The Church of Pentecost like many endearing institutions can be said to have come of age in terms of its stability, leadership praxis, theological disposition, doctrinal foundations and its mission-minded mandate. Over the years, the Church has climbed many mountains, survived challenges, weathered storms, fought winds and yet survived. It is obvious that many factors might have contributed to bringing the Church to its current state.
This article aims at highlighting the spirit of giving in The Church of Pentecost (CoP), a motivation which stems from a careful analysis of the Chairman’s state of the church address which is normally presented during the opening sessions of Council meetings.
The State of the Church address provides an overview of the activities of the Church in the calendar year. A key aspect of the address which normally forms part of the appendix in the presentation is what has stimulated my interests for this article. This aspect is the donations made by individual members, officers, ministers, districts, areas and even nations within a year under review as captured in the Chairman’s address.
In this article, I will draw factors gleaned by my personal observations as well as documents written by some of our founding fathers, following which I will attempt to offer some suggestions for the preservation of this spirit of giving in the Church.
2.0 FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE SPIRIT OF GIVING IN THE COP
2.1 Our Belief In What The Bible Says On Giving
The bible serves as the foundation and basis for everything we do in the CoP. The Church believes that the scripture is infallible in its declaration and all sufficient in its provision.” Having this understanding have made the Church subscribe to whatever the scripture subscribes to. In the CoP, the scripture is our rule, thus considering that several passages of scripture encourage giving, it comes as no surprise therefore to see members and officers in the church demonstrating such spirit of giving within our spiritual eco-space, for in CoP, “we follow him together, wherever he leads.”
2.2 The Covenant That Is Still Speaking
The Church of Pentecost like other denominations was built on a covenant – a covenant which God entered with our founding fathers and reaffirmed it at various eras of her growth (1931, 1940 & 1948). In this covenant, God promised to “meet the Church’s financial needs in good times and in bad times for all other denominations to acknowledge that His divine presence, blessings and glory are with the church. It is obvious over the years that God has kept his part of the bargain by ensuring that the Church is continually stable financially. For example in the COVID-19 pandemic year of 2020, when world economies were nose-diving, the Church’s financial performance grew by 7.10% compared to the previous year, a striking feat that the covenant is still speaking.
2.3 Mckeown’s Financial Missiological Strategy
The third factor which might have contributed to the spirit of giving in the CoP is what I describe as the Mckeown’s Financial Missiological Strategy (MFMS). The MFMS is gleaned from Rev. James McKeown Missiological strategy of building a church that is self-propagating, self-governing and self-financing. Koduah notes that “Pastor Mckeown and his able leaders insisted right from the inception of the Church that financial independence was what would make the church stand on its feet. According to McKeown, he had not come to Africa to create beggars but sons of God. It is this spirit that strengthened McKeown to promulgate the “do-it-yourself” policy even though it came with its difficulties for a young church at that time when many churches were relying on foreign aid from their mother churches abroad. This MFMS contributed to the kind of giving spirit we see today in our church. For members were made to own the church, feel part of her success story and contribute towards the any developmental agenda of the Church. As a young man growing up in the church, I observed how members would identify a need in the local assembly and buy to replace or fix that need. For example, microphones, sound equipment, musical instruments, chairs et cetera were bought and donated willingly by church members particularly on Lord’s Supper Sundays.
2.4 The Shining Examples of Our Founding Fathers
Another contributing factor towards the spirit of giving in the CoP is what I describe as the shining examples of our founding fathers. Not much has been recorded in terms of how the church in its formative years demonstrated that. Nonetheless, one can infer that, that could have been a major culture in the church. Historical accounts recall Mrs. Christiana Obo in a vision saw angels picking her precious valuables away. This was at a time when McKeown needed urgent support to meet pressing financial needs in the church. Mrs. Obo eventually sowed her jewelries for the work of the ministry, a timely intervention that plucked many holes in those days. She was said to have also put up a building to house him and the pastors when they were on trek. She was able to pay for the Pastors’ allowances when the church had no adequate funds to do so. Mrs. Obo was supported by other women including Prudence Anaman from Saltpond. Additionally, some leaders in Accra donated as much as 500 pounds sterling to aid a new Pastor’s settlement in Accra. Some gave lands and properties, just to mention a few. These acts, I believe, would have sparked lots of conversations within the church circles, planting a seed of free-will support in the hearts of the members at that time. It is these acts which set the foundation and created a legacy for which reason we are seeing such a mighty outpouring of generosity in the Church.
3.0 SUGGESTIONS FOR PRESERVING THIS LEGACY
Reflecting on the afore-mentioned factors, I am convinced that these are legacies and values ought to be grounded in our generation and preserved for subsequent pass-on to the next generation. The question that comes to mind is what can be done to preserve and pass on. I would like to suggest a few
- Intensification of Teachings of Voluntary Giving in the Church (2 Cor. 9:6-8; Pvrb. 11:24-25).
- Conscious Efforts should be made at all levels to build love for God and His Church (Matt. 22:37-38; Deut. 6:5).
- Continuous Review of Church Policies on Financial Accountability & Reporting.
- Strategic Chaplaincy Support for Major Financiers & Their Affiliates.
- An Annual Special Prayer/Breakfast Conference could be considered for these financiers at all levels.
- Intermittent Recognition of Financial Pillars at all levels.
- Frequent Reminders of God’s Covenant with the Church.
- Avenues should be created at all levels for testimonies of the Financial Pillars in the Church.
- There should be intentionality in creating opportunities to develop more financiers for the Church through financial empowerment seminars, business development programmes, leadership and mentoring sessions et cetera.
- Continuous Intercession should be made for the businesses and organizations of these members.
The purpose of this article is to appreciate God for the outpouring of the spirit of giving in The Church of Pentecost. It is also aimed at highlighting some of the factors which might have triggered such grace whiles offering some suggestions for the next generation. God is with his Church and the church will continue to march on.
Kwasi Asante Annor (Ps.)PENT TV