The Church should give back — pastor
How can we look away, 'Cause every single day
We've got to help at any cost, We can bridge the distance
Only we can make the difference
Don't ya know that tears are not enough
- Tears Are Not Enough, Northern Lights
It is no secret that a lot of Jamaica's poor are ardent members of one church community or the other. From their hard earned pittance, many diligent throw their tithes and offering into the church's coffers. While there are some churches running schools and other programmes, there are others which have done nothing to assist in alleviating some of Jamaica's most vulnerable the very ones who give their support time and time again.
Pastor and the founder behind the outreach organisation Mission of Mercy Jamaica, Ethon Johnson stands firm by her belief that the Church should form part of the solution in making a difference in society.
The pastor, whose organisation will be hosting a 'donations' day giveaway next month in some of Kingston's most impoverished areas said it is time that the Church stop taking and instead starts giving back.
"The awesomeness of God is tainted when mere men take on the attributes of God upon themselves, without worshipping the God of Creation Himself. They neglect to honour God with their substance, but expect to be honoured with the blood sweat and tears of others," points out Johnson.
She criticised pastors who build the houses of God supposedly to honour Him, but "fail to invite God" to Sunday morning service or Wednesday night Bible Studies.
"They collect offering to build the Church house yet oftentimes, without remembering the poor and needy that often give with the hopes of being remembered by and through their giving. They give with the hope to help others in need while suffering their own despair," said Johnson.
For Johnson, offering should not only satisfy the administrative aspect of church; but also the many needs of the unchurched and the churched.
"There are pastors that take this call very seriously, yet there are others who simply find more pleasure in receiving and not giving. That is the complete opposite of the plans of God for the Church. They compel the people to move in faith, yet not many of the same move in faith to help to build the communities around them," she noted.
Johnson stressed that assisting the homeless, the motherless and the fatherless should not be the sole responsibility of the Government.
"Some pastors collect money to splurge on non-essential living and the essential aspect of life; to love and care for the poor is completely neglected," she said.
Johnson notes that if pastors are relentless in fulfilling their call, the true wealth that is so vital in the kingdom would rest favourably on their lives and the many hurts and pain that finances cannot cure would be taken care of; either through laying hands on the sick or simply casting out demons to free a hurting soul.
"Our focus should not only be placed upon financial gains. A bigger house or a fine car is nice, but at what or whose expense? Finding ways of repairing the breach is not only the job of the physical government, but it is also a responsibility of the government of the Church," she said.
In addition, she points out that programmes to mentor, educate, uplift and enlighten the community would also be impactful to each region if all churches engage in this instead of just a few.
If this is carried out before long the prison would not hold the strength and wealth of the country; but men and women would be uplifted to uplift their own communities and families.
"Clothing the naked should not be left up to people who will rape or molest the victim that has already been victimised; but it should be done by men and women who love God and desire to fulfil the call that was placed on the church."