The biggest building in Khayelitsha is a church. I am pondering the damage that is caused simply by ignorance. First of all, the amount of money wasted in beautifying the building, electrifying the property and all that goes with it. These are all problems, to me.
Apparently, in the USA over 10 billion US dollars is spent on church buildings alone. Ridiculous salaries paid to the church leaders and in some churches, even the worship team get paid. There is $230 billion of real estate owned by the institutional church. If this is anything to go by the “church” is breeding poverty within the church and this is hopelessness to the world! I concur with Reverend Makhalima who once said that “just as the church in the book of Acts had enough that no one was lacking amongst them, so today’s church has enough such that no one should be lacking amongst us”.
What if this money was to be used and spent on the immediate and essential needs of the church community rather than buildings! What difference would that make to our ministry? I am also wondering how much money is circulating in the South Afrikan church today? How much money is circulating in the black communities in Cape Town, Western Cape, or even in South Afrika? How do we hold the disparity of the wealthy church and under-resourced church in our cities? I was once told by a friend who attended a meeting of both black and white pastors that one pastor complained that he was only paid R30 000, whilst many in the room received no salary from their church at all?
I think I am losing interest in the institutional church. I am slowly drifting in my heart. Pastor Xola Skosana says every Sunday we dress up to go bury God’s righteousness: our churches have become graves of righteousness! I want to concur with my Pastor – the church has become a home for de-politicisation, pacification and tranquilisation of the people. It so sad that in many Pentecostal churches we find a message that is inspired mostly by western televangelists! How do we help the church become the salt and light that Jesus called us to be around issues of money, power and mission? In spite of all the disappointment in the church and how it handles money, Jesus Christ is still the Lord!
I so wish that the “church” would become the Church. May God make me the church!
By Nkosi Gola