“JESUS IS THE STANDARD OF MINISTRY”, THE CLERK OF G.A. TELLS PRESBYTERIANS
Issued by: Public Relations Officer, Brong Ahafo Presbytery, PCG
At the 2024 New Year School of the Brong Ahafo Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Christian leaders, particularly Ministers of the Gospel were cautioned against measuring their successes in ministry based on the exploits they make in their own estimation, rather, they are to calibrate their impacts based on how their ministries reflect the vision and mission of Jesus Christ, who is the standard of ministry. The Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Godwin Nii Noi Odonkor made this call during the exposition on the theme “Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega” (Rev. 21:6).
JESUS CHRIST, THE STANDARD OF MINISTRY
In his riveting exposition on the 2023/2024 ecclesiastical theme, “JESUS CHRIST, THE ALPHA AND OMEGA” (Rev. 1:6), the eminent clergyman emphasized the indispensable place of Jesus Christ in life and ministry. According to him, Jesus Christ, being the Alpha and Omega does not simply suggest that he is a mere starter and finisher; in the strictest Biblical sense, Jesus Christ is the totality of life in the ‘there and then’, ‘here and now’, and ‘the world to come’, “for in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). To that end, the revered Minister of the Gospel urged Christian leaders to develop Christocentric ministry, where Christ is the beginning, the sustainer, and the end.
2023/2024 ECCLESIASTICAL THEME & THE PCG
Unpacking the theological, Biblical, and contextual significance of the ecclesiastical theme, Papa Nii Noi mentioned that PCG’s stability, growth, and development are a result of the Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns as the Alpha and Omega. It is clearly defined in the PCG’s Constitution that the Church (PCG) is appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Divine King and Head of the Church. This line in the preamble of the Church’s Constitution reinforces the intentionality of all Presbyterians in acknowledging Jesus Christ as encompassing the existence and total life of the Church. In his words, “Jesus is the source and goal of all things. We cannot bracket Him out of anything as a Church; we must measure whatever we do with Him.”
THE PLACE OF JESUS CHRIST IN CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MINISTRY
The awful observation about contemporary Christian ministry is the exaltation of people, especially ministers of the Gospel, arrogantly taking the place of the Lord, who is the owner and source of ministry. ‘Selfism’ dominates the attention of some ministers of the Gospel, and they think that Christian Ministry is about them.
They fail to acknowledge that ministry is the Lord’s and that they are just privileged partakers. Self-centeredness is unbridledly manifested in ministerial discourses. As a result, some have gone to the extreme to monopolize and ‘privatize’ the ministry, giving little or no place to Jesus Christ. Rev. Dr. Odonkor reminded Ministers that “The heart of Christian ministry is the person of Jesus, the Christ of God. He is the full embodiment of the Church’s existence and the substance of the Gospel. The place he occupies in our lives and ministry determines how successful we are.” He continued forcefully, “Jesus is the standard of Ministry; He is the canon to measure the success of any ministry.”
USING AFRICAN CULTURAL CATEGORIES FOR BETTER THEMATIC EXPOSITION
Concluding his presentation, he encouraged all followers of Jesus to remain resolute as they face faith crises. From PH 410, he inspired his audience to put on God’s armour to combat the evil machinations that threaten their faith: “Stand strong, God’s people now. With courage fight the foe. Jesus is with you to the end, eternal peace He’ll give” (stanza 4). Being contextually sensitive, he charged members to employ African cultural categories to express the vibrancy of the theme, “Jesus Christ, the Alpha, and Omega”. In his view, African traditional vocabularies carry a deeper meaning of what it means to say that Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega. He shared a few thoughts from Christian Afua Gyan’s book, “Jesus of the Deep Forest: Prayers and Praises of Afua Kuma”:
Should the devil himself become a lion and chase us as his prey?
We shall have no fear.
Lamb of God!
Satan says he is a wolf – Jesus stretches forth his hand, and, look: Satan is a mouse!
Abosom dan agyata rebɛkye yɛn a, yensuro;
Ɔbonsom se ɔyɛ pataku,
Yesu teɛ (tene) ne nsa a,
Na wayɛ akura
Jesus is the grinding stone
On which we sharpen our cutlass,
Before we perform manly deeds.
We have risen at dawn
To take up our weapon of war, and join the battle.
You are the Sword-carrier, at the battlefront.
Ɛsare so ɔserebo a
Yɛresew no so dade (sekan)
Yɛasɔre anɔpa sɛ
Yɛrebegye akofana akɔko,
Nkrantɛ-boafo a wudi ko anim.
These cultural appellations given to Jesus, according to the Clerk of General Assembly, authentically resonate a clear contextual meaning of the theme, ‘Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega’, and he entreated members to use such rich traditional categories to explain the theme, to convey better meaning to members.