Pastors and messengers of the gospel have been urged to emulate Christ who emptied himself to take on the character of humans to manifest God’s tangible love, care and comfort for others.
This was said by the Dean of Arts and Sciences and the Head of Department, Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ashesi University in Accra, Rev Prof Pashington Obeng, during the 7th graduation ceremony of Bethesda Centre School of Evangelism and Bible Training School yesterday March 31, at Anomawobi, near Bawjiase in the Central Region.
According to him, the ministry of God is a calling that is devoted to ongoing growth and readiness to exhibit Christ-like qualities in how the pastor empowers others to be holy.
Speaking on the theme, “Challenges and Opportunities pastors face in the ministry,” Rev Prof Obeng said that “in an age when knowledge, experience and presumed access to the word of God and its interpretation have been demonopolized, nobody can claim to be custodian of all wisdom.”
The university don told the graduating pastors that the pastor is the servant of servants who has a prophetic ministry; always operating from the margins to bring sanity, healing and wholeness to society as a whole. The pastor speaks the truth to power in an uncompromising manner.
“In a period of prosperity gospel some churches highlight a magical God with whom humans bargain for their physical needs, including visa, lottery numbers, spouses, successful exam results, within specified times outside of God’s own timetable. Those smack of spiritual arrogance. This God of magical does not require anything except followers lining the pockets of the ‘prophets’ preachers, apostles, bishops and those who act as indigenous priests and priestesses used to do in our country,” he noted.
“Do not ignore constructive criticisms as they enable us to grow. Those who surround themselves with sycophants tend to live and work in echo chambers where they only hear what they want to hear from those who never disagree with them,” the cleric said.
Rev Prof Obeng further told the newly-graduated pastors not to underestimate what God can do with prayers, visits, counsel and sheers ministry of presence and how they challenge others to be transformed by God’s power and added cautioned that complacency and narrow-mindedness can destroy the church.
He added that the pastoral ministry is a calling but not a profession. He, therefore, encouraged pastors to seize the opportunity to invest in and develop people along Christ-centered ministry using forms of social media, the pulpit, bible studies and written material.
For his part, the Administrative Manager of Bethesda Centre of Evangelism and Bible Training School, Mr. Gabriel Brew, stated that 68 students from Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Kenya and Malawi have graduated from the school since its inception.
According to him, the board members, lecturers and staff of the school believe in discipline and would continue to impart it into everybody who attends the school to study.
“Although the founder of the bible school is a member of the Historic Adventist Church, we do not operate on the tenets and beliefs of the founder’s church. Our teachings are predominantly based on the bible and nothing else,” he noted.
He further indicated that apart from the moderate cost of training, the school offers fundamentals in agriculture and that all the food the students eat were produced by the students.
Mr. Brew revealed that since education is life blood of mankind, the centre has a plan to establish a basic primary school next year to offer education to children in Bawjiase in the Central Region.
He concluded that the centre cares for the wellbeing of the people and has as a result built a clinic with a first class laboratory and diagnostic centre for the people.
On behalf of the graduating students, Mr. Benjamin Donkor expressed their gratitude to the school for the biblical and agricultural knowledge in organic farming and mushroom production it imparted into them and added that they would also impart them into their congregants.
In attendance was the chief of Anomawobi, Nii Nai Tetteh Brang III.