Feature Article of Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Columnist: Kwessi, Paa

Professor And Pastor Otabil, Please Do What You Preach

My understanding of fellowship with God is that a devote pastor must:
? Feed (as a shepherd)
? Defend (as a shepherd)
? Guide (as a shepherd)
? Discipline (as a shepherd)
? Be mature (as an elder)
? Be respected (as an elder)
? Oversee (as an overseer)
? Godly manage (as an overseer)
? Hold in spiritual accountability (as an overseer)

I have known Pastor Otabil through Pastor Randy Morrison (originally from West Indies island of Trinidad) when he used to visit our church in Golden Valley, Minnesota (USA). Apparently the Word that Otabil and Randy read does not include 1 Timothy 3:4-5 "He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God's church?

Today, there is much debate going on back home in regards to a tape made public about Pastor Otabil’s position on whether the free SHS programme is possibly viable and implementable in Ghana based on the current situation in the country. Pastor Otabil has come out to condemned what he says is the evil attempt to expose him to public ridicule by some members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC). At a press conference in Accra Monday, Pastor Otabil lamented over what he said was the doctoring and manipulation of his sermons for political expediency and appealed to President Mahama to call his people to order.

I believe one must use his or her education to positively impact policy. Does Pastor Otabli believe that the free SHS is possible today in Ghana? What is his clear position on this issue? Individuals and families of various cultural, socio-economic, and denominational backgrounds gather beneath an array of hanging international flags and within the meticulously decorated church walls, all in the name of praise and worship. In the late 1990s, I used to be part of that congregation to praise and worship my God at Speak the World International, located in Golden Valley, State of Minnesota (USA). Pastors Randy and Roberta Morrison were the founders. I recalled that during those years, Pastor Otabil used to be an invited guest speaker during our Annual Conference held in the month of May every year. There in Minnesota (USA), he used to beg for money to build schools and buy school furniture to “poor students in Ghana”; that was the exact terms used by Pastor Randy Morrison. Randy used to state that “Today is the beginning of the rest of your life…Poverty is a state of mind, it is not a lack of resources.” These are Pastor Randy Morrison’s opening words during a Sunday morning service at Speak the Word Church International in Golden Valley. Randy used to tell worshippers during some of the Sunday services to sacrifice our lunch money to help pay the education of needy people in Ghana who really need our assistance. Randy used to go to Ghana to visit Pastor Otabil in Ghana presumably to help in the humanitarian work that our church was doing there.

When asked what he understands his value to be, Randy readily and insightfully explains, “My value is giving of myself – what I’ve learned and received. I am a container of something good…now I can take it and become a coach.” With today’s debate going on back home about education policy, I will be glad to know what Pastor Otabil and Randy Morrison did with our God fearing money which they collected from us to, indeed help alleviate the poverty and promote the education of the poor in Ghana. By the way, I finally found that our money which was supposed to help the poor in Ghana was rather used to build the prestigious and élite Central University now located on Accra-Aflao road, a school which the average poor cannot afford to attend in Ghana.

In one of her blogs, Roxane Battle Morrison the new wife of Randy stated: “Pastor Mensa Otabil is the reason Randy and I am in Ghana. He and Randy are best friends. Sometime after the two met at a speaker's conference in the Bahamas 16 years ago, they started trading continents, taking turns speaking at each other's church. A native Ghanaian, Otabil (OAT-ah-bill) and his wife, Joy, are responsible for starting a network of nearly 200 churches in Ghana. The grandson of a farmer, son of a government worker, at 48, Otabil is also founder and chancellor of Central University College, the first private university in Ghana.”
My Spirit has always told me something was wrong. Not necessarily with the vision per-se but the leadership. I have no difficulties with the presentation of the services, nor the people attending, but Randy himself. Not being completely attuned to the Spirit, this trouble with him came out in anger, frustration, and ignorance. Pastor Randy Morrison, of Speak the Word Church International, has decided that his ego and self-righteousness is more important than doing what is right for his church and family.
It was also found that Randy Morrison has a controlling personality. One day during a sermon, he stated that we the worshippers did not know how he personally built the mega church, Speak the World International. I was infuriated by his statement knowing that he did not use his personal money to build that church, rather the construction was a collective effort of God fearing people, and he only served as a spiritual leader, thus he should not take the credit for himself.
Randy did not select for leadership capabilities; he selected for blind loyalty or some close facsimile. For instance, a singer whom I used to call “Michael Jackson” because of his moves on stage was promoted to the leadership circle just because he was very loyal to Randy. As he preached from the pulpit about "destiny" and "fulfilling one's destiny through service to the ministry" I was continually confounded by the ineptness of lay leaders at STWC. His preaching and how he actually organized and operationalized his organization were incongruent and not integrated. The "destiny" preaching was pure rhetoric. He did not know how to integrate that message into his organization and create a vital embodiment of fulfilled members. Randy’s controlling nature clearly was disabling. As Mac Hammond's church exploded and Mac's leadership team quadrupled, Randy continued to rely on the same 4 or 5 people. Not a sustainable practice. And, his wife eventually left him. Clearly, something deeply satisfying was going.
Their marriage, by both their admissions, fell apart because they grew apart. All these were false that is why Roberta left Randy and went to preach in another church. Roxanne Battle a parishioner and famous TV newscaster who married Randy. Perhaps she can have more influence on him. Pastor Roberta Morrison the former wife of Randy can be found preaching at Living In His Presence, Minnetonka SDA, 3510 Williston Road, Minnetonka, MN 55345 USA. She preached a series entitled "Controllers". I heard one of her sermons and she was preaching from her experience, to be sure. She didn't name names but her preaching was coming from a deep place and it wasn't too much of a mental leap to connect that Randy Morrison had a controlling personality.

Pastor Randy Morisson speaks of our numbered days on this Earth and further replies, “Proverbs says that we are not guaranteed tomorrow and yesterday is gone. How would you live your life if today were your last day? So now, you are living your life with purpose.” Pastors Otabil and Randy should come clean otherwise their respective church will fall, and they will not be famous for their ministries but will be remembered in the annals of former preachers along the likes of Jim Bakker or Jimmy Swaggert.

Paa Kwessi – Bronx NY