The other evening whiles I was listening to some great old time gospel tunes, I came across Hannah Marfo’s Kristofo Adooso hit. I immediately set my player to replay and listened to the track over and over again.
We were doing Technician One in Cape Coast when the album containing this song was released about 18 years ago and my friend Richard and I, both very 'chrif' at the time, fell in love with it. We would sing it together several times in a day, so listening and singing along again after 18years was very nostalgic. The good old days, hey!
The benefit of age got me reflecting a little deeper on the lyrics of the song and gosh, Hannah was very right.
Decades before her song came out in the year 2000, there were only a few churches in Ghana, the ones we call the orthodox today and a few others. There were not many people going to church too.
Around the 90s and the 2000s, the charismatic movement started gaining popularity in Ghana. The one-man church arrangement was becoming more acceptable to many people and so there were comparatively many churches and churchgoers in the year 2000 when this song came out.
Eighteen years on and the number of one man churches has grown exponentially and if there’s one sector of Ghana’s economy that has seen a steady growth regardless of which party is in government, then it’s the ‘Church’. Not too sure how much revenue the state receives in taxes from the churches.
This growth has undoubtedly come with it an increase in the number of churchgoers compared to 18 years ago. Hannah’s song is even more relevant today than it possibly was at the time of release and indeed, ‘Nyame som aye de’
We are at the stage where due to the high growth in the ‘church sector’ and the associated competition for membership, churches, like companies, are churning out strategic products that suit the needs of the consuming church-going public.
If you focus on speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is, your Church membership will diminish in less than a month. This conventional way of worshipping God, the kind of worship that teaches people to shun evil and do good, the one that earned the disciples the name Christians in Antioch doesn’t sell anymore.
If you emphasis on prosperity, prophesy and miracles, if you make your church an extension of a business school and preach the ‘’10 ways for financial breakthrough’ message, your church will grow in no time because there’s a big market for these products. That’s where we are!
How did we get here, the point where churches have solutions for every human problem including how to win elections except how to prepare souls for Heaven?
How did we get here, the stage where the easiest way to become rich is to establish a church, the point where churches exploit the masses and the word of man holds reverence over the word of God?
How did we get to this point where everyone is a prophet and their prophesies are always doom-mongering; the point where others decide at will to raise themselves to Angel status and attempt to fly to ‘heaven’ when they feel like?
One would have thought that an increase in churchgoers will reduce the moral decadence in our society but no, our youth are more insolence than ever in history, our adults have never been this corrupt, our clergy has made the church an extension of politics. We kill, we rob, we snitch and do all sort of things with impunity and on Sundays, we show up in our best clothes in church.
What have we become? I’ve been wondering and keep asking myself, how did we get here?
- By Ing Steve Laryea