Unlike in the past when Christians used to go to church for fellowship, worship, praise, pray and then go to undertake other activities to transform them, today, it is common to find some churches full from Monday to Sunday. Some questions have been raised about why believers remain in church today.
Bob Besigye, a religious scholar, says a church cannot liberate its people in all aspects of life, including social and economic spheres, will never instill hope in them.
“There are many believers, who, despite their devotion, remain pessimistic because they have been taught the gospel of only divine revelation and intervention. they pray ceaselessly and are confined to church and begging,” says Besigye.
He adds that having divine hope as a believer is okay, but this requires being active beyond the divine.
“The purpose of the gospel is to free human beings from slavery, oppression, injustice and this can’t only be through just preaching, praying and confining people in churches. They need to work and engage in development projects in order to satisfy other basic needs,” he explains.
Languishing in poverty
Bishop Don Tumusiime, the regional overseer of National Fellowship of Born Again Pentecostal Churches in Ankole, says they have for long been blindfolded by false preachers and neglected the gospel of prosperity that has left not only believers but even pastors languishing in poverty.
“At first, we believed in the false teaching of some of the pastors that preached miracles, making the flock stay in churches waiting for miracles. This gospel of covetousness such as claiming other people’s buildings, visas and other things had for long kept us in poverty. Today, as Pentecostal churches we have to wake up,” Bishop Tumusiime says.
Believers not beggars
Pastor Evary Baturaine, notes that in some churches you can hardly collect Shs50,000 intithe and thanksgiving a month, which shows the level of poverty.
“These Christians and pastors have children who have basic needs, thus, confining them in churches anticipating miracles is ungodly. We believe in miracles but they should not stop us from working.
We need to empower our believers economically; the Bible and teachings of Jesus teach us about work and prosperity. We need to stop this gospel of making our believers beggars,” Baturaine says.
Bishop Silas Tayebwa of King of Kings Church Mbarara, also the overseer of Pentecostal churches in Mbarara, says they have launched a poverty eradication campaign in the Pentecostal churches to eliminate poverty that has left believers and pastors beggars.
“How do you preach when you don’t have food? you can’t afford fees for your children, you turn to believers and how will they take what you are preaching? That is why there are fake pastors who look for survival in the gospel,” says Bishop Tayebwa.
He added that through this campaign, they have partnered with other leaders such as Pastor Jackson Senyonga, who has already given Ankole region Shs10m to mobilise for this campaign of liberating believers and pastors from poverty.
Partenering with others
Tayebwa also says they have partnered and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with government agencies such as Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).
OWC deputy coordinator, Ankole region, Col Jorame Bashaija, says the move by pastors to realise the truth in fighting poverty makes them reliable partners and they will work with them to see this campaign succeed.
Col Bashaija wonders: “You are preaching about being rich, well-being but your children do not go to school, and your family is begging. How will you convince people to follow you?”
He adds: “You have been hindering the gospel by preaching what is contrary to your appearance but now that you have embraced working and prosperity, this will not only economically empower you and the believers, but also ease your work to spread the gospel.”