Some Pastors of the troubled church, the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe (AFM), have demanded that the church’s constitution should be changed to ensure that resources are shared equitably. The proponents of constitutional reform want all pastors to earn the same noting that some pastors in lucrative urban areas where earning enough to buy houses and cars while their counterparts in rural areas where struggling to make ends meet. The church is already facing a potential split after some pastors demanded the resignation of church president Dr Aspher Madziyire, church elder and prominent lawyer Tawanda Nyambirai, general secretary Reverend Amon Madawo, and administrator Pastor Munyaradzi Shumba.
Part of the document calling for constitutional reforms reads,
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This paper sets out to enunciate the reasons why we believe our church AFM in Zimbabwe has lost compass and has been overtaken by individuals whose motives and objectives are self-serving.
It is a clarion call to the Elders of this great Pentecostal movement to take their rightful place and bring the Church back on course. For too long the Elders of this church have been quiet while watching God-fearing saints being coerced and manipulated out of their wealth, by scheming preachers with sweet tongues.
…the current decentralised financial system obtaining in the AFM today, requires that Assemblies remit only 20% of their tithes to the Province (other income streams excluded) and whatever levy that might be charged by the Province or National while retaining the rest implying that Assemblies are retaining more than 70% of the tithe income generated at an assembly plus other incomes as well. This means that those assemblies that generate much also get to retain much, thus the high-income assemblies will have high retention levels. By definition, the disadvantaged or low-income areas will remain as such while the affluent will continue to blossom.
It is important to see how the financial system envisaged the use of the >70%. In the current constitution, the pastor’s remuneration is meant to come from within this. This means for a low-income urban assembly generating $500-00 per month in tithes, the pastor’s remuneration and local expenses will be limited to around $350-00 per month while high-income urban assembly generating $5,000-00 and there are many such, the pastor’s remuneration and local expenses will be within the $3,500-00 per month. THIS SYSTEM CLEARLY CREATES CLASSES WITHIN OUR PASTORATE.
The remuneration of our pastors has been the source of much anguish to many of our rural assembly pastors. The rural assembly pastor has to live with a promise and hope that one day he will migrate to an urban assembly but this is equivalent to playing the lottery and is a function of the pastor’s relationship with the Overseer, giving serious overtones to corruption and nepotism.
Our financial system has thus created Pastors who are able to send their kids to school in private schools while others can’t even afford the local government or council school in the neighbourhood. Many of these pastors’ kids are only going to school courtesy of well-wishers like Capernaum Trust, otherwise, they were not going to go to school at all.
Such disparities in income have created classes within our pastorate with the rural assembly pastors being viewed as second class citizens to their elite urban counterparts much like Lazarus and the King.