Last week, reported that President Mugabe had castigated some churches, saying they are money-spinning ventures.

Bishop Itai Hove of the El Shaddai Ministries said Christians should seek the truth and truly help save souls. “I believe that as Christians, we should go out, seek and save souls so that we make the kingdom of the Lord grow bigger,” she said.  “I am surprised with those who fish from the pond by encouraging church members to leave their churches to join them.”

Bishop Hove said that those who advertise miracles and healing powers were supposed to follow Jesus’ way. “Why can’t those who feel they can heal walk in the streets and heal those inflicted?” she asked.  “Finish off with those on the street and then go on to advertise.”

Reverend Derrick Matambanadzo of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said preachers should teach people principles of Christianity and how they can live in peace.  He said it was not of great importance to offer entertainment and talk of riches and prosperity to people who do not know the word of God. “Teaching the word of God heals somebody, comforts the soul and adds blessings upon one’s life,” Rev Matambanadzo said. “Understanding Christian principles and obedience to the word of God are equally enough to bring one to God.”

Pastor Berry Dambaza of the Upper House Ministries said there was no competition among churches to make people repent. He said church leaders strived to preach the word of God so that whoever believed in it repents. In that light, churches are actually complementing each other. “We do not compete to attract Christians, but what we do is to mobilise our church members to preach the gospel and present themselves in a good manner wherever they are so that their friends, relatives and those who hear them preach feel that they should come to God and repent,” said Pastor Dambaza. “Most of the believers who become part of us would have come here as visitors and as the Holy Spirit manifests in them they eventually come to God and are baptised.”

At Hopley in Harare, a new settlement in the south of the Harare city centre, you can find all the mainline churches and some emerging ones holding church services within a short distance of each other. A mosque also stands a stone’s throw away where worshipers are served a meal comprising sadza and stew and sometimes pampered with yoghurt and sweets.

Zimbabwe is searching for God like never before.