By Dr. Innocent Nahabwe
This Sunday, the sheep finally got to see their shepherds. I wasn’t one of them. I figured that since it was the first time after a long time, there were definitely some very thirsty sheep that stood no chance of drinking the blood of Jesus on day one. There was no chance for me to be among the 200. Also, the weather was wet, an easy excuse not to go and congregate.
So I drove around, passing by many churches and observing how people worshiped.
The weather in the pockets of the shepherds was not so wet. A friend who is an apostle in a mega church here in Kampala had complained every time we were required to contribute in a mutual WhatsApp group that they were starving. I can understand their pain.
Whereas, church leaders used to be humble and generally not very rich, the new breed of church leaders lives a lavish life that would make artistes and tycoons die of envy. One such shepherd who lives in the leafy suburbs of Munyonyo often splashes us with water as he cruises the latest Range Rover, the kind that made East African finest, Jose Chameleon, kneel down when one was donated by a fan.
Around Muyenga, Kiwafu Road is another imposing mansion that is fit to be a hotel, belonging to a pastor at Mulago. The cars he drives, guzzlers, line up the parking lot. When you pass by the church on Thursday or Sunday, the thousands of sheep, sheepishly line up for some water to heal their ailments. That pastor was under the weather recently; I am told he was flown out for treatment in Europe.
So as the churches resumed, the pastors celebrated. They could now milk their sheep. Some do so mercilessly, leaving them in dire straits. The pastors preach being humble and giving to God so often in church but as they say, they preach water and drink wine.
What baffles me is that those that have erected massive church buildings aren’t following the example of the original denominations that they came from. Those that brought religion here knew that whereas we need to feed the souls, the bodies where the souls reside, had to be alive first. Where there was a church, there was a school and then a hospital.
The word didn’t go alone but went with better health, primary health care; women learnt baking, cooking, home management while men learnt carpentry, modern agriculture from the churches.
Look back at your home churches. Where you see Rubaga Cathedral, you will find Rubaga Hospital. Where there is Namirembe Cathedral, you will find Mengo Hospital.
At Kibuli, there is the Masjid and Kibuli Hospital. This is replicated in Mbarara, Bushenyi and Rukungiri where I grew up.
However, driving around the churches of modern day pastors, all you see are huge churches, built by the congregation but owned by the pastor (when Pastor Bugingo split with the wife Teddy Bugingo, the church ownership was in dispute). During COVID 19 lockdown, Pastor Kakande, the one of the miracle water and Miracle rice) broke the church and put up a grand church house.
I can bet on my whopper, there won’t be a school or a hospital in there.
It’s very unfortunate that these men that go by name of Bishop, Apostle and Prophet are choosing to only feed the soul, forgetting the bodies.
We the sheep need to push them to make a difference.
The writer is the author of the book “Treating Small Businesses: Lessons from my Operations.”