Pastors under fire for declining moral standards
Rekown Evangelist, Rev. Dr. Wilfred Lai of Jesus Celebration Center, Mombasa , Kenya, leads hundrends of Kenyan faithful in prayer during a Sunday service at the Saint Stephens Church in Lowell, Mass.. Close to 400 Kenyans attended. H.Maina/Ajabu
By Harrison Maina, Ajabu Africa News
LOWELL, Mass., OCTOBER 8 _Some Pastors of Kenyan community churches in the Diaspora have been castigated for lowering their moral standards thus making their followers see no need also to be morally upright.
The searing attack was said by a renowned long time evangelist, Rev. Dr. Bishop Wilfred Lai last week at the conclusion of a three-day prayer revival conference at the Radisson Hotel in Chelmsford, Mass.
The conference was organized and coordinated by Rev. Joseph Waiyaki of Christian Community Church in Lowell, Mass and involved visits to several churches including Saint Stephens Church, Rapture Harvest Mission in Wakefield and the Divine Gospel Ministries in Worcester.
Dr. Lai is the senior pastor at the large Jesus Celebration Center in Mombasa, Kenya, (website) and is the Secretary General of over 2000 churches under the Redeemed Gospel Churches.
The pastor said that when Kenyans came to America, including pastors, they can access many things that were hard to get back home, causing the love of money, material things and a mad quest for bodily pleasures to overtake the love of God.
”When we come to America, we have to fight with the world because a lot is nearer to you here than was in Kenya,” he said.
The pastor added that he has observed that many Kenyans are in voluntary slavery in America, getting paid meager wages thus never get time to go to listen to the real word of God since they are stuck working too many hours.
He added that a spiritually bankrupt person is worse off than one who lives in Mathare (Mathare is said to be the world’s biggest slum village located in Nairobi Kenya where debilitating poverty and violence is the norm).
The pastor told Kenyans that when people are not receiving gifts from above, they will need to keep working many hours at odd hours in order to make ends meet.
Bemoaning the low moral standards of some pastors in the Kenyan community churches in the USA, Dr. Lai said that such low standards lead to even lower standards by their followers.
Visiting Gospel artist, Loise Kim, performs at St Stephens Church during the Dr. Lai sermon
“These pastors are enemies of God. They love the world more than God,” added the pastor.
Dr. Lai said that as a result, some pastors have created large groups of sinners meeting in the name of God which also leads to stressful living standards for Kenyans in the greatest country on earth.
“What you have are not churches, but large congregations of sinners,” added the diminutive man of God.
The shocking revelation caught the over 250 Kenyans present by surprise. Dead silence reigned in the dimly lit large room for a few seconds, before everyone in the room could process the impact of the statement, only to be followed by a sudden loud applause as people seemed to unanimously agree with the long time cleric.
Kenyan pastors present seemed caught off guard as well, but joined the thunderous clapping regardless.
Dr. Lai added that if the pastors truly believe that they came to America to cause a good change, they should open up their churches to everybody in the general community and not just serve a small clique of Kenyans using their ethnic languages. “You can not truly leave a mark in America without touching the Americans in a nice way. You should open your doors to serve the Americans too”.
Dr Lai said by doing that, it would save some pastors from the fear loosing members to other churches who tolerate sinful behaviors among the close knit members of the same community."Let us try to make the Kenyan church an international church", he said
He gave an example of a branch that his church opened inMinnesota called Jesus Celebration Center Twin Cities (website) , which is frequented by diverse groups of people including white folks, African Americans, Africans, Spanish and many others. JCC also has a branch in the United Kingdom.
Earlier during the same day, Rev. Lai shocked over 400 Kenyans who congregated at the Saint Stephens’ church in Lowell when he said that very many people are hiding in the church. “They carry bibles, serve and sing on Sunday, but as soon as they leave church, they sink into extremely sinful behaviors”.
He said that, “People have forsaken the things of God. They go to the bar and drink but they never get satisfied. They do things to bring pleasure to their bodies but tomorrow they will want to do the same thing again.”
“Why work the way you work only to spend your time and money on things that has no future, things that do not satisfy?” Dr. Lai posed.
|Dr. Lai meets former members of JCC Mombasa, who turned up for the evening crusade at the Radisson Hotel
“A double minded person is unstable and has no hope. One leg in church, the other hanging outside in the world,” Dr. Lai preached.
He said that it is very saddening when many highly qualified and skilled Kenyans are stuck overworking themselves in menial jobs in group homes and nursing homes in the land of opportunity simply because they do not apply God’s principles.
He said that even those who have good jobs never seem to have enough and have to keep working endlessly just to make ends meet.
“God wants you to be productive, not waste all your time here in the US, overworking and eating junk food. You don’t even need to be employed in America. This is a country with many opportunities and if you really have faith in God, you should be the ones employing people by starting businesses and other organizations,” he said.
The pastor said that it pained him to see that many Kenyans in America live like slaves in a country that has a history of enslaving people, especially the black people.
“The first level of slaves came by force and offered free labor. The second level of slaves are voluntary and are giving cheap labor,” said Dr. Lai to dumbfounded Kenyans, sitting so silently you could hear a pin drop in the sanctuary.
The cleric said that America will only be blessing to those who come to America with God and stay with God.
It’s time to change your ways. Apply Jesus and you will work less hours yet earn more,” added the pastor.
Dr. Lai wondered why Kenyan pastors still have to go and work many hours and still find time to effectively serve the spiritual needs of the community. He said that if pastors set their churches right and provided the right leadership, the tithes and offerings would be enough to sustain them and their families.
“Why do you go to work only to be bullied by the same people you are supposed to be bringing the good news to?” asked a perplexed pastor.
To underscore the reality of the matter, Dr. Lai told worshippers at a session at the Radisson Hotel that his moment of revelation came a long time ago. He said that once, he was a poor pastor preaching to poor people but one day, he got a revelation that he was the biggest problem in the church because he was not preaching the true message of blessings.
Dr. Lai said that he then had to move to serve a different church where he learned the correct message and started practicing and teaching it.
Due to this change, JCC in Mombasa, Kenya has grown exponentially and is currently expanding from a 16,000 to a 30,000 followers’ church in a new location on the North coast of Mombasa.
The project which is near completion is estimated to cost roughly Kenya Shillings 200 million, all from the tithes and offerings by dedicated worshipers who appreciate the leadership he has provided.
“We never did a project with the British or American money because that is how you will enter into bondage. Anybody who puts his faith in man will live under a curse,” he told those present.
Dr. Lai said that JCC has been on the Kenya Television Network (KTN) for 17 years and in Uganda TV for 10 years and have never been late on their due payments to the stations.
Hundreds of Kenyans attended the events and four Kenyans gave up their lives in Salvation during the morning service on Sunday at the saint Stephens’ church.
In response, various people interviewed by AjabuAfrica.com after the sermon said reports coming from different states indicate a trend by Kenyans in the Diaspora including pastors some of whom have been accused of running their churches as personal business entities accountable to no one other than close family or friends as committee members.
Several weeks ago, a Kenyan in Florida was charged with raping an over 80 year old woman under his care in a group home. Another Kenyan Lawyer in California was recently beaten to death in a group home by teenagers under his care when he failed to let them go for an outing.
And in Boston, an enraged husband recently caused serious injury to his wife and a man who he caught red handed in the act with his wife at a party in Lowell. Reliable sources say that the man descended on the inebriated pair who had locked themselves in a bathroom away from other party goers for the illicit act.
And according to reliable sources, a silent storm has been brewing in Massachusetts where one pastor has been accused of having illicit sexual affairs with several women.
Pastors pose for a photo with Dr.Lai as he arrived at the new venue for Rapture harvest Mission International in Wakefield, Ma. From left to right are: Bishop David Karaya of CCF Lowell, Dr. Lai, Bishop Joshua Wambua, Pastor Steve Ibabu of JCC Twin Cities, Minessota, and Rev. Joseph Waiyaki of CCF Lowell.
Several months ago, a church in Dallas, Texas was embroiled in a controversy that pitted a pastor against the other in a power struggle which saw one pastor call immigration on a fellow pastor with the intention of getting him ejected from the country.
The move backfired when other pastors came to the defense of the pastor under attack. Also, a man from Lowell, Mass. called Ajabu Africa office demanding a story be written of a lady who is calling the immigration authorities to others if they cross paths the wrong way.
In Alabama, reliable sources told Ajabu Africa.com that a pastor of a certain church who had been rumored for many years as having an affair with a church member’s wife was greeted by empty pews as he returned from a vacation in Florida where he was spotted frolicking in the sun with the wife in question. The deserted church has since been rented by Tanzanians.
Also from down south, close sources told Ajabu Africa.com that a big Kenyan community church recently split when a pastor accused of several issues bragged that no one could shake his church because he owned it, citing evidence form the mortgage documents, which indicated that the church was under his name.
Even on spiritual matters, some pastors have been reported to openly turn away people who have gone to them to request prayers in time of need saying that if a member does not attend their church and hence brings no tithes, they can not pray for them.
And in Seattle Washington, reliable sources told Ajabu Africa that a pastor was busted a few weeks ago by members of the community having an illicit sexual affair in a person’s house. The affair led to the splitting of the church.
The problems have festered in the community so much such that one church elder recently told a gathering during a wedding ceremony that married couples should not be working overnight shifts at all.
Kenyans during a breakfast meeting at rapture harvest Mission International church in Wakefield which was attended by Dr.Lai
“You need to spend that time together otherwise when you clash with your wife at home, other co-workers try to comfort her during those night shifts and the rest you can figure,” said the man who did not want his name published .
In other cases, many Kenyan church leaders who left their spouses in Africa and got stuck in America have acquired themselves local partners to comfort themselves.
Thus with so much going on in a community still struggling to find their place in a new land, it is encouraging to hear some messengers of God like Dr. Lai dissect root cause of the problems in order for the community to fill in the missing puzzles.
To conclude, Dr. Lai told people that everything is not all lost as people can still be blessed if they change their ways when they are still breathing.He asked pastors to uphold the standards that God has put, which is the highway to holliness.
Dr. Lai aslo asked those Kenyans who never attend church to reconsider their decisions as attending a real church is key to a better life even here on earth.
”If you have been missing church to go to work, think again over what you are doing because you are walking on dangerous ground. You may live all your days in America struggling just because you have neglected the gathering of the people of God”.
He added that God always wants to bless his people because “when you are not doing well, he is ashamed with you”.
Reading from the book of James 4, Dr. Lai said the key is to avoid friendship with the world and have faith in God. “Faith never fails. Friendship with the world is enmity with God. Believe in the word and you shall prosper,” said the long time prelate.
“What we believe, we must get”, the man of God encouraged.
Comment on this article here