SUNDAY APRIL 15, 2012.




THE minister occupies a central place in the life of a congregation. The nature of his work enables him to combine these roles: counsellor, doctor, lawyer, engineer, architect, and educator, among others.

In our sophisticated world, it will look naive to remain with a little education only received at the time of preparation in theological schools. We live in a world of information where knowledge is churned out. It will always keep one on his toes to keep on discovering and rediscovering knowledge in order to be useful as one ministers life to the congregation.

Apostle Paul wrote to his son in the Lord, Timothy: ‘do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, and who correctly handles the world of truth’ (2 Tim. 2v15).

Because God examines the quality of workers we are for Him, we should build our lives on His word and allow His word to saturate our lives. It tells us how to live for Him and serve Him. Consistent and diligent study of God’s word is vital, otherwise, we will be lured into neglecting God and our true purpose for living.

How often as ministers do we endeavour to update ourselves? What programmes, seminars, and workshops do we attend yearly to update ourselves? Do we not know that God would not have a drift wood for His service?

We thank God immensely, that on assumption of office as the fourth Primate of All Nigeria, Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, as part of his vision agenda included education of ministers. He has not relented in pursuing such avowed vision knowing full well that updated minister is a key to successful ministry.

Yes, money may be involved in the updating of a minister, but what he receives at the end will impact positively on his ministry.

However, the times call for consistent and diligent updating of the 21st century minister. There is no gainsaying the fact that congregations are getting more knowledgeable and wiser day by day. And there are some modern challenges that require tact and wisdom in handling in order not to polarise a given church congregation.

A time was when people voluntarily gave out their lands to churches to build and to call upon the name of God having received the light of the gospel message. It was in appreciation to what God did for them in the salvation of their souls that they surrendered their lands and never turned back.

Unfortunately today, we have a generation of descendants who are more interested in money and are desperately putting the churches under pressure to recover those voluntary lands given to them by their fore-fathers. It is true they have tasted money and the allure of such has made them even to drag some churches to court. We know litigations will always destroy relationships and so when a church is entangled, it may not come out unstained. That is why the minister of today will need a good dose of knowledge like alternative dispute resolution mechanism to enable him reduce such attendant friction from members who have tasted money accruing from land sales. Alternative dispute resolution no doubt preserves, sustains relationships for each party in its usage makes peace to reign.

Other areas a minister may need updating include but are not limited to new way of handling and handing down gospel message in order to draw souls to Christ, handling of domestic issues without entangling oneself as God’s messenger (ADR), a good dose of information communication technology to enable him store, retrieve information or data at ease, to acquire public relations attitude, must be sociable, jovial without being a jester, imbibe the spirit of accountability for as a good steward, we must all account to God some time, someday, etc.

The era of hanging on a small knowledge to serve a sophisticated world should be a thing of the past. Knowledge is power and should be sought positively to improve one’s life in order to improve those a minister is serving. No time is better than now, especially now that we have some self-styled prophets, ministers of doom dishing out trashes in some church congregations. Because their belly is their god and they capitalise on their gullible members to sell their empty dreams and visions. No doubt, an updated minister is an asset to a congregation anytime, anyday.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,
Delta State.

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