Friday, 17 July 2020

COVID-19 TAKES A TOLL ON CHURCHES FINANCES


The indefinite lockdown in Zimbabwe due to Covid-19 is taking a toll on the church as its operations are sustained by tithes and offerings.

Church activities almost froze when the offerings stream dried up over the last three months.

While some churches have resumed physical services, only 50 congregants are allowed in each service and therefore church funds are still in a tight spot. 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house and prove me how herewith, says the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Bishop John Musadziruma, founder of Pastors Support Network (PSS), argued that tithes and offerings do not benefit God. Rather, he said they benefit the giver. As a result, he argued that even during this difficult period, every Christian is obligated to pay tithes and offerings faithfully.

But can pastors and bishops be considered vulnerable?

Prophet Edwin Masango, founder of Greater Joy International Ministries, said pastors have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. He said some pastors are not even receiving their salaries and allowances. 

In 1 Corinthians 9:14 says, “Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”

The idea here is that those who minister in spiritual things should be financially supported by those they minister to.

But there are church members who have lost their jobs, especially in the informal sector. They are looking forward to receiving hand-outs from the church at a time when church coffers are running dry.

Reverend James Madi of Evangelical Church of Zimbabwe has said church members should ensure that the church’s work goes on through religious payments of their offerings and tithes even as they follow digital services.

But Mr Simbarashe Mwoyowaonda, founder of the Pan-African Institute Development Trust (PAIDT), said collecting money from suffering Christians is equal to exploitation.

It is encouraging to note that some pastors are working on various projects to sustain their families, instead of wholly relying on the church. Manica Post

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