Joseph Madzimure Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa sees churches playing a pivotal role in helping create a “peaceful, prosperous, corruption-free united nation”.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 49th International Pastors Deeper Life Leadership Conference at the Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Forward in Faith Ministries’ Africa Multinational for Christ College in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa, who is enjoying his leave, stressed the positive role churches could play in building a better social fabric that unites people.
As early as 8am, gaiety was written all over the AMCC Centre as thousands of ZAOGA Forward in Faith pilgrims from across the globe joined in song and dance praising God and celebrating the successful end of a week-long leadership training conference.
While some were celebrating the end of the conference, some were showcasing their business acumen through selling wares to local and international dignitaries at an exhibition.
The workshop was attended by pastors from 150 countries.
ZAOGA commands a large following the world-over.
President Mnangagwa, who was invited by the church leader Archbishop Professor Ezekiel Guti, gave a sermon stressing the positive contribution churches could make to society.
The church went wild as the President started preaching while quoting scriptures.
Quoting Matthew 5 verse 9, the President said: “Let us be peacemakers. I expect all churches to be identified as transformers of people’s lives, builders of dreams, places and bridges of hope.
“The voice of the church must continue to inspire, motivate, guide and to harness, men, women and the youth as we gird and strengthen ourselves to grow our economy, to rid ourselves of corruption and end poverty.
“We must uphold a culture of hard work, determined to plant and reap what we would have sown. For the scriptures say we shall eat the labour of our sweat.”
He praised the church for partnering the Government in empowering citizens and responding to national needs.
This comes after some churches last year contributed towards helping victims of Cyclone Idai that hit parts of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces.
Turning to ZAOGA FIF, which will be celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, President Mnangagwa said the church is one of the torch-bearers in the provision of education and health services.
“Your church has also proved to be a reliable partner in empowering our citizens as well as responding to national needs. As Government, we are grateful for the contributions you made towards Cyclone Idai victims early last year.
“We also recognise the hospitals, schools and university which you have established. These will go a long way in providing medical care and quality affordable education to our people. It is our hope as Government that other church-administered schools nationwide will emulate you and charge reasonable school fees. As we converge at church assemblies, schools, hospitals and universities we come from diverse family backgrounds, social groups and political persuasions. Eventually, we become a family united by the blood, love and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
He called upon churches to mould society’s moral values and bring peace among the people.
“We depend on the church to help mould society’s moral values, respect, humility, unity and help to improve the quality of life of our people. Archbishop Guti, let the church help us in bringing up youths who are disciplined, respectful and full of love for one another and for their country. After all, God created all of us in his image not as Shona, Ndebele, Karanga, Zezuru, Ndau.
“We are one nation, indeed one family, we must leave in peace and harmony. Since we were all created in His image, we should resist the temptation to be violent towards one another. It is not our Zimbabwean culture to be violent, to hate and do evil to one another.”
The President said Zimbabwe was founded on basic principles which recognise and respect the nation’s diverse religious values and freedom of worship.
“In that regard, I reiterate my Government’s commitment to upholding the constitutionally enshrined right to freedom of worship. For those who now have higher responsibility and senior positions in church, I challenge you to be good shepherds for we are in a season where we need God-fearing leaders, those who are visionary and can take the church and the nation to another level. Let the church be the church that demonstrates how it can contribute towards a peaceful, prosperous, corruption-free united nation,” he said.
President Mnangagwa declared 2020, the year for Productivity and Trade.
“We must be masters of our destiny. No one else but ourselves can take our nation forward to attain the goals we have set. In that regard, ZAOGA Forward in Faith must increase its visibility and relevance in national programmes. Notably through continued preaching of the word of God, you must encourage congregates to be hardworking and diligent for the word of God says “faith without works is dead”.
“Our thrust as Government through the Devolution policy is never to leave anyone behind, including churches as we pursue inclusive growth. We are empowering the youths and women through institutions which address their concerns,” he said.
The President told international delegates who attended the conference that Zimbabwe was committed to engaging and re-engaging with the rest of the world.
Archbishop Guti said the gathering provided a platform for spiritual leaders and pastors to be groomed, nurtured and raised to advance the kingdom of God.
He urged pastors to uphold their Christian values through respect, uniting the people, humility, love and unity.