Saturday, January 9, 2016
“One must beware of ministers who can do nothing without money, and those who want to do everything with money.” — David Livingstone
As much as I have been enjoying my time with and interviews with Maddie (our guest), they remind me of how much corruption has hurt the church. Not just our churches here, but churches everywhere from the very beginning. And it always seems to center around money. We are proud that we do not have a professional clergy, all our pastors and evangelists are volunteers who receive no salary although they do receive help with their religious education and food and lodging from their individual churches and from us. Many are farmers, some are carpenters, and more than a couple are also teachers and get money that way, but it is not money which motivates them or has become what they think is the answer to everything. The quote above is very apt. This is a very a recent quote from the United Methodist Church in the United States: “The United Methodist Board of Global Ministries has suspended all funding to the denomination's East Africa Annual Conference, effective immediately (this includes Kenya).” Why would they do this? “The [independent audit] committee said it had worked diligently on this matter over the past two years. Through three audits since April 2011 they have grappled with lack of adequate documentation, lack of financial procedures, and an inability to verify the use of funds as designated.” Much has been reported on hundreds of thousands of dollars and maybe much, much more that have not been spent on the projects for which they were intended but disappeared or were spent on personal use by bishops and ministers. We have seen this first hand and are proud that we continue to grow and thrive without major fund-raising from UMC churches in the U.S. We still have support from individual UMC churches, Baptist and churches from other denominations, and from individuals from all over the world. Thanks to their support our biosand filters, Montessori preschool projects (seven schools now), pastor training, Bible supply, feeding of orphans, teaching sewing and giving sewing machines, giving goats to new widows, and so many other or our projects continue every month (we feed orphans every day). The justice at the Tanzanian High Court was very angry at the Kenyan church for pressing law suit after law suit when that money could have been used to help the orphans and poor. The most recent announcement from the Kenya Methodist Church from the World Council of Churches does not mention Tanzania at all, “Currently the Methodist Church in Kenya is planning to evangelize in Southern Sudan, in Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.” Interestingly, the United Methodist Church has a strong presence and a bishop in the Congo who has sent United Methodist missionaries to southern Tanzania where these Congolese missionaries have started over fifty churches which are doing well. Yes, Christianity is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else. Yes, millions are now serving Christ having accepted Him as Lord and Savior. Sadly, some church leaders are using their positions to line their own pockets at the expense of the those for whom the church should be serving. I don’t think this is unique to Africa. I’m sure you know the names of ministers or bishops in the U.S. who have chosen to serve money instead of God, but they doesn’t represent the millions of wonderful Christian people who are united in their service and support of what Christ has called them to do. God’s people have always triumphed over whatever obstacles have been put in their way, and they will continue to do so. If God is behind it, there is nothing that can stop it. And you can take that to the bank.