By Dr Elias Chakabwata
One of the most noble callings here on Earth is the divine calling to serve in the Church as a member of what is called the 5 -Fold Ministry .This 5 -Fold Ministry consists of the following offices : Apostle, Prophet ,Evangelist ,Pastor and Teacher (Ephesians 4)
The purpose of this 5-Fold Ministry is to equip the saints for the work of ministry and establish them in sound doctrine.
It is with this in mind that the writer would like to share some few like experiences and wisdom from the school of life .
1. Sometimes one is told to forsake their job and become a full time minister of the gospel like Peter and the others in the Bible .Usually the senior leader you will be working under in the church can persuade you to make this commitment .
2 .When you become a full time minister many times even your spouse is also considered a full time minister if you are married .In other words he/she is not allowed to get employed.
3.In some denominations you are given a “church” accommodation and a “church” car to use for the work of ministry .
4. Most of the times you are told that “we don’t have a home here on Earth ,our home is in heaven “, this is not given any context but it is proof texted because people have a certain agenda they want to push .So the preacher does not buy his or her own house or a car in his or her name .
5.Children of the preacher are expected to behave as “super kids” because they are the children of a preacher .Pressure is exerted on them to an extent that they can’t develop in a normal way every other child develops.Yet the one who is called is the parent and these are just but normal children who have to go through the natural processes of growth like teenage hood .
6.The preacher is made to believe that his or her close family now is the Church so family relations are strained.
7.Most of the times the preacher is running around with the “work of the ministry” to an extent of neglecting his own family worse still if he or she is married his or her own spouse as these are regarded as mundane issues and the preacher will be ” seeking the Kingdom first”.
8.The preacher is not allowed to go on vacation or leave in some denominations because “they will rest in heaven”.
The writer would like to submit that one of the Books that has been abused is the Bible .People have come up with all sorts of things in the name of the “Word of God “.People have been brainwashed ,manipulated and intimidated using Scriptures from the Bible.Some have been made to think that if they leave their current denomination hey will die!.There is a lot of mind control going on in some denominations .This has resulted in timid and indecisive followers who rely on the word from their leader who is seen as a go -between in their faith journey.
No one is immortal except God ,so one day the preacher will die !.Here now the ball game changes. Reality strikes.
The family left behind is told to vacate the church premises in 2 or 4 weeks and look for an alternative accommodation!
Yes you read right.The Church needs to appoint a replacement .Sometimes even before burial some committees will be meeting to find your replacement .So what about the family left behind ?Who will make sure their welfare is taken care of? This may partly explain why preachers children end up bitter against God .The father or mother leaves nothing for the children , in fact their life is completely changed with the departure of the one who was “called” into ministry .
At times church people can be very unkind.The family is thrown out of the house because some one needs to occupy the house .
The writer would like to respectfully submit that it is important to hear from God for your self and make an informed decision instead of being pushed in to full time ministry .
It is further submitted in this piece of work that it is possible that the preacher can have his or her own assets in their own name.In the event of death the remaining spouse will not be found with no where to live and no food for the family .
It is also possible to run own projects like poultry while pushing the work of ministry.
If the husband is the one who is called in to the full time ministry the wife should be allowed to be gainfully employed or to run a project of her own.She should be equipped with life skills eg braiding and weaving , cutting and designing,cake baking etc .
The preacher must have time to take a break from public ministry and spend time with his or her family .It is easy to become the baker who is busy serving bread yet your own family is starving !(Chaka 2023)
The writer would like to suggest at least one day per week that the preacher does not attend to ministry issues but is attending and ministering to his own family .
As one does the ministry work they should never forget family ties .It is those people who will grieve and mourn while those you thought were your spiritual family will be busy looking for a new leader to replace you .It is a harsh fact of life .
It is also possible to work while you are a preacher and support your family instead of living at the mercy of someone in the name of sons and daughters .Paul in the Bible was a tent maker .He supported his ministry in some places where he ministered.
As the writer concludes these reflections he would like to submit that he is not against full time ministry .He is throwing in some things that might help and is provoking fellow ministers of the gospel to think and consider tomorrow after they are gone .Those in positions of authority in churches can come up with a funding as well for a preacher who will one day find himself retiring yet without any personal house or car later on a pension.
Dr Elias Chakabwata is the President of Impact Training Institute which runs different trainings for leaders and aspiring leaders .He can be contacted on 0784288687 or their website www.impacttraininginstitute.co.zw