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Religion of Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Ghanaian Pastors Charging Money for Prayer

Ghana is known to be a generally "reached" country in Africa. Out of a 24 million population, about 17 million are professing Christians. Unfortunately, like any other "Christian" nation, it doesn't mean that all who claim to follow Christ really do.

It's normal for any mostly-Christian nation to have many believers that are no more than nominal, but what's slightly more disconcerting is when church leadership does not appear to be on board with the gospel. In Ghana, a wave of corrupt pastors are popping up, dabbling in dangerous territory by leading the church astray.

"They are simply not interested in the salvation of the people," a church leader lamented to Ghana Web last month.

Christian Resources International regularly sends crates of Bibles and Christian books to Ghana. Executive Director Jason Woolford says they've heard similar reports out of Ghana.

"Some of the things that we're hearing is that so-called Christian pastors are charging consulting fees to basically pray with people—anywhere from $20 to $50," says Woolford. "Outside of that being wrong biblically to be a pastor and charge consultant fees for prayer, you're talking about people who have a minimum wage of about $2 a day."

In even worse cases, some Ghanaian pastors have been reportedly going to ritualistic priests for assistance in ministry, introducing occultism into their teaching. "One of them was quoted as saying that he had helped 1,000 pastors in Ghana through witchcraft in hopes that their churches would grow," says Woolford.

Clearly, pastors are confused, and many are corrupt. But not all have evil intentions, Woolford suggests. "There are those that are crooks; there are those that are bad; and then there might be just some that aren't trained the right way."

Thus, good training in the Word is vital in Ghana. And CRI has been helping pastors get sufficient training by sending Christian books, commentaries, Bibles, Bible dictionaries and more to Ghana for years. Currently, the ministry is working on filling a crate with pastor libraries to send to a Bible college in the West African nation.

"They're in desperate, desperate need of commentaries, New Testament surveys, Old Testament surveys—you name it. So basically, people can go on [our Web site] and they can buy at a discounted rate which we've gotten from a book company: for $150, we can send an entire pastor library for each individual pastor."

Good teaching is crucial, but CRI also knows the resources must fall into the right hands in order to be useful. Woolford says CRI goes to great lengths to ensure that pastor libraries aren't sent to people with shrouded character, like the pastors charging their congregations for prayer. The pastor packs to be sent in September will all go directly to a Bible college which has scrutinized its students.