DIVINE APPOINTMENTS: The pastor who brought reggae to church
Pastor Anselm Mvenge leads the worship ceremony during a church service

DIVINE APPOINTMENTS: The pastor who brought reggae to church

IN July 2014, the first instalment of Divine Appointments featured former Anglican priest and founder of Christian Healing Ministries for all Nations Pastor Anselm Mvenge. His ministry’s worship music is unique in that they use reggae beats. In this interview with Tendai Manzvanzvike, Pr Anselm speaks about what worship means to him, among other issues.

Q: Two years after relocating from Gweru, how has it been with the ministry? Is the relocation permanent?

A: Everything has been guided by God. We started with no fixed place of worship and no finances. We originally were meeting in Harare Gardens, then at Vainona High School’s football grounds under a tent, with a very small following.

Through the grace of God, we are able to worship under the shelter of either Hatfield Community Hall, Andy Millar Hall or at the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.

We have also seen many like Lot who left Abraham, come and leave. We don’t blame them at all as they lack the most important thing, which is the vision of our ministry.

And, Chitungwiza is actually my original home. When I was in Mutare and Gweru as an Anglican priest, I was doing missionary work. As for my future destination, it is in God’s hands.

Q: You feel very strongly about the attribution “true men and women of God”. Is it right for followers to call their pastors that? And, what is a true man or woman of God? What benchmark do you use?

A: People are people and their opinions of other people are always imperfect as long as they are personal and not based on the Word of God, which is our standard.

According to John 2:23-25, when many believed in the Lord Jesus, they saw the signs He performed. Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.

Man’s judgment is limited to what they see, hear, feel, taste and smell, and this is not faith at all. Anything that is not of faith is imperfect. Those who condemned the Lord Jesus to death were very learned theologians, yet their judgment of Him was imperfect.

So, I believe that we should leave the judgment of who a true man or true woman is, to God.

However, there is also no way anyone can stop people from doing what they feel. As for me, a true man of God is one who walks by faith and not by sight.

Q: With the emergence of so many ministries/churches, what should believers look for if they are to say that this a true ministry led by a true man of God?

A: There is actually nothing new on the face of the Earth. All that you see around was already prophesied by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:11-28. The problem today is that many people, rather than seeking salvation, are running after material things.

But remember, salvation is not about financial or business breakthroughs, miracle money and miracle everything. Salvation is about your relationship with God. (Matthew 6:33)

Material things should therefore be secondary rather than being primary. It is righteousness that brings peace and satisfaction in a human soul.

In Luke 5:1-11, Simon Peter and his companions followed Jesus, not their miracle of the big catch of fish. It was the same for Mary Magdalene and all the other women who had been delivered from the power of Satan in Luke 8:1-2.

People should seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first.

Q: You like to worship the Lord through song and dance. Why is worship so important to the ministry?

A: The Psalms of David are all about worshipping the living God. For me,worshipping God is something that comes from the heart. It is an expression of what I have received from God, which is treasured in my heart.

It is that joy, following the justification that I have received from God through His Son Jesus Christ. This is how I celebrate my independence from the power of sin. It is an expression of my righteous nature.

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-37 God gave victory to Judah after Jehoshaphat appointed a choir to sing praises to God.

Thus, worship and song are so important because in Heaven, according to Revelation 4, God is worshipped continually.

Q: Who writes the music?

A: All our songs are inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is also the Holy Spirit that inspires those who play the various instruments.

Q: You use reggae beats and moderate reggae dance routines. Why reggae?

A: Our music is not just for entertainment, but it is meant to touch human souls, as faith is about expressing what we believe in our hearts through what we say and do.

I use the reggae beat because I was immensely influenced by the true reggae legends like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Eric Donaldson. Their reggae music was about the liberation of the oppressed soul.

It was unlike today’s music, which is leading both the young and the old to loose morals.

You know that at Independence, Bob Marley actually came to Zimbabwe to join us in our celebrations.

So, the reggae beat is something that has been in me from a tender age. It touches my soul and I feel closer to God. My congregation — all age groups love and enjoy it.

Q: Should believers be tied to one ministry or they can seek fulfilment of their needs from other ministries?

A: As the saying goes, a rolling stone gathers no moss. Where you receive your deliverance, healing and baptism — I mean full salvation — should surely be your last bus stop.

As long as you keep on searching, it means that you have not yet found peace in your soul. I have always been where I am together with my family because we found peace. Remember, salvation is personal! It is where you find the true presence of Jesus Christ, where you should remain connected.

Many people today are in a state of confusion. Instead of searching for salvation, they are following the most popular pastor or prophet or the largest gathering.

Q: Unity in the body of Christ is a cause for concern. What causes disunity and how should it be addressed?

A: We have one source of disunity and this is Satan. This can only be addressed when we make the Word of God our standard. The Word of God teaches us to walk in love. Love is perfect understanding. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Q: You say that when faced with challenges, for example the liquidity crunch, instead of complaining people should seek to hear what God is saying. What do you mean?

A: When there is a true prophetic voice in a nation or in the world, it means that God loves His people and He warns them to shun the wrong and turn to Him by walking in obedience to His Word. Just like when God sent Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh.

This is the same for our nation Zimbabwe.

If you look around, despite the sanctions, all nations of the world are being attracted to Zimbabwe. So, instead of complaining, people should spend more time searching for that which is attracting all these foreign nations to our beautiful Zimbabwe.

Q: Starting this term, school children started reciting the National Pledge. The Church, we hear, is opposed to it, arguing that it’s a form of idol worship. Others say it will banish Godly elements from public institutions. Why the divergent views, and is the way forward?

A: Anything that is not from the Holy Bible is ungodly. Anything ungodly will not last. True believers do not fight battles for God, as it is God who fights our battles.

As far as the National Pledge is concerned, as children of God, let us leave everything to God through prayer, rather than wasting our energy in debates which do not draw us closer to God but rather, lead to conflicts and disunity.

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