If I led a church…about this coming Sunday

If I led a church (1).png

With the shocking revelations coming out of the Tim Omotoso court case and #CherylZondi‘s inspiring display of courage under pressure.

If I was a Church leader in South Africa right now, especially one with the tremendous responsibility of making better human beings out of the dust of township streets. This coming Sunday would be different for the community. Let’s assume I am one of the many good ones – not all preachers are bad kalok.

Anyway, there would be no sermon for starters. Surprise!

See, instead of lowering the bar and preaching about how justified and full of integrity as a man/woman or church we are compared to Omotoso. Instead of speaking about how different we are from him or any other false church out there or pretending there is no crisis. I would opt for a meeting instead – with the whole church.

Yip, you read right. A whole meeting.

These past few months have not been good for the Gospel in South Africa. But more specifically it has been a series of individual hells for the people who became – once were and some are currently – victims of sexual violence through the churches or cult churches in South Africa.

Leadership is the antidote for crisis. So there is an obligation upon the many good preachers out there to rise up and speak up for the poor and vulnerable. They cannot be silent and wait it out. And by speaking up I am not talking about generic positional statements distancing the doctrine from such conduct. But there is a need for them to rise up and give direction.

SIDE NOTE: As you are reading this. Somewhere in South Africa right now, there is a girl who is receiving death threats from a religious leader, should she dare try and pull an Omotoso on him and there is an environment filled with people who are enabling the whole mess.

Back to my church.

I would, for example, start by asking the following four questions to the congregation:

1. How can we as a community fix this?

2. How can we make our church a safe and transparent space for all who fellowship and visit us more specifically our women and children?

3. How can we adjust our weekly programmes to better enable us as a church to start addressing the consequences of broken family structures,
which many of us seating in here today come from?

4. We do not know it all, so who can we partner with?

But then I am not leading a church.

Township and rural churches are…
– amongst the poorest churches in the country
– overburdened safe spaces and under-resourced in terms of skills, people and tools
– serving communities affluent churches only visit during Christmas week
– isolated from networks of thriving churches in their cities
– they are often viewed as “projects for the year” by financially stable churches
– conflicted on matters relating to administration, doctrine and the limits of the founder’s authority

About Anele Matshisi
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6 thoughts on “If I led a church…about this coming Sunday

  1. True, this is an emotionally draining time for us as Christian… I can’t even begin to imagine this is so true, and has been happening under our nose…thanks for this writing, you are giving me hope, that there is light after this darkness.

  2. Unfortunately, churches these days (not all) are after material things that will distinguish them from the rest. The basic principal of growing soles of followers is no longer the main objective. How can a pastor dress up like the pop musician prince. Pastors moving around surrounded by body guards even in their own churches?

  3. Luhle uluvo lwakho mfokabawo, kodwa we’ve been engaging in talks for too long. Speaking in my capacity as a church leader myself, I believe that people are not being misled to follow false prophets or belong to cult churches. These leaders and their churches are addressing their needs and wants. This is why our traditional churches are not having any huge numbers in membership but these cult movements are seeing people in their thousands flocking to them. Let us not forget that anything that has to do with worship involves spiritual influence. Ndithi mna amaxesha esikuwo akhomba umgwebo nento that the Bible speaks about. That in the last days false prophets who will many astray. Asothuki xa kusenzeka ezi zinto

    • This is potent. Thank you. But my question though why is the traditional church not evolving to meet the people’s needs not the other way around? Since nature does not allow a vacuum, it’s clear that the Omotoso’s of this world are operating from a place of ignorance and opportunity.

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