General News of Wednesday, 19 December 2018
The American Bible University(ABU),Ghana Campus at Dansoman Last Stop, Accra has held its first graduation ceremony with a call on government to empower the various Christian councils and broaden their functions to enable them regulate the conduct and operations of churches and their leaders.
In this direction, churches have been urged to present a common voice to petition government on the matter to bring about some form of regulation as to who can lead and preach the gospel in a church.
The call was made against the backdrop of all manner of persons including self-styled, illiterate, and untrained persons who claim to be men of God, and yet conduct themselves in dubious manners that bring the Christian leadership front into a lot of disrepute.
In all, 25 students graduated with six graduands receiving Certificate in Bible Studies, three received Associate Degrees, ten received Bachelor of Bible Study Degrees and five received Master of Divinity.
Speaking on the theme “life has stages” in his address as the guest speaker, the immediate past General Secretary of the Assemblies of God, Ghana, and a former Dean of the School of Theology & Missions at Central University in Accra, Rev.Dr. John B. Ghartey, who made the call, said the rate at which churches were springing up was alarming with all kinds of persons who either have not had any formal training in Christian leadership or formal academic training mounting the pulpit to preach the word of God at times to unsuspecting and innocent people who commit their eternal destines to such persons.
He said education was important for people who intend to mount the pulpit as church leaders, adding that it was only in the church that you can find so many untrained people in leadership positions.
Citing Rwanda as an example, he said one needs a paper qualification to practice or work as minister of the Gospel or handle church leadership, adding that it is about time we emulate the system as a country.
He brought into sharp focus, with some sense of humour, the frustrations so-called men of God go through when they visit the Registrar General’s Department to register their churches.
He said that names of churches presented to be registered seem to have been exhausted, adding that some churches end up with names that seem to make no logical or grammatical sense.
Dr.Ghartey said, having mobilized resources from the coffers of both the rich and the poor in the church through tithing and offertory, it was an embarrassment to ministry for pastors to compare their wealth with others, and even brag about who drives the best or latest car.
He said ministry is not a money making enterprise, neither is it for failures in life, lazy or unsuccessful people; adding that Jesus called hardworking and successful people into ministry to be fishers of men.
He told the graduands that as preachers, they were not to preach in order to impress the people but rather to express the mind of God to them.
Quoting from 1 Corinthians 13:11, he remarked that having passed through the “right of passage” through the graduation, their communication, their comprehension, and their consideration must change.
“Your life as a trained minister must from today reflect Selflessness, Sacrifice, Service, and above all, spirituality”, he said.
He, however advised the graduands not to show off with their training but remain humble because academics makes one humble, and the more one climbs the ladder of education, the more they realize that they do not know.
In her welcome address, the Director of ABU Ghana, Rev. Elsie Yvonne Lamptey urged the graduands to be individuals with a difference in their various calling, adding that they should have the right attitude to ministry and never accept to be swallowed by problems that come their way.
“I beg you graduands, be satisfied with whom you are and what you earn or what you will earn. Use the knowledge you have acquired to be a better person. You can live in dignity and a better life by not indulging in malpractices and corruption”, he said.
She challenged the graduands to orient their lives and learning to maximum application of both intellectual and spiritual gifts in order to achieve their life goals and realize their highest potential.
In an address, the President of ABU, Rev. Dr. Olayinka Olubunmi urged all and sundry to examine our ways and know that time was winding up and a time would come that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
He advised the graduands to be good ambassadors of ABU as they go out there to do the work of God and live lives that would portray the new dimension in their lives.