A congregation in any church, anywhere, has to be valued, inspired to feel at home to be able to come back to church.
By Patrick Kaboyo
Have you ever wondered why one leaves many churches or places of worship in order to end at a worship centre of his or her choice, far from his or her place of abode?
The answers vary. One can argue that it is all about the message or the messenger or both at the place of worship. Whereas other reasons can be because of avoiding boring preachers that nag, ancient ways of worshiping that do not inspire, the other can allude to the fact that, because of the insensitivity and indecision of some churches or mosques towards the congregants, the move has to be on.
Some individuals will always be on the move, sweat a little while walking, burn the fuel in their cars, all in search for spiritual nourishment and satisfaction. Alas! The list is endless.
Therefore, in attempting to address the dilemma espoused by the Rt. Rev. Dr. Sheldom Mwesigye, a real Bishop in Ankole regarding UBOS’ census results released recently, one can affirm that numbers are not only mere political tools that favour politicians or material for scientific expediency but reliable figures that represent facts.
The fall in percentage share of the Catholic and Anglican religions as reported and seriously debated so far, cannot be pushed under the carpet by any critical clergy or member of the laity.
It may be isolated but church leaders need to reflect on the challenges posed on the mainstream churches by Pentecostal churches whether real or perceived. Increasingly, flocks are straying.
Why is it fashionable nowadays to be referred to as “Pentecostal or Born Again?” Is it for job security, social protection or political identification? Is it not true that both the mainstream church and the Pentecostal church share such a characterisation, “Born Again?” Look! On any paper or form filled that require one to identify religion, one will proudly fill, Catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal or Born Again. If the radicalism exists in the former, you will not miss the prefix, Roman, to complete the faith as “Roman Catholic,”such is the bitter fact, call it a trend.
The declining standards in preaching, poor time management, rhetoric theological delivery, irrelevant Bible study fellowships, absence of relevant Sunday school curriculum that matches or bonds with the main school curriculum have kept many church goers on the move.
The desire to quench spiritual thirst that is prevalent among many of the Christian folks has landed the unsuspecting Christians into the hands of fake bishops and pastors. The fakes in many of the Pentecostal churches have taken advantage of the desperate folk whose needs have not been addressed elsewhere because the mainstream church is either in slumber, squalor or squabble.
Even though there exists a paradigm shift for example in prayer that is ecumenical, many of the clergy in the mainstream faiths have not embraced the demands of the time where majority of the church goers are the youthful.
A congregation in any church, anywhere, has to be valued, inspired to feel at home to be able to come back to church. Not only should the inspiration be guaranteed but preachers must be varied and their preaching themed.
Preaching should not only focus on the Bible alone but also link to Godly income, Godly business, jobs, sustainable employment, good and functional schools, stable and exemplary families decent and acceptable lifestyles, loving and lovable churches that care about people.
The church should not talk about its goodness without linking its people in terms of ownership and relevance. The church must be accountable and transparent enough to get out of the closet. It should be de-bureaucratized to demystify the dogma in embracing the changing dynamics of life.
In fact, as it is in athletics, the mainstream church ought to be on its marks, ready to set and go. The move should be to ensure that the flock is followed and fallowed to the later. Like it is in Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord tells us that he knows the plans He has for us, as being for good and not for disaster, to give us a future and a hope, the mainstream church too, has God’s divine protection.
In a nutshell, the Rt. Rev. Sheldom Mwesigye ought to know that gone are the days when there was laxity about competition in the church. Today, society expects men of God to wear smart, speak to the issues affecting their flock, use modern tools for preaching, praising and worship, name it.
Conservatism at all levels be it, in a Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, Methodist or Baptist church has dire consequences that require urgent and relevant solutions.
The writer is a baptised, confirmed and practicing Anglican