Chidi Anthony, president of the Pentecostal Ministers’ Forum (PFM) and presiding bishop, Kings in Christ Power Ministries International, spoke with BusinessDay on the need for mentorship in Christendom and why pastors must cultivate the habit of obeying those in authority. He also touched on three critical areas that young pastors must carefully avoid so as not to end their ministry halfway. Excerpts by SEYI JOHN SALAU:
What is the place of mentorship in today’s Christendom, especially in relation to young pastors?
The truth is that many of the young pastors have gone astray and many of them might decide to avoid you because of the advice you might give to them. Let’s talk about ‘fathership’; a father is the one that will give his children feather to fly. A father is the one that nurtures you into Christendom. But today the problem we have in the church in regard to mentorship is that the fathers only recognise the believer that pays tithe and sows seeds to them, and when you are unable to do that – they do not see you as a son. But that is not how it was supposed to be. A father needs to follow you up whether you have money or you don’t have money. A father cannot abandon the son; and that is why you can see today one person will tell you I have 10 spiritual fathers – it’s very wrong. You can’t have more than one, but you can have mentors. One spiritual father; and you can have 100 mentors – people you love their ministry.
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As a leader in the body of Christ; what role are you playing in helping young pastors, especially within the Pentecostal Ministers’ Forum?
Now, when you talk about mentorship – I am the president of the Pentecostal Ministers’ Forum (PMF), and anybody that is under that umbrella means I am mentoring them for now as the president of the PMF. My duty time-to-time is to teach them the ethics of the ministry and to follow them up so that they do not end halfway. You can agree with me that most pastors end up halfway not being able to fulfill their ministry because of one mistake or the other. I took time to tell them what it takes to be a pastor. When this call comes – yes God calls us like he said in the book of Jeremiah that before you were born, I know you; I have called you and anointed you. God anointed you from the womb; but you need somebody to mentor you so that you do not end halfway.
Let’s take it a bit away from the PMF and look at the case of the young bishop who was recently sentenced for sexual offences. Do you think his case would have been any better with a good mentor?
About the young bishop – I sympathise with him; then again it’s out of recklessness and I don’t care about the syndrome that landed him where he is today. I know he has a good wife; so, why then go sleep with members and now look at where he found himself today. If God does not intervene, it means that his ministry has ended because of an enjoyment that cannot last more than five (5) minutes. Now, he has found himself in a situation where only God can help him. When we talk about mentorship – it is about somebody that can have the time to lecture and talk to the person he is mentoring. But, many young pastors of today come to you just so you can give them a platform to preach and connect them to churches where they can go and preach; and they don’t listen.
Back to the PMF, how do you bridge the gap in leadership?
So, PMF organises seminars regularly to educate young pastors on how to grow in ministry and to respect men in authority and to be very careful in their ministry. There are three things that kill a man of God (I call the 3 Fs). One is fame; when you are so anxious for fame, you will end up halfway. You can find out and believe with me today that most young boys, pastors have entered into one cult or the other in order to get fame – fame that cannot last forever. When you are so much interested in fame, you can go the extra mile in order to get fame and at the end you might end halfway. I can give you numbers of young men who have ended their ministry halfway because they are so interested and eager to have fame. The other thing is finance – when a pastor is eager to make money, he can go the extra mile; that is why we have stories of pastors defrauding people all over the internet. They have become scammers just because they need this money by all means. A young man came to me some time ago and said papa you are doing excellently well; papa I come to you to submit, papa pray for me, I want to be like you. Papa look at you, God has blessed you in this way, that way; I want to be like you. I said OK; you want me to pray for you and anoint you so you can be exactly like me – he said yes Sir, and I said God will answer your prayers. So, I said knee down let me pray; and I said God he said he wants to me be like me – let him pass through what I pass through; God may you allow him to have an accident that will take him to the ICU for 7 to 14 days in coma; and I said God I pray for him that the wife he will marry will be barren for five years before having issue – he said papa this is not what I asked you to pray for. I said pray so that I can have money and fame like you. I said if you want to be like me, you need to pass through what I pass through. So, if you want to be like Bishop Chidi Anthony, you need to carry my cross and go through what I went through also. Most of them are just eager to get fame – somebody will start a ministry today and will want to buy houses, buy cars and move in convoy; carry policemen here and there, and they don’t know what people who are in that level pass through before they could get to that place. Every young pastor today needs the title of a bishop, and that is why most of them are ending halfway. Most of them are dying; most are in prison for one thing or the other today because they need this money.
What is the last ‘F’ that you want young pastors to stay away from?
The worst of it all which is the last ‘F’ is female. Check out all the great men in the scriptures – look at Samson, he was brought down because of a woman. I will not have time to list them but check many great men that were brought down because of women. For instance, look at that bishop – a man that God has already blessed; a man that carries the oil, but now he has ended halfway because of the so-called enjoyment that will not last up to five minutes. I know wherever he is in the prison now; he is regretting every one of his acts. Female (women) can destroy you and that is the reason we have PMF. That is why we always talk to them; teach them to know the rule of laws and to focus on their ministry. You can’t serve two masters at a time – you can’t be in the spirit and at the same time be in the flesh.
Finally, what is your advice to young pastors out there?
I will advise pastors to stay far away from the things that will breach the peace of the nation. They need to digest what they want to say before they bring it out. You know there is freedom of speech; but there is no freedom after speech. So, if they want to talk; they should know what they want to talk about and think about it. They also need to respect the men in authority because the Bible says for no man attains that unless for whom God has ordained. They should respect the law and do the right thing. Finally, they should avoid entering into problems;
moreover, in things concerning ladies. Most young ladies you see in the church today are agents in the church. Most women are sent as agents and their only duty and mission is to bring the pastor down. So, every man of God needs to be vigilant. I believe in watching and praying (when you are praying, you also open your eyes) so that you can never be a victim. When this pastor was interacting or doing whatever he was doing (The bishop that is in prison today) he never knew it would get to this level. Also, the young men in ministry need to listen to their mentor so that they will never be a victim and end their ministry halfway.