reprinted with minor corrections and additions from the Newsday

by Ropafadzo Mapimhidze 

I was so disturbed by remarks of an Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) pastor Amos Madawo who lashed out at pastors who have parted ways with the church to start their own ministries as being ungrateful.
He went to the extent of accusing them of using the church as a springboard to success, whatever that means. His remarks were obviously targeted at Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa of United Family International (UFI), Apostle Tavonga Vutabwashe of Heartfelt International Ministriesand Reverend Oliver Chipunza of the Inter-denominational School of Deliverance.

It is surprising that Amos Madawo, uttered to the world that these pastors were using the church as a springboard to success. What is wrong with moving out and starting a new church? People make choices that suit their belief systems and one cannot stop the Holy Spirit from manifesting in these young people. In any case, are they still in the body of Christ?

I was a member of AFM for many years and I can vouch for the many pastors who left when they had been treated badly. Do you expect a son to stay in a home where he is abused left, right and centre?

A few years ago I attended an AFM conference in Harare where Apostle Vutabwashe was rebuked and ridiculed openly like a small boy, because he had charged the AFM mother body a fee for a public address system. AFM overseer Pastor Cosam Chiyangwa went to Vutabwashe telling him: “Ndiri baba vako saka tinobhadharirei zvinhu zvatapiwa nevana?/I am your father so why are you charging me?”

These utterances shocked many faithful who had come for this conference. The instruments I am talking about were used during Apostle Vutabwashe’s programme Catch the Fire, an annual event that draws thousands of people every year.

Prophet Makandiwa is the only pastor that left to become a prophet at UFI when he left AFM. Reverend Oliver Chipunza is an evangelist who faced more or less the same predicament. Chipunza is no doubt one of the best when it comes to evangelistic deliverance.

The son of the late evangelist, Dzangare Chiweshe, Talent Chiweshe’s son, also left to start his own ministry. These are but just a few of the many pastors that have left AFM.

The truth is that AFM has failed to nurture talent and they start blaming these progressive young pastors when they start exhibiting God-given gifts. The church then cries foul when these young men move on.

These young men have been suppressed by the so-called old guards in the church that have not displayed the gifts as stated in the Bible. AFM has been threatened by these pastors who are doing wonders for their congregations. They are suppressed to the point that these young men decide to leave and start their own ministries.
I can deduce from Madawo’s utterances that he was indirectly attacking prophet Makandiwa for he is the only prophet among the recent defections.

AFM should have itself to blame for failure to nurture talent. In fact, it has a record of firing pastors once they aspire to begin a ministry. 

Zimbabwe Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA), run by Apostle Eunor and Ezekiel Guti, is one church I have emulated so much because it supports its pastors when they decide to start new ministries.

ZAOGA has successful ministries like the late Evangelist Hilda Bvunzawabaya and Evangelist Paul Saungweme, who were not threatened when they decided to leave. ZAOGA is one ministry that moulds its congregation and they visit people who have moved to other churches for fellowship. ZAOGA is now in over 160 countries with over 50 ministries.

Insecurity haunts AFM and they should deal with this cancer first before they start fighting the same God they claim to serve. AFM should also start revising their administrative principles because, for record’s sake, they have a history of losing prominent pastors. Founder and archbishop of ZAOGA, Ezekiel Guti, also broke away from this troubled church many decades ago.

Besides this writing on the wall, AFM is still embarking on void witchhunts. The painful truth of the matter is that many people have moved from one church to the other because they want a church where God is speaking. The sound doctrine of Jesus Christ which they purport to adhere to encourages growth and prosperity in every dimension, which these same pastors are busy destroying. 

Since when does the church discuss the devil’s ministries at such platforms? In fact if they are holier than thou, they should start praying for the so-called fake pastors. Such unwarranted sayings have for a long time gone unchecked. Time has now come to clear these crazy issues.

Where is their true God when all these “fake pastors” are mushrooming? Who has the power to call a church a personal launch pad and despises any other progressive growth outside their tents?

Like Prophet Makandiwa always says, it is very dangerous to listen to a man who used to hear from God like Abraham who was supposed to kill his son. He kept listening to God to be given another order not to sacrifice his own son. 

AFM should go back to the drawing board and analyse where they are going wrong. This is one church I fell in love with so much. The hymns from AFM touch the core of my heart. But I left because there was a lot of discrimination against single mothers.

“Well done!” Prophet Makandiwa, Apostle Vutabwashe, Evangelist Oliver Chipunza and many others who I have not mentioned, for their decision to move on. These people have no doubt interpreted the Bible in the most unique way and hence the thousands and thousands of followers that flock to their churches.