Opening of Churches bring new energy!
Most churches reopened their gates last week for physical meetings after President Emmerson Mnangagwa eased lockdown measures. Churches in Zimbabwe had gone for months without congregating and most of them had resorted to online services.
According to the new regulations churches are now allowed to gather up to a maximum of 50 congregants at a time whilst observing COVID-19 protocols which include sanitizing, social distancing, hygiene and wearing face masks.
Pastor Kevin Toni Mpofu
The Christian Voice interviewed church leaders who expressed their excitement that contact church services are back. The Harvest House International (HHI) Leader Dr. Sarah Nyathi said they are happy that they are able to congregate in one place, in all their different branches dotted across Zimbabwe.
“As leaders we feel that we are able to start meetings again”, Said Nyathi, “but our numbers still haven’t reached 50 as people are still reluctant to come to the house God”, she added
She said that COVID-19 revealed the true standing of most Christians. “These lockdowns have revealed the truth of many believers.
Perhaps many believers were coming to church just as a matter of habit, and others were doing it because it’s a good thing to do, but I feel like this COVID-19 period has given a chance to people to face themselves, and a chance for self- introspection. I believe the church of Christ is going through a time of separation and that calls for self-motivation on part of the believer.”, said Dr. Nyathi
Many lessons were learnt by the church from COVID-19 and more gaps need to be plugged by the church as Dr. Nyathi pointed out. “The church was propelled by excitement. The church was propelled by habit and the church was being propelled by this attitude which says ‘we have done it before’. I would like to believe that a large number of our congregants were just coming there because it was exciting and they would get prophecies, miracles, but now with the lockdown of churches people haven’t had access to their prophets, bishops, pastors.” She said.
Dr. Nyathi also pointed out that it is no longer a church as usual, but other means should be employed especially by leaders. “As a leader you have to be creative so that you keep in touch with your people. Technology helped to reach to our congregants and other people. It’s not only coming to church that can help us reach to the people, or physical meetings, though the physical fellowship is necessary”, she said
The Christian Voice also engaged Pastor Kevin Toni Mpofu (pictured) who is a leader at Church of Christ in Makokoba, Bulawayo. He further emphasized the need for the church to be creative in spreading the gospel and utilizing the power of delegation in leadership.
“As leaders we have to use technology and information.
We can also use our young people within our churches as they are good with the latest technologies. Then we formulate small groups on ZOOM, Whatsapp and share our responsibilities to leaders as we conduct those different groups. As a leader you are not the one who does everything, but we have to share responsibilities as Moses (in the bible) leant from his father in-law”, He said
Even though leaders are excited that churches are now open, that comes with its challenges. “We are happy and raring to go, but the challenge is that people are still cautious since they have been out of the church for a long time. But the opening is a boost. The other challenge might be that people will take time come in numbers.” Said