General News of Thursday, 3 August 2017
A pastor with the International Central Gospel Church, Albert Ocran has come to the defence of the church following a barrage of attacks on the institution over its ‘special offering’ explaining that the act was, among other things, a move to raise money in support of charity.
A release by Mr Ocran further justified the act of giving saying “we must not shy away from big contributions” though it was quick to dismiss reports of the gospel being monetized.
In his piece, Albert Ocran explains how the church “supports 15 charities (educational, health and Christian missions) on a monthly basis.
This includes the children’s cancer unit of Korle Bu which has publicly indicated that our monthly donations for the past 5 years, which are the largest they receive, have allowed children from poor families all over the country and West Africa to receive life-saving treatment for free.”
He also touches on the need for Christians to believe in “big contributions” for God’s favour in their lives but speaks of the need to complement that act with a lot of hardwork.
“I believe that if we want to hold large Christian events and conferences that seat over 50,000 attendees and where the number of new converts alone is over 7,000, we mustn’t shy away from big contributions,” he stated.
He continued, “I work extremely hard but I am also a firm believer in the grace of God. In my humble opinion, a balanced combination of God’s grace plus hard work is the key to success.”
There have been mixed reactions to a notice of special offering by the International Central Gospel Church with a majority of the populace raising issue with the amounts in question.
Read below the full writeup by Albert Ocran
Some clarity from CEO of ICGC, Pastor Albert Ocran
Blessings my friends. What a week this has been. An absolutely phenomenal Greater Works conference and a very thorny side issue.
Let me clarify that this is a personal perspective and not a statement by ICGC. As you know, the church does not respond to these matters.
The banner making the rounds on social media was not put out to solicit for funds from the public as was originally being speculated.
As you probably might know, in its 33 years of existence, ICGC has refused to solicit for or accept funds from outside the church.
By God’s grace, the church supports 15 charities (educational, health and Christian missions) on a monthly basis. This includes the children’s cancer unit of Korle Bu which has publicly indicated that our monthly donations for the past 5 years, which are the largest they receive, have allowed children from poor families all over the country and West Africa to receive life-saving treatment for free. This is verifiable.
The amounts listed on the graphic circulating are various categories of pledges made by members in a conference fundraising by one of our guest ministers. I presume that people pledging different amounts at fundraisers is standard practice.
I attended a book launch last year by one of our nation’s sporting legends at Alisa Hotel. The chief fundraiser started the pledges from GHc100,000 and came all the way down till everyone could contribute their widow’s mite. Those who gave the top amounts were even given special privileges and photo sessions with the author. No one was offended because each one gave as they could afford.
I have also attended church harvests where Chairmen, Vice chairmen and Supporters were required to contribute role-specific amounts some in excess of the highest amount on the list currently circulating. Would that qualify as exploitation? I don’t think so.
I believe that if we want to hold large christian events and conferences that seat over 50,000 attendees and where the number of new converts alone is over 7,000, we mustn’t shy away from big contributions. In other jurisdictions, individuals are known to sign $5 million cheques to underwrite the entire cost of a single crusade.
Currency & Conversion
The preacher who raised the funds is based outside Ghana so he mentioned the amounts in dollars. It was naturally deemed helpful to convert them to enable donors pay in local currency.
The issue most people seemed to have was with the categories the amounts were tagged with. These were simply prayer points he provided for each giver to base their faith and prayer on. Once we put it into context, you will agree that the more you commit to something the greater your expectation is likely to be. Everyone in the conference had the chance to give according to their strength.
I have personally experienced a 24-hour miracle more than once. I believe in giving and in financial miracles but it doesn’t make me a lazy person. I work extremely hard but I am also a firm believer in the grace of God. In my humble opinion, a balanced combination of God’s grace plus hard work is the key to success.
SO WHERE DID THIS GO WRONG?
The preacher finished preaching the next morning and asked people who were ready with the various categories of donations to come forward with their pledges. Thankfully, many responded positively and willingly.
However, as you can imagine, some people had made more than one pledge and kept asking ushers for the various amounts in cedis as well as banking details.
Our hardworking projection team therefore took the initiative, summarized the various categories and projected them for the benefit of contributors as they came forward.
At that point, the screen snapshots were taken by viewers of the live streaming service on the internet. The rest, as they say, is history.
We can continue having an informed discussion about the scriptural or moral dimensions of this issue based on the actual facts that I have provided as accurately as I can. Informed debate is healthy and no one must insult a person who genuinely inquires about the scriptural basis or appropriateness of our actions.
The church as a practice does not issue statements on issues in the media. The video circulating about Pastor Otabil purportedly responding was definitely not a response to this issue.
The snapshot was not an advert for funds. The gospel is definitely not for sale and will never be. Many have visited ICGC Christ Temple, where Pastor Otabil pastors, and been surprised or even objected to how little fuss is made about giving and fundraising. It’s just not our focus or style.
We are grateful to the well meaning Christians from all over the world who have reached out in love in a genuine quest to confirm that the highest standards of excellence and integrity of ministry ICGC is known for remain intact.
Be assured that ICGC remains resolute and unreservedly committed to raising leaders, shaping vision and influencing society through Christ.
I hope that this information helps throw a bit of light on the issue. (Sorry it ended up being much longer than I intended).
Thanks once again for asking and God bless.