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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Columnist: Adu-Gyamfi, Kwaku

Are We Singing Hallelujahs With Empty Bellies?

Voice Of Reason:

Action always beats devotion!

We’re singing hallelujahs with empty bellies while the pastors fill their bank accounts with zillions cedis and living it to the fullest here on earth, while they lead destitute congregations whose only hope is in heaven.

When are the Ghanaian churches going to be ready to play their meaningful roles of holding the nation together and meeting the needs of the wounded souls and uplift them on this troubled planet?

Indeed, instilling values in people and group cohesiveness in most cultures fall upon the shoulders of the basic social institutions like government, schools and colleges, Police service, chieftaincy, family and others. But, these days Ghanaians are meandering through life miserably because those institutions we should count on have disappointed us badly and miserably.That is why we have an unmarketable and lazy labor workforce with lousy integrity and we’ve deficit in accountability and responsibility and other social deficiencies that are working against our progress and development. Nevertheless, we need to seek a refuge at our churches and mosques because they’re our last hope and the only viable institution we can count on, at least to deliver all of us from evils.
Yes, it’s a fact that the Ghanaian religious groups, especially churches are by far the well-organized and stable institution in the country. They also have the most dependable and devoted members of which they can easily tap into for monetary contribution and other life-enhancement projects .That means many major socio-economic take-off in the country cannot survive or materialize without their inputs, initiative or support. For example, the work the Advent Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in Ghana is doing to help the poverty stricken farmers across the country cannot be over- emphasized.
For the churches to be effective in shaping up the minds of the citizenry and healing the wounded souls they need to be wealthy to meet the needs of their congregations because spiritual upliftment is just as important as physical upliftment. Speaking of wealth, you notice I didn’t say the pastors should enrich themselves at the expense of the congregation. Unfortunately, that is the case in our part of the world! What is going on people?
Unfortunately, more too often we have been bombarded with a daily dose of the rich man can’t go to heaven and money is evil mumbo-jumbo. In other words, some pastors love to preach to their congregations against wealth creation by using the biblical verses relating to money to suggest that being financially successful in an old- fashioned way makes one unworthy or dishonest.
Thanks in part to our brand of Christianity we practice in this part of the world; we’re addicted to victimhood when it comes to wealth. Many of us are proactive when it comes to our investment decisions. We’re never a step ahead; we’ll always be a step behind the rest of the world.
Ironically, the same pastors always seek money and material things while the congregations live in mediocrity life .Their pulpits are being used to bad rap money and wealth creation , but I strongly believe that the best way for the churches to help the poor and the youths is to prevent them from being poor as much as possible .Now, turn around and say ‘Amen’ to your neighbor.
Churches should rather start teaching their congregations the knowledgeable life and economic skills like :entrepreneurship, money management, good parenting, creating and building of wealth,the value of Time and how to prevent preventable diseases, so as to prepare the congregations to meet the new world economy with hope.
What about establishing a financial Credit Union as an alternative source of business financing for churches so as to create employment avenues for their congregations?It can also be used to provide interest-free personal and business loans for aspiring business people,while the church- owned entities profit from the small fees they will charge on the loans they give out.
By now I can feel the venom dripping off from your mouth because you have a lot of reasons why my suggestions won’t work and that makes you boiling with anger. But, no thanks, I don’t want to hear your truck –load of excuses. I have had enough of those already! But, you can still go ahead and call me names. Are you ok now? Now that you’ve got that off from your chest let’s move on!
Look, there are over seven million Ghanaians who attend churches regularly every week. If just fifty-percent of that number decided to contribute ten Ghanaian cedis every week, by one year a lot of money could be raised. This money could be used as a church-sponsored capital pool for churches’ investment clubs across the land that could help the wounded souls.
What about the churches sponsoring one or two kids in their congregations a year into apprenticeship programs to acquire a marketable trade? Or what about the churches providing a nutritious breakfast from the church-owned farms to feed their congregations every Sunday morning before service? While we’re at it what about having nurses every Sunday in church to take the congregations’ blood pressure readings and educate them on health-related and disease prevention issues? What about having a special program at the church to help the kids with their homework assignments? What about the churches building commercial gyms for their congregations to fight obesity and diabetes while generating revenue from the public? By the way, how many people in your congregations who don’t have health insurance? Can’t the churches do something about their situation? The list is long but I hope you get my points.
Yeah, yeah I know what you are thinking.No, I’m not smoking anything, but I just sometimes have a habit of thinking outside the box a lot of time.
The point is if a person builds the largest church in the world with the largest congregation in Ghana, it contributes almost nothing if the church doesn’t render any social and community services to the growing underclass who feels abandoned and confused about its role in today’s Ghana and in the new world economy.
Another point is that the churches using their resources to enhance the earthly quality of life for the people of Ghana is not only a noble endeavor, but it makes economic or biblical sense. Ephesians 4:28 reads “ let the thief no longer steal ,but rather let him labor ,doing honest work with his hands so that he may have something to share with anyone in need”.
A healthy and vibrant congregation needs the word but also resources in order to play its role in our society .And a financially secured and healthy congregation is a win, win for the nation.
It’s about time the Ghanaian churches used the pulpits to empower the underclass and the wounded souls, who need more actions than words in order to help them live up their potentials and also play their meaningful roles in our society here on earth…..Hallelujah!!
With that in mind, if I hear again from the Ghanaian churches and their congregations refer to wealth creation as “bad” and ungodly I will lose it because it’s a fact that one’s religiosity declines when one’s financial status goes down. How long do we have to wait until we get to heaven for something we can do for our congregations right here on earth? Are you there? Tell your neighbor that ‘you need help right here on earth’…Amen!
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi (Voice Of Reason)
Asuom, Kwaebibirim district.