Church Media Personnel & Spirituality

Church Media Personnel & Spirituality

There is a popular saying that most media personnel in the Church are not “spiritual”. Proponents of this assertion usually say this to imply that media personnel are not actively involved in the “spiritual aspects” of the Church’s worship life during services. Although they may have grounds for arriving at this conclusion, I humbly beg to differ. As a media personnel myself, I can confidently say this notion is misconstrued and quite farther from the truth. Admittedly, not all media persons may take active part in a service – and this applies to all church members and not media persons alone. However, what I find worrying is the negative tag given to us as media personnel in recent times.

From my interactions and observations, I realised that the reason why people allude to this is mostly due to the fact that during church services, media personnel are usually seen taking coverage of proceedings and not seen participating in activities. During worship and prayer sessions, for instance, media persons are mostly seen “loitering” around. This has inadvertently created a notion in the minds of others that media work is for those who are not interested in spirituality. Indeed, hardly would you see a media person being called upon to lead a worship or praise session, but this could be attributed to the high demands of the work and not necessarily their “prayerlessness”.

To me, there are different instruments of worship that could be employed in praising our Maker. Trumpets, guitars, tambourines, and other instruments, for instance, can be used to glorify our God. Likewise, we, as media personnel, also use our skills and gadgets to create an enabling environment where worship can be done effectively. Creating a montage on an LED screen adds flavour to video productions. Using lights during major conventions does not only beautify the place to attract unbelievers, but it also boosts the beauty of video content for online evangelism. Whereas unbelievers use catchy flyers and high-quality videos to draw people to concerts and parties, we, church media personnel, also use our skills to create catchy contents that attract many (including unbelievers) to church events and services.

In recent times, the quality of video production of churches attracts more people to the house of God. The popular “Alpha Hour” online prayer session continues to receive high patronage, partly because of the quality of videos and audio-visuals – and this is done by the media team. If the video comes out pixelated with a bad audio output, many who join the feed may quickly switch off their data and probably go to bed. This is to stress that the media team also plays an instrumental role in the ministry of the Church, especially in the areas of soul-winning and church growth. This has become so crucial to the extent that any Church that fails to invest in its media ends up losing some of the members to the churches that do.

Again, contrary to what others think, most media persons pray before they start any production. This is one thing most people do not know. In fact, media personnel who do not fortify themselves with prayers do so at their own peril. This is because a lot of issues occur in the course of production. Thus, having a clean production comes with some level of grace. During or after production, it could happen that one’s laptop, camera, or router may not function well and affect the overall output. From experience, I have realised that any activity that seeks to push the agenda of God suffers a lot of setbacks and challenges. The Bible says “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12)”. It is only our prayers that help us to overcome some of these challenges. Therefore, being able to finish a major production successfully demands the hand of God. It is only the grace of God that can help one to do a great job and have a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

Other people also have the view that, as a result of work, media persons do not pay attention to messages preached during church services. Whilst this may be true, the other side of it is that media personnel get the opportunity to listen to the sermons over and over again after service. How? Well, after taking coverage, the media personnel go through the production severally to correct mistakes. In doing so, they get to listen to the messages again and again. Sometimes, one listens so much that one begins to recite portions of the sermon.

The same applies to pre-recorded messages – as the video editor gets to listen to the message even before the congregation. These life-transforming messages tend to have a major impact on the lives of video editors. There have even periods when, having been touched by the message, I paused the video to spend some time in worship before continuing the project.

In conclusion, I believe that the level of one’s spirituality cannot be seen from physical actions. Neither can it be determined by how often one leads the congregation in times of worship or prayer sessions. Spirituality goes beyond that. It is rather about the intimate relationship that one builds with the Lord. Media personnel in the Church should be encouraged to take their spirituality seriously just as any member of the Church, but this should not be done tactfully and not in a way that presupposes that a media person is not “spiritual.”

Written by Augustus Nii Oblie Adu-Aryee  (PIWC-Assin Foso)


The Spirituality Of Cleanliness

The Cambridge dictionary defines Cleanliness as the habit or state of keeping yourself or your Environment free from dirt. However, spirituality relates to people’s thoughts and beliefs rather than their bodies and physical surroundings, according to the Collins dictionary. Ordinarily, there should not have been any direct relationship between Cleanliness and Spirituality, judging from their definitions. In real life, however, a significant correlation exists between them, although the former involves the physical or material world and the latter, the unseen world. In the spirit world, certain spirits can only be invoked or invited by the burning of particular substances or incense to attain certain scents within a given space. It is often argued that because God is a Spirit, He only relates and concerns Himself with our spirits and souls, not the body or physical surroundings. 

This warped assertion has unfortunately led to the careless and irresponsible attitude some believers exhibit towards the environmental and general Cleanliness of their surroundings. One only needs to pay a casual visit to some homes, organisations and places of worship to witness the gross lack of appreciation of the direct relationship between keeping a good environment and spirituality. In some Christian homes, you dare not request to use their washroom as a visitor. What you may witness can be enough to grant you the needed restraint to defer relieving yourself until you get home. In doing business in certain top organisations or institutions, your whole professional energy and momentum gathered for the day’s work can easily be deflated by a visit to the restroom. One would, therefore, expects that the place of worship, which is supposed to provide the needed rest to the soul in this ever-stressful world, would set the pace for the secular world to emulate. Unfortunately, You visit some churches, and you would have to force and overwork your immune system to enable you to get home before using the washroom or, better still, run to an available open field to relieve yourself. 

Yet, we all would have appeared well dressed and polished, singing and dancing around the “throne” of glory. Sometimes you wonder whether a different set of people passing by came and used the washrooms. You can not relate the people in their gorgeous apparel with what you went to see in the toilet. If care is not taken, you can be spiritually disengaged for a whole day, if not more, owing to what you saw with your eyes. Not long ago, I met a group of people who were lamenting profusely and contemplating leaving a place assigned for them to lodge due to how some of their colleagues were using the washroom they shared. Even though the meeting was for spiritual renewal, they left before the program closed. The Lord Jesus bemoaned the phenomena of what can be best described as “polished on dirt” when He confronted the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:25-26. About Cleanliness of the heart, He said, “…You hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside, they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” He continued, “…First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” It can be deduced that the Lord is not amused at all when He sees people outwardly well-dressed and polished but harbouring plenty of dirt in their inner chambers. The Lord encourages Cleanliness in the internal or hidden compartments, which automatically spills outward for all to see and admire.

If even humans can barely stand bad stench and dirt, how much less the Holy Spirit? Besides water and air-bone diseases associated with the irresponsible attitude towards our surroundings and environments, the cost of maintenance can be avoidably high and needless. A desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa – Ghana, found that annually, disease like diarrhoea has caused 19,000 premature deaths in Ghana, including 5,100 children under the age of 5. Out of this, nearly 90 per cent of it is directly attributed to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene combined.(

Unfortunately, some who do not acknowledge or believe in the existence of God are even more responsive to the rudiments of Cleanliness than some disciples of the faith. In much the same way, it is pretty ironic to witness the Environment and ambience some religious sects we comfortably tag as anti-Holy Spirit owing to their doctrine have kept for themselves. The Spirit of God appears to be just an invite away from such congregations due to their Environment’s serenity. Can the same be said of those of us who have believed and accepted the Holy Spirit to make His home in us and forever keep His presence wherever we are? The objective of this article is to derive a linkage between environmental Cleanliness and our spiritual act of worship. The write-up would also suggest practical ways believers can imbibe Cleanliness irrespective of our unique socio-cultural settings.

Some observed factors for our abysmal performance in environmental and general Cleanliness are as discussed;

  1. The lack of appreciation of the linkage between Cleanliness and spirituality:

When God created humankind, He expected them to take complete control of their Environment, subdue it and ensure its mutual benefit to both parties. It is, therefore, not surprising to see God postulating environmental laws that would attract and keep His presence with Israel after they left Egypt en route to the promised Land. Besides His directives to keep the human body clean, He unequivocally outlawed open defecation. Open defecation is the practice of defecating outside rather than into a toilet. People may choose fields, bushes, forests, ditches, streets, canals, or other open spaces for defecation. 

Today, open defecation is a global health problem, affecting almost 1 billion people worldwide. And in sub-Saharan Africa, limited access to basic sanitation coupled with high population growth have led to an increase in open defecation and the spread of deadly diseases. According to Michael Stulman in an article published at the web page of the Catholic Relief Services, nearly 5 million people in Ghana lack access to toilet facilities. He continued, “For many households, the cost of constructing a private toilet is simply out of reach. And, for poorer households unaccustomed to using toilets, open defecation has traditionally been considered the cleanest, easiest, and most economical option. As the population grows, however, this practice is costing many people their lives.”(

In Genesis 3:8-9, “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 23:9, “When you are encamped against your enemies, keep away from everything impure.” He continued in verse 13, “Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment, have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. The LORD, your God, moves about in your camp to protect and deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.” 

The above scriptures depict a God who constantly visits His children to interact, protect, strengthen or deliver them from their enemies. Instructing the Israelites before human civilisation and industrialisation to design and keep a piece of equipment to dig a hole to cover up their excrement suggests He was not going to take any excuse for open defecation or any ugly scenes. Indeed, what we see in some washrooms at our homes, institutions, and churches perfectly falls under open defecation within poorly ventilated and restricted enclosures. “The camp must be holy”, as directed, also implies God expected all their activities from their thoughts, hearts, actions and Environment to be devoid of every impurity and uncleanliness. Efforts must not be made to push this literal admonishing by God into the categories of some of the parables and metaphors He used in His teachings. He actually meant physical Cleanliness and not only the holiness of thoughts and hearts. God sees, smells and feels whatever humans do around their Environment. Therefore, it is possible to have upright people render their Environment unholy through their actions and inactions.

The danger and bitter truth in all of this are God’s inability to stay and be kept in an indecent or dirty environment. God told them then and is still telling His children today that He will turn away and leave them to their fate, even in battle, should He see anything unsightly in their camp. A direct link can, therefore, be drawn between God’s divine presence and humankind’s physical Environment. No believer, I think, would trade God’s abiding presence for anything. Therefore, Moses was right when he said he was not going to move an inch in his assigned task without God’s presence (Exodus 33:15). Can we, for once, imagine some of the things we did that might have driven God away at a time we probably needed Him the most? Waiting upon Him through fasting and prayers may bring Him, but dirt can easily keep Him off our radar.

The Lord indeed loves and abides with those who surrender to Him and maintain a pure heart in all moral uprightness. He, however, expects His children to maintain good personal hygiene in a clean environment if enjoying and sustaining the power of His presence is their goal. 

  • Upbringing, Culture and our Value System: Here, I must admit that the educational institutions are doing their best, and the syllabus about environmental care is quite exhaustive, if not enough. The problem concerns complimenting it with good parental training and mentoring. As Parents, we cannot be absorbed from blame when it comes to bringing up our children to be responsible caretakers of the Environment. A typical household does not need an excavator or imported implements to maintain a tidy environment. We have everything at our disposal, either in its original or improvised form, to tidy up and clean every mess out of our daily living. God was not adding to their expenditure when He told the Israelites to make equipment or spades to cover up their excrement. He was subtracting from the spending by way of ill-health and premature deaths and adding longer days and good health in His walk with them.

In much the same way, we must not accept as a people that we probably were wired by our ancestors to live comfortably in dirt or unhygienic conditions. No culture frowns upon Cleanliness and personal hygiene, and it is not unusual to pick up certain traits or bad habits during one’s upbringing. Indeed there will be some who, for no fault of theirs, may disregard the rudiments of environmental Cleanliness. In such cases, deliberate efforts must be made to educate them to appreciate its value patiently. Israel had lived for about 430 years in Egypt and had probably been raised with a certain mindset that needed to be re-aligned.  God did not give up on them but invested in educating them. This means, we must also not give up on any group of people whose worldview on environmental Cleanliness falls short of acceptable practices.

  • The Lack of sustained educational campaigns in our communities and Churches: I was quite at a loss the first time I heard of my church’s leadership’s decision to take centre stage in the environmental care campaign drive in the country. I thought it was the sole duty of the National Commission for Civic Education’s (NCCE) outfit to create that awareness. However, after listening to Apostle Eric Nyamekye, Chairman of The Church of Pentecost, on the church’s role in nation-building, I realised a great deal of disservice we have all done to this dear nation of ours. Since then, I have loved every bit of the church’s involvement in the National Environmental Care Campaign because it adds meaning and practicality to the numerous sermons we have heard from the pulpits. 

A couple of days ago, I led my church members to a lorry station around the community where my church is located to sensitise the drivers on the need to keep their surroundings clean. As we made our presentation using the megaphone, I was saddened by what I saw a few steps away from where I was standing. Guess what; an open drain by the main road at the lorry station where the drivers sat with the food vendors was filled with plastic and refuse waste. After our presentation, one driver came and asked me the location of our church so he could fellowship with us the following Sunday. As of the 2021 census, a little over 71% of the Ghanaian population are Christians. With a high rate of church-attending populace, I believe the discussion on the pulpits these days must intentionally inculcate topics on personal hygiene and environmental care issues. It must not only be topical when its adverse effects, such as floods, air and waterborne diseases, begin to bite hard. Where Ghana meets today are the churches and the mosques. Leaving this campaign to NCCE alone will, therefore, not bring us the needed results.

  • Lack of Budget for Environmental Cleanliness: Most individuals, households and institutions in our society stand when it comes to budgeting for the Environment. Even though attitudinal change stands tall regarding keeping our Environment, the lack of budgetary allocation for purchasing essential equipment, detergents and trash bins has contributed to what we see in our streets and communities today. No matter how people become aware and poised to turn a new page concerning their environmental responsibilities, they can do just as much. It appears easier for a household to budget for replacing a TV Set at the beginning of the year than to think about the compound and the landscaping works. 

It is a generally accepted norm for an organisation to re-paint its external walls to protect its brand and look good to the outside world. However, telling the same organisation to invest a bit more of its annual budget in maintaining the washrooms becomes a problem. In most churches, the passion with which musical instruments and interior decorations are attended can nowhere be compared to the maintenance of their toilets. As though allergic to maintenance, we have succumbed to the negative tag as a people with no maintenance culture. The saying of Jesus about investments may probably solve this menace of “No funds” for keeping the Environment clean. It reads, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21). This means if keeping a clean surrounding is a desire and objective, then funds will be channelled there during budget preparation at all levels.

  • Lack of Law enforcement regarding environmental Cleanliness: The language we communicate by the lack of enforcing the voluminous laws in our statutes books is louder than deleting them from our statutes. In other words, the silence on non-compliance is loud enough to neutralise any sustained environmental care campaign. In societies where the Environment looks neat and well catered for, the laws are allowed to work for the betterment of the masses, not the selfish few. Public sensitisation on air and water pollution and their dire consequences to society will  be ineffective unless they are complemented with the necessary sanctioning regimes as and when applicable. The subtle campaign of applying what has become known as the “human face” against the strict enforcement of the law has brought us where we are today as a people. Judging from our Environment today, we have all seen the mess proponents of the use of “human face” in the application of our laws have brought to us. It has actually been a “Demon face” we are all watching live as you walk along the streets, markets and neighbourhoods.  

It would be observed from the above discussions that dirty environments are not only detrimental to our physical well-being, but it also has dire consequences on our ability to keep God’s ever-abiding presence as believers in this part of eternity. The following is, therefore, being proposed;

  1. “Cleaning Before Breakfast.” Cleaning before breakfast at home must be part of the morning devotion discussions, and parents and guardians must ensure the house and its environs are clean before breakfast. Once it becomes a regular topic during devotions, household members would be nurtured to imbibe Cleanliness wherever they find themselves.
  2. Regular Inspection of Facilities. In the case of our institutions and churches, a routine inspection by designated officers during peak hours and Intermittent visitation to the washrooms by high-ranking officers would be beneficial. In a typical household, the parents should take a keen interest in the regular inspection of the bathrooms of their wards in cases where theirs is separate. Apart from applying the laws without fear or favour, the lack of routine inspection to check for standards compliance has also not been helpful. Louis V Gerstnealso said, “People do what you inspect, not what you expect.” 
  3. Engagement of Professional Cleaners: In  big organisations and places of worship, professional cleaners must be engaged other than relying on the few committed hands within the  set-up. An unkempt environment and surroundings go a long way to affect the brand of any institution or organisation. Depending on the size and sensitivity of their operations, it may be prudent to engage additional hands to ensure well-deserving environmental Cleanliness commensurate with the organisation’s brand. This age-old argument that church members must continue to offer such cleaning services irrespective of the scope of work needs to be revisited in our modern-day context. At this moment, I want to seize this opportunity to pay a glowing tribute to all who have been cleaning all para-church organisations and ask for God’s bountiful blessings upon them and their children’s children. It is an open secret that even when something is offered for your services, they are woefully inadequate and just a statement to acknowledge your hard work by management. Your labour in the Lord is never in vain. 
  4. Integration of Environmental Cleanliness in Sermons and Church Programs: As indicated in my earlier submissions, topics relating to the responsible use of our God-given Environment must be well integrated into our messages from the pulpits. God bless the Church’s Vision 2023 bearer, Apostle Eric Nyamekye and his Executives for introducing new dimensions in our National discourse for the Christian community worldwide. Kudos to the National Coordinator of the Environmental Care Campaign in the person of Apostle Samuel Gakpetor, for his passion and his coordinators at all levels for excellent work.
  1. Budgetary Allocation for Environmental Cleanliness at all levels: There must be a conscious effort to have a workable annual budget for Environmental Cleanliness from all households, no matter how little. Institutions, Organisations, and Managers of Public buildings should also push for regular and realistic budgetary allocations to ensure their facilities are Eco-friendly and fit for purpose. Monies raised on the commissioning day, if any, must be invested as seed money for maintenance with practically outlined strategies to replenish them regularly. Here the leadership of the church has also taken a bold step through its National Estate Committee in ensuring some minimum amount is set aside for maintenance purposes at all levels. The practice where huge profits or gains are pursued in organisations when the restrooms, for example, and surroundings are nothing to write home about must be avoided.
  2. Sustained Educational campaign nationwide: Some don’t appreciate environmental Cleanliness, which has nothing to do with scarce resources. Therefore, they will move heaven and Earth to repair a worn-out sound speaker with their meagre resource rather than replacing a urinal bowl that no longer serves its intended purpose to the church members. The NCCE, Para-State agencies and The Church of Pentecost alone cannot take up the nationwide campaign for attitudinal change concerning Environmental Cleanliness. Efforts must, therefore, be made by all and sundry to keep and sustain the campaign year-round. The campaign is yielding good fruits even though there is more room for improvement.
  3. Reward and Reprimand Regimes enforced at all levels: Cleaner or Eco-friendly public places must be acknowledged, commended, and rewarded if possible as a motivation for others to emulate. In much the same way, unkempt or edifices with dirty environs should be named, reprimanded or denied, if practicable, any further financial support until the needful is done. Humans generally would comply if their livelihoods were tied to meeting specific demands. That is why even God tied the conditions under which He would visit and defend His children in battle with their Environmental Cleanliness.

From the write-up, besides sin, one major thing that creates a hostile environment for God and His Spirit is dirt or uncleanliness. If the aroma and stench around a place can either facilitate the visitation or expulsion of spirits, be it good or evil, then we must quickly revise our notes if permanent habitation and coexistence with the Holy Spirit is the desired goal. Believers can’t do anything less if those who do not believe in God’s existence and thus have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit keep a clean and friendly environment that attracts His presenceJames 4:17 states, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is a sin for them.” It is said that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a step. We must, therefore, start from our homes and begin the discussion during our family meetings. The results, I believe, will trickle down to the local churches, our workplaces and the communities at large. Long Live The Church of Pentecost, and Long Live Ghana.


POEM | God Is Raising And Repositioning An Army

God is raising an army for a purpose, 

A generation that will speak about the cross, 

A people who are not focused on status, 

The visAion and agenda they can sing in a chorus 

Men and women who are not callous, 

But uphold the call and task as precious.  

For wealth and fame they see as surplus. 

God is repositioning an army for impact; 

In readiness they are poised to act. 

The banner of salvation they raise as fact.  

All and sundry they target to attract. 

For the kingdom of God to expand.  

God is repositioning a generation; 

A people yearning for transformation, 

With great power and authority, they preach salvation, 

Setting captives free and bringing restoration, 

For the ultimate reward they see as motivation.  

God is raising and repositioning individuals, 

Intellectuals and all who uphold the Bible as manuals,  

An assignment they see as sacrificial and spiritual and  

Upholding righteousness and the fear of God as usual;  

For they’re committed to the task and remain punctual.  

God is raising an army that will stoke the fire,  

A people filled with power like live wire,  

An unquenchable desire they work with till they retire.  

Like a writer they’re ready to inspire,  

Until everyone aspires for a life higher.  

God is at work in His working gear,  

In every corner and ghetto, He will appear,  

Strengthening the weak and casting away fear, 

Getting busy and repositioning people every year,  

For His words all people will clearly hear.  

The living stream they’ll drink and become refreshed like deer 

And hold the Sword of the Spirit like spear.  

God is raising an army for the truth,  

A people who remember God in their youth,    

And are not yet ready to keep mute, 

With great power, they talk about the absolute truth, 

Out of which they bear lasting fruits,   

For they develop new shoots from the heavenly root.  

God is raising an army as a Father,  

A determined squad ready to go farther,  

The ‘possessing the nations agenda’ they pushed further,  

For the vision they know is bigger,  

To transform the uninformed into a learner,  

Until all are nurtured to become a treasure.  

God is raising and repositioning His church,  

A people who’ll not sit unconcerned on the bench,  

But match forward with a strong urge. 

Come all who have no place for the soul to perch,  

For the Kingdom of God is bigger for all to converge; 

A place of eternal joy without any dirge.  

 God is raising and repositioning an army. 

Have you not heard about it?  

Do you not see the move of the Spirit?  

And are you ready to be positioned in the army? 

Written by Ovr. Ernest K. Akorli, Kpasenkpe District.  

Dynamics Of God’s Sovereignty For Maximum Impact In Possessing The Nations

Dynamics Of God’s Sovereignty For Maximum Impact In Possessing The Nations


The church includes all people who have placed their trust in the Lord Jesus. Such people receive forgiveness of their sins and also receive the Holy Spirit to indwell them to impart eternal life – life that is unending – life that is in the presence of God for all eternity. Some members of the church have gone to be with the Lord; they are the triumphant church. The rest of the church still alive on earth is the militant church. God establishes the militant church on earth with the purpose of bringing to bear His Kingdom values and principles on earth among humanity. Jesus Christ is the embodiment of God’s Kingdom. The values and principles of God’s Kingdom is the life & teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This is the same as the fruit of the Holy Spirit. The kingdom of God encompasses all the character and power of God, which in one word can be termed “God’s Righteousness”. Jesus is God’s Righteousness (2 Corinthains 5:21). The carrier of the Kingdom of God through the church to all spheres of the earth is the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said in Matthew 12:28, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”.

The church is the vessel through whom the Holy Spirit imparts God’s Kingdom values by means of salvation and discipleship of humanity. In concluding His message to the churches, through John on the Island of Patmos, Jesus emphasizes the partnership between the Holy Spirit and the church in the salvation and possessing of the nations (through discipleship, beginning with evangelism). Jesus said, ‘“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life’ (Revelations 22:17). Discipleship is by means of the dual partnership between “The Spirit” and “The Bride” (the church). In this article, I seek to throw light on the sweet partnership between the Holy Spirit and the church in possessing the nation. I posit that, God is sovereign and already at work in bringing enlightenment to individuals and groups of people and the role of the church is to walk in the Spirit so as to discern the move of God in real time and to respond with obedience. The result at all times is maximum impact in possessing the nations for Christ.


God draws souls by the inworking of the Holy Spirit through the life of Christians and the church. When the minds of people are possessed for Christ, then we can firmly say we have possessed the nations. When Jesus said, the church should go into the world and make disciples of all nations, He was referring to bringing the gospel to groups of people. The Greek word for “nations” in that passage in Matthew 28:18-20 is “ethnos”; it is from this word that we derive the phrase, “ethnic groups”. Among others, the main imagery used in the bible to represent souls is “fish”. The plural of the word “fish” is “fish” but when there are different varieties of fish within a net, the plural becomes “fishes”. In calling the disciples to Himself, Jesus made them to understand that, the purpose of their call is to become “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This means, Jesus is the first cause in this whole divine purpose of “fishing for people”. It is Jesus who “makes us” fishers of men. Without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). That is the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God means that God always begins the process of his redemptive work and gives us enlightenment to understand it and then gives us the free will to choose or respond in either accepting it or rejecting it. Remember, it was Jesus who opened the minds of His disciples so that they might understand the scriptures.

Jesus said to them, “These are the words I spoke to you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. And He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day (Luke 24:45).

Generally, in this life, if we do not understand the sovereignty of God, we will struggle restlessly without any fruit to show. In Luke 5:1-11, Peter and his colleagues had gone for fishing – literally – and were washing their nets. Jesus goes close to them and tells them to “launch into the deep for a catch of fish”. In their feedback to Jesus as they had their first engagement before Jesus called them, Peter said, they had toiled all night without a catch but “at the Word of Christ”, they will retry. What was the result? They had a huge catch! This is maximum impact! Jesus concluded their interaction by calling them as His disciples and telling them that, henceforth – from that time, they would be made fishers of men. The lesson we see here which the article seeks to discuss is that, we get maximum impact in life when we partner with God; when we get to know the will and voice of God and respond in time, the results is maximum impact and rest. Many of us are restless in life because we, like Peter and his folks, are “trying our best” without the voice, will, direction and leading of the Spirit of God. Without the voice of God, as the divine light, we are only groping in spiritual darkness. The Mosaic Law in the Old Covenant could not give this light.

God gave the Mosaic Law to the people of Israel as an experiment for humanity to know that due to the Fall, humans are filled with lusts or inordinate desires and that makes it impossible for anyone to fully obey God’s law written on tablet – outside the human. Whenever the external written law meets human lusts, the result is sin, instead of righteousness. The Mosaic law was given for us to have this knowledge of the dynamics of sin and its consequence of death. The Mosaic Law lacked the power to deal with the sin nature of humanity; it diagnoses sins and prescribes “what to do” but does not give the power to do what to do. God therefore had to bring another law known as the Law of Spirit of Life in Christ. This law deals with sin – its fully pays the penalty of sin, forgives sins completely, cleanse the conscience of the sinner, crucifies the sin nature and gives divine power to a person to manifest the life of Christ. When the Spirit of Christ comes into the heart of a person, then they have been set free from the struggles with the Mosaic Law and have come under the supervision of a higher, better and empowering law. Living by the voice of the Holy Spirit (the unseen evidence) is what it means to walk by faith. He dwells in our hearts and writes what we have to do on our hearts, not like laws written with ink on external tablets. He also gives us the power to obey Him.

Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people (Galatians 3:19)

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin (Romans 3:20)

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set youfree from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4)

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So, the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian (Galatians 3:23-25)

The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First, He says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then He adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more. (Hebrews 10:15-17)

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3)


In promising this beautiful new era or new covenant, God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel was lying on the banks of the River Cheba in Babylon when the heavens were opened to him to see visions of God. The people of Judah (the Southern Kingdom of Israel after the split following the death of Solomon with their capital as Jerusalem) had been taken into captivity in Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. While in captivity, God began to reveal series of events to happen to Ezekiel for him to communicate to the people. Prime in this vision was the coming of the New Covenant which has been explained in earlier paragraphs of this article. God, in Ezekiel chapter 1, pictures the New Covenant (being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit) as four living creatures with wheels on the ground besides them; the four living creatures moved in the direction of the Spirit of God.

When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels (Ezekiel 1:19-21)

In using another imagery to speak of the New Covenant, God spoke of the river from the temple in Ezekiel 47. God said that everywhere the river would go, dead things will be made alive. When the river joins the sea, the water there will become fresh, swarms of living creatures will live, and there will be large number of fish because the water flows there and make the salt water, fresh. God goes in to say that, in such a place, there will be fish of many kinds and fishermen will stand along the shores to catch fish.

He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so, where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea (Ezekiel 47:8-10)

We see from this imagery that it is the river which flows into the sea that causes living creatures there to live and gather fish of many kinds for fishermen. When Jesus came on the scene where Peter and his colleagues were struggling to catch fish, there result was maximum impact. Jesus refers to this river (living waters) flowing from the temple as the Holy Spirit flowing out of the bellies of the new creation – you and I in Christ.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39).

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

It is the outflow of the Holy Spirit from our lives in a particular direction that leads to maximum impact in the life of a person and in the quest by the church to experience maximum impact in possessing the nations. “Out of our bellies” means the Holy Spirit will go ahead of us and then we will follow. I remember an Ivorian fisherman with a French vessel who fellowshipped with us while in Seychelles. At a point, for 20 days, on the Indian ocean, their vessel had caught no fish. His Frenchmen challenged him to speak to “his friend up there” (referring to God) to help them. He called me and I told him to stretch his hands on the Indian ocean as I prayed as asked God to gather fish to their vessel by the wind of the Spirit. That night, to the glory of God, they caught many fish and had to leave some fish behind. Hallelujah! Glory to God!

A life of rest and maximum impact is a life that understands the sovereignty of God – that, God has a plan and desires to lead us and all we need to do is to respond by following His lead. Maximum impact, at the personal level, is to know the will of God for your life and to follow His lead in all aspects of your life. Maximum impact in possessing the nations is to know where and how God is moving and to flow along as local churches; it is to know where the Spirit of God has moved ahead to bring enlightenment to a person and a people. Jesus said, if the Father does not draw a person, he or she cannot come to salvation. God is merciful and gracious in giving opportunities for people to have enlightenment so as to make a decision to come to faith in Christ.

And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” (John 6:65)

Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:41-45)

If we do not pray to know the move of God and we just try by our own strength and experience, we do so much but, like Peter and his colleagues, we achieve very little. In Acts 16:6-10, we see the Spirit of Jesus resisting Paul from preaching in some places and leading Him to preach in another place. It is God who moves ahead to prepare the hearts of people for us to have harvest in soul winning. Our duty is to pray and discern the move of God and flow along. Sometimes, the resistance is the devil and we must discern and contend in prayer against his works and prevail over it; other times, the resistance is from the Lord. Effective prayer in evangelism and church planting is seeking to know where God is moving. If God could lead king Cyrus who did not have the Spirit of God indwelling him, how much more the new creation?

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So, they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them (Acts 16:6-10).

This is what the LORD says to Cyrus His anointed, whose right hand I have grasped to subdue nations before him, to disarm kings, to open the doors before him, so that the gates will not be shut: “I will go before you and level the mountains; I will break down the gates of bronze and cut through the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and the riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by name (Isaiah 45:1-3)

I remember in my first ministerial station, Poyentanga in Wa Area, Upper West Region of Ghana, we planted a number of assemblies but how two of them were planted really highlighted the sovereignty of God so clearly. In both cases, a young man will come from a community and tell us that they need a church in the community and people are gathered and waiting for us. Before they came, like in the case of Peter and Cornelius, the Lord will grant peace in our hearts as we waited upon Him in prayer for direction. It was amazing! The sovereignty of God would always bring to mind, the song, “The cloud of glory is moving”. Hallelujah! Singing…

The cloud of glory is moving

Move with the cloud (2x)

The cloud of glory is moving

Move with the cloud (2x)

Let your spirit arise

And your mouth filled with praise

Come, let us worship together

And wherever He will be

New heights will be achieved

Move with the cloud (2x)


At the personal level, the principle is the same. To make maximum impact, one must understand the sovereignty of God in their lives and flow by the leadings of His Spirit. The sovereignty of God in the life of a person is in two folds – God uses situations and circumstances the person has no control over to draw them to the point of enlightenment by the gospel then He gives them the space to take a decision to receive or reject the gospel by their freewill. This phase also includes the role a person plays, as an unbeliever, in the salvation of others. Once a person receives the gospel, he or she receives forgiveness of sin and the Holy Spirit now comes to indwell them and begins the next realm of the flow of the sovereignty of God in their lives. If they reject, God continues to give them periodic visitation so as to expose them to more opportunities to accept Christ. When the allocated period of God’s visitation is over – the person seals their condemnation. This happens especially when the person after so many exposures to the gospel, refuse to repent and turn to Christ, and rather choose to go deeper in a false doctrine, religiosity or be a frontline advocate for any of the agenda of Satan such as the ideology of secular humanism and homosexuality. Such a person is very likely to die in their sins because after so many exposures to the gospel, they feel they know it all; they blaspheme the Holy Spirit and trample the Spirit of grace underfoot. They have crossed the line – to into the realm of unpardonable sin. The devil takes over and lead them into more and more depravity resulting in death without repentance. Every sin is forgiven by the blood of Jesus but what will forgive the unpardonable sin which is the sin of rejecting the testimony of the Holy Spirit about the blood of Jesus as atonement for sin? Nothing! A person in deliberate or willful sin of rejecting the testimony of the Spirit of Christ about Christ becomes a reprobate – damned! Such people are “scorpions”, not “fish”! The Father will not give the church “scorpions”, but “fish”.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)

“Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons and daughters of men, and whatever blasphemies they commit; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Matthew 3:28-29)

Paul talks about such reprobates but gives thanks to God on behalf of the redeemed for their obedience to the gospel – Paul speaks about two sets of people – the redeemed and the reprobates:

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruitsto be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:9-13)

In the book of Jude, Jude creates awareness to the church about these reprobates. He encourages the church to be aware of them and to stay aware from them while they focused on getting grounded in their faith in Christ. In creating the contrast between the church and these reprobates, Jude describes the reprobates but when it comes to the church, Jude would start by saying, “But you, dear friends…”. This is what Jude says in verse 3 & 4:

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. For certain individuals whose condemnation was written aboutlong ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord (Jude 3-4)

It is difficult for a person who has had many chances of enlightenment to come to be renewed again to repentance when they have consistently rejected the offer! This was the state of many Hebrews after Jesus had ascended into heaven and the gospel was being preached to them; they struggled to receive the gospel after many opportunities. The writer of Hebrews talks about these people to the believers among the Hebrews and assures them that, their case is different because they have taken advantage of their time of visitation and received the gospel. Hallelujah! We do not need to waste time on people whose time of visitation is not yet up or whose time of visitation has passed – awaiting another merciful time of visitation. We must go where the Spirit is visiting; we move when the cloud moves!

Therefore, let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallenaway, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised (Hebrews 6:1-12).


As has already been discussed, God’s sovereignty is in two folds for a person. The first part is the events and people God uses in the attempts to draw us to salvation in Christ as well as the part we play in our state of unbelievers in the salvation of others. The second part is God’s plans for us after we have come into Christ. When some of the roles a person, as an unbeliever, plays in the salvation of others are ordained by God and prophesied ahead of time, like in the case of Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Cyrus etc., God gives increasing mercy and often long life for this “vessel of wrath”, as Paul’s calls them it in Romans 9, to have opportunities to make a decision for the gospel.

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”Therefore, God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory (Romans 9:16-23).

So, he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:14-15)

In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing (Ezra 1:1)

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it whichever way He wishes (Proverbs 21:1)

God has sovereign plans for each person before salvation and after salvation. Before salvation, there are things that will happen to us which He has ordained to happen to us without our control so as to contribute to His redemptive plans and there are other things that happens to us because we used our freewill to decide leading to disastrous consequences. We cannot blame God for such decisions within the realm of our freewill. It is indeed true that, sometimes, “The foolishness of man undermines his way [ruining whatever he undertakes]; Then his heart is resentful and rages against the LORD [for, being a fool, he blames the LORD instead of himself] (Psalm 19:3). Satan often operates on the freewill domain to ensure that a person dies before their time so that God’s sovereign move in their lives towards their salvation and those of others will not happen.

As discussed earlier, some, like Pharoah, are ordained as vessels of wrath to try to stand against God’s salvation and for such people, God gives mercy for them to have more chances to be saved. When they are ripe for salvation and we are discerning, God will always lead us to them like He led Peter to Cornelius (Acts chapters 9 & 10). Others who are vessels of honor such as Moses, Samuel, Jesus, Timothy etc., born as exceptional children with redemptive purposes, receives godly direction right from infancy, guiding them right into their salvation when they become adults. They may have their struggles with the flesh, but God disciplines them and guides them into salvation so as to use them for their divinely-ordained redemptive purpose.

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

In his book, “The Making of a Leader”, Dr. J. R. Clinton posits that, right from birth, God ordains six (6) phases in the life of a person with different sets of process items (events and people) – all with the aim to drawing the person to salvation in Christ and thereafter into ministry (receiving God’s goodness and sharing with others under the power and leading of the Holy Spirit). These six phases are: Sovereign Foundations; Inner Life Growth; Ministry Maturing; Life Maturing: Convergence; and Afterglow (or Celebration). The events ordained by God to lead a person to salvation in Christ and their role, as unbelievers, towards the salvation of others is what Dr. Clinton refers to as “Sovereign Foundation”. Details of each of these six phases will be focus for another article.


Let me conclude by saying that, God has brought together lots of past experiences and people (some of whom were very evil) to draw us to salvation in Christ. He has now given us the Holy Spirit to flow out of our bellies as rivers of living waters to direct us into His plans for our lives. There is no room for comparing ourselves to others; God has unique plans for each of us. There is no need to restlessly compere for positions at all cost – even leading to the death of other humans. We are called to help one another to practice a life of hearing the voice of the Lord and walking in them. This understanding helps us to avoid restlessness and manipulation because we know that our lives are in the hands of the Lord. When we flow with the leading of the Spirit as our response to the sovereign moves of God, the result is maximum impact of our personal lives and maximum impact of our lives as local churches in possessing the nations for Christ. There is no room for worry, fear, anxiety etc. The song that will describe the true state of our hearts at all times will be:

You don’t have to worry and don’t you be afraid
Joy comes in the morning, troubles days don’t last always
For there’s a friend in Jesus, who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken, just lift your hands and say:
“I know that I can make it

I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands”

So, when the tests and trials, may seem to get you down
And all your friends and loved ones are nowhere to be found
Remember there’s friend in Jesus, who will wipe your tears away
And if your heart is broken, just lift your hands and say
“I know that I can make it

I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands

With Jesus, I can take it
With him I know I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands”
“I know that I can make it

I know that I can stand
No matter what may come my way
My life is in your hands.

Written by Apostle S. K. Fianko-Larbi (CoP-Kenya National Head & CoP East African Bloc Coordinator)


The Untold Celtic Background Of Pastor James Mckeown And Its Impact On His Celebrated Missionary Work In Africa

Ten years after the birth of Pastor James McKeown, the founder of The Church of Pentecost (CoP), the World Missionary Conference (WMC) sat down in Edinburgh and, as it were, saw no hope for the progress of Christianity on the African continent. Africa, including Ghana, where the CoP is headquartered, has been regarded as a backward people group whose spirituality has no preparatory ground for the Gospel. It was predicted that Africa would rather be Islamised. God to whom mission belongs proved them wrong to teach a lesson that the Gospel is powerful and able to save all manner of persons, and turn all cultures to Christ.

Not too long after that conference, Christianity began to rise, rather exponentially, in Africa. Sixteen years later, at another missionary conference in Le Zoute, Belgium, the importance of Africa was recognised. Some Africans began to own the Gospel and express it in forms that respond to their religious aspirations. Their presentation of Christ in the African context was nothing but welcomed by their African brothers and sisters, significantly. Eleven years after Le Zoute, Pastor James McKeown, an Irish middle school leaver, started a journey toward the Gold Coast (now Ghana). His mission was to make known, in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ and Him crucified. So impressive was his missionary work in Africa, that the curiosity appetite of many was wetted to start exploring the causative elements of his missionary prowess. Undoubtedly, McKeown but for his skin color, was an African at heart. He was so identical to the African context that no one should classify him with other European missionaries who could not relate adequately to the African religious identity. Integral to his adaptation to Africa was his Celtic background. I posit that elements within the Celtic cultural milieu, that is primal spirituality, which was in confluence with the African worldview, significantly prepared James McKeown to find a home in Africa to extract and make use of the pervading religious gold, making him a connoisseur of missions in Africa.


The Celts live in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. Ireland in particular developed a distinctive expression of Christianity in the time during which the heartland of Christianity shifted from the Greco-Roman world to Northern and Western Europe where the “Barbarians” dwell. As has been the case throughout history, when the Christian faith shifts, it carries along features identical to its old context even as the gospel interacts with the culture of its new haven. The Europeans assimilated Greco-Roman culture that heavily impacted Christianity, and also expressed the Christian faith per their own spirituality. The Celts exemplified this most excellently.

During the time that the Roman Empire was in prominence, much of Europe, Britain inclusive, was a Roman colony but not Ireland. They were isolated geographically at the time of the transmission of the Christian faith in Europe. Meanwhile, the Celtic society was primal. Therefore, the Celts developed a Christianity that is distinctive from the influence of Roman civilization and power. A unique Christianity emerging as a result of the interaction between the Christian faith and primal spirituality is an important phenomenon seen in the pilgrimage of the Christian Gospel into primal societies in Christian history.

Like the Celts, the worldview of the Africans is also primal. That is, the people believed in the wholeness of life as spiritual. This sense of the spiritual is intertwined with their everyday life and nature, and it informs their religion. The Christianity that emerged from there was influenced much by this primal understanding of life. It was a vibrant Christianity.

The Celtic society upholds the ethos of community as is seen in the African appropriation of the concept of Ubuntu. With respect to its politics, there are a number of kingdoms that are ruled by kings. There were kinship groups, clans, and family units. Meanwhile, these kingdoms meet together annually. The Celts were economically self-reliant. The inhabitants are tall, fierce warriors who show courage but are hospitable. Per their religion, there is a belief in the afterlife, and ancestors hold a special place as is also seen in Africa. Furthermore, kings are held to have a mediation role between humans and the Divine. There are a number of divinities that are believed to exist in the community. Concerning the foregoing discussion, it is apparent that a conversation between the Celtic and African societies would reveal integral similarities per primal spirituality. Significantly, one who has been shaped by the Celtic way of life would not find himself lost in Africa since the person would have developed adaptive qualities from the former for the latter.

Essential to the Celtic culture is the love for poetry. There is an oral culture that is seen in their love for the artistic use of words. This was to prepare Pastor McKeown who, unusually, permitted Afua Kuma of Obo-Kwahu in Ghana, the mother-in-law of Apostle A. T. Nartey (1930-1990) of the CoP, to use stylish appellations based on the African context in her prayers and praise of Jesus. This testimony of Afua Kuma concerning Jesus Christ whom she encountered in her own context, has become a source of African theological reflections as evidence that Christianity has become a religion of Africa. Pastor McKeown has thus become a missionary who does not clothe the Gospel in western thought forms and pushes it down the throat of Africans.

Another integral aspect of the culture of the Celts is a religion that gives place to religious experts called Druids, a term that comes from the Celtic word for oak. In the Indo-European language, the term means knowledge. It is used to connote knowledge of oak or great deep knowledge. These experts and the role they play originated with the Celts. The oak tree especially is considered as sacred as it serves as the home to spirits in the Celtic context. In Ireland, where the Celts dwell, dwarfs, fairies, and other spirit beings are considered to live in oak trees. Pastor McKeown would not be oblivious to this. This is reflected in his famous allusion to an oak tree. He intimated that he does not want to ‘plant a British oak in African soil.’ I consider this disposition to be central to missionary work in the African context where he skillfully contextualizes the Christian Gospel. No theological seminary taught him that. It was his reception to the leading of the Holy Spirit, first, within the Celtic background he came from, then, in Africa.


Since in Africa, important people are considered gigantic trees within societies and families, considering the importance of Pastor James McKeown in Ghanaian Christianity, it is not far-fetched to see him in this light. He was an impressive figure. He has defined a paradigm for the work of missions which takes into account primal worldview, respect for the culture of the receiving end of missions, full reliance on the Holy Spirit, disapproval of western imperialism (or dominion disposition of the benefactors of missions considering the ‘reverse mission’ of today), self-reliance, mentorship, and the pure message of the cross of Christ. What he has bequeathed to Christianity in Africa and the work of missions continues to amaze Christian thinkers.

He has been nurtured in a Celtic indigenous worldview. The disposition of the Celts to life has enabled them to appreciate primal spirituality. Through oral tradition, the knowledge of his background would be reinforced as he lived in 20th century Ireland. With both parents being Irish, the Celtic understanding of life would be at his disposal. Though he grew up in a Christian home, the marks of the Celtic society would significantly define him. His contact with Pentecostalism would consolidate his primal disposition. Pentecostalism itself has been infused with African spirituality, which is also primal, at the Azusa Street Revival led by William Joseph Seymour, an African-American.

James McKeown would have appreciated the fact that God does not live himself without witness in the cultures of people. His embrace of primal spirituality found great application in Africa. The Celtic attitude of self-reliance that may have been nurtured by how they survived on their own economic activities devoid of Roman dictates in the earlier years, and its passage to succeeding generations, has arguably influenced the mission mindset of Pastor James McKeown. Other factors may have contributed to this as well; like Rufus Anderson and Henry Venn’s ‘Three-Self’ principle which has influenced the work of missions around the world. Consequently, Pastor McKeown encouraged his African brothers and sisters not to depend on foreign aid. The Celt’s sense of community would have shaped his idea of living together. He thus regards the Africans as his brothers and sisters and lived cordially with them. The oral culture, and concept of Druids, among other elements of the Celtic society, have had a significant impact on Pastor McKeown and consequently informed his missionary work in Africa.


Pastor McKeown’s contact with Celtic culture through diverse means available to him, has had a significant impact on his missionary work in the African context. I suggest that this is the doing of the Lord, the owner of mission. James McKeown is to be celebrated also because he allowed himself to be prepared by the Lord who by his foreknowledge knew that he (the Lord) has an assignment for James McKeown in Africa. The shadow of missions that McKeown has cast must continue to provide soothing direction to today’s work of missions in and out of Africa. As churches in Africa grow their missions to foreign places, James McKeown’s paradigm must be very much considered. May the fire of missions continue to burn its way into the various nations of the world to bring Christ home to the cultures.

Written by Elder Dr. Stephen Ofotsu Ofoe

The Local Church Is An Epicentre Of Healing And Reconciliation

The Local Church Is An Epicentre Of Healing And Reconciliation


Within the local church are found persons with diverse health concerns. This may be physical, psychological, and even emotional and social. Such people long for wholeness and acceptance. It is not difficult to sight such persons in a local church that is on the cutting edge. The local church must speak to their healing situation and bring them to reconciliation. The wave of the charismatic renewal which blew over the Christian landscape in the 1960s brought with it a novel understanding of the sense of the spiritual. The powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian is an understanding that accompanied the movement. Many Christians today have it that the active presence of the Holy Spirit offers them the ability to find the solution to every form of ailment and frailty that bother humankind. The Christian who struggles with the challenges is regarded as a person who does not have a good understanding of the Christian faith. It seems that a point on which this disposition and practice hang is the teaching that it was never recorded in the Bible that Jesus, the founder of the Christian faith, became indisposed hence Jesus’ followers must follow suit in demonstrating this holistic divine health in their life. The fate of Christians who battle various health concerns hangs in a balance. By careful examination of some examples from Jesus’ life and utterances, this essay departs from this philosophy and presents that, excepting his sinless nature, Jesus Christ was fully man and bore all the weaknesses of man, including the possibility of becoming unwell. It suggests a rethinking of this concept of divine health and points to the local church as the instrument that can enable the shaping of the concept of healing and reconciliation. Health has been used in the sense that World Health Organization defines it.


Some are often of the view that once a person comes to accept Christ, divine health is imputed unto the person. This will make the person not liable for ailment. They usually proudly say that “I have never been to the hospital,” “I am problem-free,” and statements as such. Medical science, though it is pursued, is looked down upon.

Perhaps this issue of whether health is provided by the divine or medical science has been in existence for many years. It is on record that ancient Egyptian publications define scientific ways of approaching healthcare. Before this time of medical science, people pray to gods to provide health to their subjects. Then, came a time when medical science was combined with an appeal to the divine to provide a life without ailments. Due to the teachings of some church fathers such as Augustine that demons are responsible for all diseases of the Christian, medical science was looked down upon again until the enlightenment.

The Christian movement, which puts emphasis on divine healing among other spiritual experiences, revived the old practice of appealing to solely the divine to provide health. Essentially, this belief is no news to world history. This belief hangs to a large extent on the life of Jesus—albeit it is a mistake of his life—that he lived a life free of ailment. This problem calls for a reflection on the life of Jesus as one who is fully man.


Before the Chalcedonian ecumenical council of the Church, teachings about the nature of Christ to a large extent presents Christ as divine and human though the Jews in the days of his earthly life saw him as just man, the son of Joseph and Mary. These contrasting views about Jesus eventually birth numerous arguments concerning the true nature of Jesus in the days when the West was the haven of Christianity. Popular among the controversies is that of the Arians. The Arians scratched away the divinity of Jesus and made him inferior to the Father with the argument that Jesus was the first being created by God, the Father. Consequently, the first Council of Nicaea was convened to discuss the Arianian argument. This was followed by the fourth ecumenical council which was conveyed in AD 451 after the Council of Constantinople and the Council of Ephesus. The Chalcedonian Council defined Jesus with respect to the trinity thus:

Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days the Self-same, for us and for our salvation born of Mary the Theotokos as to the Manhood.

It is clear from this statement of Chalcedon that Jesus is fully human. He carried the complete nature of humankind except that he is without sin. This underpins the fact that Jesus Christ bears any other weakness of humankind. To reject this is to reject the full humanness of Jesus. The Charismatics of Accra in their look upon Jesus with respect to health, place emphasis on his divinity and ignore his humanness. This remains an unsolved problem.


Drawing on the Chalcedonian confession, the man Jesus would bear the physiology of humankind. He would need air to breathe and respire to gain energy for physical activities. He would need to eat. He would need to grow. He would be sensitive to his environment. Jesus would also need to move from one place to the other as part of the life processes of humankind. He would have to bear emotions. The list continues. The Bible bears witness to this life’s activities of Jesus.

A reading of Heb. 5: 7 reveals that Jesus is aware of his own weakness. It was recorded that, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and pleadings with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” The “flesh” mentioned connotes Jesus’ humanness. His crying shows that Jesus had fears thus he was emotional as humankind. The part of the human brain called the amygdala located in the temporal lobe that is responsible for human emotions was in full function. This calls to attention his human anatomy. He will bear all the body parts of a male human being.

So human was his body physiology that when he became hungry whilst, on his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, he looked for food on a fig tree. His unsuccessful harvest led him to command the tree not to beat fruit again (Matthew 21:18-19). With respect to his nutrition, he was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard because he “came eating and drinking” (Matthew 11:19). Being human and exposed to frailty would mean that he gets tired from his work. John 4:6 records that, “Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.” The fact that he gets tired would mean that he would have to take rest to become revived. Consequently, after a long and hard day of preaching and teaching, he undoubtedly became tired and while he was en route to a place on a boat with his disciples, he fell asleep. So deep was the sleep that when a storm broke out and placed the boat and their lives in danger, Jesus was per his human nature oblivious of what was going on (Mark 4:36-38). With respect to physical growth, the Bible bears witness to the fact that “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52).

It is too obvious that Jesus was indeed human. Being subject to human weakness would mean he may have fallen ill before. It is too weak an argument to put forward that it is recorded nowhere in the Bible that Jesus was taken ill. We can extrapolate from his other weaknesses. There are other physiological needs of any humankind and hence the physiological needs of Jesus, that were not stated directly in the Bible but can we conclude that he did not mean those needs? For instance, it was not accounted anywhere in the Bible that Jesus passed urine. But can we deny that he did not go to the gents? He takes food and water. These undergo digestion. Excess water would have to be excreted. Jesus would have had headaches or stomachaches and other ailments humankind is exposed to.

In an utterance, Jesus appealed to an axiom about a physician. He quoted, “Physician, heal yourself.” Jesus was aware of the existence of medical practice even before he was born nevertheless, he did not in any of his teachings disprove seeking healthcare from medical practitioners meanwhile issues of healing come up every now and then during his ministry. Before Christ, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine who lived between 460-377 B.C., gave a rational explanation for disease and adopts a scientific approach to healing. Jesus rather appealed to the saying about a healthcare provider. In a parable, he told a story of a Jewish man who was attacked by bandits and left injured while on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem. A Samaritan came by and took the dying man and provided him with medical care (Luke 10:30-35). He used this story to teach about hospitality.

We must not teach that after someone is born again, the person will not be liable for ailment. Divine health essentially does not mean a Christian life is without ailments but a health that is kept by God’s strength even in weakness. Rethinking divine healing will enable Christians to bear with those who suffer and not regard such people as people who are faithless. This must be pursued in the local church.


The local church must be positioned as a healing community. Here the wholeness that many people desire must be attained. This special niche that the local church occupies in the larger society must be pursued by all means. It is a place in which those who are heavily laden are supposed to find. The rest they find in Christ is nurtured in the local church. This does not merely make the local church a help group where people join to find acceptance, but rather, a place where the divine encounter with Christ is made tangible. It is a place where the divinity and the humanity of Christ are supposed to come home to people and be applied in everyday life.

The local church is supposed to be an organism that should facilitate easy access to people who are infirm. How the local church conceptualizes wholeness would enable this. The idea of healing must conform to the doctrine of Christ. Just as Christ did not hide his humanity, we must not pretend that we are a super breed with no frailties. The result of this would be a local church that is made of people who are smiling behind tears, which tears can be dealt with by the local church machinery standing on the power of the Gospel. The local church must create space for the infirm within the congregation. All must be welcomed and they must feel accepted indeed.

In addition to prayer for healing, the local church must intentionally employ the services of professionals such as psychologists, medical doctors, and counselors, among others, to provide therapy of various kinds to persons who will need them. This would also contribute greatly to healing. The liturgy of the local church must be designed in such a way that people are allowed to share their advice, concerns, and testimonies toward the edification of all.


This essay has shown that Christians are still exposed to frailties thus while the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement came with it a lot of good things, the movement’s divine healing perspective is found to be faulty. The view of the life of Jesus has been redirected to show that the man Jesus has human qualities indeed. The concept of divine healing is seen to be an awakening of an old idea of total reliance on the divine for healing without paying attention to medical science. The local church has a special role in tipping the balance. The local church must rise to the task of being the hub of healing and reconciliation.

Written by Dr. Stephen Ofotsu Ofoe


Proving My Love Through Sex: Perceptions Of Today’s Youth

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as a servant of God (1 Peter 2:16).

Just as our names have greater impact on our lives, our relationship with God and our fellows also impacts our spirituality. This year’s theme: “Repositioning the Local Church for Maximum Impact in the Nations,” places a responsibility on youth members of The Church of Pentecost to “reposition” themselves to possess every sphere of their life and society. 

This is very important in this generation, where principles and values of the Kingdom of God are deemed to be outmoded, and most youth subscribe to living in a way that pleases them.

We must, however, be reminded that as Christian youth, we are to lead holy lives in order to please our Maker. God desires to have an intimate relationship with us, but this ought to be done in a holy and acceptable way.

God expressed His love by showing humankind how He cherished them and wants good things for them. We are, therefore, to do same and cherish our fellows through our love. The fate of every good relationship, especially, those between the opposite sex, is not determined by sex but love. 

Unfortunately, in a season of love like this, some youth, particularly young females, would look to express their love for their male partners by offering their bodies to them. But the question is, does sex in boy-girl relationships really prove love?

No, it does not. It is rather a sign of infatuation, which could also be described as a misdirected affection that breeds lust, fondness and admiration for the other. Knowing the difference between love and infatuation is very important because they are not the same. For instance, while love is lasting, infatuation is temporary; while love grows, infatuation ends after a period; while love is selfless and thinks of the next generation, infatuation is selfish and is only interested in the next “erection.” More importantly, while love says “NO SEX” till marriage, infatuation says pre-marital sex is a field to explore.

The writer of the letter to the Corinthians admonishes Christians that love does not insist on its own way, love is patience, kind, not jealous (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). A relationship that is characteristised by sex is dangerous since one party or both parties are only focused on satisfying their lustful desires. 


To my fellow youth, I appeal to you to be wise and use your body as a living sacrifice to God Almighty in every relationship you find yourselves. This season of valentine is not for sex but a period to remember the love God gave to us and show how precious it is to show love to others. In our relationships with the opposite sex, let us exercise the spirit of patience and not defile ourselves. This is because premarital sex grieves God’s spirit in us, brings disgrace, causes hatred and destroys the future of the unmarried youth. Your choice of a marital partner in life is so precious to God and future generations.


Beloved, I urge you, as a sojourner on earth, to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul (1 Peter 2:11). Having distinguished between love and infatuation and a good relationship from a bad one, I urge the Christian youth to be zealous and let the will of God reign in your relationship. This is because it would be better to find a lifetime partner who can connect to God with you in the spirit than one who would “just eat and run.” Sex does not prove how one loves or cherishes you rather abstinence until marriage shows how one loves and values you.

Written by Dennis Quaicoe (CoP-Axim Area / Pentecost University)

ARTICLE- To Bow Or Not To Bow

The Christian Youth & Sexual Purity – To Bow or Not to Bow?

Sexual purity encompasses abstinence from all sexual perversions, intimacy outside marriage, deliberate sensual arousals, impure thoughts and gratification of the desire for intimacy with the opposite sex.  The Bible is very explicit and unequivocal about the need for single people to stay sexually pure at all times. However, in contemporary times, many deny the sanctity of sex and rebel against God’s established order of marriage as the only institution within which such intimacy must occur.

This deviation is often driven by worldviews that influence the thought processes of a particular generation or dispensation.  Currently, postmodern theories such as hedonism encourage the pursuit of pleasure as the ultimate in life without reference to God’s standards, societal rules and culture. It is sad to note that, some youth have been carried away by this ungodly wave of sexual misconduct. However, this is not a new phenomenon.  In the New Testament, Apostle Paul had to address similar issues of sexual perversion and permissive culture in some of the cities he had planted churches.

In the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul had to orient them towards proper sexual conduct due to the syncretic outlook of some of the members on issues regarding proper sexual conduct.  The city of Corinth was notorious for sexual immorality. Pornea translated as sexual immorality was not frowned upon in Corinth. Issues of consensual sexual relations, prostitution and homosexuality were common and therefore, did not constitute a big deal for the people of Corinth. There were temples for false gods which housed prostitutes where all kinds of idolatry and sexual misconduct occurred. Thus, to Corinthianise had become the proverbial expression of a sexually immoral life.

Having been born again, some within the Corinthian church wanted to still persist in this act without qualms. They considered freedom in Christ as a leeway to unbridled sexual expression with their bodies once they were not under the obligation of the law. In dealing with this deception, Paul quoted popular sayings within their society that expressed their worldview about sexual purity. One of them was everything is permissible. To correct this worldview, Paul emphasized that though everything was permissible, all things were not expedient for the new creation and therefore, the need to ensure that their freedom in Christ would not make them slaves to sin.

Another saying among the Corinthians which reinforced their sexually immoral culture, was food for the stomach and stomach for food. This saying projected the idea that, desire for sex is part of nature’s instincts and thus, no different from appetite for food. In other words, shouldn’t we treat sexual desire the same way and seek to be satisfied, just as we eat when we are hungry? Paul in his defense of sexual purity rejected and condemned these comparisons.

Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me”–but I will not be mastered by anything. “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”–but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body – 1 Corinthians 12-13

Furthermore, Paul indicated that though the stomach was meant for food, the body was much more than the stomach. He exhorted them not to reduce the body to a tool for sensual gratification because the body was not created for the purpose of sexual immorality. Rather, they were to see their bodies as instruments of glory and the temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Being a temple of the Holy Spirit meant, that, the body was to be kept holy without any form of uncleanliness. Finally, Paul intimated that sexual sin was no ordinary transgression to toy with. He pointed to them that he who sins sexually does not only commit a transgression but sins against their own body.

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body – 1 Corinthians 6:18

Much of what is going on today is akin to what pertained in Corinth.  The environment and popular culture of today seem to be accepting of sexual immorality and all forms of perversions. When a man cheats on his wife, people say it is the nature of men to have extra marital affairs. Also, some people in premarital relationships rationalize sex as essential for young adults committed to each other. Some go ahead to advocate that premarital sex is necessary to ascertain sexual compatibility of both parties before marriage. When young people are disciplined for engaging in premarital sex, the decision is considered draconian by some people because to them they just had sex as adults. Also, the virtue of chastity is widely ignored while those who choose to remain chaste are mocked.  All these constitute subtle pressure to force the Christian youth to bow to the image of sexual perversity. The question is, SHALL WE BOW TO THIS PRESSURE?

God’s word about fornication and sexual perversion has not changed. His standards are still same irrespective of one’s culture, age or generation. In view of this, sexual purity must be upheld by all Christians. Refusing to bow may come with threats of punishment, feelings of being odd, mockery and sometimes moments of physical distress.  However, like, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the Christian youth must be bold and refrain from bowing to any form of pressure to be sexually immoral irrespective of the consequences.  There is no shame in staying pure. You are not alone. There are thousands of youth who have not bowed to Baal. If you choose to remain chaste, you are in good company and the power of God is available to help you. WE SHALL NOT BOW.

Written by Pastor Joseph Owusu-Boateng (PENSA Traveling Secretary – Sunyani Sector)

Repositioning The Local Church Is Apologia Pro Vita Sua

Repositioning The Local Church Is Apologia Pro Vita Sua


Inherent in the history that animated the life and doctrine of the Church is a strong stance against teachings and practices that were deemed inimical to the progress of the Church. A rigorous step was taken, as it were, to safeguard the Church’s vitality. This occupation was to those who were actively involved, a defense of their own life─apologia pro vita sua (Latin: “defense of one’s life”). Indeed, there is a truth that is ever intrinsic to this stance of the early Christians who have gone ahead of us: the Church is integral in the process of laying hold onto the life that flows through Christ to people within and without the Church. It is ever true that extra Christum nulla salus (outside Christ there is no salvation). The nourishment for this salvation towards its fulfillment in Christ has the Church as its storehouse. The Church is the hub, if not the fountainhead, of the vitality which flows from Christ onto his people.

In this peculiar position of the Universal Church, the local church’s role need not be belabored. The local church is the focal point of the abundance of life ebbing from the Lord Jesus Christ to the partakers in “the faith which once delivered unto the saints.”  It is within the local church that the grace of Christ is concentrated. A decision to reposition the local church is indeed a move to draw attention to this great place of the local church in the workings of God. It is to make a decision to defend lives. Repositioning the local church is a defense of our lives─apologia pro vita sua.

The Local Church is Our Mother

To put things in perspective, it is relevant to give a definition of what the local church is. In simple terms, the local church connotes the immediate meeting or gathering of believers in the finished work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, after their translation into full fellowship, for worship, sharing in the word of God, partaking in the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper among other Christian liturgies. A new believer in Christ is encouraged to join the local church in view of his or her nurturing in Christ. This suggests that discipling believers in Christ towards consolidation of their faith in Christ is done in the local church. The exhortation to “desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2, NJKV) establishes the local church as the place of Christian growth, vitality and maturity.

In his discourse with Nicodemus, Jesus pointed out that his (Jesus’) concept of new birth is strikingly distinct from childbirth in the natural sense (John 3:3-7). In effect, one does not need to enter into his or her mother’s womb again to be born again. From natural knowledge, after birth, the newborn would have to be nurtured. The essence of motherhood is further appreciated here; providing warmth for the baby, food, healthcare, and teaching the young child basic life skills. Albeit, others apart from the primary mothers may contribute to this nurturing. The whole of the activities of nurturing is an act of motherhood. The nurturing role of a mother finds a resemblance with the role of the local church post-new birth. When one is born again in Christ, his or her upbringing lies strongly with the local church. When one imagines the nurturing of a newborn person in Christ, the motherhood role of the local church strikes.

Blessed are those who find themselves in a local church whose motherhood is impeccable. Such people, undoubtedly, grow most excellently and mature pleasantly in Christ. Their Christian vitality is admirable. Indeed, the local church is our mother. It is a training ground for people on whom the salvation of this world rest, significantly. I plea thus, “Dear local church, we have come to you our mother, nurture us that we may grow. Our vitality in Christ, even our very life, depends on you. Deny us your motherhood and we shall not be anything better than orphans.”

Repositioned in Defense of Our very Life

The tragedy of a local church comes to light when it is diagnosed that there is a shift in its position. Such a church loses its God-mandated stance in the world. It disturbs the flow of the life of Christ onto people and nations of the world. The principles of the Kingdom of God it is strategically positioned to reveal to the world are not seen. This church suffers loss. It is in the presence of this kind of church that societal decadence gets a field day. Such a church stands aloof in the face of social evil. The church forgets that it is a hub of hope for a dying world.

To bring back the local church to its locus of influence is an attempt to protect the life we have received from Christ. This life is supposed to ever flow onto eternal life. It is this life that gives us a dear position before God. It is a life that must necessarily be protected. The position must be defended; the life must be defended. This repositioning then becomes an issue of life and death. The search for the fountain of life that is flowing through Christ is appreciated primarily when one encounters a local church in its divinely appointed position. It is this position that enables the revival of people who are dead in sin back to life. This rightful place of the local church consequently nurtures these infant lives till they blossom, becoming a people of power and their impact felt within the larger society.

Concerning a repositioned local church, its members have genuine faith in God. This faith is nurtured by the sincere word of God. Their knowledge of God is deep-seated; their experience of God is authentic. In all, its spirituality is fervent. True worship and fellowship are witnessed. This church is a healing community. It promotes the wholeness of the life of the people therein. This church understands what it means to be saved in Christ and the peculiar responsibility that places on the redeemed people of God. The ministry of reconciliation which God has committed to his people is on point in this church since with joy it bears the burden of reaching out to the lost. This work of reconciliation finds expression in every facet of society, planting the principles of the Kingdom of God everywhere. The structures it puts in place to ensure its impact on the larger society are in a revived state. Such a church is to be desired.


The question remains, “what unit of a gathering of people has God strategically positioned to manifest his glory the world over?” Is it not the local church? It is within the local church that there is a first encounter with the revelation of who the Almighty is; his nature, and his work in the world in reconciling the world to himself. The local church is the embassy in which God dwells among men. The local church in the mind of God is a people that bear the mark of the Kingdom of God. Repositioning the local church is a survival mechanism for the Universal Church. To this end, to identify the reason for the decline of the Church in nations, regional blocs, and even continents, the compromise of the vital position of the local church would always be implicated. The local church in its rightful position is a life-giving gathering of people on whom the Spirit of God is resting. Repositioning the local church is a defense of the very life of nations.

Written by Dr. Stephen Ofotsu Ofoe

Prophetic Hygiene In Ghana

Prophetic Hygiene In Ghana:

Keeping A Bird’s-Eye View On The Prophetism Scene At 31st December Watch-Night Services And Beyond From A Certain Balcony


The prophetic is not alien to Ghanaian philosophy and practice of religion. Even before the coming of Christianity in Ghana, the Ghanaian primal religion imagined spiritual encounters with the Transcendent. This has the prophetic as a core element. In typical situations, deities so-possess people and use them as channels of divine utterances or directives in various forms. In prophetism, ecstatic utterances, displays and practices are normative and reckoned as sine qua non results or sometimes premises to an encounter with divinity. When Christianity took root in Ghana, this aspect of the religious ran alongside the Christian faith. Some Christians still run away to seek oracles from their erstwhile religion, notably because they think the new faith did not provide meaning to how they perceive the spirit world. African Initiated Churches (hereafter AICs) emerged as a response to this tension. The later emergence of the classical Pentecostals, Charismatics and the new charismatic churches has impacted Ghana’s prophetism in various ways and to different degrees. Regrettably, numerous unethical issues have characterised the prophetic in Ghana. I propose some underpinnings of unethical practice in contemporary prophetic ministry, including mainly: the liberation philosophy of the leading prophets of the ministry, the influence of the Ghanaian primal religio-cultural practice of spirit possession, and the mistaking of the prophetic phenomena in the Bible. I argue that streamlining the charisma of the ‘prophetic’ bestowed graciously on the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is to be desired. This must involve a complex approach taking into consideration the maxim of the prophetic in the New Testament Christianity, ministerial and pastoral formation, and the rule of law. The crux of the matter is an invitation of those who claim to have received a word from the Lord to apply decorum in their communications of whatever dreams, visions and prophetic message they claim to have had. A departure from the foundations of the dishonourable manner in which prophetic messages are handled in Ghana’s Christianity would safeguard the prophetic ministry and discourage chaos within the Republic. For the sake of brevity, the essay shall neither discuss the history of the overarching concept of prophetism and its impact on Christianity in Ghana at various times, nor explore fully, if even briefly, prophetism in Ghana today. 

Underpinnings of Unhygienic Prophetic Ministry in Ghana

Prophetic utterances are common in the practice of Christianity in Ghana. This skyrockets during 31st December watch night church meetings due to ear-itching expectations for the coming year. The widespread of the prophetic today presents us with a case of continuity of an aspect of the traditional religious belief and practice with Christianity. The belief in the wholeness of life connects the spirit world very much to the physical even in today’s Africa especially. Interactions between the two are believed and usually experienced. In these religious experiences, it is thought that the spirits possess the agent to deliver a message to the physical world. The spirits take total control of the agent of the message. This is often seen in frenzied movements and ecstatic utterances. Speaking on behalf of the spirits makes the directives of the agent final and irrevocable. Such ones are very much revered in the Ghanaian religio-cultural setting.

The wake of classical Pentecostalism at the turn of the 20th century brought with it a renewal of the sense of the spiritual. Especially, at the Azusa street revival in 1906, spiritual experiences similar to African spirituality were seen. People were so-possessed by the Holy Spirit, fall and shake, shout, run about and prophesy under the power of the Holy Spirit. These frenzied spiritual experiences resonate with African spirituality in general and Ghanaian spirituality in particular.

The coming of classical Pentecostalism in Ghana and the subsequent charismatic renewals blended well with the primal spirituality already in existence. Also, due to the staunch adherence to a key teaching of the Protestant Reformation, the “priesthood of all believers,” many Christian spiritual leaders are emerging every day. Consequently, under the guise of spiritual encounters many “men of God” and “prophets” do the unthinkable. Like the traditional religious practice of giving spiritual potions to adherents for many reasons including prosperity, healing, childbirth, protection from witches, freedom from ancestral curses among others, some Christian “men of God” also prescribe spiritual special concoction, oils, handkerchiefs, stickers, creams, powders, for Christians for similar reasons. These often come at various prices and people are convinced to buy. Some of these items are even customised with the photos of the leaders of the prophetic churches on their containers.

Furthermore, in the name of deliverance some are subjected to maltreatment. Some are slapped, others are knocked and even some are stepped on the ground. “Prophecies” are uttered in the public domain without caring for their repercussions. Today, tension is built in Ghana’s politics, among family members and among different religions due to these “prophetic” utterances. In the culture of the traditional religion, shrines are set aside where clients go for divinatory consultation. A replica of this is seen where special Christian prayer camps are set apart for consultation on spiritual matters. In some cases, where there are no such special centres, specific time within a church service is set aside where members go and see the “prophet” for consultation. Thus the primal religious imagination of Ghana contributes to the disturbing prophetism being witnessed in Ghana.

The rise of AICs as against the churches established by western missionaries in Ghana has been regarded, in part, as a response to the freedom the Africans did not get to express their full religiousness. The wake of these churches has become more or less a liberation movement. The belief and practice of the AICs is largely a combination of the Bible and traditional African religion. Taking the Bible out of context has not been uncommon. The result is that the Bible has been wrongly used to strengthen some regrettable aspects of Ghana’s prophetic ministry. An essential part of African religious practices is the spontaneous and disorganize way in which the spirits are presumed to deal with people. People are usually not able to gather restraint when the spirits are believed to come upon them. People cannot hold in the dealings of spirits with them. Inherit in this liberation thinking of the AICs is crave for power and glory. This has remained a part of the prophetic ministry in Ghana’s Christianity.

In Ghana’s prophetic scene today, many people claiming to be speaking on behalf of God do not offer restraint concerning what to say and what not to say in public. As it were, wisdom has been denied its place in prophetic utterances. The consequences of this have been nothing but chaos and disintegration of social cohesion. Fear and panic have inundated individual and public life due to some of these prophecies. Power and glory are sadly a persisted part of the prophetic ministry. Many of these utterances have been made to earn respect of the masses. This is so deep-seated such that, some prophets and pastors, so-called, do not feel ashamed to desist from prophetic utterances even after their prophecies have backfired. The name of God and the Bible have been misused widely in this regard. The prophetic ministry has been significantly unhygienic, considering the points raised above.

Repercussions of Unethical Prophecies on the Socio-Political Space

Prophecies have spread wide to become an essential part of Ghana’s socio-political life. Politicians, business men and women, footballers, people who are faced with misfortunes, students, the young and old from diverse walks of life have patronised prophets for some kind of divinatory consultation. A cursory look at Ghana’s political scene would quickly reveal the central role that prophecies have been playing. There is the general notion that prophecies concerning who wins and loses an election have telling impact on the electorate, informing them who to vote for. It is alleged, and some of these prophets sometimes come out to confess, that some political figures go to bribe them to prophesy in their favour. Prophecies have heighten tension in Ghana’s elections today and even threaten social cohesion. Instead of being a blessing to the socio-political fortunes of Ghana, the unethical approach to the prophetic ministry is causing more harm in Ghana’s socio-political space than good.

There are reported cases of families falling apart because of some prophecies, where some family members are revealed by prophecy of being the cause of the suffering of other family members. Witchcraft accusation among others have broken down family care systems and promoted individualism. Many have become poorer because they spent a lot of money paying “consultation fees” to some of these prophets for divine intervention. Thus the socio-economic problems of the unhygienic prophetic ministry are there. Safety within the society has also been challenged. For instance, one who has received a prophetic word of being killed by some assailants would not feel safe but live in fear.

Considering how the prophetic ministry is intertwine with Ghana’s everyday socio-political life, the ministry, as it is being practised now by many self-acclaimed prophets and bishops, has earned the status of a national threat, arguably. This raises the question of whether prophetic utterances should become cases that must be taken on by the rule of law. At what point is this really applicable? The complexities involved in this regard cannot be ignored. When you have politicians and civil servants patronising the ministry of these prophets, many of whom are charlatans, how can the law be effectively applied in shaping the prophetic ministry? In any case, the rule of law has an important role to play in sanitising this ministry. The rule of law can check these utterances and bring some civility into Ghana’s prophetism.

On Protecting the Integrity of the Name of our Christ and of the Church

In fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel (Joel 2:28-29), there has been an unlimited outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the people of God in Christ. This makes the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ a charismatic community where spiritual gifts are in operation. It is quite clear that the desire of the giver of the spiritual gifts is for them to be used to enhance the mission of God through the Church, and to prepare the people of God for work in the Kingdom of God. Any other use of the gifts of the Spirit that undermines the reason for which Christ gave his Church these charismatic gifts, is inimical to the growth and progress of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ and of the nations in which the Church is supposed to thrive. The name of the Lord God and the Church are ridiculed as a result. Those who operate in spiritual gifts of various forms including prophecy, must hold the integrity of the name of the Lord God in high esteem no matter the circumstances. The Bible teaches us in this regard.

Prophecy, whether directive or not, is indeed a true phenomenon that is relevant in our walk with God. Scripture even exhorts the Christian to crave for spiritual gift especially prophecy (referring to prophecy that exhorts people) as seen in 1 Corinthians 14:1. Albeit, it is one of the gifts that has been mostly abused, especially in our African context today. A highly unethical or unhygienic approach has been heavily adopted in the operation of the prophetic. Indeed, this is a major setback in African Christianity. Prophecy is a delicate phenomenon, in that it is the coming together of the Spirit of God and human. If one is not careful, his or her prophecies would emanate from the human mind or even from evil spirits and not from God.

In 1 Corinthians 14 again , the Bible takes issue with a very charismatic Christian community, the church in Corinth then, whose operation in spiritual gifts has caused a lot of confusion within the community (especially in their public worship). The Bible exhorts the Christian community thus: “be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way” (1 Corinthians 14:39-40, NIV). The Bible points out that, “And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophet. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of saints” (1 Corinthians 14:32-33, NKJV). It is how one responds to the dealings of the Spirit with him or her that determines the consequences of prophetic utterances. Anyone who operates in the prophetic gift must be able to bring the gift under his control. It is never true that the Spirit communicates a word of prophecy to someone, and the person cannot control him or herself as a result. Prophecies have been unfortunately used to cause fear and panic. This is particularly so because of the desire for fame, power, glory, money and respect. He or she who prophesies must be focused on glorifying God by it and not for self-glorification. Those who are guilty of this have put the name of the Lord Jesus Christ into disrepute. This is sinful.Those who think they have the gift of prophecy or the call of a prophet must be willing to learn and apply wisdom to their dealings. Ministerial formation is essential in shaping the prophetic ministry people do receive. This must be pursued.

What can we Learn from The Church of Pentecost?

The role of The Church of Pentecost (hereafter CoP) in ensuring the hygiene of prophetism in Ghana has been important. Considering the impact of the CoP in the Pentecostal and charismatic movement in Ghana, how it is perceived in the Ghanaian Christian community, and the larger society, its role must be considered. There is consensus among scholars concerning the important place of the CoP in Ghana. For instance, this assertion by Rev. Prof. J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, a theologian and minister of the Methodist Church of Ghana in his “Foreword” to the book, Transmitting the Spirit in Missions: The History and Growth of The Church of Pentecost, very well summarises how the CoP is perceived in the Ghanaian society: “In Ghana their [CoP’s] community-based church planting approach, prayer-driven services, liturgical vernacularization, simplicity of ministry, and the enforcement of biblical moral standards among members and clergy mean The Church of Pentecost has become one of the most important and highly regarded Christian denominations in the country. . . The Church of Pentecost, in terms of church attendance, is arguably the largest single Christian denomination in Ghana today, and they have not stopped spreading.” This is not the first time this Professor of African Christianity and Pentecostal theology made such an assertion. Ten years earlier, he made similar note of the CoP in a paper he presented at the West Africa Consultation of Edinburgh 2010. The role of the CoP including its role in sanitizing the prophetic ministry thus far in Ghana must not be ignored. Individual church leaders and corporate churches can draw some lessons from the CoP.

The CoP has brought some order to the practice. As indicated earlier, the continuity of aspects of African traditional spirituality in Christianity started with the AICs. These churches sort to bring about a certain renewal into what they deemed a spiritual snooze within the mainline churches. It is important to insert here that the proliferation of new charismatic churches in Ghana has greatly aggravated the extremities of the prophetic ministry. These churches significantly build on the premise of the AICs and the African traditional religious spirituality in retrospective sense. The CoP came into existence some years after prophetism became an ipso facto feature of the “spiritual churches,” as the AICs were called.

Right from the outset, the founder of the CoP, Pastor James McKeown, set out the ethos of the CoP as a church that will irrevocably adhered to the New Testament teachings of the Bible. Being a missionary, he endorsed aspect of African religious spirituality but not the extremities of the prophetic. For instance, he did not approve the no-medication doctrine of the classical Pentecostal group he worked with on his arrival to Ghana. Today, we see some prophets advising their followers not to take certain medication prescribed by qualified medical practitioners. This is unfortunate.

The CoP has refined the means by which directive prophecies are communicated in public. Such prophecies are expected to be written down and communicated on personal basis. It has realised that when people are allowed to utter directive prophecies in public, contrasting views uttered in public would encourage chaos. Furthermore, the CoP has been holding training sessions for the leaders of the various prayer centres. These “grassroot prophets” have had their spiritual gifts shaped by such training. Alarming prophecies from these centres have been curtailed. The CoP has ensured that the prayer centres do not become breeding ground for false doctrines. People who are found perpetrating any falsehood are brought to attention. Also, people who claim to have receive spiritual gifts cannot just establish prayer centres. They are encouraged to use their gift in the communal church. This has helped to check the proliferation of prayer centres. The CoP has been providing learning avenues for its clergy and lay leaders in its institution of higher learning. This informs rightly the ministry of these church workers. Accordingly, they would not go about making prophetic utterances in public and instigating fear and panic.

In Lieu of Conclusion

The hullabaloo that Ghana has been witnessing concerning the prophetic especially during 31st December watch-night church services is an evidence of the unethical manner used in approaching the prophetic ministry which consequently leads to public chaos. Bearing in mind the widespread practice of prophetic utterances in Ghana, the need for maturity in this ministry cannot be overemphasised. When God speaks through his people, it is meant to engender order, promote stability and encourage development. It is of immense importance to safeguard the good name of Christ, the Christian Church and the peace of the nation. This must be the utmost desire of anyone who utters a prophetic word. The prophetic ministry in Ghana must be carried out with a great ethical sense to the glory of God. A great view  must continually be kept on the prophetic scene through the spectacle of the Bible which is so often taken out of context by the perpetrators of unethical prophetism. The Bible is the balcony from which we get the right look at the prophetic ministry. They who plant discord and disorder by their irresponsible prophetic utterances have unquestionably fallen short of what God desired of his people, insofar as the prophetic ministry is concerned.

Written by Dr. Stephen Ofotsu Ofoe