Mbabane: Pastors who depend on offerings for salaries have expressed their concern over the incumbent deadly disease Covid-19, saying their livelihood is already being affected and deeply felt in their households. *Pastor Derrick Dlamini of House of Faith in the Hhohho region when called said he was one of the many pastors across the country that depend solely on the weekly church offerings and tithes which congregants bring at the end of each month. With the recent government’s Covid-19 regulations put in place church numbers have reportedly dwindled and adversely touched on contributions into churches. All the pastors interviewed on the subject asked not to be named for fear of negatively impacting on their fellowship.
They said they had put their trust in God and were optimistic that this period of global hardship will soon pass and things will be back to normal. Asked if it didn’t help that in the future they found a job while also running churches in order curb disasters such as the deadly coronavirus they said serving in church as a pastor was two-way; – part time and full time. Part time pastors have a job and go to work during the week days and on Sundays pastor their churches. Most of these are not affected by the outbreak of the pandemic while full time pastors, especially in the rural areas, depend on what membership brings to church every Sunday and with the small number of people coming to church their income has considerably been slashed, said one man of God. With the panic that has been caused by the outbreak, which shows no sign of relenting, church members have joined in the fray and are saving more while spending on personal household needs essential for the lockdown.
“Members of our churches are withholding the blessings which they would on an occasional basis bring to church for the welfare of the pastors and it remains to be seen how we will make it through,” said a concerned man of the cloth. He added that his assertion should not be misconstrued for lack of faith in God but the circumstances with which the outbreak has come sought men of God to bring balance between the realm of the spirit and pragmatism. Perhaps the time has come where by men of the cloth especially in the rural areas learnt from Biblical characters such as Paul, who while ministering the Word conducted a business as tent maker, continued the man of God. In fact, Jesus’ disciples were in business where they were the likes of fisher men, livestock keepers, farmers and tax collectors to name but a few.
On what the outbreak could mean one man of God said perhaps it might be a good idea for humanity to look to what is written in the Bible and they might find sections speaking directly on the outbreak, like there is coming a time where people will run around in all directions seeking the Word of God but will not find it. “Look at what is happening world over; gatherings being prohibited and limited to small numbers,” said the pastor, adding that the regulated numbers of people who are to gather together continue to be reviewed and stand to be slashed even further. This is a time where brotherhood should be displayed within the church of God where the more able pastors should reach out to the weaker ones and make a provision, said a man of God. He said during these times it is plain to see that the church is being deeply tested.