You are hereThe search is on - for faithful Pastors

The search is on - for faithful Pastors


Articles in the LOOKOUT section of this website span a number of decades and are re-published on behalf of Adrian van Leen for research purposes. Original dates are being added to articles so as to place them in their correct historical setting(s). Adrian has endeavoured to be as fair and accurate as possible at the time of the original writing, but please note that the original article information may no longer reflect the subsequent or current actions, values, beliefs, positions, opinions, teachings or policies held by individuals, groups and/or organisations referred to in the original published article at the time of writing. As people change and move on, the same often applies to related Internet links; some links referred to in articles may have been changed or may no longer be available online.

LOOKOUT represents the ministry of Adrian van Leen and Lookout Ministries Inc. and therefore remains the intellectual property/copyright of Adrian van Leen and Lookout Ministries Inc.

The Search is on...

The search is on – for authentic, genuine Christians – including genuine, authentic and Christlike pastors and other Christian leaders.

For far too long Christians have we been accused of hypocrisy, and the reality is that there have always been some in our midst (as there are in all sorts of other groups of people, from political parties to community service organisations and more) – but today the problems in the Christian community have increased significantly and the reputation of the Christian Church and the cause of Jesus Christ is being badly damaged by problem people in pulpits and pews across the denominations - and around the world.

Pulpit plagiarism has increased enormously. While there have always been some lazy pastors stealing other people’s sermons from books, our digital era of the Internet has raised the level of sermon stealing to epidemic proportions. Around the world church congregations are discovering that that their esteemed preachers are not being directed by the Spirit of God and prayer Biblical study to produce their sermons, but are using what has been prepared by others.

Far too many pastors have been caught up in playing power games which end in cultic manipulative and controlling behaviour, where only “yes men” and “sucked-in supporters” survive and anyone with independent thought, especially if they dare to differ with the pastor, or worse, dare to disagree with the pastor, find themselves being intimidated, manipulated and "forced" out.

Some pastors become involved in, or promote, questionable money-making schemes, many of which amount to Ponzi schemes and affinity fraud. Others are fleecing “God’s flock” in different ways. Even in his day, the Apostle Paul had to declare: “Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.” (2 Corinthians 2:17) “For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed - God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.” (1Thessalonians 2:3-6)

 

There are still pastors, and other church leaders, who peddle a “gospel of greed”, to the destruction of others, and ultimately their own souls as well.

Ms Ms Shallom Lumor from the Ghana Institute of Journalism published an article in May 2010 expressing her concern for the money making efforts of Ghana’s numerous self-proclaimed Christian “prophets”. In her article entitled: False Prophets are becoming unbearable in Ghana, she states, “The number of prophets that we have in Ghana now are uncountable. We must be aware that we have false prophets… Presently the number of prophets that we have in Ghana are even more than 1000. These our prophets are really making money. They request for large amounts of money from their clients. And their revelations are always the bad things about us…Research has prove that it is the large number of women who are deeply into visiting the false prophets. These prophets are destroying marriages, relationships with children and parents, lives and peoples’ jobs, simply because what they are saying are not true… Some women have more than 10 personal prophets which they visit. Even if they have headache, they know the type of prophets to go to…”
(See http://www.modernghana.com/news/274720/1/false-prophets-are-becoming-unb...)

Some pastors and leaders try to impress people by “reinventing” themselves to have a more dramatic personal story to use on others and increase their gain and control.

After American SEALS (similar to British Commandos and Australian SAS) located and killed Osama bin Laden in May, this year, “war heroes” were sought out for patriotic media stories in the USA. Amongst those who were featured in publications was Pastor Jim Moats of the Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pennsylvania. For the past five years he had been telling his congregation that he had been a SEAL in Vietnam during that conflict. His story had been a wishful fantasy and fabrication. He was foolish enough to tell his fabricated story to the local Patriot-News, which published his story and photo, and then had to deal with the responses exposing the Pastor and his story as fraud.

Over the years we have reported on many such story tellers – some of whom have published books of fabricated fantasy. We will be publishing more in the months and years ahead. We remind readers that, like those who peddle their gospels of greed, deceptive story tellers in the Christian community are not new, nor are they a recent phenomenon – read: 2 Peter 1:16-2:3 – see also our articles on: The Subtle Seduction of Stories and What An Act! Bernard Percy Ankomah alias Bernard Blessing - in TAKE A CLOSER LOOK, Vol.30, No.3; May-July 2009.

Our previously published series of Out of Africa articles have shown some of the problems in religious and Christian circles in Africa, problems often exported to the West. Many Western Christians have been more than gullible in accepting fanciful tales from Africa without question of scrutiny.

We have been extremely cautious of accepting, using, or promoting Internet articles from mixed and unrecognised church/denominational sources in Africa, America, and elsewhere. However, some thought-provoking articles from an African Christian leader are well worth noting and even promoting.

Nigerian Pentecostal pastor, Francis Bola Akin-John, heads an African Church Growth ministry involved in providing further training for pastors and church leaders. A Nigerian online Charismatic/Pentecostal magazine published a number of his articles, including an article on 12 Kinds of Pastors in the Church of God - If we are to bring back the glory, honour, respect and sacredness of the church, we must start with pastors. The condition of the church today is a direct result of the quality of pastors the church has produced over the years. Every Sunday, tens of thousands of pastors mount the pulpit to preach and talk to people. They have different motives, characters, habits and believe [sic – belief]. They display various personality traits. While some are happy, others are hungry; while some are joyful, others are sad; while some are positive, others are negative; while some are honest, others are deceitful.

While some are saints, others are chronic sinners and while some are real, others are fake and charlatans. In my years of researching, teaching and interacting with pastors, I have come to discover various kinds of pastors. I hope pastors will [sic – examine?] themselves through this mirror teaching, discover who they really are, where they stand and reposition themselves.

Francis Akin-John lists and summarises the characteristics of his 12 pastor-types. He provides descriptions, suggests their motivation, lists their demerits and indicates prospects for change and amelioration.

He lists: 1. BUSINESSMEN PASTORS; 2. FUNKY PAST0RS; 3. VOCATIONAL PASTORS; 4. YESTERDAY’S PASTORS; 5. POLITICAL PASTORS; 6. OCCULTIC PASTORS; 7. SHALLOW PASTORS; 8. MINISTRY PASTORS; 9. SICK PASTORS; 10. WOUNDED PASTORS; 11. TECHNOLOGY PASTORS; 12. GROWING PASTORS.

He concludes: From these descriptions of twelve kinds of pastors, you can see that only one can really lead the church to true and sustainable growth. This is the reason why majority of our churches are sick, stagnant, crisis-ridden and are dying today because they are being pastored by the Wrong kind of pastors. Where are you? You can repent, and change today to be a growing pastor in an ramifications so as to lead the church into the future. [sic] (see http://www.elifeonline.net/elife8-sept-oct/akinjohn-pastors.htm)

While he writes specifically for, and in the cultural context of, African churches, much of it relates to Pastors and church dynamics in America, Asia, Australia and elsewhere.

(We encourage readers, pastors and non-pastors, to read some of Francis Bola Akin-John’s other articles and blogs – such as: http://www.elifeonline.net/elife11-March-April/akin_John_%20effective_pa... http://bolaakinjohn.com/; http://www.elifeonline.net/elife2-sep-oct/reflex-akinjohn.htm; http://www.churchgrowthafrica.org/freedownload.htm; http://www.churchgrowthafrica.org/akin-john-interview.htm;)

Thank God for the many pastors, new and veterans in pastoral ministry, who ARE authentic and genuine in their commitment to the Lord and the service of his people and the community at large. Thank God for the many authentic and genuine pastors and church leaders who have not been seduced by greed for power, control, wealth, nor by the temptation to succumb to laziness, digital short-cuts or shallowness. Thank God for the genuine and authentic servant leaders, called of God, who lead and serve sacrificially and with empathy. Thank God such pastors are to be found in Africa, America, Asia, Australia and elsewhere – but sadly they are in short supply. The search is on for many more of them.

(TACL – May-July 2011 Vol 32 No. 3)