Poverty is killing Africa. These poor people have very low
access to information, and they remain uneducated. They are
not enlightened, and many do not know their rights. Their
lack of exposure leaves them more vulnerable to be
exploited, and this is one area in which the church is most
needed.
Africa is in a hopeless situation. Corruption in the continent
is endemic and has made the continent the poorest in the
world.
Nearly all African countries are bedeviled with decayed and
mortuaries, with children dying in the thousands daily. Our
airlines, railways, shipping lines, and public road
transportation system have collapsed and are majorly
abandoned. There is no portable water in our towns and
cities, not to talk of the rural areas. Our main source of
power is diesel-powered, privately owned electricity
generators. The nations are continually choked with rising
international debts. Our schools have become rubbles and
tutors are unpaid for several months. Cultism is on the rise
in our high schools and post-secondary institutions. People
are terrorized by armed robbers in their homes and on the
roads. The economy is in shambles with exchange rates of
African currencies to internationally accepted currencies
plummeting drastically over the years. Ritual killing is the
order of the day. Militant insurgency is getting strengthened
while the nations‘ military are continually disarmed.
Terrorism is claiming thousands of lives annually. The
leaders in our Churches are becoming fatter at the expense
of their vulnerable followers. Our courts are conscience dead
and cannot uphold the rights
of the citizens. Our police stations have turned to dens of
robbers. Our refineries are grounded. Kidnapping is at its
peak. Our narrow-minded young men have turned to fraud
and armed robbery, while our susceptible young women are
engaged in prostitution. Baby factories and human trafficking
are now at great heights, while trade in human body parts is
prevalent. The majority of the people are pauperised and life
expectancy in Africa has dropped drastically.
Corruption is an epidemic in Africa, and the continent is
gradually becoming a tragic icon. What can we do? How can
we fight and conquer corruption that is killing us more than
any other disease?
Our churches need to take up their task as institutions that
disapprove of injustice and be champions of truth in all its
facets. No system of government seems to work in any
nation. It is not that these systems of government are
ineffective, but greed and selfishness of the leaders that
have filtered down to the followers have corrupted the
systems. Our minds have become morally polluted and
ethically impure. Corruption has eaten deep into the cores of
an average person. There is wide disconnect between the
doctrine and practice of the church and how they applied to
the wider community. Christian leaders lend themselves to
manipulations, to the profits of the ‘powers that be’ or
acclaimed spiritually superior individuals and groups. It thus
becomes a necessity for the churches to wake up from their
slumber and uphold the morality of faithfulness. For the
churches to be valuable in this regard, they first need to
remove the planks from their own eyes. It is after this that
they can see clearly and be able to remove the specks from
the eyes of those within and without. Church leaders,
therefore, must be ready to learn and make use of some key
things as practiced by Apostle Paul.
One practical demonstration of integrity is worth more than
scores of sermons. Apostle Paul believed and lived what he
preached. Some of the ministerial principles he lived by are
relevant, and are as useful to us today as they were to the
first-century church.
Some of these principles are: Financial Transparency,
Speaking Truth to the Authority, Financial Independence,
and Teaching through Practice.
The author notes the principle of transparency, using
Apostle Paul as example when he stated: “Paul understood
that transparency demands public availability of information.
He knew that for information to circulate freely and
appropriately within an institution, followers must be free to
speak their mind, and leaders must welcome such openness”
“Paul understood that to uphold transparency there must be
clarity of roles and responsibilities, as well as adequate
control which prevents misappropriation or embezzlement.
Paul understood that those who administer God’s money
cannot afford to be secretive with it. If openness is lacking
in the church, how can church leaders admonish the public
or those who administer the nation’s money to be
transparent in their financial stewardship? Paul recognised
that the church is a light unto the world.
Thus, the church is expected to be a leading example to the
world, especially when it comes stewardship.
When it comes to transparency, the church is one of the
institutions that struggle the most. Church leaders’ defense
is usually that their actions are between them and God, and
that all their actions and in-actions are opened to God. Paul
makes it clear that vertical as well as horizontal openness is
required in the ministry when he says: “providing honourable
things, not only in the sight actions that are opened to God
should also be made visible to mankind.
Financial obscurity is a major problem in most African
nations. The churches are well positioned by the Apostles
to show the world what it meant to be transparent
financially. How can this be achieved if a large percentage of
church goers, as well as registered church members have no
clue as regards the finances of their local church?
when leaders are open in their dealings with their
congregants the result will not only be a condition of trust,
but it will in addition make the followers go the extra miles
in contributing their skills, time, money and other valuables
to a worthy cause.
It is imperative that all subordinates desist from being
senseless collaborators in lies, and wrong doings. All the
atrocities committed by leaders whether in government,
community, or Church are purely enhanced because majority
of those who are their immediate subordinates fail to speak
the truth to them. The inability to speak truth to authority is
an expensive deficiency which had cost the human race a
great fortune. The Nazi extermination of the Jews from 1933
to 1945, the brutal and inhuman reign of Idi Amin of Urganda,
numerous ethnic killings in various parts of the world,
various perpetuation of African leaders in power, the
embezzlement and misappropriation of
funds by those in authority, and similar other barbaric
leadership practices are examples of what results when
lieutenants chose to flatter their leaders and collaborate in
lies, rather than speak truth to them. Inhuman policies,
which sometimes originate in the mind of a leader, could be
avoided from taking roots if lieutenants are apt in speaking
truth to their leaders. It is therefore crucial that
every Christian should resist all attempts to promote lies,
and be diligent in upholding the truth at all times. The
question then is: Are leaders able to absorb the truth when it
is spoken to them, whether done constructively or
unconstructively, knowing that truth is most times bitter?
It is no news that many church leaders have positioned
themselves as implacable authoritarians: supreme
commanders who give orders that no one would dare to
question. This is not something learned from the scripture
neither is there any such example of a spiritual leader in the
Bible. We have seen in the books of the Bible where mortal
beings question the plans of God. Abraham questioned
God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and even
negotiated with the Most High. Before the destruction of
God’s Angels when he thought escaping to Zoar is a better
option than running to the mountains. Moses debated with
God when asked to go back to Egypt and rescue the
Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh. Jonah was more
aggressive in his discontentment with God’s decision to
relent from bringing disaster on the people of Nineveh.
So, where then did we learn the human authoritarian
supremacy over the flocks of God?
If African church leaders, as well as other christian leaders,
learn to embrace Peter’s humble spirit and become receptive
to listening to their subordinates when truth is being
offered, it will to a great extent vitalise Christianity and make
the rest of the world see christians as they are expected to
be – “the light of the world” (Mathew 5:14).
Ministry leaders’ unwillingness to work while in the ministry
kills the missions since this infects the communities like a
plague. By working, each Christian is able to take care of his
household’s needs and also give to the weak, for “it is more
blessing to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) says Paul. It
thus proves that when the practice of financial independence
is championed by the fore-leader, it circulates down the
hierarchy, and the church body becomes rid of economic
dependants. Followers learn from their leaders thus, when
leaders work, the followers also learn to work.
Working while in ministry increases the self-worth of the
leader before his congregants, especially where a large
amount of the congregants are learned and belong in the
working class.
Just like Paul, a working leader, is then qualified to
admonish his congregants on the need to work and not be a
burden on others or the nation’s welfare fund.
The book is a clear call on spiritual leaders, especially
Christian leaders, to take up the task of presenting
themselves and the Church as the lights of the world by
speaking truth to themselves, to political leaders, to their
followers, and to the general populace using the lifetime of
Apostle Paul as an illustration. This is a task with the
potential to save nations from ruin and restore their lost
glories.

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