Give to Caeser what Belongs to Caeser
Praise the Lord church, I am about to preach…
Recently, there has been tension concerning matters that surround church governance, finances and gatherings in the country. This also raised a church tornado when a fellow journalist did a television piece on the state of churches and how they are run in Kenya.
The irony of the situation is, Kenya prides itself as a country that has more than 80 per cent of Christians yet the high rates of injustices, corruption and evil vices condemned in the Holy book still happen each day like it’s part and parcel of our lifestyle.
Suffice it to say, it would also not be prudent for me to ignore insinuations raised by other congregants who believe that the media could be a tool that certain political forces are using in trying to divide the church, ahead of the much publicized referendum with some alleging, that will divide the stand of the church and introduce clauses in the constitution that could regulate the church and their position in the country. Whether this is true or false, I think it’s time we have this ‘regulation’ sermon.
Back in 2016, there was a proposition to introduce payment of taxes to the church and also restrict people who do not hold any theology degree from pastoring. While we may all agree to disagree that pastoral service may be a calling, I believe this whole ministry needs decorum. It hurts not to have the calling and also have some background teaching on the same as well to enhance your ministry. Don’t you agree?
Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame came under sharp criticism when he shut down more than 800 churches in Rwanda. Despite the shutdown, Rwanda has so many active churches that continue to do ministry. What the president did was, he brought sanity to a place where most people were now taking advantage of the ignorant flock and fleecing them of the little or much that they earn.
Take a walk along any residential place and you will notice two things: One, if you are living in the places considered to be for the middle or low class persons, you will hardly pass five metres without bumping into a church and God only knows what happens when they are all in session. When it comes to the affluent areas, as a church commissioner, you will need several permits before you even think of planting a church in that residential area. Why? Because they believe church should not be built in a residential area because it compromises on the security caused by the flow of people in an out of the area and is also considered a noise pollutant. So why do the middle or low class in Kenya not ask any questions? Yet, they are the majority in churches and in polling stations.
The tax question has seen more and more pastors come out to defend their stand against the move and why the government should not heed to that call. But if the church is living by the book why is it afraid of auditing? I have seen churches that do AGMs and in every meeting, they get to present their congregants with reports of how their money was used and while at it, giving them opportunities to voice their concerns on how they want the church money to be used.
The problem comes when the church is family owned or like they say, has skewed leadership. It’s time the congregants demanded for a lifestyle audit for the men of the cloth. It’s time the pastors took up seriously what their calling is and sought atonement because there are the sheep who for unknown reasons have refused to or are unable to read what the Holy book says and so follow what the pastor says to the latter. Families have been broken, employers terminated contracts and others quit on their self care necessity because of following things blindly.
We need the church leaders to go back to their position where the country and the leaders revered what they had to say and this can only happen when we get to know who exactly are the accredited pastors in the country, for even the Lord Himself declares, not everyone who calls Him by His name is indeed one of His.
Secondly, the church has to account what goes in and goes out in terms of resources. It is very impossible for a church leader to condemn misappropriation of funds within a governmental docket, yet as an individual, he/she cannot account for what their church receives and its expenditure.
Lastly, the church leaders need to know that their work is to be a compass and offer some sense of direction to this lost nation and hence should speak in and with one voice. The confusion only happens when specific religious leaders decide to dine and go to bed with political forces and later force their ideologies down their congregants’ throats. Preach what a good leader looks like to your church attendees and while at it, be the wine that you preaching for the apple never falls far from the tree. Shalom.