Tapiwa Chizana leads a church in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, as well as being a partner in accountancy firm Deloittes. Here he describes how leaders are being developed in Zim, and how those with some available funds and vision may want to get involved…
Zimbabwe, like most third world economies, has a significant population in bondage to systemic poverty. The solution is the gospel of the Kingdom of God, which seeks to transform lives through genuine heart change, resulting in fruitful living. This message should affect how individuals worship God, work in their vocations, and relate to one another. The productivity and fruitfulness of an individual should increase as they embrace the biblical principles, of hard work, faithfulness, and stewardship.
Financial resources are undoubtedly a constraint whilst seeking to preach this message across the Nation and to the ends of the Earth. Most of the people we are seeking to reach and disciple are unemployed, or are not financially self sustaining. A dependency syndrome has crippled communities and eroded the dignity that comes with hard work and the earning of a fair wage as a result.
We believe that a significant part of our response is to send workers into the harvest field. We would like to train leaders who can preach this message with boldness and authority. We would prefer each “future leader” to learn principles of good work ethic, during this period of training. This would be obtained through formal employment or starting an income generating project.
As part of our response I have outlined a summary of our approach to paid/ non paid pastors. We have embraced the views below from our understanding of scripture as well as the reality of poverty in our context. I.e., very few congregations would be able to give sufficiently to adequately take care of a pastors financial needs.
We believe the following;
• We are all full time for God’s Kingdom, regardless of whether we are serving in the church, or employed in “secular” job, or running a business. We, however, believe there is a place, biblically, for leaders to be sustained by the offerings of the congregation.
• We believe that paid leaders should give themselves to the work of God, as will be evidenced by the Grace of God upon their lives – rather than to expect a salary as a right, when there is no evidence of fruitfulness.
• We believe that we are all “priests” and that God has called us to build churches where all the believers are involved in mission, engaged in serving God, and loving one another, rather than relying solely on the pastor, to meet their needs.
• We are aware that many Per‐urban and Rural churches in Africa do not have the financial resources to adequately cater for the needs of a paid pastor.
• Local church members should be generous, and should not look to other churches or a business as their source of income, but should look to God, as their provider.
• Local church members in our context should be equipped to enable them to become more fruitful financially, through Foundations for Farming, pursuing further education, starting businesses and by assisting them in finding employment.
• We encourage a leader to start off being employed by an existing organisation/ business, or to start a business as a means of obtaining an income, and gaining credibility in the community.
This is how we approach the issue of paid leaders:
• We encourage leaders and volunteers to be involved in the life of the church on a voluntary basis for as long as it is sustainable.
• We generally consider taking on someone as a paid leader when, either of the following exist:
o The work is increasing and is measurable, such that non full time workers cannot cope. This would ordinarily be a focus on prayer and the preaching of the word.
o The Local church is evidently generous and giving sufficiently to pay someone a salary
o The individual considered has the gift mix that can fit the area of need in the church, at that point in time.
Partnership with Market Place Ministers
Market place ministers are defined in this paper as Christians in business and other organisations that are influential within their vocations and spheres of influence for the Glory of God. Most market place ministers are in the unique position to perform the following:
• Give practical wisdom on issues that Christians encounter in the market place on a day to day basis, as applicable.
• Provide employment, or facilitate an individual obtaining employment in an organisation.
• Invest in income generation projects for the primary purpose of providing employment, besides making a profit.
We currently have future leaders living in the Trenance community of Bulawayo, who are unemployed or not financially sustainable. Our effectiveness in training them, and their effectiveness in serving God will be maximised if they were able to find employment in Bulawayo. We believe this to be a critical stepping stone towards our mandate to make disciples of all Nations. We are seeking market place leaders who will be able to partner with us in this regard. Specific information on individuals can be provided.
How you may be able to help
1) Ask me to look for business opportunities in Bulawayo, in which you may be interested in investing directly.
2) Set up some funds for investment (from interested people), and visit Bulawayo, to spy out the land for opportunities.
3) If you are passionate about micro-financing and helping start up small businesses then consider going out to Bulawayo for six months. You will need to have access to the funds mentioned in (2).
If you would like to get in touch with Tapiwa, contact me via: email@example.com.