happens when we light our lamps and put them under the table? The church you go to must have missions, support for widows and orphans, support for the vulnerable in society, vibrant prison and hospital ministries. It would be tragic if we taste this good news and know its benefits but then fail to share it with the world.
Let the church in Kenya rise up. The problems this nation faces requires us to fold our shirts, hit our knees on the ground and be involved in the forward movement of this nation. “I have no confidence that any of these politicians or any party is going to turn this country around. The only hope for this country is for men and women of God to stand up and take a stand.” Franklin Graham
Follow the author on twitter @dannishodongo