Editor's Comment

The clergy must be exemplary

THE sentencing of a 38-year-old pastor of Grace Ministries Church in Zambia to three years imprisonment for stealing K106,117 meant for the education and feeding programme of vulnerable children, makes very sad reading and dents the image of the men of the cloth.
Pastor Chrispin Mundia of Zambia Railways Township in Kabwe was jailed after the court found him guilty of 15 counts of theft by public servant, forgery and altering a false document.
Pastor Mundia was entrusted with the responsibility to oversee the feeding programme of the vulnerable children for community schools under Grace Ministries Church in Zambia.
It is deeply saddening and disappointing that while Grace Ministries Church in the USA was working to address the plight of the vulnerable here in Zambia by sending funds, Pastor Mundia was helping himself to the same.
Instead of using the money for the feeding programme, he was pocketing it, depriving the vulnerable children of an opportunity to acquire an education.
The importance of the feeding programme in enhancing access to education for the vulnerable cannot be overemphasised.
Hunger has been identified as one of the major impediments to accessing education for the vulnerable in society.
For instance, a child who attends class on an empty stomach has challenges concentrating and comprehending what is being taught.
It is from this understanding that various stakeholders, including the church, are advocating and supporting feeding programmes in schools.
Feeding programmes have also been found to be a good way of motivating children to go to school.
By pocketing the money meant for feeding vulnerable children in community schools, Pastor Mundia did not only subject the intended beneficiaries to hunger but took away the right to education for many of them.
This subsequently impacts negatively on the literacy levels, which are worryingly low.
What is more saddening is that this is a man of God who by nature of his calling is expected to have compassion for the vulnerable in society.
In fact, the true mark of a Christian is the ability to obey the scripture by loving and caring for the less privileged in society.
That’s what the Bible recognises as true religion – looking after the widows, orphans and the poor.
It is however disheartening that today there are so many so called men of God engaging in unholy and fraudulent activities giving the Church a bad name.
More often than not, we hear of men of God arrested or indeed imprisoned for committing one crime or another.
Financial accountability is one area where many clergy have been found wanting.
For some, wrangles have ensued in their congregations over finances.
We have been left wondering on whether these are truly men of God or ‘men of gold’.
This sadly indicates that some of the clergy have departed from the call of God, which requires them to lead exemplary lives.
The clergy by nature are leaders with so many people looking up to them.
Men of God are therefore expected to be role models who inspire members to a life of integrity.
The clergy should live according to what they preach.
It is a mockery of the gospel for a pastor to preach against theft and yet engage in the same.
Those called to the pulpit should also lead by example by being law-abiding citizens.
Going by the rate at which pastors are getting embroiled in sinister activities, it could also be an indication that the Church has been invaded by wolves in sheep skin.
The church mother bodies should work with the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs to bring sanity to the Church and preserve its sanctity.

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