The first Christian Men’s Association breakfast for 2019 held at Tash’s Craft bar last Saturday provided insight and teachings on leadership in churches around South Africa.
The guest speaker was Afrika Mhlophe who recently launched a book called A Passion for Position. He left the crowd yearning for more with his wisdom.
Mhlophe has been in ministry since 1998 and from 2002 he became the leading pastor of Good News Community Church in Port Elizabeth.
His main focus is calling Christians to bring kingdom influence into every domain of life, and it is for this reason that he has ventured to speak and write on difficult subjects such as racism, corruption, idolatry, and many other issues affecting Christianity.
The decision to write the book came after he realised that Christianity has lost value. He saw the need to remind the church of basic principles. He believes that the situation is so dire that the church should declare “a state of emergency” and deal with a faulty system that is churning out bad leaders.
“I believe we need to look into church history and learn from men and women who made a point of not obscuring people’s view of Christ. Leaders who avoided excess and anything that distracts from the pure message of the gospel,” Mhlophe said.
He started writing the book three years ago after noticing that a growing number of Christian leaders are departing from values that are true marks of greatness and a distinguishing feature of Christianity.
“I saw that people are no longer serving to impress Jesus, but to boost their egos. The church is so full of broken souls, some of them use the pulpit to mend themselves. A lot of people are wounded because they believe they are not where they should be or where they think they should be therefore they no longer serve the purpose of their positions, which is to lead. They are discarding values such as servanthood and humility in favour of egotism and pride,” Mhlophe said.
In his talk at the CMA he pointed out that there is more of an emphasis on pretentious titles in the church than in the world. “What should we conclude from that?” he asked.
He added that the situation indicates a departure from orthodox Christianity.
This is not a first for the church but the situation only changes when lovers of the truth rise and protest, he said.
“The book is a clarion call for the church to refocus on raising leaders who value personal purity more than power. And character more than charisma. These are Christian leaders who are Christians first, before they are leaders. In other words, they don’t lead with a dissonance between their words and their walk.”
In the book Mhlophe points out two important things about leadership and what determines a good leader.
“People are not leading by positions but by the people occupying them. Therefore, obsession with position and titles misses the whole point of what leadership is about. We have lost track as the church. Secondly, a leader is raised for people and not for a position. A leader should therefore be judged, not by how long he/she has occupied a position, but the difference he/she makes in people’s lives. In fact, an effective leader doesn’t even need a position in order to lead. But he does need love and concern for people,” Mhlophe said.
After the talk he was asked to lead prayer for rain for the areas in South Africa that are currently faced with drought.
BY NTOMBENTSHA MSUTU