Church-going is an activity that dominates the lifestyle of many people today.
The world today is full of churches and sects that claim to be centred on the teachings of Christ, but whose messages differ.
Questions arise as to the motives of people in going to church. Is it the need for salvation, which is the primary message in Christ’s teachings? A survey by this reporter unearthed different motives for going to places of worship.
“We have no control of our lives without the presence of God. I go to church to glorify and honour His name as well as to thank Him for our dear lives,” says Walter Muchingami, a member of the Apostolic Faith Mission.
For him and those of his ilk, the objective of going to church is salvation and to seek and build a relationship with God.
Others have motives that may be far from the desire for salvation. They are motivated by matters of the heart.
“I go out every Saturday with my friends, but I make sure on Sundays I attend services although they are long and boring. I am a single lady and my sole purpose in going to church is to meet the right guy.
“I don’t really pay attention to the teachings by the pastor, but I know that God will reward me because I do go to church,” said Stacey Mutasa (not her real name) of Chitungwiza.
For others, it is the expectation of material gain through divine intervention.
“I attend church services not necessarily to worship, but nowadays most pastors preach the prosperity gospel and money is what we all need in our lives. So, if the church can make me rich, then I will always go,” says a member of one of the most popular Pentecostal churches in this country.
People are now being lured to church by riches and it seems the preaching of the prosperity gospel is now attracting multitudes.
“When I started going to church I had nothing, but we were taught to give to the Lord. I gave the little that I had and the Lord rewarded me abundantly. If it wasn’t for the prosperity gospel I wouldn’t be where I am today,” says Tinashe Mawire, another enthusiastic member of the same Pentecostal church . In many communities it is respectable to be a member of a church.
Some people join for social reasons, others because their family or friends go to church.
“I want as many people as possible to attend my funeral,” said a journalist with a local daily. “People who attend church are sent off by many people when they die. I do not want my funeral to resemble a pauper’s burial,” she said.
“I am divorced and I don’t go to work. My life is so depressing and the church offers me some kind of fulfilment and hope for my future,” says Theresa Chiwenga.
Some people go to church in search of miracles.
“I want to see God’s power in action through miracles performed by pastors,” said Janet from Budiriro.
“I will never go to a church where we cannot see God’s powers through miracles and prophecies. Such churches are fake,” she said.
Chasosa Kadurira (43), who is studying Church Administration, said people should work for their wealth and as Christians they should seek God first and it doesn’t matter if they go through tough times.
“As a Christian, my sole purpose in going to church is so that I can have eternal life in the kingdom of God and those people who are going to church for the wrong reasons must revisit the Holy Bible,” he added. He also cited Matthew 6:33:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all this things will be added to you.”