If you could leave a word of encouragement to your fellow Christians in Malawi, what would you say?
I would say that, at this stage, I would say that people should be careful who they have as their pastor. They should not just take anybody to be their pastor. That would be [my word of encouragement], if I had the platform to warn the people of Malawi, which I don’t think I have now. But mainly to Christians in this country, I would say they should not just pick up anybody to be their pastor. They should make sure that he meets the qualifications, as we read in 1 Timothy chapter 3.
You know, what is happening here is that you see some men who consider themselves to be pastors, but you look at their character. You look at how they live, with their families, in the society, in the communities, their neighborhoods, you don’t hear good stories about them. Yeah, they’re still valued as pastors, as if being a pastor is this thing that cannot be taken out, you know. But if there are qualifications, there should also be disqualifications, you know.
So, it all lies with the Christians, the believers themselves, and for them to be careful. To know who is their pastor, they should read the Word. They should develop the culture of reading God’s Word. Because in there, in the Word of God, that’s where all these truths are coming out. At this stage, really there’s a lot of work to be done with our people here. But if I had to warn and encourage them, I would say, they just don’t have to follow everything. They have to really pray that the Lord is going to send them leaders who are passionate about the Word of God.
So right now, how do you think people usually choose their pastors?
There are two, there are a couple ways. We’ve got churches that are denominational, and we’ve got schools, denominational schools, where they send their men, or, where they train their men. And these schools, when you graduate, they would just allocate. So whether you like him or not, as long as he’s been allocated by the denomination, then you’re just going to have him. That’s how the mainline churches here in Malawi appoint their reverends or ministers or pastors.
And there’s another way, that somebody just wake[s] up and say[s], “I’m going to be a pastor.” And he has six people and you start a church. And then when that is done, no one can take you out. It’s your estate, you know. It’s your estate, it’s your church. And that’s not biblical. I mean there’s no accountability, no oversight. Nothing. And then when you are growing, maybe by the grace of God, the church is growing, then you want to find somebody. You as an individual, you’re going appoint someone to work with you, or to send him to another [church]. That is what is common.
But I believe the church belongs to Jesus Christ. And He has left for us steps as to how it should be organized and how it should be done. I think we have just to follow that. And that’s normally what’s happening today in our country here. You know, I’ve heard in other countries, you know, they’ll invite a pastor, they’ll interview him, they’ll listen his sermons, they’ll scrutinize. They want to be sure that they’re really finding a man who’s taking care of the church. But that doesn’t happen here, you know. And I pray that maybe with the coming of CAPA, some of the things will change. That the Christians themselves, they will desire to have biblical leaders amongst them.